Monday, December 7, 2009

Potential Ideas

For potential web portfolio theme ideas, I have no idea where I will go. Some people might like themes that are about change and growth but I don't find those ideas appealing. The thrill of new discovery or similar things usually are what people fall back on, even if its not true. I don't feel as if I have grown throughout the interim, but rather remained fairly static. Although I have learned a bit about electronic writing environments, my writing hasn't changed to suit them, because I feel my writing is ambiguous enough to suit both electronic and traditional writing environments already. Here are some rhetorical themes nonetheless.

  1. Plains or Oceans - something great and unchanging, despite factors looking to alter them (wow, I really think I'm a pretty good writer, huh?)
  2. Skies throughout the day - I have no idea but it would really appeal to me to have different backgrounds possibly changing from sunrise to moonrise, showing the time that's passed since I began each project


I have decided to revise my enthusiast blog and the Wikitravel website. I have chosen these two because I believe they hold the most promise and could turn into the best of my projects with a little effort.

Enthusiast Blog-
  • add more pictures and media in general
  • add more personal touches (don't focus solely on general RA things)
  • add more real stories/try and make HC more realistic with references

Wikitravel Site -

  • more detail and design
  • more discussion posts
  • add entries

Kimball Response:

The Kimball article was long and rather repetitive, but it did give me a good idea what I should be aiming for when writing:

  • they have good artifacts, and explain the development and reason for the artifacts, and give a honest and thorough self-review of them
  • should have a clear navigation with a straightforward layout
  • "careful use of color"
  • should have a purpose denoted outright

The article had many subpoints concerning these topics, but these are the main headings to be followed. There were also little boxes with tips not concerning any of the above-mentioned that were helpful. When creating an online portfolio, this article will surely come in handy.

Friday, November 20, 2009

3 Possible Topics Pitch

Our cause is to save the endangered sea turtles of the world. 3 topics that I think important to cover include:

1. Conservation strategies, both ones on a larger scale (what are we doing?) and a smaller scale (what cant he reader do?)

2. Educational information about the turtles, life cycles, mating habits, migration habits, food source, common predators, etc.

3. Turtles in media, where do they show up, why are they such a fixture, and what do they represent

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Reaction to Ning

I thought it was interesting to learn that Ning doesnt just create pages bu rather "networks". In their own words, they have "...more than 1.7 million Ning Networks created and 37 million registered users, millions of people every day are coming together across Ning to explore and express their interests, discover new passions, and meet new people around shared pursuits." This was particularly interesting because i have never heard of Ning before this class.

When I reviewed the product page, I was surprised to see how in depth you could be with the profiles created. Some examples shown on the home page were fantastically done, and really allowed both user interaction and the owner to tout information on their subject of choice. It seems pretty balanced. This program/service seems a bit daunting after the tutorial/run through, but I look forward to using it.

Reaction to Boyd/Bennet debate

First and foremost, although I disagree with most of Bennet's ideas, I have to say that he is well cited and has done his research, having more than enough sources to support his key points. That being said, his idealistic views of how the internet should be utilized with today's youth (turning away from traditional teaching) did not sit well with me. Traditional teaching is traditional for a reason, which is something coming out of 20 year old college student's mouth. I am not saying that the power of the internet should be ignored, rather only mildly incorporated. I do not think the world is ready for an entirely e-oriented society, nor do I think that young student have the maturity to be able to learn from the internet effectively.

Boyd also made some fantastic points about the use of social networking sites as spamming for political activists. I can 100 percent agree with that statement because while Boyd may not cite research, it is something I have experienced often in my own life. (See psychology's "person who" theory on how I can justify refuting the clearly presented reseach of Bennet). All in all, I thought both arguments had interesting points, but I will continue to support Boyd's theories.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Reaction to Social Networking Sites Article

This article wasn't terrible. In fact, it had a lot of interesting information; I found the history time line of social networking sites especially interesting. I would praise this article because it is well-researched and explores several topic that I wouldn't think to consider when talking about social networking sites. It also reviews several sites (Friendster, Myspace, etc.) and what caused their success and downfall, further shedding light onto what makes SNSs prosper. I thought the section on privacy was most illuminating because I didn't realize there was actual research on students attitudes towards SNSs and privacy. To me, it seemed common sense, since I have grown up with the internet, but it's interesting to see someone taking their thoughts to an official level.

On the other hand, the article was extremely lengthy. While I appreciate it's depth, I cannot say that enjoyed the read. As previously stated, often times I feel rather well informed on these subject, if only because I grew up in the midst of the SNS maelstrom. All in all though, it was a solid, informative read.

5 Causes

I don't have very many causes. In that respect I am the epitome of an blissfully oblivious college student. I suppose if I had to choose causes that I could support and not be a total hypocrite, I would choose the following:

1. Recycling at URI
2. Alternative Energy Sources (developing and using)
3. Gay Marriage Rights (Failed "Say NO to Prop 8" in California, Recent Addition in CT)
4. Care for Returning Veterans
5. Japenese Whale/Dolphin "hunting"/poaching

Monday, November 9, 2009

Last Reflection on Website Design

I think this project was helpful, if not entirely interesting. I like having knowledge about possibilities that are open to me, and if I ever need to create a website, I now have the ability to do so. I also know a bit more about the design of websites, which will make me a more conscientious reader. I hope I don't turn into one of those people that can't enjoy things because of their knowledge though (i.e. film majors critiquing ever movie they see, unable to enjoy the storyline because of their focus on camera angles, etc.)

I would like to say, even though our project was on redesigning a poor website, I didn't think Scandinavian Sun Tanning was that horrible. They had links and information, it was poorly organized, but there. Of course, our redesign was better. But I think the main problem with the site is that it was just hideous. Honestly, there were some poor theme choices. Overall, I think our redesign would benefit the company, but their current website is at least operational.

Monday, November 2, 2009

SST Update

The Scandinavian Sun site is going well. It is extremely basic and I would like to add more color and fancy-ness but ultimately the layout and design are better than the original. Since that was the aim of the project, I feel satisfied. We still need to add Benefits of UV light and Pricing tabs. Also, I would like to rearrange the order of the tabs but am having some trouble figuring that out. No one ever said I was technologically saavy. As my group continues through the week, I expect to see the site improve. Our final site will be sharp, easy to read, well thought out, and just all around better than its predessesor.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Response to Google Sites

Google sites looks promising for the technologically challenged, such as myself. The layout and site design seems very basic and straight-forward. I like that the home page and the subsequent linking pages are easy to create and easy to edit. I also like that the site allows more then one person to own editing privileges, simply by linking their email. Lastly, I really appreciate how Google sites takes a lot of the choice from your hands when designing. More specifically, as a designer, you are mostly responsible for content, rather than both content and detailed site mapping with technological jargon necessary.

At the same token, my favorite parts of Google Sites might be its downfall. It's simplicity for challenged folk like myself, may frustrate more technically saavy people. Because its so basic, there are a lot of applications that are passed over in the interest streamlining the site creating process.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Chapter 17 - Website Design

This chapter was illuminating in several ways. I did not realize there were such basic structural components that all websites seem to share. Also, the tips were common sense based, but when I design my website, I will be sure to stick to them. Advice like "keep it simple", "stay consistent", and (what I thought was the most helpful) "keep important information available" is useful to maintain a clear view of the goal of the website.
Another useful part of the article was the sample site given and the breakdown of all its elements. The site can be used as a template or reference when designing your own site. I also intend on using the checklist to proof my future site.

I believe a website with a good design is This website is the official website of the aforementioned band. It is very basic to follow and utilizes several concepts discussed. For example, the sidebar of important information is always available. The photos section shows the entirety of the albums, but then when clicked on, uses a pop-out to scroll through the zoomed in photos. Also, the "SHOP" section for merchandise is actually a link to the online store (related site).

A website that could improve it's design is This site is completely based on the submitting of texts sent in by readers. It design is straight-forward and hierarchical (based on time of submitting). I would like to see a better system of rating (site allows for "bad night - thumbs down and good night - thumbs up) because the current system is a bit confusing. Also, the markup to submit a text is a bit confusing. There is also no marking distinction of time (such as submitted on this day), it is a giant stream. Overall, I'd like to see more organization.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

3 Possible Entries

1) SLEEP - Accommodation Listings - Lake Morey Resort

Lake Morey Resort (aka the Inn)

1 Clubhouse Road, Fairlee, VT 05045

From Hartford and points South: Take I-91 North to Exit 15 in Vermont. Turn left off exit ramp. Take first right (granite Lake Morey Resort sign on corner). Follow the golf course (on left) and take your first left onto Clubhouse Rd. Resort is on the right.

+1 800-423-1211 OR +1 802-333-4311

Check in - 3 pm
Check out - 11 am
(same times for entire week)

The rates vary for and during the season, a classic room in the summer ranges from $124-$170. This includes both breakfast and dinner and all recreation uses and greens fees. In the winter its $109.

This is the best (and only) place to stay in the area. Despite the monopoly, the Inn actually has a great atmosphere. Pool and hot tub are superfluous with the lake and all the activities it offers, and the accompanying golf course is where the Vermont Open takes place.

2.) DO -Fairlee Town Beach

Lake Morey Rd

Head northeast on I-91 N
Passing through Massachusetts
Entering Vermont

Take exit 15 toward US-5/Fairlee/Orford NH
3.Turn right at Lake Morey Rd
4.Turn right at US-5 S
5.Turn right at VT-244 W
6.Turn right at Blood Brook Rd

+1 802-333-9416

Free! This is the town beach. It's modest, boasting two long docks and sectioned off lanes in between, a small beach area, a picnic area, and swingsets. There is a clubhouse and often cookouts and general activities going on here. A simple way to occupy your family for the day.

3) DO - Aloha Foundation Camps
(aka Aloha, Aloha Hive, Lanakila, Hulbert Outdoor Center)

2968 Lake Morey Road
Fairlee is on the banks of the Connecticut River, 25 miles north of White River Junction on Interstate 91. The Aloha Foundation is easy to reach from Boston, New York or Montreal via Interstates 89, 91 and 93.

+1 802 333-3400
Fax: +1 802 333-3404

Fees: Full session: $8,375 Half session: $5,625

The Aloha camps are a fantastic place to dump your snotty kids for the summer and have them come out the other end with practical skills and a taste for humble pie. Wide range of activities, mostly outdoor oriented. For girls and boys.

These would have to be put in Wikitravel format to be acceptable. Also, I'm not sure if the last entry is acceptable because while it is a feature of the town, it is not really traveler oriented. Jury's still out.

Wikitravel - Useful Manual Tips

The first tip I found helpful was the section on bodies of water. Since my choice (Fairlee, Vermont) has a lake as a central feature, I was unsure how to approach adding it in the article. The manual of style let me know that I could put it under See or Do (most likely I will put it under Do). Then I can list activities going on around it (If you stay at the Inn you can rent all sorts of boats/canoes or get ski lessons, etc).

The next tip I liked was the "Geocoding". This is where you can add latitude and longitude in the article. Since I know the exact coordinates of the center of the lake (several of my family members have this tattooed on them), I would like to put that in the article.

Lastly, I liked the section on "Lisitings" because it gave in depth information on exactly what to include for each section. The stiff structure for the template is exactly what's needed to keep the article clear and focused.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Initial Reactions to Wikitravel

In my haste, I mistook today's assignment for Friday's homework. Here is the belated reaction to Wikitravel.

I thought that Wikitravel was an interesting idea. I assume that its creation was to provide and outlet for the bias that would surely leak into Wikipedia entries on certain places. I can see that this new outlet for travel guide/place reviews allowed editors to exit their neutral tone and truly detail a place's ambiance.

I really enjoy the layout of Wikitravel. Just as I respect Wikipedia's table of contents at the top of each article, this wiki allows for a simple design in the partitioning. If I want to know what there is to see, do, or eat I can look at that. It provides travelling information within the area as well as how to get there. I found on several places a "Stay Safe" section which was comforting and, I believe, would be very helpful.

All in all, I really like the concept of Wikitravel.

Monday, October 5, 2009

WikiTravel Article

Three places I would like to write about:

1. My home town, Cheshire, CT. There is not an article yet on my town. I would try to create one by putting in common destinations and write about the school populations. Town history and monuments would probably also have a place there.

2. My second home, Fairlee, VT. I would write about common town organizations that my family is involved in (i.e. Lake Morey Protection Association: LMPA). I would also add about the history of the measures taken to clean/maintain the lakes purity. Possibly I would add some history about the common places in town.

3. Wakefield, RI. I would do this place last, mostly because I have no where else that I have extensive knowledge about. I probably could not bring a lot to this article without more research, but ultimately I think it would be a guide to college students with cars (bars, food places, police history, etc.)

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Enthusiast Blog Reflection #3

Thoughts on Patricia Hearst:

I made my nom de plume into Patty Hearst. This is for anonymity reasons, but I figured I'd pick a name with mild significance. In case you were unaware, Patty Hearst is the daughter of a millionaire that was kidnapped when she was nineteen from her apartment in California by the Symbionese Liberation army. They tried to swap her for their imprisoned members, but when that failed, they forced her father to feed the hungry in the Bay Area. Supposedly, she was brainwashed in the most brutal of fashions until she took the name Talia and joined their movement wholeheartedly.
Patty said that she just agreed with everything that was said to her until she started believing it herself.
I have taken Patty's name as my nom de plume as a reminder that I never want to tow the party line so far that I believe it myself. I demand to keep my own will and express that in the form of blogging.

Enthusiast Blog Reflection #2

The second round of peer review was more helpful. It was pointed out to me that it would be a foolish career move to flaunt the shortfalls of my employer on this vast, great internet. I agree and am disappointed in my own short-sightedness.

To amend my blog I have instituted a policy of anonymity. I have changed the school name to "Highlands College" which is the home of the Climbing Goats. The similarity University of Rhode Island and the Rams is not coincidental but hopefully not apparent. I will also cease to use any allusions to URI buildings or employees without pseudonyms.

To further my blog's aesthetic appeal I will try and add more pictures (besides the school logo I created for the bottom) and find out if there is anyway to spice up the sidebar. Also, I have added a poll but have been forced to remove the link to R.A. applications online (due to anonymity concerns). I am sure there are more creative ways to make my blog nicer, and I will continue to experiment.

Enthusiast Blog Reflection #1

So my first reflection is further in hindsight than I would have originally liked. I will reflect on my original blog critiques that I have since edited.

I was told that both that the layout of my blog was aesthetically pleasing and too dark for my subject matter. I chose to listen to parts of each critique. I have kept my original layout but lightened the color scheme. This way I can cater to my own needs of clean lines and clear division of sections and remove the sinister undertone that the black background creates.

I was also told that my personality may have come across a bit heavy-handed. I can see how that is so, between the swearing and blatant generalizations, I may have alienated quite a few audiences. At first, I was perfectly alright with this, but upon the realization that the internet is accessible to all, I have decided to lighten up on the profanity. Maybe not so much on the generalizations and sarcasm, though, because I would like my particular brand of humor to be at least mildly apparent.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Listen Up!

Why am I a credible source? Probably because there is no one that could tell you more about being an R.A. than an actual R.A.. Other than that, I expect to reference common incidences as well as wild ones, the more general of incidences are things that regular students can relate to (or have experienced themselves) which will make them trust me as a source. Once you can identify with a couple things someone is saying, you usually find yourself trusting the rest of their claims.

Since my intended audience is college students, another reason my they will trust me is because we are peers. The natural inclination of students is to take a professor's knowledge at face value in class, completely disregard it outside of class, and forget both in no time. But with peers there isn't such harsh rules, usually the code is "true until proven false", so I don't expect credibility but I will most likely give it.

Lastly, who in college even notices credibility? Um hi, Wikipedia is the life's blood of 80 percent of papers written here at URI. I think I'm good.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Decided: Life as an R.A.

I have decided to do my blog on being an R.A. This is a topic that is easy for me to write about because it basically defines my life at school. There will constantly be new happenings for me to blog about, and if I can manage to stay within the confidentiality rules, I can hopefully keep my job as well.

I would attempt to attract a college audience, since most have at one point lived on campus (thus with an R.A.). My style will be sarcastic humor because that is what I am most comfortable with and also the preferred humor of the college student body.

Potential Titles:
-True Life: I am R.A.
-Fuck! It's the R.A.!
-Secret Life of a URI R.A.

Potential Posts:
-any time I bust up a party
-horrible HRL bureaucracy
-best excuses ever given

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Response to Stefanac

The Stefanac article was helpful in quite a few ways. First, it provided a great example. To someone who has extremely limited experience with blogging, the section on Mr. Jalopy was insightful. It let you into an experienced blogger's viewpoint, showing both his dedication and passion. It was helpful in other ways because it showed that blogging wasn't just lazy journalism, but more along the lines of an extreme hobby.
Another thing the Stefanac article was helpful with was providing tips into blogging. The main message I gained from the tips provided was moderation. Posts shouldnt be too long, nor too short. Language shouldn't be boring, but just the right amount of informal. Claims made on the blog shouldn't be outrageous, but they don't have to be thoroughly researched either. Everything in moderation.
All in all I feel the article was extremely heplful for beginners.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Funneling my blog's focus

Here are some ideas I've brainstormed for a more focused content on my blog:

1. Social Stigma Oddities - basic human behaviors you might observe everyday that are unexplainable but completely acceptable

2. Gossip Girl: URI Women's Rugby Style - get the insider action of one of the weirdest teams I've ever played for

3. Life as an R.A. (and R.A. related subjects) - learn how it feels to be the most hated (but useful) resource on campus

4. Kelly's Best Seller List- books I've willingly read, books I've been forced to read, what's hot, and what to steer clear of. A blog devoted to helping you avoid pitfalls like Great Expectations

5. What's the opposite of Ben Stein? Oh, my money strategies - Follow a college student through common monetary decisions, the good, the bad, and the illegal

Blogging Experience

I have no blogging experience to speak of. I honestly haven't even read a blog before this class. Their unpredictable nature and lack of credibility did not have any appeal to me. On the subject of micro-blogging sites, such as Twitter, I have little experience there either.
The possibility of hyper-exposure is rather daunting and made me hesitant to put private thoughts and feelings on this great, vast internet. I suppose this class will be the push I needed to dabble in the art of the online diary.

Response to Rebecca Blood

I found Ms. Blood's in-depth history of the origin of blogging interesting. Today, the phenomena of blogging is so widespread, it is simply accepted as having always been. But in truth, Blood revealed that blogging, or web logging, was a rarity that burst onto the scene with surprising gusto. The transformation from 10 bloggers to 10's of hundreds of bloggers happened in only a few short months.
The view of blogging as self-expression was not a new concept to me. However, Ms. Blood's interpretation of blogging as a deeper method of learning and self-discovery was compelling. She presented blogging as a way to develop critical thinking and learn to form of opinions. The notion of tomorrow's activists cutting their teeth on their social opinions today was fairly intriguing.
In contrast, blogging is, in some ways, a dicey subject. While the majority of people might be sharing their opinions or a love that they've developed, it all must be taken with a grain of salt. The lack of boundaries that allows for such free thinking that is the mainstay of blogging also allows for absolute nonsense to go unchecked. All and all, I feel that the positives of blogging outweigh the negative consequences that might occur. I hope I enjoy the foray into the world of web logging as so many others have seemed to.

Monday, September 14, 2009

What is Writing?

Writing is a form of communication that has evolved through time. Originally writing was nothing more than pictures on cave walls. Throughout history, writing has become more diverse and more complicated.
Today writing is an essential part of society. In past years, you could be a productive member of the community and be illiterate, that is not the case now. Many consider writing a form of expression, while others see it purely as a way to catalog data. Whatever writing is, though, it is undeniable that is essential to everyone's lives today.