Category Archives: digital media

Guest Blogger: Guanqun Li

Back to like three weeks ago, Steve Jobs passed away. From that time on, I was thinking what makes Apple successful?

First of all, I think Apple brings innovation to the products. Take iPhone for example, it does not have any keyboard; its touch screen is highly accurate; it contains various kinds of apps from entertaining to academic. 21 century needs creativity! As a product of innovation, iPhone leads the whole cell phone industry, as shown below:

Another point to address here is about their tricky strategy. For example, rather than launching iPhone 4G after iPhone 3G, they produced iPhone 3GS, which did not make big differences than iPhone 3G. However, soon after iPhone 3GS, 4G popped up with brand new design, display, capability, performance, and battery life. People are surprised by these changes; they just want to buy it!

In addition, they know our necessity and preference. When more and more people are complaining about the screen of iTouch is small. They launched the iPad, which had a much bigger screen. Although the price tripled, a lot of people would still buy it because it’s just cool!

Last but not least, compared to the people back to 80’s, we are more sensational: we care more about our feeling. Take laptop for example, Macbook Pro is just like caffeine. Although it may not be the best, it gives people good feeling when we are tired with heavy and noisy laptop. Also, the system is just great to use. Personally, I enjoy iCal a lot. It just simplifies my life. Maybe Macintosh operating system is not better in the aspect of academic than Linux; not better in the aspect of business-use than Windows. However, it is definitely better in the aspect of easiness, beauty, and convenience.

All in all, Apple’s products combine technology and art. Just as Jobs said:

Technology alone is not enough, it’s technique married with the liberal arts, married with humanities, that yield us the result that make our heart sing.

Apple is just like an icon, which spread around the whole world with its aesthetics and convenience.

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Do yourself a favor….

Take nine minutes out of your day and watch this video. Then think about it. And react

Back-to-School Sale

I have been kind of struggling with getting into the “back-to-school” groove. This is not a good thing when you’re a professor as all of your lesson planning is best done before the semester begins. (For me, at least, since the first month of school is usually preoccupied by fall TV season premieres.) It took me awhile before I realized that my disassociation from excitement concerning a return to campus coincided with my complete disconnect from television this summer.

With all the traveling I do between the last and first day of school, I had my cable turned off to save myself the expense. Which means that any TV I did watch–because you know I didn’t just go SVU-less–was watched on download, thus, no commercials.

This sparse, TV-viewing summer parallels the summer of 1996 when I was working a dismal corporate job and a trip to Europe was my answer to getting me as far away as possible from my cubicle. I spent some time in Prague and I remember standing on the Charles Bridge, looking out over the Vltava River. In an effort to jot down some tidbits in my travel journal, I noted the date and realized it was Labor Day. School had started back in the states and I had totally missed it.

Are you getting the picture? I had not seen any Back-to-School commercials! Which means, I had not seen (or heard) anyone talking about the best thing on the planet to spend your money on: school supplies.

I used to LOVE buying new school supplies as a kid. I loved having a brand new pencil box—always pressed cardboard for us, no plastic boxes, so a new one was a big deal since it still both opened and closed and wasn’t held together with masking tape (which was usually the standard by October). I also loved the full Elmer’s glue bottle. How many of you spread glue all over your hands then spent most of First Friday mass peeling it off your fingers? (Catholic school. What can I say?) And of course, the brand new box of crayons, with in-box sharpener.

Shopping for school supplies got me excited about returning to school. When that list arrived in the mail (they didn’t post them at Office Supply simply because Office Supply didn’t yet exist), you ran around the house trying to get your mom to confirm a date for shopping. All of those new products were yours, yours alone, and you didn’t even have to share them with a sibling since you were never in the same grade.

I realize that in missing the back-to-school commercials on TV, I have missed the excitement over new school supplies. The best solution, of course, is to just head on out on my own timeframe, bring my list and have at it. So I did.

I seemed to have traded in a lot of the types of supplies I buy these days. Since my teaching is paperless, out are notebooks, folders and new pens. For this new school year, I bought a new 2T external hard drive, a flatbed scanner and updated my Mac with Lion.

And you know what? I am still damn excited about school supplies.

Guest Blogger: Shane Samuel

The Sexual Secrets in Disney Movies

Disney is known to many for its squeaky ‘clean’ image and for being the birthplace of the infamous Mickey Mouse. However, Disney has a dark side, one that seems to have a fascination with explicit images and sex. Almost every major Disney film, from the Lion King to the Little Mermaid has been under fire for the use of explicit images. Many would say that it is not the fault of Disney instead it is the artists who draw the images that are at fault, but I disagree. I am sure the people in Disney review the films before shipping them around the world and definitely see the images. That is like saying Disney producers do not realize that all of the villains in their films are of a darker skin tone. Even more interestingly, not only is Disney infamous for it sex sells attitude but for its blatant racism and sex is good ideology. For example, in the film Who Framed Rodger Rabbit Donald Duck called him “a goddam stupid nigger,” another example is in the movie Aladdin, where Aladdin is heard saying “Good teenagers take off your clothes.” Disney seems to have a clear perversion for telling children about sex. Below are stills from some of our favorite Disney movies and the explicit images found within:

The Lion King:

The word ‘sex’ is clearly seen in the stars.

The Little Mermaid:

The Priest is erect.

The image of a penis is seen in one of the kingdom’s tower.

The Rescuers:

A naked woman is seen the background.

The SPARK Summit

From the SPARK Summit on the sexualization of women and girls in the media and its effects on young women:

Guest Blogger: Grace

Today I read a very disturbing article in the Huffington Post.

Are Cell Phones and Wi-Fi Hazardous to Your Health?

The article is a warning for those who use cell phones and laptops like us students. It introduced me to a new term, EMF (electromagnetic fields), described as possibly “the most devastating threat to health yet”. EMFs radiate from almost every household item in this generation, like microwaves, along with cell phone towers and Wi-Fi routers (which are located all over HWS). The most potent EMFs come from cell phones though.

The article explains the horrible effects that EMFs have on our bodies, like causing brain cells to leak, and speeding up cell division. It states,

Hundreds of studies link EMF exposure to Alzheimer’s disease, ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease), brain fog, cardiovascular disease, miscarriage, infertility, insomnia, learning impairment, as well as anxiety and depression.

Miscarriage?? Why didn’t my doctor warn me about this? This is very serious stuff.

I am an avid iPhone user, and if you are always on your phone too, the next fact will terrify you. According to the book Zapped: Why Your Cell Phone Should Not Be Your Alarm Clock and 1,268 Ways to Outsmart the Hazards of Electronic Pollution by Anne Louse Gittleman,

the Swedish National Institute for Working Life found that people using cell phones for 2,000 hours—a total most of us could easily rack up over the years—had a 240 percent increased risk for malignant brain tumors on the side of the head where they usually held their phone.

WHAT!? If this is true, then my entire generation (who have been using cell phones since 6th grade) will most likely have brain tumors, because “kids absorb 50 percent more electro-pollution than adults”. Someone please provide a post that disproves this fact so I am able to sleep tonight!

The article does end with some tips to avoid EMFs, though:

  • Text, don’t talk, whenever possible.
  • Use speaker mode to keep your phone as far away from your head as possible.
  • Go offline — turn off your cell phone when you’re not using it and shut off your wireless router at night. (You’ll be amazed how much more soundly you’ll sleep.)
  • Get your phone out of the your pocket; men who carry their mobile there have lower sperm counts than those who don’t carry a cell phone.
  • Avoid tight spaces (buses, elevators, trains, and subways) where your phone has to work harder to get a signal out through metal.
  • Buy low, choosing a phone with a low SAR (specific absorption rate) number.
  • Replace your cordless phones with corded landline phones.
  • Don’t cradle your laptop–putting it on your lap exposes your reproductive organs to EMFs.
  • Most important of all, restrict cell and cordless phone use during pregnancy.

Well… Seeing as I have already have talked on my cell phone for more than 2,000 hours in my lifetime and have ALWAYS cradled my MacBook in my lap, I am worried that I am going to end up childless and with a brain tumor. Hopefully someone invents a cell phone case that restricts or limits the emission of EMFs…ASAP!

ah. Prom Night.

I am really struggling with this one.

Have you been following the story of Constance McMillen and her prom?

Last month, this chick—a lesbian—wanted to bring her girlfriend to her high school prom. You know, that right of passage for the American teenager?

Well, when news went out that students could only attend prom with opposite sex partners, Constance got with the ACLU and sued the school board. So this brilliant school board from small-town Mississippi decided to just cancel prom.

Now aren’t they progressive.

The court ruled in favor of Constance but did not require the school to hold the prom. Prom was still canceled.

This made some pretty big news. Constance shows up on Ellen:

Yeah, she makes news. Big time. ‘Cuz folks, this is news. It’s big fucking news. ‘Cuz it’s 2010. Like, really.

Constance gets support from various sources who see the stupidity of this whole action by the school board. She receives a $30,000 scholarship and an offer for a summer internship. Rightly so. ‘Cuz coming forward like this is a pretty big deal for an 18 yr. old. I don’t imagine life in high school has been too pleasant for her.

As part of the understanding with the court, parents of Constance’s classmates agreed to throw a prom for everyone that could attend, one the school board had nothing to do with. And they did. Hold a prom. A “fake” prom. That was attended by Constance, her girlfriend and 7 other people. While across town, the “real” prom was going on. The one Constance was not invited to.

Not easy to hide the “real” prom once it happened. ‘Cuz students from Constance’s school posted their prom pictures all over Facebook.

I am almost not shocked by the actions of the school board. When this story broke, it was yet one more example of how institutions mistreat those in the LGBTq community. What got me, what really made me feel the impact of this whole story is the parents planning this whole “fake” prom. Do you realize the input that had to go into keeping this secret from Constance? That is some covert planning. With a mission.

What kind of parent does this? Takes part in this? How is this good parenting?

And the end result of this fantastic parental upbringing, of course, is how well their children have turned out. At present, they have started a Facebook page fan page called “Constance quit yer cryin.”

I am posting a screen cap here since I expect this fan page will come down shortly. ‘Cuz people are pissed. Well, people outside of small-town Mississippi:

It just baffles me the ability we have as humans to humiliate and hate. Over something so damn simple. It’s a prom. A damn high school prom. What should have been nothing but a fond high school memory for all these kids has turned into an international clusterfuck of American ignorance.

There is so much to say about Chatroulette….

OK. You all know how much I LOVED the Ben Folds Chatroulette video. Well, then I saw this. I think we need to really reconsider the issues of this new social community. I am totally mystified at how many people are laughing in this video.

Is it just me or is this problematic? Am I just too old to think this stuff is a good idea?

Chatroulette with Ben Folds

as promised, the video I started playing in class until our Community Partners arrived:

Taking suggestions

I decided not to go anywhere for spring break. I am horribly behind on my writing and I am sure by the time spring break actually rolls around, I will be behind on my grading. Since I usually am. Plus, I have to learn a whole new software program for my Rhetorical Bytes class for a new project I am determined to teach. Here is an example of what we’ll be doing:

It’s called Kinetic Typography, if you are curious, btw. (I’ll be teaching the class again next spring semester, 2011 if this is something you are into.)

Anyway, since I will be working most of my break, today I decided that I need to buy myself a present. Not anything extravagant but something worth my time, something that makes me feel as if I am being rewarded for all my hard work. (Stop laughing. I can hear you all the way over here.)

You all know what a geek I am. So something tech-related would be cool.

Don’t be funny. I meant something I can afford. I thought I might buy a nano.

Since I only have my iPhone and seldom keep music on it since it is loaded with my day-to-day info. So the point here: what should I buy? What do you think will keep me entertained and rewarded through my totally dull upcoming spring break. Any ideas?