Origins of IT support

August 23, 2007

 

Courtesy of FOX Sports:
“Tony Amonte. His scoring touch has faded over the past three seasons. He might still find employment perhaps as a checking forward but his main selling point throughout his career was his ability to score. Checking forwards are easily affordable, and Amonte without his scoring punch may not be an attractive option for NHL teams this summer. ”

Who is Tony Amonte?

 

Career Stats

Wikipedia has information on Tony Amonte?

 

Amonte, no.

You Are My Face

August 17, 2007

In this course I’ve learned that the virtual is part of the real. The Internet is an appendage of ours and we’d be wise to recognize that.
Cyberspace, cyberculture, virtual selves, network society, social networks, ict, are all very real parts of our reality.

I used to feel guilty about how often I used my computer. I knew that I used the shit out of it for school and work, but I also knew that I was allowing Cyberspace to take up a lot of my down time. I felt like I was maybe missing out on the “real” world as a result. I felt bad about it. Now I realize that the virtual self is an extension, possibly even a symbiont, of the self. We project the self as our means of interacting with the material world around us. It is a very natural part of our internal organization as living, thinking things. We direct our actions through our thoughts and interact with our surroundings. The same rules apply in Cyberspace. Only faster! And remember, as far as the general public is concerned, Cyberspace is in it’s relative infancy. It started 7 years ago, right?

When we think about how quickly the Internet has become an important part of our 360 million lives, what should we focus on?
The convenience? The implications? The outcomes? The meaning of it all?

Or should we be looking in a different location; instead of considering the impacts of our Internet use consider the possibilities our computer use presents.

In the material world I can direct my thoughts to a movement or a speech act, and interact with anything I can physically move to or actively talk about.

In Cyberspace I can direct my thoughts through a vast organization of information and space limited only by my ability to maneuver in that space.

In the real world we function by way of the mind collecting information, processing it, and responding to it. The same rules apply in Cyberspace. The difference is that in Cyberspace we have a considerably greater capacity to engage the mind with its surroundings.

In the real world, our vision provides our view screen. We see the world from that screen all day every day. On the Internet we have a computer screen, but the screen can serve multiple purposes. It’s dynamic elasticity can be used to present any number of things at any given time.

The screen is like a tableau for the mind.

We don’t get that in the real world. Our minds interact with our consciousness and draws from our biology to manipulate memory. Consciousness is complicated and hard to nail down with words, but I’m sure that we can mostly agree that our consciousness is the self.

So c’mon, say it with me friends: “My vision is the computer screen and my mind has become the mouse.”

The computer screen (or any screen that grants access to Cyberspace) is a place where the information generated through thought and through consciousness can exist as text. The screen is more of a parable for thought, than it is a parable for the language.

The sooner we really ‘plug into the matrix’ the better. We need to develop and habituate the use. We need to understand Cyberspace as an additional location for the existence of mind. We need to learn about how we displace ourselves inside the Internet, and we need to view this process from a progressive lense.

Each person in this class knows people who are both more and less cyber-savy than they themselves are. The people with little to no cybersavy, probably have no idea how useful Google is. The people with a small amount of cyversavy can use email and send pictures, but that’s it. They don’t know how to send movies, or post movies, or download and upload media – have no comprehension of the level of access users have to information, interaction, and communication. People with intermediate or expert cybersavy are living a double life, more complex, more interactive, more informative, more intellectually and culturally active, than everyone else. Period.

The real world is both worlds – virtual and material.

Computer screen, you are my face.
Facebook, you are my social network.
Internet, you are my knowledge base.
mouse and cursor, you are my focus; what I an attending to.
Sociology of Cyberspace, you are my wake up call.
Cyberspace, you are my life… too far? 🙂

Amonte, no. That’s a bad Amonte!

What is a Jedi? part 2

August 17, 2007

I don’t like Kid Rock, but the video itself is pretty cool.

ANO

In my first blog entry I posted a link to one of my favorite web phenomena’s ‘All your base are belong to us‘.

If you haven’t seen it or heard of it then you have some serious laughing ahead of you.

The first time I watched All Your Base I was exhausted by the end of.

I laughed so hard that I was gasping for air, bawling my eyes out, my face had turned beat red, and I was literally rolling on the floor.

I am still laughing about it, even now, as I write this (“How are you gentlemen? All your base are belong to us”).

One of the funniest lines in the video is when the mechanic says “someone set us up the bomb.” And interestingly enough, that line has somehow managed to become a part of my understanding of Cyberspace. Okay, seriously, if you are reading this and don’t know what I am talking about, watch the first minute of this video right now:

Prior to this course, I was of the opinion that the Internet was a time saving tool, something to be used to your advantage.

A couple of days before the course began I was beginning to form the opinion that maybe it was actually the Internet that was using us.

When it came time to make my first post on this blog the first thing that came to mind was the All Your Base line “someone set us up the bomb”. The ‘someone’ in the sentence being the Internet, and ‘the bomb’ being the eventual repercussions of our growing dependence on Cyberspace… they call that abstract random 🙂

Anyways, the reference works in a couple of hilarious ways, but it requires looking at the intro to the All Your Base video as a analogy for us and Cyberspace. Obviously the villain, Cats, represents the Internet, and the men in the spaceship represent humans.

Cats set the humans up the bomb, and now all there are base are belong to us… er, “them”.

The mechanic represents the Chinese, the operator represents Women, and the captain represents the Americans… just kidding. Ha!

Just watch the video again and think about what I said. Not about Women and the Chinese–that was a joke.

Are we on the way to destruction? Lets take a closer look at the script.

 

 

 

 

Narrator: In A.D. 2101, war was beginning.

Captain: What happen ?

Mechanic: Somebody set up us the bomb.

(spoken in the Flash animation as “someone set up us the bomb”)

Operator: We get signal.

Captain: What !

Operator: Main screen turn on.

Captain: It’s you !!

CATS: How are you gentlemen !!

CATS: All your base are belong to us.

CATS: You are on the way to destruction.

Captain: What you say !!

CATS: You have no chance to survive make your time.

CATS: Ha Ha Ha Ha ….

(spoken in the Flash animation as “ha ha ha“)

 

Good science fiction offers allegory for issues and fears that impact the reader, and most good science fiction is about technology, aliens, or the mind. All Your Base has all three areas covered: it is centered on an attack from a technologically superior force, the force is non-human, and the news of the attack blows the captain‘s mind (“what you say!!”). But the question is, do we have a chance for survival? Or should we make out time?

 

Hmmm… lots to think about. What would the captain say? Well, what you don’t see in the above clip is how the captain reacts to the pending dominance of Cats? How he proceeds.

Operator: Captain !! *
Captain: Take off every ‘Zig’ !!
Captain: You know what you doing.
Captain: Move ‘Zig’.
Captain: For great justice.
It looks like we’ll need to take off every ‘Zig’ and move ‘Zig’ in order to fend off the problem. For great justice. Does anyone want to take a stab at what ‘Zig’ is? I’m leaning towards it being all of our links to Cyberspace–Internet, phones, video games, mp3 players, etc. I know that I am pushing my luck, but roll with me, this whole line of thinking is hilarious. Wouldn’t it feel good to laugh again? Maybe you should watch the video one more time.
If you have read my blog entry and think that you have wasted your time, you might like this:

 

A.No!

On a different note: I posted a few days ago about my survey, and about how I was going to lie to potential respondents about how many respondents had already taken the survey. I anticipated that it would increase the number of respondents. I was wrong. It didn’t. 🙂

Facebook = the devil?

August 15, 2007

Facebook might be operated by the government.

Hey, Twitter wasn’t working in class today, so I decided to post this link on my blog. It is a short video that establishes good reason to think twice about the latent function of facebook.

I haven’t fact checked this video… maybe you will. Who know. Just check it out.

AmonteNO!

I almost put my hand up in class today. Almost.

We were talking about Internet friends and work friends and finding friends and having friends–and cyberculture and online dating–and friends and friends and friends… for a little while during class today.

I had an interesting thought that I wanted to share with the class but decided that it made more sense just to blog my tale. Blog away!

A number of year ago I met this guy named Mike. We worked together in a music store for about 2 months. We talked about music and we talked about bands. Then he moved away. End of story? No.

On his last shift we exchanged email addresses. That was nearly 5 years ago.

Yesterday, Mike and I hung out together for 4 hours. During that time we exchanged mp3’s of new and exciting bands. We discussed upcoming release dates. We discussed performances and tours. We talked about being in a band one day. He wrote lyrics to a song and emailed them to me. I wrote guitar parts and emailed them back. We exchanged funny TV shows. We talked about the girl he knows on Canadian Idol. We talked about Jesus and the Dinosaurs. And eventually he got me hooked on a band called ‘Okkervil River‘, and that lead us stumbling to a performer named Tim Hardin. And that lead me to recordings of an epic concert from 1967.

(I’m there now; listening to disc 3 of the compilation)

summer_of_love-front.jpg

summer_of_love-back.jpg

Because I worked with some guy for 2 months 5 year ago… I am now taking a trip to a place in Rock n’ Roll history. Cool.

I think it is really cool that I have a friend like Mike.

And now my point: we did all of those things online.

Mike and I haven’t lived in the same city for 5 years.

We have spent 5 years developing a cyber-friendship.

Mike and I are very close friends even though we’ve only crossed paths a handful of times.

Our friendship is entirely the product of the online network society and he’s one of my best friends.

You say “Amonte”

I say “No!”

jesusbronto_2.jpg

Yo!

As we read through Christine Hine’s Virtual Methods we run into a lot of discussion regarding ethnography and tips on how to survey vis-à-vis the internet.  Reading about this subject has been very useful for me given that I myself am compiling information through an Internet survey.

One idea that comes out several times in Virtual Methods is the idea that how you present yourself, the information, and the process of information collection will have a profound impact on the willingness of the respondants. In other words, if you figure out how to make the information collection process appealing then people are more likely to contribute.

Here is the survey I posted in a couple of places–including this Blog, and Facebook:

(1) Where do you get your news (which mediums, i.e. newspaper, internet, cans with string, etc.).

(2) Who do you get it from (which sources, i.e. FOX, CNN, Lethbridge Herald, www.thesuperficial.com; the internet, etc.)

(3) Why do you use your preferred source? What does it offer you that other sources cannot?

The survey wasn’t necessarily geared towards finding out what I already knew (that there are a variety of mediums; each with its own appeal). It was geared towards confirming a suspicion (that most people would take Internet news over all other mediums).

According to my results thus far my suspicion is not necessarily true. But that’s okay because (a) I didn’t expect to collect enough data–have enough respondents–to prove anything, and (b) the process of trying to get respondents has become much more interesting than the survey itself.

When I first posted the survey on Facebook I included several friendly pleas throughout the post:

“Please take this survey! It is for school!”

“Please and thank you! And thank you!”

“Take this survey and I’ll be your friend forever”

The result was an impressive (and immediate) response from 6 Facebook friends.

 

Then two days later I noticed that no additional participants had completed the survey. I decided to make another plea, this time by adjusting my ‘status’ to situate my interest in having participants in the survey. It read:

“Brad is asking you to take his survey. Please!”

Within the day, I got 2 more respondents, but the following day my progress was stagnant again. Around this time I started to consider that my survey was going to be a bust, but I kept pushing forward. I changed my status once again:

“Brad is thanking all of the people who took his survey, and is asking for more people to help!”

This time I had 3 people respond to the survey within the next 5 hours. By now it was becoming apparent to me that people were responding to my plea because it posed as an immediate and fresh idea. After a day or two, and my status update moved down the Facebook news-feed, people quickly forgot that they had a friend who was working on a survey because new and altogether ‘fresher‘ information was coming to them. I decided to make another appeal:

“Brad is still looking for some help on his survey. It is quick and easy!”

Once again, I got 3 more respondents within the first 5 hours. Amazing. The survey looses all appeal up until I remind them that it exists. Of course, I added to its appeal by stating that it was ‘quick and easy’ but the real interest was more in regards to the control I was developing over the potential respondents likelihood of responding. I updated my status again, this time inspiried by something Paul said in class:

“Brad is thinking: don’t suffer from diffusion of reciprocity and bystandar apathy; take my survey!”

Again, I experienced a sudden influx on respondents. Which was once again followed by stagnancy.  What do I do next?

How should I proceed?

This time I decided that rather than changing my status right away, I would wait a day or two, and let the survey fall out of the news-feed. At this time I began to strongly consider that how I presented my survey was probably irrelevant when considered against the real determinant of people’s involvement–when they log on. I had made the assumption that people were answering my survey because it kept coming up, and kept being part of the news-feed. The more likely truth is that people were merely responding when they logged on to Facebook. Anyways, all of this would require MUCH more research and MANY more considerations, so I’ll get back to my initial point–am I controlling my respondents? I updated my status once more:

“Brad is realizing that every time he updates his status, 5 more people take his survey”

This was a falsification. I thought that if I up’d my respondent ratio (from 3 per status update to 5 per status update) people might (a) feel like they are missing out on something, or maybe (b) feel more inclined to participate in a growing group activity. So, yeah. I lied. But sure enough I got 5 respondents this time around. Ha ha ha!

At this point, now, I have decided to lie again. I just updated my status to:

“Brad is a survey you can take. Join the wave, 40 and growing!”

I have not received 40 completed surveys (the real number is closer to 25), but I have a theory that I may end up with closer to 40 respondents as a result of my new Facebook status. I’ll keep you posted 🙂

 

On a related note: I posted this same survey on this blog and only 2 of you responded. Thanks malthusio and xaeonic.

The rest of you can go blog yourselves 😉

 

Amonte NO! please no! Retire from hockey! Please.

 

 

Tomorrow morning I will have Internet back in my living space. Hooray! I can’t wait to get back to the normalcy of having Cyberspace at my finger tips in my home. It is so usual for me to use Cyberspace through the course of my day. I felt really put-out by its absence in my home. Which is why my week without Internet has been enlightening.

But I don’t mean the good “I know my place in the world” kind of enlightening.

 

I mean the shittier “that’s my place in the world?” kind of enlightening.

 

Here’s the week in review:

First of all, I left Lethbridge so that I could use the Internet in my home in Calgary. What the hell!? Bad start.

While in Calgary I used the Internet frequently. Like, every single day.

I used it to arrange plans, I used it to do homework, I used it to tell all the people who are used to having access to me online that “everything is okay” and that “I’ll be back online in a week!” I used it to do research and surveys for my class presentation. I even used it to attend a cyber-class (Paul’s Cellphones and Cyberspace).

I wasn’t really offline. But I wasn’t a full-out cyborg either.

When Wednesday rolled around I returned to Lethbridge in the early morning. I still had two days to wait before Internet was installed in my place, but that was okay because I had some course readings to do, and they would take up my time. Now, because I didn’t have the web-syllabus at my finger tips when I got home, I went ahead and read the wrong material for class. And folks, I mean WAY wrong (pages 51-79). Then, serving as a swift kick to the cyber-melons, I went to a class to discover that I had to write a quiz on something I hadn’t even read. WTF? (right here; is this an allegory?)

So… here we are, Thursday night and I’m typing my blog entry in Microsoft Word like a sucker, and all I know is that tomorrow is going to be a wonderful day.

The sucker finally gets his preferred living conditions returned to him—the virtual and the material existing in congruence with each other.

In retrospect, life without cyberspace wasn’t even that bad.

Sure I spent most of it online in Calgary, and I spent at least 3 hours a day in Cyberspace during class. Oh, and not to mention the virtually unlimited access to the net that I have available to me on campus… I still had to suffer through not having Internet in the place that I live.

Even with regular access to Cyberspace I still felt disconnected. Something was missing. Even though cyberspace doesn’t have a specific material location, I felt that losing access to my preferred port (my Lethbridge home) affected both my material self and my virtual self. Can someone say “dependency”?

This is troublesome. Very, very troublesome…

I think I am going to take a week off from Cyberspace after this course is finished.

I need to remind myself what living feels like.

And I need to remind myself that I can quit at any time.

 

No offense, virtual self.

None taken, self.

Amonte-No!

Lately I’ve been joking with friends that the internet social network Facebook should be renamed “the Good Book.” Like most of the things that I find funny this joke probably needs some explaining. It’s a play on how some religious types refer to the Bible. Have you ever watched a movie where some old crank says something to the effect of “like the good book tells us” while dealing with whatever situation the plot entails?

Sure you have.

Is the joke funny yet?

Okay, let me start by saying that—no—Facebook is not the internet equivalent of the Bible. The joke is more of a comment about the growing importance that Facebook has in cyberspace and on cyberculture. Given that scripture is best understood as the documentation of occurrences with cultural importance, this joke of mine rides on the idea that perhaps someday in the future when humanity—or our cyborg contemporaries—are looking to the early years of cyberspace, things like Facebook might be of cultural value or even great importance. Can you see it?

Just imagine the futuristic church following the principles of Facebook:

“Thou shall post kindly on your brothers wall”

“Facebook IS and as such we are is…” *get it?

“And as we all join the network ‘Bitch please, I’m from Calgary’ we thank you, oh glorious Facebook…”

… and so on.

This idea has some hilarious potential. Taking it a step further, imagine the rival church, the “I’m feeling lucky” followers of the church of Google. Hahaha!

Anyways, the reason I started writing this was to highlight something that I find very interesting about Facebook. You can post directly on someone’s wall—and have your post visible to all of that person’s friends. Or you can post a private message sent exclusively to an individual. This is the Facebook equivalent of something Will Ramp taught me about called backstage and front stage interaction.

As a short review, SOCI 1000 skills here we go:

-Backstage is private discussion; discussion that is intended for specific people; exclusionary.

-Front stage is social discussion; the things you’ll say to people when in the company of many; seemingly inclusive.

Ramp gave me a ‘B’.

Anyways, just like when we talk smack about someone in private and then turn around and put a shit-eating grin on and speak pleasantries to that persons face; we can be mischievous two faced little rats on Facebook. No, this isn’t exactly what backstage and front stage interaction is necessarily all about, but it still seems utterly fascinating, the degree in which Facebook allows us to imitate social interaction. And it isn’t even a MUD.

I can think of at least one incident in recent history where a message posted on a wall and a message that appeared in my private inbox had significantly different content. Can you?

Yes you can.

Thank you for coming to today’s sermon regarding the Good Book. May good will, photo tags, and many friendly pokes come your way, and always remember, friends, that the Good Book does not tolerate liars—it merely facilitates them.

Amonte; No Way!

I’ve never understood how God could expect His creatures to pick the one true religion by faith—it strikes me as a sloppy way to run a universe.
Jubal Harshaw, Stranger in a Strange Land