Databases are something that I personally have a lot of experience with. Doing temporary work for a marketing company I see a lot of them. At the moment I am working with a Database program called FileMaker for my neighbor. It is a lot more high-tech than a simple Excel spreadsheet.. In fact sometimes I feel like it’s doing half the work for me.

I have never before considered as Lev Manovich does in this week’s reading, that many things in the modern world are organised as a database. I have always just associated the word with my impatience whilst staring at a computer screen merging data. I find it interesting that a CD could be considered a database of sorts, but it does make sense as it is a collection of songs which could be considered data. A coffee table photo book could even be considered a database in some concerns as it is a collection of photographs of a similar nature.



On Creating Nikis..

To be one hundred per cent honest I have not really enjoyed the process of creating Nikis. I have found it difficult working in different groups every three weeks because you just get to know your group members and then you are changed up. With some people I felt like at the end of our three weeks we worked really well together and I would have loved to have worked with them more. Perhaps if next time the groups do two wiki entries over six weeks before changing people would work much more productively.

I also found the process of making Nikis strange, as it didn’t seem to be very productive. I learnt a bit about some things such as RSS and IMAP but at this point it doesn’t seem to me like my newly gained knowledge is going to get me very far. With the practice of writing blogs, I found it much more useful as I found that I developed an authorial voice which I never knew that I had. I think that blog writing is a very handy skill to have when heading out into the workplace, particularly in communications. Creating a Niki in the form of a fictional story or a series of emails seems much less practical to me.

The Benefit of Inversions

Being upside down is a strange sensation; after all, we spend the majority of our life up the ‘right’ way. A lot of people become anxious when approaching an inversion as it is not what they are used to, however it is worth delving into the unknown in this case, as standing on your head can help both your body and your mind. After getting to know the facts, the way we stand all day might not seem like the right way after all.

An inversion is a pose in which you hold your heart higher than your head, for example in Salamba Sarvangasana (shoulder stand) or Halasana (plow pose). These poses help your body to recover from the overwhelming compression of gravity, as well as the tension held from everyday activities. An inversion is advantageous for the cardiovascular, lymphatic, endocrine and nervous systems- basically it’s good for your whole body.

In terms of the cardiovascular system, turning yourself upside down increases the flow of fresh blood to the heart, improving your circulation in a way that aerobic exercise does. Inversions are also said to improve lung tissue quality.

On top of this, we all owe inversions a chance as they improve back pain, which I am sure every single one of us will suffer from at some point, whether it be after sitting at a desk for hours on end, or from other forms of exercise. The spinal cord is the most important part of the body, and by inverting we improve our posture, making the way we sit and stand less stressful on the back.

Inverted poses are also beneficial to the bones. They help to strengthen the ligaments that surround the bones, therefore making them less likely to break.

Inversions are the yogic approach to controlling indigestion, which can cause anxiety and skin disorders, as well as being very uncomfortable. Speaking of uncomfortable, inversions can also help to counteract premenstrual symptoms. When blood circulation is improved, the hormones become balanced to make a person feel light hearted and happier than usual.

For anyone who suffers from sleeping problems, these magical inversions can help with that too. When the mind is at peace and blood is flowing healthily, a person will sleep better. When you are inverted, muscle tension decreases, therefore relaxing the body, making it easier to sleep.

Crazily, inversions are also said to stop people from shrinking, as they grow older. There we go everyone, we don’t have to be tiny, frail and hunched when we get older, and all we have to do to stop it is stand on our head for a few minutes a day!

With the amount of benefits that inversions hold, it’s a wonder we don’t all walk around on our hands rather than our feet all day. Not many people have time for that though, so we can just start with a few minutes hanging out upside down a day to improve our health out of sight.


Culture and Technology

As described in the Potts Murphie Intro for this week’s reading, culture and technology are inextricably linked.

There is no denying that culture has an effect on the advances of technology and that technology changes aspects of culture. Long before television the Olympics would only be seen by those who attended them and heard about via word of mouth. Nowadays when the Olympics are on it is impossible to escape the coverage- you don’t even have to open a newspaper in the morning and you are already greeted by Olympic victors on the cover.

The reading also uses the example of tourism. Something that nowadays we take for granted but years ago countries, even states, would have been much less linked. Linked physically by boats, trains, planes etc, but also linked in terms of media allowing people to hear about what is happening on the other side of the world.


Is Facebook a Dying Art?

In the symposium this week, Adrian mentioned how he believes that Facebook is on its way out due to the paid advertising system that it works with. His belief is that Amazon has a much better system in that the recommendations given to a user on Amazon actually do relate to their interests and “other users who liked this book also liked this one” sort of organisation.

Personally I don’t think that the paid advertising as recommendations will kill Facebook due to the fact that Facebook is not an online shop, but rather a social media website. I do not use Facebook to go shopping, however if a recommendation comes up on the sidebar I might check it out.. Usually I just ignore them.

I agree that Facebook will have its decline, much like Myspace did, but not due to its recommendation system.. Because of change in trends and because something newer and better will come along and steal everyone’s attention.

Week 8 Symposium Notes

  • Video Games as hypertext
  • Hypertext Narrative is not the same as Interactive Narrative
  • Games are not about story telling eg. Tetris
  • You cannot win a story
  • No consecutiveness
  • Link to what is required to understand argument
  • Family trees- hierarchical
  • ‘Intertwingled’
  • Keyboard- layout to slow down typists
  • Unchanged for 140-150 years
  • Hyper textual mode of reading- jump around, read other things mid-essay etc
  • Hypertext is cinematic
  • Nodes= film shots
  • Meaning is outside the shot, it is relational
  • All parts and relations between the parts
  • Long Tail
  • Excluding content that you are not interested in eg. Facebook feed
  • How taste cultures form
  • Determined by markers of your identity + self driven stuff eg lifestyle choices
  • How clusters form in networks
  • Ways around recommendation hierarchies
  • Democratization of tastes
  • Power to make judgements
  • Equal access?
  • Facebook driven by advertising recommendations, selling ad spaces
  • Facebook= ‘social media disaster’
  • Different from Amazon
  • Page rank on Google- how many links come into your content
  • Important to link to each others’ content
  • Scale-free networks do not have centre eg. Internet
  • Appears to be built randomly, but has a structure


I find the 80/20 rule in the Barabasi reading The 80/20 Rule somewhat confusing but also interesting.. If it is indeed accurate.

I gather that this is ‘Murphy’s Law’ so is not a set in stone law, however I find it hard to believe that in a business the majority of the time only 20% of employees will be making most of the profits.

I can imagine that 80% of links on the web point to only 15% of webpages as most links would point to Google, Facebook, perhaps Twitter or news sites too. There are so many webpages out there that it would be easy to figure out the most visited, but so much harder to figure out the least visited.

I am not completely sure if the above ^ has strayed completely away from the context of the reading as I really struggled to understand it and will be asking a lot of questions in my tutorial.. Particularly about the opening story regarding laws and economics.

Interpretation of the Bible

From this week’s un-lecture, I really liked the idea brought up that authors can never control interpretation and the perfect example of this is the bible.

Ask one person and they will tell you the Bible is a work of fiction, ask another and they will base their morals and values around what is inside it. This is difference in interpretation on an enormous scale.

An author can have an intention of what they want a story to be about, but there is no way of stopping people’s demographics, upbringing, friends and family from influencing their interpretation of it.

Perhaps the reason one person may love a book while another can hate it could be because of how we interpret said book. Perhaps it is just to do with personal taste. Perhaps the two are related.


Un-Symposium Notes Week 7

  • Remarkable animals vs. choose your own adventure
  • You can create one hundred thousand billion poems from a mixture of 10 sonnets
  • Documentary= statements about reality, alternative representation
  • Documentary can be created through poetry
  • Interactive documentary is less fixed/concrete
  • Emergent
  • Stories about the world not stories about A world (documentary)
  • Doco is a genre but within docos there are genres
  • Britannica will be dead, Wikipedia will not in near future
  • Authors can never control interpretation eg. the Bible
  • Encoding and decoding stories