Un-symposium Notes

  • Getting other people to contribute to your corporation eg. apps. in order to create more revenue
  • Open, universal and hopefully free- the web
  • Doesn’t seem like a cause that would benefit from being monetized
  • Free exchange of knowledge- anything that gets in the way
  • Patent trolls
  • Internet has a strong hippie background/ culture
  • Grateful Dead- rock band that allowed fans to record concerts and bootleg it, they had no concern with copyright etc.
  • Gift economy- freely donate stuff with no assumption of getting something in return
  • Every single protocol established on the web is owned by nobody
  • Protocols are public
  • Manners are a social protocol- no one owns them
  • Protocols are not private or ownable in the sense of property
  • Wikipedia- example of gift economy, entries done for free
  • Amazing resources that people can act for free
  • Building services that let people do these things rather than just producing the content
  • Freely donate information to Facebook- Facebook make billions and we don’t get a cent
  • Internet- distributed network
  • Unique network
  • If protocol was centralized and hierarchic it would fail
  • Everything is flat, equally far apart
  • I can send an email straight to David Bordwell, don’t have to go through his agent etc
  • Internet came out of academia
  • Facebook- harvest everything they know about you and sell it to advertising
  • RFC- request for comments
  • Anybody can respond and comment on an RFC
  • We want a new protocol that would….. this is how it should be implemented…. this is why
  • Radically different model to everything else
  • Overlap between old forms and more recent ones
  • Participatory culture- flourished through social media, real practices
  • Collaborative practices
  • Re-shaping of old forms in new contexts- this is a continual process
  • Physical books still exist even though there are E-Books everywhere, cross over, the co-exist
  • Restructuring old forms rather than replacing them
  • Internalize sense that someone could be watching you, monitoring your own behavior eg. commenting on Facebook

Actor-Network Theory

To remain at this very intuitive level, ANT is a simple material resistance
argument. Strenght does not come from concentration, purity and unity, but
from dissemination, heterogeneity and the careful plaiting of weak ties.

The reading for this week on actor-network theory was extremely complex and confusing I found, but then again I find that with a lot of the readings.
So to help me out, I found this:

It is a video on actor-network theory in plain english!
Enjoy, it helped me a lot!

Basically I took away that it is difficult to separate a material thing from a human technique/interaction with the "actor" or material thing

Week 10 Notes

  • Facebook photos compiled- All the faces of facebook
  • Coles/Myer card- can generate data
  • Shopping preferences, annual income
  • Hubble Telescope- visualization of galaxies, natural networks
  • How networks develop
  • Search engines- Yahoo to Google, what made Google so huge & connected
  • Preferential attachment- blogs you would prefer to link to eg. you like them, they are authoritative
  • Some things get more links than others, therefore we get hubs
  • Hubs- weak connections
  • Small world network- easy to get from one part of the network to another seemingly unrelated part
  • Can’t predefine network
  • Structure predefines content on TV
  • Kevin Bacon is a hub- The Oracle of Bacon
  • Walkman originally made to be listened to by 2 people, Sony changed it
  • SMS designed as business function
  • Writing has changed everything
  • Store info for later
  • 1st iPod cost 4 times the price of mp3 players now
  • “1000 songs in your pocket”
  • Apple is a media publishing company
  • Apple= world’s largest media company
  • Non-negotiables eg. rectangular film, rhyming
  • Social shaping of technology
  • Technological determinism
  • Technique is required when you have technology
  • Techniques are consequences/ responses to technology
  • Technology sometimes used in ways that are unprecedented
  • Technology does not mean computers
  • Archival system is technology?
  • Way you use it is a technique
  • Post-humanist…..


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.

Notes on IMAP

IMAP- Internet Message Access Protocol

Designed by Mark Crispin at Stanford University in 1986.

All activity takes place in an email server and each device remotely connects to this server

Continuous intelligent communication between your devices and the IMAP server

Allows you to access email from multiple machines- laptop, smartphone, office computer etc

IMAP allows you to flag emails as “urgent” etc

Using IMAP you can create folders that will be shared across your devices

Supported by Outlook, Thunderbird, Mail

IMAP downside= it can take up plenty of space on a mail server thus causing your inbox to fill up, email browsing can sometimes be slower because the device has to download info off the mail server every time a new mail is viewed instead of just reading the file off the local device

Latest version is IMAP4- you can search through your mail messages for keywords while the messages are still on the mail server

Difference between POP (Post Office Protocol) and IMAP- in POP all your email will be downloaded to the computer and then deleted from your mail server, whereas with IMAP it remains in the server and you can access it via another IMAP mail client

IMAP advantages- messages stored on the server and are not affected if your computer fails

Watts Six Degrees Introduction

Upon reading the Introduction to Six Degrees by Duncan Watts, I found myself thinking how much we as a contemporary society enjoy a new (or old) piece of technology that makes our lives more convenient and/or comfortable.

I have been asked to house sit for my Dad’s friends for a couple of weeks and some of the reasons I said yes include: the remote control windows and blinds, the Apple TV, the coffee machine and the amazing heating, as well as a chance at autonomy for a bit.

I can’t think of many people I know who would voluntarily say “I would love to move to a desert island and live with no technology for the rest of my life”. People might say they would like to do this for a bit but then come back to the reality that is this age of technology.

I can safely say I enjoy my comforts. Being able to turn on the TV when I am at home on a sick day seems essential. As does being able to check what’s going on in the news on my way to uni on my phone, and for these reasons I agree that power plants seem to be even more vital than roads at this point in time.

Let’s be honest in the future roads could be replaced with something high-tech who knows.. Or maybe we will all be driving flying cars.

Whatever the next major invention may be, you can guarantee there will be people lining up to be the first to try it, as we have seen with Apple products. People have a fascination with the new and the shiny.

An Ever-Changing Story

When I think of a story that changes it’s shape every time you read it, I think of a city; in particularly a city that one does not visit too often.

My example could be Christchurch, New Zealand, somewhere I frequent once or twice every couple of years. Each time I visit Christchurch, it’s story is evolving, whether it be through my grandparents moving house, or through the earthquake that devastated the city centre.

Each time it tells me something different about itself and this is the example I come to when I think of an ever-evolving story. It could be telling the story of the banding together and strength of the community in rebuilding the city, even using shipping crates as restaurants (a pretty cool idea if you ask me). It could be telling me the story of the brisk winter that is just ending and the warm summer ahead.

I would be intrigued by a story that changed its shape each time I looked at it, as it would mean that it was an active entity that you could never get sick of. It would be fascinating to be able to explore different outcomes like in those movies where you can choose your own ending.

An ever-evolving story would be full of life, and in fact could be a metaphor for life and therefore I would be intrigued to see it happen.


Are Schools Killing Creativity?

I am going to be completely honest in saying I have never really considered this question. School is school, and education is education and education is hardly creative.

I remember my year 12 media teacher showing us a video that some of the year 10s had put together that was just so unbelievably wacky and out there. She showed us this before we began working on our assignments and said: “The younger ones just have no shame! They come up with the strangest ideas.”

This really relates to what Sir Ken Robinson talks about in the video Do Schools Kill Creativity, in that students seem to get less flexible with their ideas and less creative as they get older. We all struggled to come up with ideas that we were willing to share or act out, whereas I remember in year 10 putting together a media film with a group of three girls and running around the school dressed in a black sheet as a Dementor.

I also remember in high school referring to art and music as ‘bludge’ subjects, or subjects of little importance that I didn’t need to put any effort into.

I do agree with Sir Robinson as we should be fostering the growth of creative ideas and encouraging children to pursue creative outlets, not telling them to give up as they will never find a job in more creative areas.



RSS, The History

Never heard of RSS? Neither had I before we were given it as our first Niki topic. It turns out that the RSS icon can be found on most newspaper website pages and I have definitely seen it before, I just never thought to question its function.

RSS was created in 1999 by Netscape, and was initially called RDF Site Summary. In response to user’s comments and suggestions, Dan Libby created a prototype called RSS.091.

In 2002, The New York Times began offering its readers the ability to subscribe to RSS news feeds.

Mozilla Firefox was the first to produce an RSS Icon (see below), and it was adopted by Microsoft and Outlook in 2005.

One of the easiest ways to envisage RSS is that it is like a living bookmark file, however your RSS is an active entity that is constantly updating itself with new content from the saved source. It allows information to be pushed out in a ‘feed’, somewhat like a Facebook feed and notifications.