Hypertext Project: Blog Post 4

blog post 4, make an outline of your website listing pages along with what content will be on which page and where/how you’ll make links to internal and external content.

  • Home page – This page will be the welcome page for the project, and will include a brief intro paragraph about the project’s intent.  It’ll explain the format to users, and instruct them to start playing the audio for each page they navigate to within the site.  I’ll be using external links here to link to the course page, as well as the wiki pages for both Radiohead and Invisible Cities, and any other external content that seems relevant to the project.  This page will also include a chapter outline, which will link to all 8 chapter pages.  This way the entire project is accessible from one place, even though the intent is that users branch out from the page they’re on to other options based on content and tone.
  • Chapter 1 – First chapter and first song.  This page will have 2 possible options for branching out to other chapters, both based on the content and tone of the chapter on this page.
  • Chapter 2 – Second chapter and second song.  This page will have 2 possible options for branching out to other chapters, both based on the content and tone of the chapter on this page.
  • Chapter 3 – Third chapter and third song.  This page will have 2 possible options for branching out to other chapters, both based on the content and tone of the chapter on this page.
  • Chapter 4 – Fourth chapter and fourth song.  This page will have 2 possible options for branching out to other chapters, both based on the content and tone of the chapter on this page.
  • Chapter 5 – Fifth chapter and fifth song.  This page will have 2 possible options for branching out to other chapters, both based on the content and tone of the chapter on this page.
  • Chapter 6 – Sixth chapter and sixth song.  This page will have 2 possible options for branching out to other chapters, both based on the content and tone of the chapter on this page.
  • Chapter 7 –  Seventh chapter and seventh song.  This page will have 2 possible options for branching out to other chapters, both based on the content and tone of the chapter on this page.
  • Chapter 8 – Eighth chapter and eighth song.  This page will have 2 possible options for branching out to other chapters, both based on the content and tone of the chapter on this page.

Hypertext Project: Blog Post 3

blog post 3, read and/or watch some tutorial on the software you selected; play with the software a bit; reflect on what you learned and how you learned it.

I won’t need any tutorials for this project, since I’m just seeking to expand my experience within a platform I’m already somewhat familiar with.  WordPress should be fine to figure out on my own, but I’ll probably be referring to user experience reviews and FAQs on the music widget I choose.  I don’t think it’ll be super difficult to rip the audio tracks from YouTube videos, and I’ll probably supplement that by uploading some music from my own iTunes library for the soundtracks.

Since the music will be copyrighted, I’ll probably hide the site from search engines and just share the page URLs for the class project with this blog, so that they’ll be viewable for grading purposes.

Hypertext Project: Blog Post 2

blog post 2, finalize website development software selection; discuss your previous experience with any/all website designing, developing, and editing software and how/why you are interested in learning about the one you selected as well as how/where you are going to access the software during this project.

I’ve decided I’m going to use WordPress for this project.  I have an existing site on the WordPress platform, LianneAndEric.com, that I intend to build from.  It currently redirects from lianneanderic.com to lianneanderic.com/wedding for my wedding blog, but I’ll be using some other path within the site for this project and making pages instead of blog posts.

My experience with web designing is far from expert level, but I’ve definitely built a site or two in my day.  I prefer to stick to purchased templates which I then alter for my own use, because I probably couldn’t build all the tables and such from the ground up.  I’m experienced with html, but know almost nothing about CSS, so I probably won’t do much of that kind of tinkering for this project because it’d take away from the appearance of the finished product.  I’ve had some experience with WordPress in the past, but I haven’t done a creative project like this before, just personal and professional blogs and sites.  I haven’t used music widgets yet, so tracking a good one down and ripping the audio tracks for my soundtrack will be a new experience.

I’ll be using the visual editor mainly, but I’m sure I’ll be troubleshooting in the html tab pretty often.  WordPress likes to screw with alignment and things like that, so the visual editor can’t be trusted.

Hypertext Project: Blog Post 1

blog post 1, finalize topic selection along with detailed discussion of the project’s purpose and audience; brainstorm tone & style ideas; brainstorm image ideas

For this project, I’ve decided to use the same book that I advertised in the video project, Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino.  I’m going to be transcribing chapters of the book into probably around 8 pages of the site, with one chapter per page.  The chapters are already categorized into titles like Cities and Light, Cities and Eyes, Cities and Death, and Cities and Love, so I’ll be using some common factor in the chapter type to link the pages to each other.

In addition to transcribing the chapter text from the book, I intend to add a musical element as well.  I want to choose a background track for each chapter and add it as a little widget at the top or bottom of each page so that users can play the music while they read the chapters.  I’ll choose music that I think corresponds well to the tone of each chapter, so I think I’ll probably be choosing mostly Radiohead songs as my musical score since I’ve always associated the band with the book for some reason.

The purpose of the project will be to provide an interesting and interactive experience for users, and will be mainly for entertainment and enlightenment purposes.  I want to share the book (obviously) and I think the experience is enhanced by the addition of a soundtrack.

The audience could really be anyone who enjoys music and reading, but if I had to decide, I’d probably narrow it down to people who seek out other-worldly and transcendental experiences via music and books.  I suppose this would include users of several recreational drugs as well, but that’s just par for the course when you consider the tone of the books and music.  The main audience would probably be people just looking to expand their interactive internet horizons.

-Lianne

Invisible Cities – Video Project

Cover Letter

 

Bibliography for the book I’m advertising: Calvino, Italo. Invisible Cities. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1974. Print.

Audience: My audience includes a pretty wide range, since I’m trying to make it appeal to a variety of readers.  First, I’m trying to appeal to explorers with my multi-cultural and global view.  This includes cosmopolitans, tourists, anthropologists, and pretty much anyone else who lives for travel.  Second, I’m trying to appeal to lovers of fantasy novels and the sci-fi genre.  The book has a fantastical feel that’s really floaty and ethereal, which I think is an interest shared by people who like to read books about the strange and extraordinary.

Images: The images came from a Creative Commons search, so they’re pretty varied in their sources.  Some came from flickr, some came from a Google Image search, but basically I just used a few strategic search terms like “exotic” or “global” to get the feeling I was going for. I made sure to filter the search down to photos that were available for reuse and editing, so they’re all fine to be posted on YouTube.

Here are the images I used for the project:

Image 1

Image 2

Image 3

Image 4

Image 5

Image 6

Image 7

Music: I found some independently produced music in a Jamendo search, and it’s available for remixing and reuse.  I took a chunk of the music with Audacity, and placed it on the video along with the narration my fiance recorded for me (that’s not my deep manly voice).  It was lucky I took a digital sound design class in high school, so I still remembered how to cut a chunk of audio from an existing music file!  That part was fairly straightforward, because I really got lucky with the perfect sound file.

Music source: SaReGaMa’s One Thousand and One Nights

Citations: All of the images and music I sourced for this project were available for remix and reuse under Creative Commons, and I linked back to all the original pieces in my YouTube post.

Steps:

  • Storyboarding
    • This included choosing the audio that would be read from the book, the style of music, and the style and tone of the images I used.
  • Image sourcing
    • I searched Creative Commons for giant resolution photos that would still look good once I zoomed and panned across them in the video editing software.
  • Music sourcing
    • Searched and searched and searched for the right track on Jamendo.  I listened to so many crappy Arabian ambient trance tracks that I thought I would die.  Finally, I found the perfect one.  It had exactly that exotic feel, with the Arabian background voice and flute that I was looking for. Also, it seemed to have a really appropriate rise in intensity that corresponds with the narration text I chose.
  • Narration recording
    • We have a sound booth at work for narration, so my fiance recorded the audio in one long chunk (timed very nicely) and I just layered the tracks in Windows Movie Maker.
  • Assembly
    • I used Windows Movie Maker for this project, so it was mostly a matter of choosing the effect I wanted for each slide and then putting them in the order I wanted.  The timing was pretty easy, because I evenly spaced the time spent on each image.
  • AfterEffects effect
    • For the final shot in the video project, my fiance found me a really cool video effect for the book title.  I watched an online tutorial and used After Effects on our work computers to add in the rock crumbling effect.  This was probably the hardest part, because I was learning a tool for After Effects as well as Windows Movie Maker.
  • YouTube!
    • I uploaded it to YouTube and included the citations for the voice, music, and images in the description section.

What I Learned: I learned the simplest techniques that Windows Movie Maker has to offer, some After Effects, and re-familiarized myself with Audacity to an extent.  Mostly I was using some really easy tools in order to create a simple but polished looking product.  I don’t know if I’ll be meddling much in the video production field again after this, but I’m pretty proud of the tone I put across with the video I made.

Scholarly Discussion: It’s hard to say how my process and product helped me to better understand the readings.  Because most of the articles I read in NMR were about interconnectivity and artificial intelligence, or rhizomes and hyperlinking, it was a little hard to relate the two.  I did find that I was using a little bit of the aesthetic styling and mapping that was discussed in NMD, but I didn’t really use anything but my own experience as a guide.  The Paik article in NMR was somewhat relevant, because Paik’s art was made in video format.  While I was using still images to create a greater art form, I didn’t really see this project as art in the way that Paik made it art.  I wasn’t calling attention to any greater social change or anything like that, so it was hard for me to justify its significance in the greater world of art.

Post 9: NMR Part 2

Nelson, Theodor H. “Dream Machines.” The New Media Reader. By Nick Montfort and Noah Wardrip-Fruin. Cambridge, Mass. [u.a.: MIT, 2003. 305-38. Print.

Nelson, Theodor H. “Computer Lib.” The New Media Reader. By Nick Montfort and Noah Wardrip-Fruin. Cambridge, Mass. [u.a.: MIT, 2003. 303-05. Print.

old computer

Old computer - Image credit: DVQ.com

The sections I chose for this week’s reading were about the future of computers as imagined in the 1970s, and discussed early understandings of technology and the way people used them.  In “Computer Lib,” Nelson observes that computers really just aren’t that popular yet, and that most people just don’t understand them, despite “any nitwit” being able to use one.  He says that the people who do understand computers are often not too willing to explain them to others, which widens the gap between the people who DO get it and the people who DON’T get it.  Though this was written 40 years ago, it’s still pretty true.  Despite computers being so common in the US, there are still so many who either can’t or choose not to understand them past their face value.

As long as my mother can check her AOL mail and print out her photos, she’s perfectly happy.  She calls me anytime she buys a new plug-and-play device so I can “set it up.”  Though she loves her computer, she actively stops me from explaining new features to her, and refuses to stop using Internet Explorer, despite my desperate pleas for her to switch to Firefox or Chrome.  For her, all that matters is that it works, and she gives zero thought to HOW it works.  I find it interesting that she trusts it so fully without trusting it at all, since she uses it all day but maintains this wary approach.

The first thing that caught my eye about “Dream Machines” was, surprisingly enough, the first paragraph!  It states, “This is the flip side of Computer Lib.  (Feel free to begin here.  The other side is just if you want to know more about computers, which are changeable devices for twiddling symbols.  Otherwise just skip it.)  (But if you change your mind it might be fun to browse)” (305).  This was really amusing to me because it’s hypertextual in itself.  The original piece was printed on two sides of the same paper, which refers to itself on its opposite side.  By linking the reader to the other document on the same piece of paper and referencing itself, it was, in effect, imitating a hyperlink.  I thought that was pretty interesting, and probably intentional.  The other thing I liked about this piece was the random assortment of early computer tidbits!

Things like “Stretchtext,” which is just a form of writing that allows a segment of text to be expanded or compressed.  The example in the book stretches from “Stretchtext is a form of writing.  It is read from a screen.  The user controls it with throttles.  It gets longer and shorter on demand,” to “Stretchtext, a kind of hypertext, is basically a form of writing closely related to other prose.  It is read by a user or student from a computer display screen.   The user,  or student, controls it, and causes it to change, with throttles connected to the computer.  Stretchtext gets longer, by adding words and phrases, or shorter, by subtracting words and phrases, on demand” (315).  Though it uses commas rather gratuitously, this chunk of text really sums up Stretchtext in two different ways.  A modern version of this is a relatively new internet slang word, “tl;dr,” which stands for “too long; didn’t read.”  People may use this word to respond to a particularly long post on an internet forum (implying, of course, that it was too long and they didn’t read it), or they may use it in their own long posts to provide a summarizing statement.  For instance, a long story about my cats and their furry antics might end, “tl;dr: my cats are awesome.”  It gives the user the option of reading either the long version or the short version of the story, depending on the time and motivation of the reader.

-Lianne

Classmate blog posts 3/24

Here are the two blogs I commented on for this week’s assignment.

Emma Wolfe

Katie Ann Jones