Archive for the 'Technology' Category

SSHRCing

I’m working on a sshrc funding proposal. For those who aren’t familiar, funding from the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canad makes the difference between attending and not attending graduate school. I’ve decided to pursue the PhD and working on the proposal is both exciting and frustrating. I’m working with vague ideas about women, violence, and the internet but since we know that this is a huge issue it’s taking a long time to get a focus and research question.

I’m kicking around ideas about why gendered violence occurs online, cultures of resistance against the harassment, why certain individuals become targets/victims and their agency, Lessig’s four pillars of internet governance (norms, laws, architecture, market), the role of the internet in constructing women’s bodies, identities, consciousness (this taken from Romano’s piece below), and of course what to do about it all, but first understanding it from a philosophical perspective.

Maybe I’ll come back and link these up later but if you’re curious about any of them I advise select text > right click (control+click on mac) > search in google.

On my desk with highlighter poised I’ve got:

  • Alison Adam: Cyberstalking and Internet pornography: Gender and the Gaze
  • Adam: Gender and Computer Ethics
  • Chat Garcia Romano: Beyond Tools: Technology as a feminist agenda
  • Leslie Regan Shade and Barbara Crow: Canadian Feminist Perspectives on Digital Technology
  • Barbara Crow and Graham Longford: Digital Restructuring: Gender, Class and Citizenship in the Information Society in Canada

I see history, philosophy, and com studies in this.

Also in the mix is Donna Haraway’s Simians, Cyborgs, and Women because you can’t talk about women and technology without the Cyborg Manifesto. How I missed the Cyborg Manifesto. It’s probably been two years since I last tried to get through understand read it.

It’s been a long day and I ran out of food hours ago. Even though I’m not done I have to leave for food and rest. I’ll be back early or work late at home or something because I need a draft for my letter writers in the morning.

If anyone has any great ideas let me know. I could use one before 9am tomorrow.

Social Networking Hilarity

There’s going to be another Windsor blogger meetup on Tuesday October 21, 2008 at Taloola Cafe @ 7pm-ish. In the process of spreading the word I realized that I was

facebooking
about the
wiki
for our
meetup
about
blogging.

Is that somehow redundant?

Elizabeth May on the Air!

I just got an email from the Greens saying that Elizabeth May will be part of the televised national debates this election:

Dear Green Party Supporter,

I am writing to thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for supporting my campaign to be included in the televised leaders’ debates.

Because of you and countless thousands like you who donated money and deluged the airwaves, the Internet, newspaper letters columns and politicians’ inboxes with a national outpouring of outrage, the broadcasters have now reversed their decision to exclude the Green Party.

I am both humbled and inspired by what I have witnessed in the past few days the exhilarating spectacle of Canadians rising up to protest a blatant injustice.

Your victory isn’t just a victory for the Green Party, it’s a victory for democracy and for the fundamental Canadian values of equality and fairness.

Thank you again for standing up for democracy.

Elizabeth May, O.C.

Contact Your MP or Lose Your Rights: Bill C-61 – The Canadian Copyright Act

Bad news in Canada: Yesterday Bill C-61 was tabled and it doesn’t bode well. Among the rights at risk:

  • time shifting (no, not sci-fi time travel but recording television now to view later
  • transferring media (music, video, etc) you own to a portable music/video device that you own (like an iPod)
  • format shifting — transferring media from analog to digital (records to dvd, vhs tapes to dvd)
  • unlocking a cellphone — want to switch providers? you’ll have to buy a new phone
  • unlocking media so you can watch it on a Linux machine or Mac. If it’s made to only work under windows then you’re breaking the law to run it on anything else

Find your MP here: Members of 39th Parliament – Canada, list updated March 2008. Call them!

The legalese details of Bill-C61 here: Bill C-61

There’s a a Facebook group called Fair Copyright Canada started back in December by Michael Geist. It’s a great place for updates. He also has a list of 30 Things You Can Do — so check it out and Do Something. In general, Michael Geist’s blog is an incredible place to keep up with Canadian laws on copyright, technology, internet, etc and the activism necessary to make Canada a great place to live.

I joined the facebook group a few months ago and I phoned my MP, Brian Masse, this morning. I’m going to go through that list and see what else I can do. Canada’s dropped the ball this time around. Instead of a leading model of fair use and fair copy protection we have big business protection and jail time in our futures.

zomg writing is hard (or: Beyond Footnotes)

Forget asking how did people write before word processors — how did people ever write without hyperlinking? I’m going crazy trying to write my final essay of the semester without hyperlinks. Aaarrrggghhhh!!!

It would be so sweet to go beyond footnotes, to be able to include a link to a photo or a text or a discussion or another essay. Alas, when your professor is a historian of print and publishing it just ain’t gonna be happenin’ here.

Another Reason Divorce Sucks for Kids

Every time my kids go to their dad’s they ask me to take care of their Webkinz gardens. At xmas time they ask me to loot the NeoPets advent calendar for them. I do my best but times three kids it can add up to a considerable amount of time.

I try hard to get my kids comfortable on the computer, whether it’s through gaming, making their own levels on kGoldrunner, designing title pages and drawing pictures, writing stories, blogging, accessing the home network, troubleshooting, researching, and programming. I know how lucky they will be if they can understand and maintain their own computers and how important technology mastery will be as they grow up.

webkinz garden under snow title=

It doesn’t help the developing computer-love if they come home from their dad’s and their Neopets are dead and their Webkinz gardens have all withered and the food is rotten before it can be harvested. In this case the computer is just another thing that makes them sad. They see their investment as wasted time. They don’t have Internet access at their dad’s and we won’t get into what hardware he must have but there was this project my daughter brought home on a floppy disk. She’s saving for her own laptop but it’s going to be awhile still and that won’t help with the dying frogs and ponies.

Given that after school time is busy with homework and chores these online games should have an option for kids who only really have access to them every-other-weekend. (And that goes for games that offer a paid membership like Runescape). Neopets does have hotels and such where you can park your animals when you’ll be away but the cost adds up. As more and more kids face a double life with often a discrepancy in access to technology how will the technology adapt?

flickr photo by polar bots member mascott girl

How to Procrastinate

When did a B become a bad mark? (omg I hope I don’t get a B on my assignment.) It seems this is what happens moving up into graduate studies. Everyone is stressing over grades. Nothing below an A is good enough and a B is required to pass a course. I hate having that kind of pressure. I did well in my undergrad but even though I stressed over my grades I don’t remember this kind of dread. In my undergrad I wanted high marks but I didn’t need them in the same way I do now. Knowing that good work is a fail and that very good is barely a pass I am paralyzed for fear that my work will be mediocre – or worse — adequate.

There’s been some weird power flickers here today and my desktop keeps shutting down. If it wasn’t happening to the clocks on that side of the house as well as to Rob’s desktop I might wonder if my power supply has finally given up. Since the machine is off anyway I’ve decided I should let things cool down and take this opportunity to replace that power supply. I bought my new one – a 430W Seasonic – at Canada Computers when I was in Toronto last weekend for Mitch’s birthday shindig. The visit with K & Mitch was wonderful, the staff at the computer shop helpful, the curried vegetables at King’s Cafe were amazing but the stress from almost missing the train home because I miscalculated how long the Spadina street car would take to get to Union Station…gulp…that I could have done without.

So anyway, can you tell when blogger-students have papers due? There’s always a flurry of posts. Instead of writing the assignment, we blog. Or maybe blogging is the warm up? To prove to ourselves that we can still put words together and we may as well write the ones our professors want to read instead of the ones that make our significant others/friends/families wonder if we’re/they’re really going to survive our education.

Geeks get the Monthlies

I’ve been playing with calendars on my fresh install of SuSE Linux – experimenting with customizing Lightning for Mozilla Thunderbird and trying out kOrganizer. I’ve got all of my calendars (kids here, kids at their dads, Rob’s kid, campus activities, due dates, birthdays, etc) on the home network so that I can see my events no matter which computer I’m on. Rob’s got the same thing going and we (theoretically) can try and keep track of what each of us is doing.

The only calendar I hadn’t set up yet was for my menstrual cycle — currently the data for the past year is sitting in a MozBackup file on a flash drive that I’ve misplaced. I’ve got the last two months sitting on a gmail calendar so by grabbing that and setting a customized 28-day repeat cycle I can predict approximately when I’m likely to be crampy, miserable and/or cysty for the distant future (until of course perimenopause decides to visit).

woman and girl walking on the beach at sunset

This is why it’s better to put the calendars on the network instead of saving only a local copy — I never want to go through setting this up again.

The first thing I checked was how things line up with my family week-long summer vacation to the beach. Go figure, my period is due the first day of vacation. How’s that for timing? No guarantees since it’s still a few months away, but since I’ve been pretty clockwork at 28 days for the last 2 or so years there’s a pretty good chance I’ll continue to be regular. I’m happy with my Diva cup so it’s not the need to pack supplies that annoys me, it’s the thought of packing, driving, and being on holiday — and needing copious amounts of pain medication.

That said, I think this is a great application of organizer-calendars. It definitely beats counting out 28 days over and over again. I wonder if the Mozilla Foundation would like an add-on? What would it need to include?

flickr photo by CaseyLessard

Breastmilk is Awesome

jars of expressed breastmilk

I’ve known for years (almost 14 — the age of my oldest child) that breastmilk is the absolute best thing in the world. Now there’s one more reason why it’s awesome:

Breastmilk contains stem cells. Seriously. Check out that article.

flickr photo by Hoover Family Photos

About Citing Wikipedia

School’s started up again and if I hear another caveat from a professor telling students not to cite Wikipedia I think I’m going to lose it. In each instance it’s gone something like this:

(Prof): In writing your papers this semester, you’ll be required to use outside sources. When you’re looking for material, do not cite Wikipedia. Anyone know why not to cite wikipedia?

(Student): Because it’s inaccurate.

(Prof): Why is it inaccurate?

(Student): Because anyone can edit it.

(Prof): Very good.

the end

Whether or not you accept Nature’s study that showed Wikipedia to be more accurate than Britannica or Thomas Chesney’s smaller study at Nottingham University Business School in which experts found Wikipedia entries to be highly credible, the reason not to cite Wikipedia is completely different. At the university level we don’t cite the encyclopedia. Any encyclopedia.

When you’re just getting started on a research project, by all means look up information on Wikipedia. You’ll probably find Wikipedia more helpful than Britannica because (1) it’s online making it easily accessible; (2) it’s free; (3 and most significantly) it contains links to other related subjects. I’ve yet to see a print document with linkage to other entries or sites.

Once you’ve found an interesting entry, read all the way to the bottom to the Resource section. Here you will find the footnotes, which contain the information you will need to find the original documents that form the basis for the wikipedia entry. See the titles of journal articles, books, and other scholarly sources? Make a note of these and then go to the library (physical and/or online). Look these up in your school’s journal database, library catalogue, etc and read the complete, original text. And then cite that.

So, there’s no need to even get started on the credibility/accuracy of either encyclopedia or the cooperative vs. competitive model of writing or any other debate.

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