David Mercer

If You Know Defeat Hurts, Get Off The Feet When They're Sore

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My Peripheral Vision

I was awarded the daunting task of teaching four chapters from our course’s reading The Peripheral by William Gibson. Randomly I was selected to teach chapters 49, 60, 72, and 114. All of the chapters were relatively short and it was an even more arduous task to create an activity for the chapters. For chapters 49, 60, and 114 I simply led a discussion. For chapter 72, I created an interactive activity for the group that I was teaching to do. I’ll explain how each of the chapters panned out in the classroom as I took the role of the teacher.

The first chapter I was gifted was chapter 49, titled The Sounds He Made. In this chapter, Connor the disabled vet is with Flynne and Ossian and we are introduced to Connor’s Peripheral. Since Connor was disabled when (he) got his extremities back he was more than joyous about his ability to be free again. When I first read this chapter, the part that stood out to me was when Gibson wrote about Connor running faster than anyone he’d ever seen before and how he was screaming as he ran because of how happy he was. Immediately I related it to Captain America and his big transformation. I just saw a parallel there and was intrigued. The conversation in class went two ways. I brought up the idea of Humanoid robots and there effectiveness. We talked about how efficient they should be but at the same time how crappy our modern robotics are that are supposed to be able to perform basic human tasks. I asked the group if they thought if it would ever get to a point where these humanoid would become “too real” and if there were any ethical issues. The entire group was unanimous in the response saying that we are far away from the day the humanoids live like human beings. The other answer was it was cost a fortune to make a single robot that would actually work so we posed the question of where the money would come from. The other direction that the conversation went was into prosthetics and we discussed the evolution of prosthetics in the real world and common uses for the modern day.

The second chapter that I taught was chapter 60, titled Browning in. This chapter was a little over a page long so it was kind of hard for me to form a game or activity for my group to do. So once again I led a discussion In chapter 60, we have Netherton and the Fitz-David Wu in a car on their way to Notting Hill. One of the things that stood out in this short chapter was the notion of Alcoholism as we see Netherton repeatedly being told about his drinking and how it would affect his memory. In the group we had a discussion about alcoholism and it was tied into how most people become alcoholics because of depression. We also drew what we thought Netherton would look like in the time that he was drunk with Wu. Unfortunately it was drawn on the whiteboard and erased before I could take a picture.

The third chapter I taught was chapter 72, titled Halfway Posh. This was a bit of a longer chapter so I had some substance to be able to create an activity for my group to do. In chapter 72 we see Netherton and Ossian trying to get in contact with Flynne who was abducted. They rigged up a form of communication where Ossian was able to connect with Flynne. The signal was terrible so Flynne’s voice was going in and out. The other thing about the whole situation is that while they were trying to get to Flynne only Ossian could her the voice coming through. So, when it was time for class I had an amazing idea for the activity that I wanted my group to do. We left the classroom so we could have enough space and so that we wouldn’t distract out Professor and our classmates. The game was that one person was assigned to be Flynne. Only one other person got to see where (Flynne) went so when the other three members of the group came out they were blinded and had to be guided by the one member who knew where Flynne was to Flynne. It was fun and also difficult because (Flynne and Ossian) chose a route that forced the other three members to walk down stairs blinded.

The final chapter that I taught was chapter 114, titled Celebration Of Life. This was definitely the longest chapter I was able to teach so there was a good choice of things to talk about. In this chapter we see Flynne get off of the elevator at Daedra’s party and Flynne is astonished by all of the art that she sees. While at the party Flynne sees “man from the balcony,” who she had been trying to get to for some time. As she follows Daedra she sees a peripheral of Daedra and is in shock. Daedra explains to Conner, Wilf, and Flynne that they are in an dangerous environment and that they should be cautious. In the end of the chapter “the man from the balcony” busts in on the group and begins to wreak havoc. Because the setting of the chapter was at aparty where basically Daedra’s life was on display we brought in the concept of reality tv. We asked if it was an art. There were a wide variety of opinions, but Dr. Whalen was adamant in his explanation of reality tv being fake. We then kicked around the is reality tv an art question. Some said yes exclaiming that the people behind the scenes that write the scripts have formed an art, while other dissented by saying that it’s just a show or its not that complex and should just be received as it is given to the masses. It was definitely one of my favorite discussions of the class so far.

These were the chapters that I taught and how we incorporated many different aspects of our modern world into William Gibson’s The Peripheral.

Not So Revived Digital Identity

As the spring semester of 2016 comes to an end, I sit at my computer in the library studying. As I peruse my notes, my books, my texts, my canvas, I realize that one thing has not changed since the beginning of the semester, my digital identity. It might have actually died a little since the beginning of the semester. I can recall blogging that I only really use three social media platforms, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.  There has been an addition, which is probably the application that I devote most of my social media attention to, SnapChat. Since the beginning of the semester I have used each, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, less and less. It has never been easy for me to stay interested in those social media sites for long. By that I mean I don’t check them regularly. I barely check them at all. I don’t post things often and if I am on, its probably not for longer than 10 minutes.

With SnapChat things are a little different. I feel that its the only application that really gets individuals as close as possible to the people they want to be in contact with. It is a seamless way for people to check in and and see what other people are doing. Since I only really use social media applications in order to “lurk,” SnapChat has been a great outlet for me to do so. Even though I do use the application, I don’t check as often as one would think. It might be an every three to four day type of situation and for no longer that 10 minutes. That’s just me.

In regards to my domain, there is no linkage between the two since my presence isn’t really strong or noticeable.  I guess I would just rather talk and interact face to face with individuals rather then have to constantly log on and check to find out. Once again, not much has changed about my digital identity and I am just fine with that. The most valuable thing that I learned about digital technology is HTML coding. I really enjoyed learning the process as when one sees from an outside perspective what it looks like, they would think it was arduous. I don’t feel that it was that rough and I  honestly wish I had more opportunities to interact with it. While my digital identity might not be as dynamic as others, I really enjoyed DGST 101 and look forward to DGST 395.

Journalism

For the third module I decided to join the journalism group. I thought that it would be rewarding if I looked into the side of journalism that is more in touch with social media. Journalism has always been something that I wanted to venture into. I took a course my sophomore year at UMW titled Newsgathering. It was everything I thought it would be and more. I gained a lot of experience in going out and getting the story and how to format and write the story correctly. This experience helped me as a was a staff writer for the Blue and Gray Press. I was writing for the sports section of the paper. The editors had certain guidelines that we had to follow and one of them was that we needed to have at least three sources in each of our articles. This really pushed me to go out and do the face to face work pf interviewing. I really think that this opportunity gave me a lot of insight into what actually goes on in the field of journalism.

In this module, I decided to take on the task of looking into how social media has been adapted or acts as a supplement for journalism. What I learned was that journalists have, just like everyone else, made the swift transition to social media sites, such as twitter and facebook. There are numerous pages and accounts that post new stories and events every day. The one account that I looked at in particular was the twitter account for Adam Schefter. Schefter is a sports writer and a television analyst. I noticed by the way that people interact with him on twitter that he was very popular in the sports journalism world. I scrolled through his page seeing that he breaks a bunch of stories about hirings, firings, contract extensions and things of that sort. Another big outlet that I saw was podcasts. Along with a twitter page, NPR has a couple of different podcasts through which they release numerous amounts of stories. One reason why people are attracted to NPR is their credibility.

The final aspect that I focused on was sports talk shows. The show that I focused on was ESPN First Take. Basically, First Take is a talk show where two journalists and sports analysts, Stephen A. Smith and Skip Bayless, debate on the most current sports topics. The show airs at 9:00 AM in order for their viewers to get the news as soon as possible. I saw that not only do avid sports fans watch the show, but so do the athletes that are in the lime light. This show is a great example of how journalism has transitioned from the traditional pen and pad journalism to include the digital media. The thing that I have produced is also a sports talk show called The Breakdown with Blue and Big Dave, which I am a co-host of with my friend Isaac Blue. I have dedicated a whole blog post titled “Breakdown” for my show, so you can get the in-depth background of the show. All-in-all journalism has been my favorite module so far. It was interesting to study how journalism has moved from its roots in the traditional writing to adapt the social media outlets.

The Breakdown

I was very interested in the journalism module, because journalism has been something that I have wanted to do for a very long time. The reason why it’s so special to me now is simply the fact that  I have entered the field through a selection of ways. One would be that I have written for the Blue and Gray Press, which proved to be an arduous task. I also was enrolled in a Newsgathering course in which we had to write stories about local people and places. These two forms of journalism were pretty similar for me. They were time consuming in a way and there was a lot of face to face contact with the people of who I was writing about. The third and final way that I got involved with journalism was my friend and co-host Isaac Blue. We started our own radio show. It is a sports talk show that covers many sports and many topics. The name of our show is The Breakdown with Blue and Big Dave.

The show is ran through our school’s campus radio station, WMWC Campus Radio. The way that our show is connected to the realm of journalism is through bringing news to people who for any number of reasons would not be able to get or hear it. We usually spend the two days before finding and going over all of the most recent news that we can find for each sport. We then take those stories and rank them in importance and give them time values. Another aspect of our show that really doesn’t have much to do with sports journalism is the music that we play. We play the mos current hip-hop, r&b, and rap music. One might say that it could be a form of journalism because we play all of the newest tracks, some people have probably never heard before. (That’s a stretch.) The show is about an hour long sometimes if we’re in the groove we run a little over, but our time slot is one hour. Our show is scheduled for one day every week and is broadcasted live on the station’s blog.

I think that our show is a good entry into the field, because later in life I would love to host or be a host of a sports talk show. It teaches us a lot. We have gotten over our nerves and we have found the best way to present the information that we found. We know how to fill time and we know how to keep our audience engaged. Overall, the experience that we are getting now is setting us up for a bright future in the field of journalism. We both know that it will not be a short and easy journey, but at least we know that we have what it rakes to make it.

Map Quest

This was probably one of the most fun, but also exhausting projects I have ever done. From the first day it seemed like our group was destined for hardships. All of our screws for tiny and almost all of them were so unique that it was extremely difficult to take off the back cover. Eventually we were able to get inside of the Nintendo 2DS and we were able to see the parts.

DSBack

In this post i will navigate you on my journey through the parts that I had to research. I’ll start with the part that gave me the most trouble and ultimately, the part that I would not find out where it came from. The Cartridge Tray. I started my search with a basic google search of the numbers on the tray. I tried endless combinations of the numbers with nintendo 2DS, nintendo, cartridge, manufacturer. In total, I probably spent about two hours searching endlessly, simply for the manufacturer. Nothing more specific than that. It was really difficult, because every time I searched for the part it would show me ebay sites and I was not able to find a manufacturer and not a distributor. That was probably the most recurring theme in all of the research for the parts, well at least for me. I would think that I had came across the manufacturer, but in reality, after about 10 to 15 minutes of further research I found out that it was merely a distributor. I was upset that I couldn’t find anything on this part, mainly because I hate failing, but also because it would have been cool to find out where the tray was made.

CardTray

The first successful part that I researched was a chip on the circuit board. This was a very easy find, because I searched “Samsung KLM2G1HE3F-B001” and I got a bunch of results for possible companies and places the chip could’ve came from. Once again, I ran into the distributor not manufacturer problem, but just a little later I found success. One of the sited that I clicked on had the chip part listed and the option to open Samsung’s data sheet for that piece and pieces like it. What I found out was that the chip was actually a flash memory chip. It was put out by Samsung to give optimal storage capabilities. After I had found out this information. I had to find out where the manufacturer for Samsung was. I found out that the chip was made specifically by Samsung Electronics. I felt overwhelmed because not only does Samsung have multiple smaller bases that help give it its significance. The bases then have multiple facilities that help them carry out their operations. The HQ of Samsung Electronics was in Suwon, South Korea. Since I could not find any more specifics about the chip after searching the numbers and letters printed on it, I decided to use Suwon as the place for the manufacturing site for the chip. I felt that this was successful because I found out the manufacturers of the chip and where that manufacturer had its headquarters.

eNANDchip

The second successful part that I researched was the circuit board. This was also a fairly easy task, but I didn’t realize how easy it was until I had already searched for about 45 minutes to find the manufacturer. I searched all of the letters and numbers that were placed on the circuit board with the Nintendo sign right below it and immediately I was shown ebay sites. All of the results on the first page were different ebay sites that were selling replacement circuit boards. It was until the next day that I flipped the circuit board over and saw the “Compeq” stamp. So, then I decided to enter Compeq in the searchv after the numbers and I was able to find the site for Compeq. I learned that Compeq is one of the main manufacturers of printed circuit boards. The best part about finding out that Compeq had differen locations for its company was that the sit informed me that the Tayuan, Taiwan site was the site specifically for the manufacturing of the pcb’s. This was the most successful search that I was able to achieve and it was good to know that I had downright found the location where that specific circuit board was made. All in all it was a fun project and I’m glad we had to put in the time and effort, because it was a rewarding experience.

IMG_8822

 

 

Small Group Communication

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Interestingly enough, I am enrolled in COMM 206: Small Group Communication, this semester. Throughout the development of the current semester we have been studying all of the components essential to small group communication. We have also been evaluating the terms that construct favorable communication. One of the key elements of small group communication  is equal decision making power. I feel that a lot of the time this concept gets overlooked, but in DGST 101 you don’t really have an option. It is vital to the success of the group that the members all have decision making power. Now, it is inherent in us as people for someone to be an alpha but that is okay as long as they respect the decisions and thoughts of other members in the group. With that being said, Team 11, who disassembled the Nintendo 2DS, worked seamlessly as a small group to get our project done.

The first time we met Brooke spoke up immediately saying that she had the 2DS and that she was going home for the weekend, so she could bring it back. From that time on there were no interruptions, as far as group work goes. The only thing that slowed our group down was the actual dismantling of the device. It was also kind of hard to find information, because either we could only find the manufacturer that makes all of the specific parts, but not the specific manufacturer for the parts we had or the sites that we were led to were in foreign languages. We all worked equally on the slides and decided over google slides that we would do our presentation specifically on the process of our disassembly and research. We finished the presentation and presented the five minute presentation to the class. All in all, I really enjoyed working with this group and everyone held their own weight. It was a great experience and I learned a lot, not only about the 2DS, but also small group communication.

Slavery to Modern Technology

In class, my group was on the opposition side of the argument, which was to stop using technology that was produced through slavery. I personally chimed in with a thought about if it not be technology it be clothes, or toys, or almost anything that we use. From slavery to sweatshops the unfair treatment of individuals to produce what is popular among the masses is the foundation for almost everything in today’s society.

bangsweat

slavebrickpic12b

There was no clear evidence provided by the opposition side in class. The main argument that we made was that instead of completely dropping our technology now, we should wean off our devices until we had found a better option. We also gave the option that our government get involved, but not to the point that we start overthrows. We simply wanted our government to make a stand and at least attempt to stop the countries from using slavery as a technique for production and using slavery period. We thought that potentially the government would be able to step in and take at the very least, minimal action. Our rebuttal was the thought that completely dropping our current technology would lead to total chaos. It would cause so much civil unrest, that it would be a bigger problem for more of the world than a good solution to the problem at hand. Also, we thought that it would be necessary to start to move to other products that don’t use slavery for the production. That way the profit would go down for the pro-slavery companies and the alternative devices would get more attention and profit.

opinion

In my opinion I feel that the governments of the countries that are under the provision of the legal conventions and treatise should step in and attempt to stop the slavery. I feel that it is their priority to try to stop it. They joined in on these agreements fully understanding what their obligation was. It is their duty to be the ones to make the change. If they cannot make the change, they can at least start it. I’m sure that if all of the countries same together in support of one another they would have no problem stepping in. Once they got it started, I’m positive that their allies would help them if it came to that. That would probably be the best option, because there is no way that one person, 100 people, 1,000 people can make the change. I feel like it would take a host of nations willing to oppose and dispute the ideals and execution of slavery.

YWC

On the consumer end, I agree with my classmates in the thought that we should wean ourselves off of the technology that was produced by slaves until those companies felt the impact that it could have. We should resort to using the devices of companies who have had no history with slavery as their means of production. It would not only take away the aspect of slavery but it would also make the market more competitive. I feel that the only time when we as consumers should go back to those companies, if we do so, would be when they have removed themselves completely from using slavery and relieved themselves of the devices in an environmentally friendly way. While they would see a slight decrease in their sales the profit they could make, if consumers knew exactly how their devices were made, would probably be doubled.

 

 

Labor Behind the Labor Module

To be honest, going into Module 2, I had no idea what to expect. My mind was all over the place coming out of the animated GIFs Module and starting over brand new. I scrolled through the Modules page of the Digital Studies webpage and began looking for a new module. I saw that there were a couple of new modules, such as Selfie and Trolling. I thought that those could be interesting, but I thought that a lot of people would want to do those modules, so i decided not to. I kept scrolling until finally I found the Labor module. While reading the instructional information on the  Labor page, I started to get interested. I thought it would be cool to take a step back and try to be a bit more observant. I was very intrigued by the thought of finding out the jobs behind our social media networks.

My basic plan for this module was to do a little research and find the jobs that go on behind the scenes of the popular  social media platforms. When i joined the group, I don’t think there was anyone from our section in the slack channel. I thought to myself, “This might be interesting.” SO i started looking things up, but I was looking in all the wrong alleys. The next day we had class Danielle told me that she joined the module and that she had a vision for what she wanted to do for the channel as well. We both went back to doing our individual research in order to bring them together in a convergence of ideas and information that convey what we thought was unique and important about the module.

When I went to do my research the second time I came across a website that I thought would be very beneficial to our work. It was called vault, or something like that. It had job listings, a history, basically everything that I thought I needed. So I took my time to read and gather what I thought would be good information for the presentation. The next day in class, Mark joined our module and Danielle said that she had found all of her materials and was ready to work on the presentation. I said that I had some information too, but I had no idea it would be wrong. After putting my info on the presentation it occurred to me that the jobs that i found weren’t actually the behind the scenes job. They were jobs specific to a non social media network company. I immediately went to look for jobs from both Twitter and Facebook and that’s where I got my final information from.

The jobs I found were, Software Engineer, Network Operations Engineer, Country Data Scientist, Developer Support Engineer, Quantitative Researcher, and Solutions Architect. Each of these jobs dealt with the behind the scenes building and appearance in some way, shape, or form. It was interesting to me how easy it was to find the information once I started thinking correctly. To be completely honest, I am still very interested in what happens with the social media workers on a deeper level than what our group found. I want to see how the next group will expand the field.

Explaining Neuromancer

For the Explaining Neuromancer assignment, my group decided to do a power point presentation that would be a story through gifs. We made a google doc and each made our own gifs in which we tried our best to capture Neuromancer. I made about five or six GIFs that I thought fit into the categories that we decided to focus on. I’ll explain them in order.

The first of our topics was Setting. I felt that the setting was in a foreign underworld type place. That was what cyberspace felt like to me. Here’s my Gif:

Underworld

The second area that we decided to focus on was main characters. Molly and Case were the first to characters to go, so I didn’t get to use them. I didn’t want to focus on too many  of the bigger names in the novel, so I decided to put emphasis on Linda, who was Case’s girlfriend from the past. Here’s my GIF:

Linda Lee

The third part of the novel that our group felt was significant enough to explore was Major Plot Points. One of the most evident points was the heist and that’s what we focused on the most. Here’s my GIF:

The fourth and final part of the novel that we felt was worthy enough of interpretation was themes. The two themes that I felt were displayed in the novel were Freedom and transformation. Here are my GIfs in that order:

Freedom

Transformation

We felt that GIFs were the best way to interpret the novel, because it’s easy to use information that is relevant to the viewers. Or at least relevant enough that they could take away the meanings that go into the different GIFs. We didn’t think that anything else would capture the essence of the novel. I hope you enjoyed my work.

Relevance With Today (Neuromancer Response)

The theme that was the most prevalent to me in Neuromancer was technology and freedom. The thought of cyberspace has a connotation with a space that is wide open and people are free to do whatever they want. I think that the main characters in the novel were using the cyberspace as a sort of get away. I feel like they were trying to pursue something that made them feel free. While we look at and understand this we have to recognize that technology can also hold people back from what’s actually going on in the real world. At the same time I think it’s necessary for us to understand that you can’t really have full freedom without being confined. This thought might be a little bigger than me but I’m going to try to make it sound as correct as  I possibly can. When a person gets so wrapped up in obtaining freedom, of any sort, they become consumed by that desire. I feel that that is what happened in Neuromancer, especially with Case and Wintermute. With Case it’s the fact that he wanted to be plugged in in order to get to Freeside. With Wintermute it’s the whole entire scheme. He used almost any means necessary to get what he needed to get. He grew obsessed almost with the task of trying to find and converge with Neuromancer. It’s not outlandish to understand that people in our world can become consumed by trying to achieve freedom. Also, on a much lesser scale, when people living in this time period become bored with something they want a get away. What do they turn to? Technology. They pull out their iPhones, iPods, iPads, computers, etc. to leave the current situation. I cannot count the number f times I’ve seen people engaged in a one on one setting with another person looking down at their phone. It’s ridiculous. Some people are so absorbed by technology that they don’t even leave their room. They sit on their computers for hours on end. That’s just how are generation has adapted. These relationships parallel with those themes of  freedom and technology in Neuromancer.

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