Being poetic.

Haiku – A Japanese 3-Line Poem.

“Haiku it up!” is a writing assignment that asks you to compose a haiku using a random dailyshoot photo.

I was born and raised in Japan, however, I never really had the chance to receive a formal Japanese education. In course of Japanese education, I’m certain that children would work with haiku in class. I had the opportunity to learn and compose haiku back in high school when I took advanced Japanese courses.

It’s sort of funny that I was taught to remember the American Constitution, government system, and history, and not much about the Japan. Everything I learned in elementary to secondary was based on American system of education, so I had no clue what to do when I had to write a paper on Japanese legislation. Me and my fellow classmates had a hard time to do some assignments. Though, we also did fun activities like composing haiku.

The instruction for the assignment misses out some rules for haiku such as use of 季語 (seasonal word), but this is not any formal language course or anything. I didn’t add any seasonal word, although, it is important to have it in most cases. Seasonal words become the image of the haiku.

So here we go:

Don’t hold on to now.
Lost time’s never found again,
so govern the clock.

holding on

Iconoclast.

Let’s Remix an Album Cover!

“Remix an Album Cover” is a Mashup assignment which you will find an album cover and remix it to represent something else. What you alter can be anything – it can be a play on the title, the image, the aesthetic, genre, etc.

This is my second mashup assignment and it deals with music again following my previous ds106 post. Since we got the chance to listen to an interesting presentation on open source last week by our fellow classmate, I thought I’d do a piece that pays a bit of hommage to him.

Before starting on the assignment, I had to choose between two to work on and they are both cool records. As you can see, I picked Symphony X’s Iconoclast (2011) over the other album Origin of Symmetry by Muse. One of the song from Origin of Symmetry is featured in my post on Alexander’s lecture. The reason for choosing Iconoclast is because the album is themed on what we humanity is concerned with – dehumanization and the power of technology in society.

To me, this piece is simplistic, but a serious mashup. The composition of the work is suppose to be similar to the cover art for the single Symphony of Destruction with the hand scraping on a surface of algorithm. I used Pixler this time to manipulate the images. None of the images are used directly in the piece without any effects. The image of algorithm was originally just a bunch of zeroes and ones, but I think the use of kaleidoscopic effect transformed the uninteresting arrangement to a nice base for the cover.

I personally want people to think deeply about the meaning of the word and the album title IconoclastBeing a rebel and thinking outside the box seems to always open up a road to the future. I was wondering if iconoclasm can be applied to the present higher education. Will something change in our future by rejecting the ordinary template we are provided?

What Awaits in Our Future.

Bryan Alexander‘s presentation The Visible College: Four Futures for Higher Education is a hour and a half lecture of discussing the means of recent technology and the future of education. He proposes four possible unique traits of the near future.

Sample Prezi presentation.

Technology has become so attached to our daily lives and it is something we cannot remove nor replace. One specific example is Powerpoint which Alexander states that it is the lingua franca of presentation tools. We all like using Powerpoint over other applications such as Keynote or Prezi. It seems that there really aren’t major alternatives for it yet. Although, if another application that overwhelms the quality of Powerpoint is released, we may gradually switch to that instead. We constantly create new matters and try to replace the existing invention with that, and we adapt to the new circumstances accordingly. However, can we know what is going to happen in the future in advance to be prepared?

Science fiction is a fiction based on technologically advanced imaginary future with much change in the environment or social context. Alexander mentions a Sci Fi classic, Asimov’s The Foundation series as he describes about way of predicting the future. I have never read the series, but I remember the storyline very vaguely. Though, I didn’t expect myself to see it again in a cyberspace class. Anyhow, Alexander relates to the fictional science called Psychohistory with a method of predicting the future, “environmental scanning”. I had to look up the definition and the process of Psychohistory and environmental scanning to fully understand the concepts. Psychohistory and environmental scanning are similar in the means of applying statistical analysis of the environment with the help of technological computation. Again, I thought, we see ourselves depending on technology, even to foresee what lies ahead. I didn’t imagine science would take root in this world back in the early nineties when personal computers were being distributed among the public.

The first of The Foundation Series.

In my opinion, environmental scanning appeared to me a method anyone can try. Especially for those who are quick with the news and the trend online. I’m definitely not a good challenger to this. A few of the important features referring to the scanning process – interacting and sharing (e.g. last.fm, Kony 2012 video) are usual actions we take naturally as long as we are connected to the Internet. I recognized that funding through “free online advertisements” such as videos are successful. While people pass by donation boxes on the street, they give donation to whoever or whatever they assume to be real. Of course, there are sincere people who are in need of cash, but I was mildly surprised when I noticed this. It demonstrates how influential the Internet is as a communicational medium.

Finally, lets go into the central details of the presentation:

The four possible futures on education Alexander delivers are scenarios also concerning us. I believe we are a lucky generation of students. Out of the four, I name these two: 1) Phantom Learning and 4) Renaissance as the more intriguing characteristics of the future.

Phantom Learning – School is rare, there’s ample info near by, and children learn from augmented reality. The default form of education is massive collective classes (MOOC). This is simply astounding for me, because I am used to being part of a small-scale community and never had an experience of taking online courses. My instructors back in high school didn’t recommend online courses for the lack of efficiency. I agree, but what happens if there’s augmented reality involved in education? I don’t know.

Renaissance (of creativity) – Creativity is rebirth-ed. We project our creativity freely and easily through digital storytelling (like DS106) and use fake identities (people are active online under pseudonyms). We feel nostalgia for the loss of earlier invention (end of mouse and simplified set of technological advancements). Game-based life becomes the standard (“gamification”). As for gamification, it is a familiar system for us, though in an analog version. I use to get treats back in kindergarten and elementary school by collecting ice cream sticks for clearing an objective each day. Game-based education could be more fun, but I thought that by extending the technological intervention into our lives we may become pschologically dehumanized, as seen in phantom learning. We are distant from each other.

Conclusion: The scenarios made me somehow imagine of an almost apocalyptic future. I felt insecure about our future.

I’m not sure why I’m writing a petit essay-length post. Yet, I couldn’t help myself from splattering my commentary in this post.

Thank you for reading.

DFPQ1

Thoughts about a Quote from Gardner Campbell’s article “A Personal Cyberinfrastructure“.

"wrapped" - Christo and Jeanne Claude, Wrapped Trees, Fondation Beyeler and Berower Park, Riehen, Switzerland, 1997-98

  “Environments are not passive wrappings but active processes…”

I particularly like this quote from the fifth paragraph of the article that follows after the statement on technology’s potential to develop progressive human environment. Wrappings are what enfolds or hold something within limits, and I thought it was interesting how that expresses the recent state of the environment we live in. As Campbell claims, the mere “digital facelift” is not an improvement, but rather a kind of hindrance in reducing our intellectual ability. Thus, we are nurtured with such an information-filled environment and built an unfavorable habit of passively capturing what is in front of us. Considering the fact that we exchanged creative minds for convenience, I agree to Campbell’s critique on the relationship between template-based higher education today. This also reminds me of the grace of Web 2.0 such as self-publishing and (self-)sharing online. However, his other quote “The medium is the message” seems to explain the importance of thinking in our digital environment. We are often distracted by the medium itself from the virtues it possesses. The changes are usually obvious to us, but we tend to ignore their significance.

An environment is an active process which we all share the rights to improve it. We have to be able to take control of the changes set by the new innovation in order to not let them develop as mere wrappings.

Our Ignorance about Copyright Infringement

“With its library of millions of video clips and simple embedding tools, it is easier than ever to display video on your site or blog, including videos that might be infringing.”

Copyright Risks in Embedding YouTube Clips

(& Copyright and the Internet)

There has always been something going on with the copyright issue. It is indeed a complicated matter which can involve minor unnoticeable stealing or obviously undisguised infringement. Me and the other participants who sat in the Copy Rights and Wrongs discussion had to frown upon the YouTube embedding problem explained in the article. We noticed that we might be doing some copyright infringement without noticing.

I figure that I didn’t embed any illegal videos, because I only provided links to all the videos I wanted to include in my blog posts. Although, I probably have done something “wrong” when creating one of my DS 106 assignments…oh well, don’t sue me lynch.!

So what is the big deal about copyright infringement? It is important to each rightholders who have to take care of their intellectual property. We too, are rightholders who upload our creations online and are being protected by the law. The article’s topic specifically evolves around the risks in embedding YouTube videos, but the more serious matter is the possible copyright infringement we commit by our ignorance.

Innocence nor ignorance can be forgiven. The rightholders out there are forgivable at large, however, the possibility of awful lawsuits need to be remembered. Consider Disney, who continuously sparks numerous lawsuits. They sue and they are also sued by artists and producers who claim that their works have been illegally used without permission. I guess their business method isn’t praiseful. Yet, I also think their response is logical.

Blogging has allowed us to be self-published and social-networking websites have let us “share” information, but were we educated with the basic manners we need online? A place so wild like the Internet is like a paradise of copyright infringements. It’s a never-ending story if you think of the innumerable Internet users and the massive amount of information there is. Thus, the danger of yourself getting indicted seems low. Even so, one should keep in mind that it’s never too late to start being aware of it. Begin by checking if you have embedded an illegal YouTube clip.

Ghost Opera.

FanFic Assignment: FacFic Picture

This is a fanfiction assignment which you “take the name or title of your favorite band, song, movie, or tv show and display it in the form of photography”. The image you create needs to somehow capture your theme.

My all-time favorite band is Kamelot when they were with their former singer Roy Khan. Many of my favorite bands come from either the ’70 or the ’80s like Rainbow (with Dio or Graham Bonnet,), Show-Ya, and Iron Maiden. Anyway, Kamelot is an awesome power metal band I recommend to people. Their music is theatrical and not too loud for non-heavy metal listeners.

I chose the title track from the Ghost Opera album (released in 2007) for this assignment. To fully understand what is happening in the picture, you would want to watch the video for the song. Check the lyrics as well, to get the feel of it.

As I imagined, the creative process demanded working with paths and cutting. Everything was done using Gimp. Through the process, I came up with a bit of new ideas that altered my initial intentions such as adding a glow of light, filtering the background with a newspaper-ish effect, and so on.

I have a fond memory of Ghost Opera from back when I was in high school. I knew the band existed, but I didn’t really discover them until I actually listen to the song “Ghost Opera”. The album was also the very first Kamelot records I bought. Soon after the purchase, I had to listen to them more. Another thing that I remember about it is that me and my ex got to know each other by me lending the album to him. Isn’t it kind of peculiar that a heavy metal record can draw people together?

Online Freedom and Uncle Sam.

“That cemented control of all-important .com and .net domains with a U.S. company – VeriSign – putting every website using one of those addresses firmly within reach of American courts regardless of where the owners are located – possibly forever.”

Uncle Sam: If It Ends in .Com, It’s .Seizable

One of the memorable Privacy and Surveillance discussion I had to comment on is this issue about American authority’s arrogant control over the countless number of online sites. As one of the minor Internet users, I was plainly shocked to hear that any foreign-based sites with the domains under U.S. government control can be seized any time.

Strong Uncle Sam.

.Com, .net, .org, .biz, and so on are all globally popular domain names. In the particular incident reported in the article above, Bodog.com was seized, potentially because the registry was an American company (VeriSign) and probably had many gambling participants within the U.S. It doesn’t matter where the site owners are, or where they registered the domains.

The fate of all the online sites is in the government’s hands, or is it not? Considering the hacker group Anonymous’s recent massive retaliation on government websites for Megaupload raids and Wikipedia’s protest, it seems that the problem is getting nowhere. I’m sure the Internet users who invested money to the site (s) are angered. There would have been an incredible number of people involved, since in case of Megaupload, it is actually “Mega”-popular. Overall, the issue can simply bring out political debate.

Freedom is achieved by great expense. However, it certainly is dismaying to know even the freedom of speech can be seized from us any time soon.

Thanks to Alex for the discussion. His blog post on the article can be found here.

18 Makes 1.

Video Assignments: 1 Second Video

The description for this assignment asked: “How much of a story can you tell in a 1 second video?” and left a link to an inspirational sixty seconds film. I first had no idea what to do, but the super-short film sort of explained it all how to start mine.

Generally, I think, the interpretation of an assignment objective is up to the creator. DS 106 is about being creative and experimenting, after all. Therefore, I decided to do a collection of one second videos. My video consists of bits and bits of moments that tells a story.

There is nothing special about the process of the work for this assignment. It’s simply taking videos, putting them in order using a video edit application, and adding music in the background. The process was easy after I figured out how to do it, but the application was last opened in 2008…so that meant there would be a technological confusion in my way.

I was mildly amazed when I uploaded my first video ever (congrats to me) on YouTube. YouTube lets you edit your video after uploading it just like other image files. It offered trimming, altering effects, and free audio to have some music playing in the background. I only chose to add an effect and stuck with what I had. One problem I found disappointing was the resolution. I didn’t expect the camera to be that bad.

Publicizing your work takes a bit of courage. I set the video to be available to the everyone, but posing a real-life visual content gave me an unexplainable sensation. I felt quirky, I guess, to display a work that is more closer with the creator in means of reproducing live moments.

 

I hope nothing happens to me with copyright issues…the music I used in the background is the intro of Rasen by the band lynch.

Iconic You. Iconic Me.

Design Assignment: Iconic You

The objective of this assignment is to “create an iconic image/design for your own site that somehow represents you”.

More than half of the semester has ended and the schedule we’re managing is like a roller coaster. Yet, I still had not put out anything particular about my blog title or my name, mhacca. This design assignment has not much relevance to what I was just wondering, but I would like to note on that too in the article.

My title of the blog you are looking at right now is called “neopessimist23”. I took it from a song title by the band Moi dix Mois. The number “23” at the end comes from the Japanese era. Year 2012 equals to Heisei year 23 in Japan. In a image like this, maybe the blog title was better off placed to the side instead of how it was finished design-wise. I guess it works fine this way because you wouldn’t want to tilt you head sideways to look at it…

I personally love the fancy design of the number.

The process of the assignment was done on GIMP and Pixler. I find it easier to use GIMP for cutting out pictures as I want it to be. There were some experiments done with effects as seen below. I played around with colors, dots, and lighting.

  Now, I’ll explain the imagery. The oval white object on top of the vase is an egg. It represents myself as being a newbie. I hope I’ve become a semi-newbie or someone more experienced at the technology we’re all manipulating. Next is the flower sitting upon the egg. I put the rose there to show my (past) identity as being called the “flower girl” back in secondary school. We keep a garden full of trees and flowers in front of our porch back at home.

Speaking of plants, my name “mhacca” refers to peppermint (hacca) in Japanese. My mother’s hometown used to be one of the world’s busiest peppermint growing area.

I Never Use LOLs.

LulzSec Hackers Arrested

White, gray, or black? What is the color of their hat? I started off with finding the definition of the term “hacker” before searching on LulzSec (Lulz Security). The group was stuck in my head for a while after learning about them in class, because of that Pringles mascot-like logo. From what I found, the word “hacker” seemed to be a generalized term in the media.

We often identify them as something negative, while in reality, there’s a distinction between the ones who actual do harm and the ones who don’t. It happens to be that LulzSec is often referred to as gray hat hackers. Gray is an intermediate color that’s neither black or white, and gray hat hackers like LulzSec do act illegally, though in more of a cooperative way to point out security vulnerability.hats

The article I chose to present “Authorities: Hackers Busted When 1 Turns Informant”  informs the LulzSec members’ arrest. These five suspects on two different continents were arrested by the assistance of the LulzSec former leader known as Sabu. He has been an FBI informant since he was captured earlier in June. Scrolling down another related article some angry anonymous are commenting on the twenty-eight-year-old unemployed legendary hacker as a backstabber.

He surely did betray his comrades of LulzSec and Anonymous (another hacktivist community that has recently been involved with SOPA issue). However, there is always no guarantee that all the information you give into the Internet is safe. Also, you can never trust a stranger online no matter how well you get to know the person. Besides, the fact that what the hackers (or crackers) do is ultimately harassing somebody else does seem to be a reason for the Feds to put an end to them. I guess the lesson here is that you should “trust no one”.

Image: hats : p by slimmer_jimmerCC Licensed via Flickr