WP Widgets

The latest versions of WordPress now has a widget system. The widgets are a plugin system that, where your themes are suitable, allows customisation of your sidebar in your blog. Makes it very easy to do through a simple interface so you don’t need to fiddle in code.

Small Resources

A slowly building FAQ about RSS and media casting is evolving (it is being written for students doing Integrated Media – which I think should be renamed Quotidian Media). In the same vein some very basic help for QuickTime too. They don’t make a lot of sense by themselves, they’re not supposed to since they complement the labs.

Focus

In labsome students have been toying, teasing, and tearing at what they think their research projects are going to be. They have all made substantial progress towards clarifying just what it is they’re doing. However, it remains a big step from thinking about it, and then being able to succinctly state what it is. So today we used the ‘how to write an abstract in four sentences’ model for them to describe and state their research problem. Most found it extremely productive.

Seven Points That Quicken (One)

The difference is this: the work is a fragment of substance, occupying a part of the space of books (in the library for example), the Text is a methodological field. (pp. 156-7.)

Barthes, Roland. “From Work to Text.” Trans. Stephen Heath. Image–Music–Text. London: Flamingo, 1977. 155–64.

In the vlogtheory wiki I have just added “From Work to Text” as an essay of relevance to video blogging. Long reach really, isn’t it? In the essay Barthes makes 7 points about what a text is. The above is a quote from the first point. It is nearly (perhaps?) my favourite.

Fragment of substance. Work as quantity, as aggregate of stuff which is understood as just that aggregation (when was the last time a popular best seller wasn’t also a door stop?). A sort of capitalist (post capitalist) conflation of scale with importance (Hollywood of course springs to mind). And substance also suggests thingness in the sense of being a fixed sort of material. A hunk of something (which is why it can have quantitative scale, half a rock is still rock).

Methodological field. The terms, as they exist in English, probably have not travelled well. Clearly field does not mean paddock or meadow, but is more like a force field, or the magnetic field, a set of forces that play across, that are the expression of this force, and of course change, remain unfixed, pliable but also forcing compliance. And method as a practice, a way of doing which is not technical or merely technique but a doing which is an event of being that which is becoming (to write so that writing is the event of writing).

Yeah, Ok, and videoblogging fits in where exactly? Well, on the videoblogging theory list there has been some intermittent discussion about things like writerly video. My view on this is that the sense of the writerly that needs to be considered is from Barthes and is from his ideas around the text. Now, it is not that video blogging requires a methodology that combines theory and practice (well, it does but for most that is a naive practice combined with naive theory, the sort that likes to describe itself as ‘deconstructive’ because it performs a close reading of something). It is that as a networked, distributed and potentially dialogical practice video blogging is a field in the sense described above. The connections that exist between parts, within an existing piece of video, and all the possible points of connection that that ‘completed’ video then expresses, describes a field which is all method. All potential and possibility.

Imagine a video entry from me. Each point in that video does have, immanently, the possibility to be connected to another part (this is what allows cinematic editing in the first instance), but at the moment it is all substance, occupying time in a very military sense, and closed. It doesn’t have to be, it just is (because?). To regard my video, your video, as a series of immanent moments of possible connection (in the same way that a blog post is also always a point of possible connection) is to move into a methodological field.

The Quotidian Problems of Networks and Teaching

Today I was hoping to finish RSS with enclosures with students, and then move onto making video collages in QuickTime. Except

Why “Vog”?

(The following was amended on March 27, 2006)

In my comments Java asks about how I came up with ‘vog’ as the name for video blogs and vogging for video blogging:

Is this contraction commonly used? Why did you chose that one and not one of the others? Do you think there will eventually be some consensus as to the name?

I used the term ‘vog’ to refer to video blogs in November or December 2000 when I first started. It is the pragmatic poet in me. Blog is contracted from web log, and it is blog because in my brand of colloquial English blog is very easy to say. Rolls off the tongue. Vlog doesn’t do this in Australian English. The ‘V’ slows everything down, draws itself out and elongates it’s sounds into the following “l”. Whereas with “blog” the “b” is a quick out of the way primer to get straight on into the word (it should be noted that in Australian English we shorten everything that can be shortened, for instance my family name “Miles” would most commonly become “Milesy” as a nickname because its cadences happen easier and faster in Australian English, “Miles”, like “vlog” just takes too long – you have to finish saying it before you can say the next word. “Milesy” just lets you get right on in to the next one.

So “vlog” is, well, just too damn slow. So following the above procedure (and being Australian) it meant things should be shorter, hence “vog”.

Note: through the mysteries of future publishing this post will actually appear while I am here. BIG WARNING, that link takes you to really, really, really awful flash with muzak.

Packaging

This video is doing the rounds. Originally thought to be a Mac parody it apparently comes from within Microsoft to demonstrate internally what they need to unlearn/relearn packaging design (Apple’s design reputation is the stuff of legend). From the Cult of Mac:

Said MS Spokesman Tom Pilla:

It was an internal-only video clip commissioned by our packaging [team] to humorously highlight the challenges we have faced RE: packaging and to educate marketers here about the pitfalls of packaging/branding,” he said via e-mail.

My Weekend

This is what my weekend looked like.

materiality

I’ve been discussing materiality and constraint with students as a way of making visible ideas and problems around what

One Change

I seem to be good in helping others with their teaching. Coming up with creative assessment activities, solutions to pedagogical problems and the like. I seem to be less able in my own teaching practice. I think this is nothing more complicated than I don’t talk ‘out’ my teaching with anyone else. So that needs to change.

Practice in Action

In the classes for Integrated Media last week everyone was reminded of what they had learnt last year. Getting video off a cam

Good-Enough-Problem

Problems. A problem is not an error, a mistake, or something wrong. It is a lump that requires you to stop, gives pause, and i