Archive for ‘Tech Tools’

Mac or PC?

By js, 25 January, 2009, No Comment
image from AppleInsider 1/24/09

image from AppleInsider 1/24/09

I remember this type of computer was the first computer I ever purchased.

I learned how to type on a typewriter that I had to push a lever to return. My dad bought me my first typewriter when I was in high school, an electric one. I used computers in a high school class in which we learned about PASCAL.

When I got to college and first used the Mac, I remember I was fascinated by the simplicity of use. The hardest part about using the Mac was walking 5 minutes to get to the nearest lab and hoping that all the computers were not taken. (I still have some of those old floppy disks that I used to save some of my college essays.)

For me, the sign of a wealthy freshman was one who came to school with a brand spanking new computer. I don’t think many of us knew exactly how important they were going to be for getting our papers done, so many who could afford them didn’t purchase them until well into the first semester.

When I became a sophomore, I used one of the college programs which helped students purchase computers on a payment plan and used my work-study money to pay it off. It took me about a year. I’m not sure how much I spent on it, but I remember loving the fact that I had the computer sitting on my desk. It didn’t help me get my papers done any earlier, but I only had to go to the lab to print a paper. After a few trips to find a printer, I splurged on a printer too.

After a year with the desktop, I realized that the lack of mobility was one of the setbacks. Of course, I was also seduced by the images of the college student doing homework sitting under the shade of a tree on cross-campus. That was when I bought my first notebook computer. It was a used and looked something like this. It was the first time I paid cash for a computer (I didn’t pay cash again until I bought my kids computers in 2008) and it was the first and only time that I trusted someone enough to take their word that the computer would work. The computer worked fine for the rest of my undergrad years and the perk was that I could hook it up and use any printer on-campus.

When I moved back to Texas and began teaching I did not find a Mac anywhere. All the computers on campus were Windows-based. Still I was used to my Mac so I splurged again and bought myself a computer I couldn’t afford.  Not long after I had finished parying for it, the connection between the screen and the keyboard on the Mac laptop split. The only tech in town wanted to charge me what I thought was an unreasonable amount. Since I didn’t use the computer very much, I chose not to fix it. Ultimately I came to use Windows exclusively.

As I’ve become more and more involved with designing web sites and as the iPhone beckons me, I wonder if I’m on the road to becoming a Mac user once again.

Visuwords: Online Dictionary

By js, 23 September, 2008, No Comment

Cool Dictionary Online: Check it out

Technorati and Other Blog Ranking Tools

By js, 14 September, 2008, 1 Comment

One of the things that I have to articulate are the reasons for choosing the blogs that I choose to study.  Other studies that I have looked at which dicuss blogs have chosen their “subjects” by turning to blog indexing and blog ranking tools. I know that Technorati is one of the most popular ones.

Research for Blogs

By js, 14 September, 2008, No Comment

As I finished drafting proposals for IRB, I once again began thinking about how to search for blogs.

My purpose is to find blogs which have

  • chicana on the title
  • chicana on the description
  • chicana in the content

What I want to find are blogs written by women who self-identify as Chicana. Jaime shared a wonderful definition of what Chicana/o means and I will use that one for now but will need to also look for others, but that is mainly what I had in mind when I chose to study women who self-identify using this particular term.

So finding blogs in which the term is used in the title or the description would point to the fact that these women construct a particular identity which more than likely will be tied to the content of the blog.

It will be much harder to find blogs which have Chicana in the content of the blog or even in the titles of the posts. I just tried using the beta Google Blog search and was very disappointed at what I found. It gave a few links to posts but alot of those links lead to porn which just supports Nakamura’s argument that Chicanas, Latinas and Asian women are represented online in a way that provides a voyeuristic, sexualized and stereotypical view of the female body. The only redeeming part of my Google Blog search was a “Related Blogs” section which listed blogs which I have already come across.

So I turned to Technorati and I found much of the same. It does provide a way to search from Posts to Blogs to photos and videos. Technorati did not give me much different information in the posts tab; again it pointed to alot of porn. The blogs tab was a bit more revealing. It did find blogs but mostly on MySpace.

Rich had suggested that I could also find blogs on MySpace but I think that the look and feel of those blogs are different and I want to focus on more mainstream blogs. I know I have to define what that means but one detail that I noticed recently is that the age range for blogs on blogger or in a hosted domain are written by women in a very similar age range. Also, alot of the blogs on MySpace are private so who can access those blogs is limited to the blogger “friending” the reader.

The implications of these two differences are important:

  1. the blogger with a hosted domain ultimately may have more control over the “look” of the blog and the feeling of ownership; it also requires a higher level of digital literacy because hosting requires that the blogger choose which options will be available to her as a writer but also to the potential reader
  2. the requirement of “friending” someone so they can read the blog creates a different dynamic for the blogger and the reader; for example, a blogger who hosts her blog in blogger or on her own domain does not necessarily know who is reading the blog unless the reader is willing to interact with her by commenting on the blog. The blogger can look at her site statistics and may get some general knowledge of her readers with this information but does not know each one unless they decide to comment, leave a link to their own blog, and/or email address. This then gives the blogger the option of trying to research her readers. The MySpace requirement of “friending” (which most blogs I checked have turned on), gives a bit more control to the blogger over who will read her blog. Only people to whom she provides permission will be able to access. She, of course, will not know exactly which posts the reader reads unless the reader leaves a comment. (I’m not an expert on MySpace but I don’t think that it tracks who reads each post?)

Now I have to try other blog indexing tools to see if I get a different result. I also plan on asking how exactly those bloggers expect they will be found or have been told they are found. If I search using those methods will my search lead to different results?

CCCC Proposal 2009

By js, 1 August, 2008, No Comment

Playing with language and technology at

Here are two clouds. The first is one using the entire text of the proposal submitted for the CCCC 2009 conference in San Francisco. The second is the section that discusses the paper that I will be presenting.

Teacher as Co-Learner

By js, 4 July, 2008, No Comment

The Future of Instruction: Teacher as ‘Co-Learner’


The expectations of students and the demands of the education community are changing radically in the 21st century. Necessarily, the role of the teacher is changing along with those. But what will that role be? The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) is attempting to answer that question with the release this week of the long-anticipated update to its National Educational Technology Standards for Teachers (NETS-T) framework. Read complete article

Reunion John Cheever

By js, 14 March, 2008, No Comment