Monday, May 23, 2005

Automated textual coordination 1.0

Mostly, this is an excuse to play with a neat online toy, "Spell with flickr", by Kastner. But it also shows that by executing rules for coordinating texts, scripts can automate some processes that would take quite a bit of time to do by hand.

T square up closeEXt

[Actually, I had to hand-paste the auto-generated HTML because Blogger wont allow Kastner's java. But it's still pretty nifty.]

Healthy Technological Criticism

In his recent post "The right tool for the job", Jason Fried over at Signal vs. Noise shows the kind of critical thinking about technology that I'm hoping to teach my students. He does a great job ackowledging that any technology is only one of several possible solutions for a given situation and it's that situation or context that should drive one's choice of technologies.

Amen Jason!

Friday, May 20, 2005

Taking Notes

Taking Notes
Originally uploaded by

This blog serves as a sort of zoo where I can collect specimines of writing phenomena related to my research. Today's exhibit is a wonderful example of textual co-location and remediation found in the wild.

Phil Gyford has posted this Flickr image of his life-hack/notetaking system. He's got a carfully managed process of taking Post-It notes while reading, then transposing them to the web so that he (and others!) might use them.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Amazon's "Statistically Improbable Phrases"

Wired explores Amazon's new "Statistically Improbable Phrases" -- unusual word strings based on statistical analysis of word frequency and data mining. The technique is also producing concordences of Amazon's offerings.

I tried Umberto Eco's Name of the Rose and the list included "dead monks" and "treasure crypt" (well, and "heptagonal room" -- probably one of the more statistically improbable word string one might hope to unearth).

I'm intrigued by the idea of SIPs as authorial fingerprints. Hunter S. Thompson is one of the only authors I know who regularly uses "atavistic" but curiously, "invective screed" was nowhere to be found.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Video killed the text-based star

Christina Wodtke over at Elegant Hack pointed me to Jon Udell's screencast "Heavy metal umlaut: the movie" in which he tracks the development of Wikipedia's Heavy metal umlaut page. While the content of the screencast is fascinating enough, it's Udell's combined use of Wikipedia's page edit history and screen capture software to create a captivating instructional video that really got me thinking, "This is the future of online education in writing."