Saturday, October 6, 2012

My Thoughts and Reflections on Bolter and Gromala's Windows & Mirrors

After finishing the introduction, I have to say that I agree more with Designers.  In most instances, a web page should be an experience. It is the perfect medium to provide information, not just in words, but in sounds, colors, pictures and photographs, and video.  In today’s society we have all become a little A.D.D.; we like constant stimuli. Can any of you sit still through a TV show anymore? Without having to check your text messages or email, or respond to the challenge on SongPop or Draw This?
     Yes, some sites need to just offer quick bare-bones information so we can get in and get out. Other sites should take advantage of all the opportunities to get the information out in the best way possible.  If I want to learn about Mozart, I don’t want a website just filled with line after line of text. If I wanted that, then I would go down to the library! No, I want a page that has music clips imbedded, pictures of Mozart and his life, maybe some video of experts, or people playing Mozart’s music. 

     A nice thing about the internet is that you have choices; you choose what site you want to visit and you choose what site you want to build.  Do I think some sites go overboard? Sure. Do I find some sites boring? Absolutely.  Do I agree that Flash is broken? I have too many programmer friends to have any other opinion.   But, when it’s my turn to build a website I can design it any way I want, with as little or as much visuals, sound, or animation that I want.  Just like you.

Chapter 1. Text Rain

     I really enjoyed reading Chapter 1: Text Rain.  I had never heard of Text Rain before and now I really want to play with it! The chapter also weaved in bits of history along with the digital vision. I had also never been presented with the idea of computers being a medium that is both a window and a mirror. A window in that we can look through it to the information and experiences inside, and also a mirror as it reflects our thoughts, our lives, and ourselves back to us.  I am excited to read the next chapter and see what else I have never considered before.

Chapter 2. Wooden Mirror

     Before reading this chapter I had never really given much thought to why we call the different screens we view and use “windows”. For example, open a new browser window.  It really does make sense when you start to think about it. We really do see through the window to what is inside; we are both looking at this text! You can really get lost inside of it too. How many hours have we accidentally wasted because we got caught up in what we were viewing and lost track of time? We are like children peering through a window of a toy store at Christmas time; lost in the wonders inside. 

I actually JUST experienced this. As I was looking for a link to add to this post, I was sidetracked by an offer to “Bing it on” and take part in a survey to test whether I preferred Bing or Google. Next thing I know I am off looking at all these other websites; finally the results are in and I realized I wasted all this time and really needed to get back to work.  Btw, my results were a draw.

Chapter 3. Nosce Te Ipsum

     Not my favorite chapter. I am a Windows user. In fact, my father, who has spent his career networking computers for companies, raised me to dislike Apple products.  He would never tell me why, but now I suspect it goes back to the Designer vs. Structuralist. My dad would be classified more as a structuralist. He is primarily concerned with making sure the computers are able to communicate with each other effectively. He is not concerned with whether a person can become absorbed into screen, or if the user is being reflected back.  I understand the appeal of Apple products, but I have never owned or plan to own any.  Chapter 3 seemed to take a little turn from the previous chapters and took an opportunity to throw a few barbs at Windows.

     Now without any information to explain how the Mac computers address these Windows areas of concerns, it read more as a rant to me.  Also, this book was written in 2003; almost a decade ago. I think it would be interesting if the authors went back and revised parts of the book that are now outdated, like the references to the Microsoft Word paperclip. It would also be interesting to read what the authors think if the changes to Microsoft Windows, like the cloud or how I can double-click on my desktop and all the icons disappear leaving me with just my background picture. I love that!  Or, how about the Windows 7 theme packs that you can download? I just downloaded one for Halloween that included desktop pictures and spooky sounds!

     I really am enjoying this book. It has already made me think about new ideas and theories. The only thing is the technology it discusses is becoming outdated, and it won’t include some of the new technology of today that would apply. 

1 comment:

  1. You’re right Nyssa, and your response makes me think of the uniqueness of our class. Professor Strate makes us use a blog so that we can interact with each other and the rest of the internet better. I like the fact that we can include videos, and link other mediums to our posts. While, blackboard is a cool way to get discussions flowing amongst classmates, this blog seems better and more experimental.