Broken Technology

Just a quick rant to say that I hate when something breaks and there is no “contact us” information. Case in point – my blogger profile says it is unavailable, and that I should change my settings if I want it to be viewable. Problem is, it IS enabled (and has worked for over 400 views to date – probably all me checking to see if it works!!). When looking for help, I am pointed to forums where others complain of similar problems but offered no actual solution or explanation for the bug… so ya … I hate broken technology especially when there is no one to complain to.

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How did history get so hard?

A few days behind schedule, I am sitting here at my computer toiling away on writing a history of online role playing games. I am struggling alot more than I thought I would. Not because I don’t have ample notes, timelines and examples, but because I am all to aware of the social construction of history.

There was a time when history was truth to me. Factual; undisputable; it is what it is, cause history don’t lie. Like math and science, which are made up of numbers, and numbers don’t lie… History was what happened … events put down objectively on paper – ‘they’ told me so, and for a long time, I believed them.

But after too many sociology classes and many many conversations that introduced doubt on everything we “think” we know, I am all to aware that everything is constructed. Everything is contextualized and relative. History is nothing more than selective memory, from a particular point of view. Choices of what to include and what to exclude is based on relatively arbitrary decisions by the author or to be a little more objective, secondary constructed categories created outside of the author.

In the end – history should be more aptly titled “The History of America from a middle-upper class educated individual” or “The History of America from the point of view of someone who struggles to read and write” – Although both ‘histories’ could cover the same time period, and the same events, the socio-economic positions of the authors would set the histories worlds apart.

With this in my head, my constructed categories pre-determined, I am trying my best to detail an objective, uninfluenced history of times, events and artefacts that exist(ed) outside of who I am as an author.

eMusic

I am oddly surprised, yet happy to say that I have been contacted by eMusic’s customer service and they/we have rectified my re-downloading woes. Seems they became aware of my blogpost and contacted me, regardless of their methods, I must say – I am pleased to get my tunes back.

Online/Digital Music

A few things have been perculating in the recesses of my brain over the last few days and I figured I might as well blog them before they become larger distractions when I am actually trying to work.

iTunes, eMusic and other minuscule/majuscule words associated with online music. I must say, I am really not impressed these days. I have a fair amount of downloaded music that I purchased over the last few years and ignoring a few problems here and there (iTunes not letting me burn certain CD’s!!) I have been relatively satisfied. Two weeks ago, my usually net savvy daughter caved into a friend’s request to check out a site that she had a bad feeling about – sure enough within minutes, my laptop was filled with bugs, worms, trojans and other malicious pains in the backside. So I had to wipe my entire computer – the first time since I bought it in 2002. I THOUGHT I saved everything I had to, including my music but when I went to reload it from my memory key, the file was not there.

No problem I thought. As far as the hard copies that I actually own, altough time consuming, I can simply reload them. I figured I would be able to go to my eMusic account and re-download the tunes i bought in some sort of ‘purchase history’. Same for iTunes. Instead, when I logged into my accounts and tried to access the music I had purchased, I got a message that said something like “Purchases can only be downloaded one time. It is your responsibility to make back up copies of the music you purchase .. blah blah blah”. I have to say – I was/am furious. I don’t know how many times I’ve tried to burn a CD that I received a pop up that reminded me that this music could not be copied, distributed blah blah blah… (p.s. not all songs on my laptop’s iTunes was on my ipod…)

So now I sit here, missing a good half of my library that I already paid for. I have tried hard to play by the rules for my music, but I just feel that I have no other choice but to perhaps find another way to get it back. I mean, I’ve already paid for it. I don’t want to have to pay for it twice.

Now, the rational side of my brain is arguing back that if I had bought the physical tape, record or cd and lost or ruined it, the company would not be liable to replace it free of cost – but somehow, this feels different. In a way, I feel duped. I feel that I bought into the idea that digital is better, that my computer will keep everything neatly stored away. I know that we, as users of technology, are encouraged to make backups of everything – just in case – but for some strange reason, I cannot imagine making 1,015 back ups for my hard copies if I had bought them from the store…

Kelly Boudreau, M.A.

Not sure when it becomes official, but my thesis has been submitted to the Office of Graduate Studies for binding.

It is very strange to put it to bed… walk away … to stop tweaking, thinking, mulling it over, obsessing about it. Luckily for me, I still have my PhD proposal to finish up – so it is never REALLY over.

More Questions About Facebook

So, I am in my early 30’s.. for some, it is “too old” for Facebook – and some of the criticism about the social networking site is that is has become a ‘youngens’ site. Most people who I know who teach mentioned that most of their “friends” have been their students…

Today, I had my first “friend” invite from a student for a class that I TA’d. I was not quite sure how to handle this. My daughter tried to explain to me that it’s all about having as many ‘friends’ as possible. I asked her why, but she couldn’t really articulate it, instead opting for the “just to show how cool you are” cop out (she admits that it’s a cop out since she has no ‘real’ answer “it’s just the way it is mom”…).

So, what is Facebook for? For who? I thought it was a way to keep in touch with people that weren’t on my messenger. Or for people that I can’t quite muster up an entire email – but still want to know what they have been up to. I admit, I have enjoyed getting messages from old friends from high school, but once the “oh my god – its been so long” has worn off – why am I on Facebook? And what do I do with an invitation from someone who I only know throw a class list?

It’s all over but the revisions

I defended my MA thesis today – it went extremely well – dynamic interaction between committee members and there was a nice – supportive audience. I only have a few minor revisions, which will be done in a few days. I cannot believe that it is over – the last 4 years (Ugrad + Grad) have been working towards this moment. … /big heavy sigh of relief.