Internet Level IV: Deploying a Tool

Introduction

For my last digital humanities project I had to download and configure an installation from a cPanel. When I established my domain I had to then decide which service or application to ‘play’ with.  I found the wide range of applications on display in the cPanel to be of benefit. To test the waters I downloaded a few apps in experiment with their functions.

I downloaded Omeka first and I found the user interface and the process of uploading data to be quite detailed. After this I experimented with vanilla forums. Personally I didn’t overly like the user interface of the site and I dislike forums in general, as a result I decided to try out ‘Tiny Tiny RSS’ which is the tool I will be reporting on.

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Report

Established in 2006, Tiny Tiny RSS is an open source application that showcases the best the web has to offer. As an RSS application it gives users site summaries, for example blog posts, and web articles. Information is giving in real-time and it allows users to customise what they want to see.

Ultimately an RSS feed gives you a summary of data as well as limited metadata. Metadata includes facts such as the author’s name, the date of publication, and some times the original source URL. In order to subscribe to a feed users must submit the appropriate URL. This url is typically – http://www.example.com/rss or /feed. For example the link for this blog is http://www.craighourihan.wordpress.com/feed. 

I found this application easy to use and very interesting. My interest in an RSS feed came from the sheer amount of data viewable on the internet. There are billions of articles and posts being put on the internet daily. RSS feeds allows me, and other users, to tailor what websites they wish to look at. As said above I only receive the ‘headlines’ of the articles.

I primarily liked the application as it allowed me to include Tumblr blogs in the feed. As well as this the layout is quite similar to Tumblr and Twitter. It is primarily close to Twitter in terms of its simplistic nature. Overall I am quite interested as it allows me to digest a lot of data present on the internet.

In terms of future use of the tool, I feel Tiny Tiny RSS would be beneficial to me in projects. For example if I had an English essay due on Edgar Allen Poe I could simply subscribe to a website or a series of blogs who report on him. Of course I can’t judge a scholarly work just by its title, but the feed may give me an idea of the route I might take. Again using the Poe example, I could be writing on his use of the short story form. By finding my niche I can now ‘judge’ the work by its title. The RSS feed allows me to narrow down my reading load.

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In order to deploy this technology I first had to create my own domain on Reclaim Hosting. I found this quick  and easy to do. After this I downloaded and configured the application in my cPanel. I had to decide which domain and directory to use in order to set up my service. When I had this done it was time to play with my application. When playing with my service I had to decide what websites to include in my feed and the overall layout of it.

In terms of configuration I changed the theme and layout of my web service. I also created folders to organize the different types of articles and sites. As well as this I changed my url and my directory name. In terms of technology I primarily configured my service through the cPanel and Tiny Tiny RSS itself.

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Conclusions

I feel a lot of people would benefit from this service. Honestly I think everyone could benefit from some aspect of Tiny Tiny RSS. As mentioned above the layout of the application is quite similar to that of Twitters. Ultimately by using an RSS reader users can save plenty of time as well as your own privacy as you don’t need to sign up to individual websites. I understand that RSS readers have ‘died’ in mainstream conscience, but the aesthetic nature of Tiny Tiny allows RSS feeds to be reborn in the digital age.

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Eye of The Beholder – Visualising Text’s

For an assignment in college I had to visualise a text of my choice. Originally I decided to experiment with Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales. After I worked on The Canterbury Tales I decided to make another map and do the same with my favourite novel, On The Road by Jack Kerouac. The tool which I used to visualise both of text’s was ‘Story Map’ at knightlab.com. I tried to use the timeline tool on ‘knightlab’ also, but I encountered trouble when working on it. The trouble mainly arose from the inclusion of Google Docs, which I personally dislike to use. I chose story-map as it allowed me to explore the ‘place’ and travel in the two texts. Both texts are about travelling, so I personally think using the mapping tool is an appropriate form of visualisation.

The Canterbury Tales – Chaucer

“Then do folk long to go on pilgrimage,

And palmers to go seeking out strange strands,

To distant shrines well known in sundry lands.

And specially from every shire’s end

Of England they to Canterbury wend,

The holy blessed martyr there to seek”

I created two story maps based around the tales told in the text and the historic pilgrimage route.  Firstly I made a quick map of the historic ‘Watling Street’ pilgrimage route as a preface to my main visualisation. There are debates among historians on what route the pilgrims took to Canterbury. The most commonly referenced routes are the ‘Pilgrimage Route’ and the ‘Watling Street’. I chose to visualise the later route.

Most maps online centring around the tales focus on the pilgrim route from London to Canterbury. I wished to take each tale individually and place the location of the tale on a map. I wanted to explore the variety and depth of tales shown in the collection. Almost half of the tales failed to mention a concrete location and some tales such as the Squires take place in a large area not present in 2015 – this can be seen in the Squires tale which take’s place in Tartary which is modern day Mongolia, Siberia, Volga-Ural’s etc. This was one of the main parts of my exercise. 

 I also wished to see if there was any correlation between the tales locations and the locations of the pilgrimage to Canterbury. Ultimately I found little to no correlation, but I found the exercise good in visualising the text. 

On The Road – Jack Kerouac 

On The Road is seen as the quintessential road trip novel. Set in post world war two America, On The Road chronicles the rise of the ‘Beat Generation’. It tells the story of the Jack Kerouac, Neal Cassidy, Allen Ginsberg, and William S. Burroughs. To quote ‘Lonely Planet’ –

“The USA is a big country, and whenever anyone’s tried to define it – be they a Charles Dickens, a Mark Twain or a Stephen Fry – they’ve hit the road. So did the Beat Generation in the 1940s. They’d skip class to dig jazz and debate their place in Cold War America. And then they’d hit the road: crisscrossing the country in search of the new American dream – or just for kicks, music and women.”

A great novel, On The Road is a story of friendship, sex, travel, and jazz. In spite of this it is, at heart, a story about the road. Kerouac makes a number of trips throughout the novel, from 1947 to 1950. I chose to focus on the first trip in 1947 as it burns throughout with a nervous and explosive energy. Although this isn’t an English essay, I am incorporating literary references and quotes as I feel it will strengthen the overall visualisation experience. Below is the link to my map chronicling the trip taken by Kerouac in ’47.

I personally thought ‘On The Road’ to be a good text to visualise as it is a road novel. It’s a novel about the road and those you meet on the road. Due to this fact I decided to make a map chronicling Sal’s journey the the promised land, Los Angeles. The so called bible of the beat counter culture is still held in high regard, 65 years after it’s release.

Conclusions

I found this exercise to be an interesting one. As I am studying English as well, there is a great need for visualisation in order to understand the text. It was because of this need that I decided to visualise two pieces of literature rather than two critical texts. I found story map to be easy to use and a tool I could incorporate into future projects.

It’s himself, George Boole at 200

 

Wondering around UCC for the past few weeks I found one thing different. Was it the new students? Maybe. Was it the cold weather? Again not really. Was it the constant reminder of the George Boole* 200 celebrations? Yes. With Boole’s face flying high in the sky from street lamps and even looking at me while I drink my coffee I thought to myself, what did I really know about the founder of Boolean logic, the former professor of math’s, and the name of our lecture halls? The answer as it seemed was nothing. Que a frantic Google search and a double espresso mocha.

Born in England in 1815 George Boole was named as the first lecturer of mathematics at UCC (the Queens College, Cork) in 1849 despite not having any formal college education himself. Two years earlier in Boole published a pamphlet, the Mathematical Analysis of Logic, which expressed his most famous idea, Boolean Logic. Boolean Logic allows for variable values to be assigned a true or false value.

This logic allowed the processing of logic in all modern computers. Boole as a result found the grounding to the digital age. This is pretty groundbreaking yet very little people know of him. Boole is the reason we have modern digital computers. It seems strange that for a generation who are revolutionizing the world through the internet and computers very little of us know of the forefather of digital computers.

Lecturing in UCC till 1864, Boole died the same year after rushing two miles in the rain to teach a lecture. He soon died and was buried in St.Michaels cemetery in Blackrock, Cork. This year UCC celebrates the bicentennial of George Boole. Celebrations will be held around campus with re-inactments happening around campus. More information on Boole’s life and work can be seen on the George Boole page by UCC.

The LGBT* community and Digital Media

For my final presentation in my digital humanities course I was required to prepare a presentation on a subject of my choice. I chose to do my presentation on the advantages and disadvantages of digital media on the LGBT* community. I chose this topic because I was interested in how the community as a whole benefited from the use of technology and how the community where at risk due to the emergence of new media and technology.

I focused on representation in the media and the negative aspects of social media. I discarded my slides on the advantages of social media for a variety of reasons. The main reason was that everyone could guess them. The disadvantages on the other hand weren’t as well known to the general public. Below I have posted a PDF link to my presentation, as well as sources and other useful material.

DH1001 Presentation

Sources Used:

Interactivity is Evil! A critical investigation of Web 2.0

Users, Interactivity, and Generation

New Queer Television

GLAAD Homepage

Same-Sex Marriage on Twitter

Risks of Social Media on the LGBT* Community

UNESCO Social Media and the LGBT* Community

Ben Steele on LGBT* rights in Russia

Grindr in Egypt

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