October 26, 2012

Daniel's Ubiquitous Computing

Sharon Daniel does a compelling job at introducing us into the painful and secretive world of the prison system. Before navigating the modules of "Public Secrets," I obviously thought I had an idea of what prison was like, based off of what I have seen on TV and stories I've read about in various articles. However, hearing the words of real women who are imprisoned has taken my understanding to a whole new level, and I think that if I had merely read about their stories rather than listened to them, it would not have had as great of an impact. In Bolter and Grusin's article, "ubiquitous computing" is defined as the idea that technology has infiltrated into our every day lives so much so that we hardly even notice it is there anymore. It is commonplace in our society, and I think that Daniel's project shows that in various ways.

To begin with, let's think about how Daniel has gathered the information that she has used throughout her project. For one, she has without a doubt used the Internet at some point in time for some kind of research, but beyond that, she states that she brought in a recorder to record the women in the prison whom she interviewed. Without this device, the majority of her project would not have been possible, yet using a tape recorder is not something we think of as revolutionary or "high-tech."

The layout of her project, however, is it a bit more technologically advanced, and I think that the way she presented the information makes the message much more interpretable and understandable by the audience. Given the option to navigate as we please, the audience can work at their own pace and interpret the project to their fullest capacity. I also think that, because the project is laid out using technology, it appeals to a wider array of audiences (except maybe the elderly who are less experienced with technology of this kind, but for them, they are given the option of reading a transcript rather than listening to the words). Overall, I think this was a powerful piece, and it's layout was captivating and enhanced the message greatly.


A Cycene said...

One of the tools I thought was interesting in her website, and perhaps which was intended to appeal to pathos a little, was the fact that the website had an "enter" and "exit" button, which allowed you to have a little freedom to when you wanted to come and go as you pleased.

lvg10 said...

You made a strong point about the way the information is presented, framing the audience who will digest it. Because Daniel uses this advanced form of technology as her medium, she will automatically attract a different audience to her piece than say an essay published in Times Magazine. Do you think that she did this in order to increase the possibility of action by attracting a younger crowd? A younger crowd might be more willing to go against their preconceived notions of what prison is like and therefore have a stronger reaction to Daniel's piece.

tag12 said...

This may be a stretch, but I can't read the definition of ubiquitous computing without applying it in my head to "Public Secrets." The notion that we are so used to something (in Bolter and Grusin's case, technology) that we hardly notice it anymore reminds me of how society is so used to seeing prisons portrayed as dangerous places filled with awful people that we would probably not reconsider our viewpoint unless presented with something as powerful as Daniel's "Public Secrets."

KatieA said...

I think that the medium Daniel uses is obvious to the reader and doesn't just blend with the text. While I was listening to the text I was greatly focused on the medium being used and why and how it was. I do agree with Bolter and Grusin when they say technology has become so common that we hardly notice it but I don't think that is always the case especially with Daniel's text. Normally I wouldn't really notice the medium I was using but it was something I was aware of the entire time I worked through Daniel's text. Maybe this is just because it is different than other texts we have read in class? I wonder if all the texts we used in this course were set up the same way as Daniel's if we would notice it at all? I definitely think if we were more used to the medium Daniel used for her text than it would hold less weight with us and not be a big factor in analyzing her work.

Jenny said...

The format that Daniel uses is very user friendly and adjusts for the audience and to the audience. Especially with the fact that it is online, and the use of the internet being very popular in society today, it allows for the audience to feel comfortable with the medium. I think that it is a very interesting question to ask if she did this to reach out to a younger audience. I think that younger people may not have such a bad view on women in prison as an older group would and would be more willing to try to make a change.

Huong Le said...

You've made me think about exactly who this text (and texts like this) is for. It is not just elderly people, but a lot of young people who just don't handle technology very well. I can imagine that there are plenty of people our age who would take one look at this website and not know what to click on or how to navigate it. As EWM majors we've hopefully had a lot of experience with different medium, but I've met students at FSU who have had trouble using Microsoft Office. I'm sure there are even more people who don't ever get any kind of meaningful technology education.

There was an interview in Public Secrets where the woman was shocked about the recorder. Everything was new technology to her. She said she had only seen new money because her boss had brought it into work. Would she be able to navigate this website? We are left with large groups of people who this project could never reach. I feel like that the exact group this project is trying to help. If they are not privy to this information, then does that mean that they have no voice and no power to even help themselves?

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