Blogs

Nickel and Diming: or, "Really People? Really?"

I detest people that nickel and dime others.  Really, it’s a disgusting practice and I imagine after a certain point no amount of soap and water can wash of the shame a retailer feels for doing this to their poor customers.  The rage for this week is focused mainly on EA games.

 

Now if any of you watched E3 this year (doubtful, I realize) you’ll know that they are releasing a Stars Wars: The Old Republic MMORPG later this year.  This issue is that the digital version of the game is selling exclusively on Origin, EA’s site.  Now the game’s preorder price is set to be 40 pounds (the British money, not the weight), but they’re charging 5 pounds for buying it digitally instead of through a retailer, and then another 5 on top of that for being allowed the privilege of pre-ordering.  That’s 50 pounds, or for those of you bad at currency exchange, $85.  This for a game that they’ve said practically mum on, when on average you’d pay $50-60 for a new game in the U.S. and 30 pounds in Britain.

 

Off DeWall: Wired co-Director Goes to China

Off DeWall: Wired co-Director Goes to China (July 20, 2011)

Wired has the mission of connecting members of the UK family with each other and our local and global communities. This is my first blog entry to show you how I live this mission. I’m in the air right now, on my way to China. I’ll be there for a month doing a bunch of different things devoted to connecting members of the UK family to the global community.

First, I’ll be teaching a short course to Chinese students at Sun Yat-Sen University, which is located in a town called Guangzhou (pronounced GWAN-JOE). It’s in the Southern Part of China, making it something like the Miami of the People’s Republic of China (PRC). I’ll teach psychology students about social psychological research—how to do it, how to evaluate it, and how to get excited about it. I’ll focus on my areas of interest: interpersonal relationships, self-control, and aggression.

Second, I’ll give a speech to the School of Psychology on my research program on how people respond to social exclusion. I relish the opportunity to share the research we’ve conducted at the University of Kentucky with the Chinese faculty and students.

Another blog about Facebook? ugh.

Yes....this is probably another blogpost that rants and raves about Facebook, but hear me out. Some of what I do here at the College of Arts & Sciences involves managing social media websites such as Facebook, Twitter, Vimeo, and Flickr. With that, I have come to see social media's constantly growing potential and powers as it spreads like wildfire all over the Internet. Think about it. While many of us complain about the woes of Facebook and the tendency for us to become distracted and even consumed by it, I believe it to have unlimited potential for evolving forms of social interaction. It's already changing social ettiquete. Remember a few years ago when your professor might have said "...and I am on Facebook." and you thought that was weird? It's becoming commonplace and almost expected now. Consuming news media has shifted from reading a physical newspaper, to reading an online version, and now, many people stay informed by subscribing to various Twitter profiles and receiving updates via their twitter feed.

The Kindle

Being able to condense entire music libraries and photo albums is pretty commonplace now.  But until recently, with advances in tablet computing, being able to condense an entire library of actual books into a handheld device that still offered the same reading experience was quite hard.  I have tried out several different e-readers including the iPad and NookColor, but recently decided to purchase an Amazon Kindle, which I have been immensely satisfied with.

My biggest complaint with the other e-readers I have used (the iPad in particular) was the amount of screen glare that could occur in a well-lit room or outdoors.  When outside an iPad’s screen is practically invisible, be it in a game, internet browser, or reading app.  The Kindle uses what Amazon calls “e-ink” to accurately reproduce the look of ink-on-paper print.  I actually believe that e-ink is in many ways superior to traditional printing.  Often times, especially with mass market paperbacks, the print quality is not the greatest and can impede readability of the book.  This has never been a problem while using my Kindle, no matter which book I am reading.

Pinterest

 I have recently discovered a new website that has a collage of all things on it.  It is called Pinterest.com; this site has everything from food to fashion, travel to tech, design to DIY and everything in between.  This site is so great because there is always something different pinned to the site when the page refreshes.  There is always some cute home décor or some delicious looking recipe that you just have to check out.  Then if you really like it you can repin that post to your board.  Pinterest is social media site of only pictures and captions.  There are no posts, no blogs, and no personal profiles—there are simply pictures that are pinned to the site.  It’s a giant always changing site of pictures that are posted and arranged in the same way that a bulletin board might be arranged.  If you are looking for some creative new things to try out or you are just looking for some entertainment, I would suggest checking this site out.

Born This Way

Born this way

We are removed and alienated from this xenophobic society. 

We are known as the strange, weird, exotic, different, insane, eccentric breed in this world.

They claim that we are emotionally tortured and disturbed, stuck in our own fantasy realm.

We were born this way.

We were born different

We were created to bring abstract viewpoints and color in to this plain colorless space.

We are what make the world different.

We are the fabricators of dreams and ideas that we attempt to bring to life.

Nothing is impossible for us.

We bring enlightenment to the world.

We illustrate what is outside the box from within the box.

We are our own genre of people.

Nothing is impossible through our eyes.

We imagine what we desire.

We will not apologize for the way we are.

They will never be able to wrong this right.

We graffiti this world with much needed splendor.

Imperfection can still be useful

     I did a project this week using Adobe Connect and taught some of my colleagues about astrology.  Adobe Connect is a platform which enables for many people to have an online conference.  It can be really useful for Online Education in the form of virtual office hours, lectures, or even study sessions.  Many of the professors in our Online Education classes have used it quite successfully and rave about how interactive it made their classes.  Judging from the course evaluations, the students really enjoyed using it too. 

     One important thing that I learned, among other things, while presenting my lesson was that perfection is not needed for online instruction, or any instruction for that matter.  Even though I had rehearsed my presentation a few times, there were still some technical difficulties that occurred which could not be foreseen.  It did not detail the lesson, however, and I was able to recover and finish.  In the end, the lesson went well.

The New Guy

Greetings! Marshall Herbst here… the really, really new guy, and welcome to my blog!  Just for your reference, I recently graduated Hanover College in Indiana and am currently enrolled in the MIC Program here at UK. I am also working as an Instructional Technology Assistant here in the College of Arts and Sciences  I think I am going to treat this like a journal of sorts. After my first couple weeks here at Online Ed, I feel like I am starting to get into the pace of things. With all the new programs to learn, the people to meet, and the problems to solve, it seems like each day flies by. The really cool thing about all this is that I really am beginning to see the value in what this office does for both professors and students, and appreciate all the work that goes into actually constructing, and maintaining, these online courses. I will admit, previous to my experiences over the past couple weeks, I did not acknowledge how online classes could be as effective as the traditional method of instruction, sitting in a class of peers with open communication with the instructor. Perhaps it is the History Major in me coming out, the one who is used to huddling in the library pouring over piles of texts to search for the perfect quote.

My Online Ed Experience

This summer I have taken my first online course ever at UK. Also at the beginning of this summer I was employed at Online Ed as a part of the Media Mafia. Thus begins my experience with two new things which became more closely intertwined than I would have thought. Beginning my employment, my first major project that I got to jump right into was helping film lectures for Dr. Nadel's Intro to Film class. I quickly realized that he was teaching the very class that I would be taking a few weeks later in the 8 week Summer II session.

Dr. Nadel's course basically consists of 12 video lectures, most of which I helped film and/or produce the final product. Some of you may think that this put me at some sort of advantage, but it hasn't. Filming them is one thing, and watching them within the context of the text book and films is a whole other game. This class has become a fantastic exercise in reviewing and critiquing my own work here at Online Ed. So far the lectures have been great and we did a lot of things right while filming these, such as taking the time to find an intersting spot to film the lecture rather than having Dr. Nadel in an anonymous blank classroom somewhere. Most of his lectures we filmed at the Niles gallery in the Fine Arts building.

Lexington's Local Music Scene

I've lived in Lexington my entire life. If there's one thing that has always seemed to ring true through the years about this town it's this: There are so many musicians in this town. With that, some of them decide to publicize their talents, form groups and play for crowds all around town, but you also have those who haven't quite reached the stage or who have been played long under the radar.  Lexington is home to an amazing independent, volunteer-run radio station, a premiere indie music blog, and countless talenteed musicians. Once you start looking, you'll come to find that Lexington's actually a pretty happenin' place, musically speaking.

Last night, I came from work, made a bite to eat and almost settled down into my normal evening routine. I felt bored though, anxious even. There must be something to do, I thought. I found out there was a local bluegrass band playing down at Al's Bar. It made my night. Where else can you guy to hear a bluegrass version of Talking Head's "This Must Be the Place" while munching on delicious sweet potato fries?

 

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