Technology and Culture

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Friday Random Ten, plus cardinals and Bedford blog

1. Don't Let It Bring You Down -- Annie Lennox
2. Come Rain or Come Shine -- Liza Minnelli
3. I've Got You Under My Skin -- Diana Krall
4. Do Your Duty -- Bessie Smith
5. Twisted -- Joni Mitchell
6. In the Quiet Morning -- Joan Baez
7. Goodbye Pork Pie Hat -- Joni Mitchell
8. What's Going On -- Marvin Gaye
9. Young Love -- Air Supply [I knew it!]
10. Freshmen -- The Verve Pipe

Finally, everyone should check out and contribute to Talk 20, a blog set up by Bedford/St. Martin's for responses to Todd Taylor's documentary Take 20.

Hailing Mac Geeks

Are there any simple ways to increase the speed and memory of my iBook? Maybe I've downloaded too many applications, but every little THING I do causes the machine to drag. I'm seeing that rainbow pinwheel constantly. If I open Word while I have Firefox open, I just get up and get myself a drink of water and a snack, then by the time I get back to the computer, it might be ready to go. I'm willing to delete software if I have to. Also, how do I get to a list that tells me which applications load at startup?

Soap operas on DVD?

Count me in with the Amazon reviewers who would like to see Days of Our Lives on DVD. There are so many lovely, campy mashups that can be created with clips from that show. Examples:

  • That time Marlena was possessed by the devil
  • That time Carly was buried alive
  • The time during which Eileen Davidson played four different characters, including the unforgettable Susan. "That weird Vivian girl! Little Elvis!"
  • Vivian's machinations: "I've got a plan..."
  • John Black uttering "Stefano!" angrily and ruefully to no one in particular

I'm sure there are great moments from the 60s and 70s too. I was a soap opera addict during pretty much all of the 80s and most of the 90s: All My Children, Days of Our Lives, Another World, and Passions.

Famous correspondence in the public domain?

On Thursday in my Introduction to Rhetorical Studies class, we're going to be talking about Rationes dictandi, or Principles of Letter Writing: an excerpt of it, anyway, from The Rhetorical Tradition. I was thinking about famous letters to show in class, and Thomas Jefferson's letter to Benjamin Banneker came to mind, as well as the correspondence between Kenneth Burke and Malcolm Cowley, though it's dense and maybe not as well suited to a quick class exercise. Emily Dickinson's letters to Susan Huntington Gilbert Dickinson might be good.

Anyway, I was thinking that it would be anachronistically cool to take a collection of famous correspondence and reproduce it in two email accounts. Gmail might be good for the way it displays emails as conversations. You could create email addresses like, say, and The letters could be typed out as emails, and the public could have access to the usernames and passwords to check the inboxes as new letters were added. I guess it would get vandalized and spammed pretty quickly, but it would be interesting for a while.

Take 20: My Version

At CCCC, I made sure to pick up my copy of Take 20, Todd Taylor's documentary film about teaching writing. For those of you who don't have access to the DVD, you can watch the trailer to get an idea. The premise: take 22 writing teachers and ask each of them twenty questions about teaching writing. I wasn't one of the 22 people tapped to be interviewed in the film, so I decided to answer the questions and make my own movie. Enjoy:

Uploaded by culturecat

By the way, if you want to upload videos longer than ten minutes (YouTube's limit -- my movie is a little over sixteen minutes), DailyMotion gives you twenty minutes.

For Digital Video Nerds

I HATE iMOVIE. I'm working on two multimedia projects right now, and this issue with muxed MPGS is ruining EVERYTHING. Does anyone know of anything I can do? I was willing to take every single one of my clips and use FFmpeg to convert them to DV, but I couldn't get it to work. I also tried to see if my camera would record non-muxed video (which would mean having to re-shoot the whole thing), but it apparently will not.

UPDATE: Okay. Looks like I might be able to do it with MPEG Streamclip. We'll see.


I finally installed NeoOffice last night, and I really like it. It's nice to have an open source word processing program that's native to the Mac, but it still takes a loooonngg tiiiimmme to launch. Jonathan said, "You know the reason Microsoft Word loads more quickly is that it puts itself into the memory when you start the computer, right?" (He probably explained it better than that, actually.) No, I did not know that. I replied, "Okay, is there any way to make NeoOffice do it too?" Jonathan said he could make OpenOffice do that on his PC. We poked around in NeoOffice's preferences but didn't find a way to make it happen. Anyone know?

The Mother Lode

I just uploaded tons of presentations to SlideShare. I hope you'll create an account there and do the same -- or, if you already have an account, add me as a contact.

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