Friday, August 29, 2008

It all started with a remote

My DVR at home in Maine was one of my friends. She knew when my favorite shows where on, she recorded them for me, she saved them for me, and she alerted me when a show was starting. Ultimately, she just never let me down. But, like my human friends, she had to stay at home in Maine. Once I moved to Florida however, I decided digital cable and a DVR were not in my budget. Therefore, I dusted off the 'ol VCR and have been manually programming my shows. Just for the record- I am surviving. Anyway, I've seen many a commercial related to the Bright House Networks digital cable service. Not only can you start a show over if you've missed part of it, you can partake in polls by voting via your own remote! How cool and interactive is that? I had been watching Bay News 9 one night, and some poll related to a political question came up on the screen. The instructions were to press *A* for option A and press *B* for option B, and the results would be displayed on screen later on in the broadcast. I thought that was the coolest thing (don't forget I'm from Maine and though it's a pretty neat state, and usually a test market for this sort of cool technology...I had never seen/heard of this.) Sure enough, later in the broadcast, X amount of people had voted via their remote and there were the results on screen.

I realize this technology, per se, is not new. For years we have been able to order a pay-per-view movie via remote. But, I think Bright house has taken this a step further. No longer does the remote control just your DVR box, it is connected to a larger network and therefore able to communicate with other users with polls.

Another point I learned upon reading this article, customers are not able to pay their cable (phone and internet-should they have that package) by, you guess it- their remote. Gone are the days when one has to wait for a paper bill to arrive, only to write a check and mail back a check. Of course, that option is still available, but for some, this new interactive connection is the newest and in my opinion more convenient way to pay a bill.

If we've come this far already with a DVR, and think about it, it was only a few years ago the TiVo was introduced. Imagine what another five or ten years will bring to the ever changing interactive DVR. Hopefully soon, a DVR will be in my future, and you can bet your bottom dollar I will be participating in polls and bill paying!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Agg Aggre Aggregat ooooh don't hurt yourself kid!

I will be the first to admit I had never heard of an aggregator. To those of you out there reading this (Hi Mom!) and are thinking, "what the heck is an aggregator?" your wait is over and I will (try to) explain what one is. An aggregator is essentially a place where all of your subscribed news feeds hang out, in one place. Gone are the days when you go to CNN, People, St. Pete Times and so on and so forth just to get your daily bit of news. Now you can click on one site, and all of your headlines from the above mentioned site are there. Cool huh? I must say, after a couple of days of using Google Reader, I am hooked! I have subscribed to many of the sites I visit on my daily rounds of the net. I think I went a little overboard on my news subscriptions! I now read my local Tampa news, US/World news, celebrity gossip and sports all on one page. I had noticed the orange RSS logo at the top of web pages over the past couple years, but never pursued what it did or how it came to be. I honestly wish I had clicked it at least one before I was assigned. All this information at my fingertips, and I've been missing out!

One blog which I followed occasionally (as it was just stored in my favorites folder) is by my (favorite) professor at Quinnipiac, Pattie Belle Hastings. Her blog is used in class for the IDD (interactive digital design) students, but even as an alumni of her class, I still find myself there. She has included many helpful links and comments regarding the world of design.

Another blog which is now viewed daily in the Reader is there because, well, I heart the Red Sox. Boston Dirt Dogs is a blog about the Red Sox. Often times, the blogs offer a rare, raw glimpse into the baseball world. The world in which you wouldn't always see when just reading the sports section or watching ESPN. These writers get to the bottom of the rumors and gossip to share with the fans of Red Sox Nation (yes, even down here in the Sunshine state!)

The third (of many) is a graphic design blog I found, Outlaw Design Blog. I've noticed quite a few good tips and comments when I was browsing over it. I think this site will be useful to myself now it is on my Reader list, as I don't think I would incorporate it to my daily website rounds, but I will however read the headlines and see which articles peak my interest.

From my reader page, I have gathered some articles over the past few days, and compiled them into my Shared Items site. Feel free to browse the stories I thought were pretty interesting. I plan on updated this as often as I find an interesting article...and I hope I keep up with it.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

I'm baaaaaack

After a two year hiatus, I'm back to blogging. I am now enrolled back at Quinnipiac to earn my Masters in Interactive Communications. I am doing the online version of the degree so I can still live in Florida. I will be using this blog to post items related to my current class, Intro to Interactive Communications.

It looks like it will be a fun semester and can't wait to see what will come out of it!

Wish me luck :-)

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

IDD 480 - This is it...

Awww my last blog. Hard to imagine, but I guess all good things (yes even blogs) must come to an end…how sad. Who knows maybe I’ll post a blog all by myself, not that anyone would assign one to me, but you never know. Ok so on to chapter twelve.

Chapter twelve of Designing a Digital Portfolio is titled “Copyright and Portfolio”. Dun dun dun. Do not pass go; do not collect 50 dollars do not copy someone’s work. It’s as simple as that, or is it? Well see, there are a million and one rules for each and every aspect you could even imagine existed in the realm of design. And of course, every rule has a hairline area to merge though in order to change and make your own. See, even that sentence is obscure and really doesn’t make sense, but if you re-read it 10 times and get in my head, you just might understand not only how I think and write but also the copyright laws are explained.

Basically, and I use that term very loosely, if you work for a big honkin' corporation and create something. It isn’t yours. Nope. Sorry. It belongs to the company that signs your check every week. And it most likely isn’t even totally yours to being with. It’s the other 4 people you worked with on the project. BUT, if you are really really nice to everyone. Maybe, just maybe you can gain permission to showcase the work you helped on in your portfolio.

Another fun topic in the subject of copyright issues involves derivative style. The example given in the book is a Bob Dylan poster by Milton Glaser. You can’t quite change the colors of the poster and give Bob an earring. But if you get the vibe for the poster and kinda sorta create your own work but you say Mr. Glaser inspired you, then hot damn it is your own work and you can put your name on it. Just make sure that it isn’t too too close to the original, because that is never a good idea.

So basically, if you have a question regarding the image, it’s always better to be safe than sorry, just check it out.

Ok, now in totally non-related news…I had found this site last year but had forgotten about it. I don’t remember if I had Googled myself (don’t laugh, you know you do it too) or if I had checked my blog stats at StatsCounter.com but anywho…this website somewhere in the world is talking about blogging and PB’s Blogging Across the Curriculum site and lo and behold there is my name and a link to my blog. I thought that was pretty nifty. I guess people really do read these thingsJ Wow over two years of blogging is now coming to an end. I promise I wont get emotional….at least ill try not to…

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

IDD - 480 Almost Over...

So, it has been up for a couple of weeks now. It’s not done, not totally at least, but it’s getting there. So far only family and the roommates has seen it. It being Sarah-JaneBolling.com. I still have to upload some things but, alas, my personal portfolio is now up on the World Wide Web.

So, I’m reading chapter 11 of Designing a Digital Portfolio, I read, I glance, I look at the pictures. And then I saw it…on page 224: Remember to KISS. All together now…awww. Yep, that’s all I have to do, remember to KISS. Now in design terms it stands for Keep It Simple, Seriously. And it is simplicity that is most important in a portfolio design. I don’t think I have a real problem with that. I talk the same way I design things, I KISS. HAHA I crack myself up sometimes….and it wasn’t even that funny…I know. But anyway… in order to keep it simple it is best to limit the color palette, not to fight with the artwork, not to fill up the page, limit the page size and to arrange ideas into groups, as well as some other KISSing ideas.

So considering school is almost done…forever…and my portfolio is getting there (slowly) I was pondering things this afternoon on my drive back here to Connecticut. I was thinking like whether or not I really did want to do this in life. Well its not like I have a choice now. I don’t like blood so I can’t be a nurse, I don’t really like math and I prefer concrete ideas so I couldn’t be a psychology major…soooo IDD was really the only option. Don’t get me wrong I’m really glad I’m here and this is what I’m doing. Heck I don’t even really know where I’m going with this. I don’t know what I will have for dinner tomorrow let alone where I will be this time next year. So all I have to do is quit worrying and just do what I have to do to finish my portfolio, get a job, and join the real world…

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

IDD 480 - Decisions...decisions...

Decisions. Decisions. Life is full of decisions. What to have for dinner…what to wear for the day…what a portfolio should look like. Given that I really don’t put all that much thought into dinner or outfits…putting together a nice looking portfolio can take a good amount of my time.

So, once I figured (well I didn’t have much choice) that I would make a portfolio. So many more decisions had to be carefully thought-out in order to pull it off. I’m creating my portfolio using Photoshop and Dreamweaver, but those two only scratch the surface with all of the different outlets for web design. Some people may prefer to have a pre-made template website by using Yahoo! GeoCities. Those two examples of course are just a small sampling of what is available to the potential web builder.

And then once the template or whatnot is decided upon another decision comes into play…whether or not the website will be static or with more of an interactive spin. Each has their own pros and cons and can be catered to many different people with different skill levels.

Once a website design is initiated and decided upon it is always good to have a different media on which to display the portfolio. These formats can be a PDF format or DVD or even slideshow. I decided (look, another decision) to make a PDF of my portfolio. I’ve started. Didn’t get very far, but I have started…we’ll see how it goes.

Which brings us to another point in chapter 10 of Designing a Digital Portfolio. The metaphor. What will my portfolio say? Will it convey, “Here is what I can do for you” eh…probably not, maybe though. Most likely just “Hi, here’s what I made.” Nice, short, and sweet. Just like (hopefully) my portfolio will turn out to be.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

IDD 480 - Ch ch ch changing...

“It is important to perceive your career as a creative challenge of a creative molded and formed by many sequential choices. This challenge of a creative career is the ability to achieve continuous progress and advancements. You should always have the sense of growing (Careers by Design, 198).”

Well that quote right there is almost (AIM) away message worthy…almost. Roz sums up a persons career path and choices in those two sentences. She was right when she said no one grows up saying the want to be a head hunter. I know I didn’t. I wanted to be the one to jump off Shamus nose…but that would require multiple science classes…and then there was the time I wanted to be in the circus (not the side show).

Yeah, right now the field I’m going into is graphic design. But who says that’s where I’ll be in 5 years, next year? Gosh golly if I knew the future I’d have my own late night infomercial telling people their futures (without the fake Jamaican accent of course).

When I started out at college, who knew I’d only last a semester at Kings and transfer here to Quinnipiac and into the IDD program. Sure there were apprehensions and possibly some fear but I got over it. I changed. Things change. People change. The world changes. This field will probably change over time. But alas, only time will tell.

“It is hard to talk about the future because so much has changed all ready (199).” Well isn’t that the truth, and not just about design and technology, but about this, that and everything in general. But seriously, it’s true…how can you really plan and talk for the future when change is constant is the past is always a reminder. And on a side note, that quote may just actually make the away message list.

And so, the last sentence of the book remains… “So, always recognize the mark of the future. It is today! (199).” No day but today….