Archive for the ‘Chicago Activism Class’ Category

June 4th class

June 4, 2007

Phew, loooong time no blog.
Actually not much of anything that was not strictly related to kids and work. It has been two VERY long weeks. Frustration comes in abundance when your time seems to shrink down to nothing.

Well at least I am now feeling well and I am happily writing my class blog and going around to clean up all the class materials, find new entries for the Activism Blog and editing the powerpoint presentations.

Today in class we discussed more about the activism site and soem thoughts came about about the internet in general. We use this mean to do all this stuff and we never question its availability and existence. What if someone would “privatize” the Internet? it seems a very far fetched hypothesis, but there is in fact the possibility of such an event to occur. Talking with class members and browsing the net news and rss feeds we found some old articles about Google trying to purchase “black fiber” cables – optical cables that allow a greater bandwidth that were layed down a while ago (1995)  in the Internet boom and then never used commercially – and make their own private internet backbone from where to deliver exclusive content to paying subscribers.

Today – we discussed – we already pay for Internet service, so what is the difference? Most of us today pay for the connection and some of us for services provided  through the Internet; the Internet per se’ is an interconnection of networks that as been so far free for use and free to move content around.

There are countries – and perhaps the USA is not immune – that have governments that limit the content usable and viewable on the Internet; expecially all the content that resides on the world wide web. Larry pointed out that with the situation about terrorism in the US there are some governemnt agencies that might want to control content here too to “prevent” such actions. THe whole team agreed that perhaps they should use the Internet to learn more about this violent acts and prevent them by informing people so that such events could be prevented.

With all this information available it makes no sense to remove content; we should actually read and learn from it so that we won’t hear anymore one agency telling they were not told by another and so they couldn’t act. There will be no more excuses: the information is there for everyone to know.

Lynda brought up a very good point about the fact that even if the terrorists knew that we knew: that mere knowledge we knew what they were up to would have sent them cancelling the plan and try to find something else; something else that of course will be discovered and made public. People will not be caught by surprise then and thereby the greatest advantage of terrorism will be removed.


May 21th class

May 22, 2007

Tragic! Just found out we needed to turn in the paper for one of the assignments and completely forgot.

Lynda found something about a conference in Chicago about blogging.

Rogers Park bloggers are very active and rank 3rd in the Nation.

Tom read about corporate America like KFC are stealing clips from the ‘net and using it in their advertising.

GM got a big exposure by getting all the cars in Transformers to be GMs and you can blog with Optimus Prime (the leader of the giant bots to defend earth.)

Information wants to be free and somehow someone could find a way to use for evil purposes; like everything else since the Kirby vacuum.

The department of defense blocking utube and MySpace I really would like to see/hear what is that all about. I have a strange feeling that I might not agree with it.

News from the front is always difficult: why is it so important to know everything very quick?

I have a feeling that the PR world is completely populated by people who do not anything at all about war or any other combat situation. What is the difference about getting the information later on? Are these soldiers brainwashed just before getting home?

Gary wrote a piece about how to become an activist; seeing what makes the ordinary citizen to become an activist.

I need to send the link to this Blog to professor Tresser.

The beat for tonight is Social Justice.

May 14th class

May 15, 2007

Discussing where the class is standing for each one of us is bringing out all the students opinions and impressions. Linda started talking about the fact that we can write a lot about nothing. Something that looks and feels dull and meaningless to us might be interesting and even fascinating to an audience. Tom ilustrated an example of a guy that sold all his household items on eBay and then proceeded to go visit them in the different households they ended up in. He got so much feedback that he wrote a book about it.

This week has been particularly taxing and ended up to this day to drain all the energy I got; I am really having to switch back to school mode to pay attention. In sorts thismoment allows the mind to relax and be more active in the areas it was not used.

The importance of collecting contact information about people we talk to: phone, email.

More than one person expressed the original idea they had of the course was about to learn about history and about activism in Chicago. Tom Ramirez spearheaded the subject.

Holaday: Perhaps we need a guide to the blog; where to start – a page or link where people will navigate to to start their journey inside Chicago activism.

 Adriana noted she was learning a lot about the new medium and tools available on the net. SItes like yahoo flickr and blog engines, u-tube and mySpace. Some of these web 2.0 content drivern pages contain a lot of information that sometimes can look pointless and useful only to youngsters to lounge around. The same way it was done in the past in front of the ice cream parlor. This time the impact is much larger though and the sheer volume and behaviour of the “viral” information that potentially can derive from the internet can make nonsense into a great idea.

Tom Bergstrom announced the blog entries will hav eto be re-categorized and located on the neighborhood map.

“Mark” voiced the part of the group that is already using the internet as an everyday tool; he wants to obtain more information about activism. Check out Joe Moore’s web site on Rogers Park for activism hub example.

Oh boy I am tired, cold and hungry! Well perhaps finally I am not cold. Here in the land of eternal winter we reached finally something that in other part of the world is considered mild spring weather.

Gary evidenced the collaboration and cooperation part of the class and the fact that the information at hand made him more aware about. The phenomenon of how to use this directory we are building to fire up the spirit of people to join groups and make activism possible. Telling the story makes it accessible to us. It is not necessary to give up the daily job to participate.

Gary T and Beverly near him come up with examples about local sotries that impacted them and got them to participate,

Larry (cop and activist) : Information does not necessarily get out for something to be done about it. A public outcry for change and a massive amoun tof people are involved: change happens. Mass politics is at play here.

“Sex, drugs and updating your blog” on the New York Times talks about using blogging in the entertainment industry.

We are listening to a mediocre song now from the site mentioned in the NY times; HOW IN THE HECK DID THEY GET THE ENDORSEMENT? Who spun the piece of news to the media?

Viral marketing; apparently this happened before the interest of the ny times was peeked.

Prof attracted the attention to LinkedIn; zoominfo as search engine, zabasearch.

Blogging stats: web 2.0 distributed content : centralized processing: identity issues?

MIssion critical here does not seem to be part of the subject. He made a comment about the army guys posting stuff on mySpace and they should be able to. Perhaps he has never experienced enemy mortar fire?

Now blog is found more easly than any other page on the net. ? Big ?

Blog turns consumer relations from top-down to peer-to-peer.

Covering a topic for a year practically give s you enough material to write a book.

Align the readers with the content. There is always somebody out there that is a little bit more nuts than you about a particular topic you want to write about.

Andy Wibbels guest speaker

At daily KOS advertisement costs 9000 a week for the top slot.

DEmocratiziation fo the media thorugh this blog technology.

This class really starts to be interesting; perhaps the format should always be with a guest.

Deferred blogging

Blogging for small business.

May 7th class

May 8, 2007

Today we saw a little video about a very silly guy that re-did the video of the alien singing “I will survive” by Gloria Gaynor and getting killed by the disco ball in the middle of the song.

The poor target is now none else than a Jesus impersonator that comes to the same end being hit by a bus on the street.

I cannot believe that people found that funny; not only the subject is old and re-hashed millions of times, but where is the funny in any case in this one? Perhaps bashing a taboo about religion? I am not difficult to amuse and this thing did not amuse at all. The only thing that might have given this pathetic attempt to comedy is the fact that a lawsuit was filed – wait a minute that was the funny part 🙂

We discussed the impact of the internet and capability of broadband to a nation own wealth.

Evaluating broadband proficiency with economic development.
The connection between internet and democracy. China is keeping the internet at bay to avoid spreading democracy. Perhaps it is true and the Internet provides a faster “viral” way to spread democracy, but I wonder how we reached democracy without the internet. It is scary the fact that now people will tell us of course you are not free: you do not have a broadband connection! How does makes one free: it is hard to tell.

April 9th class

April 23, 2007

Second class; we are getting more acquainted with the electronic media and tools we will be using in class. It is very interesting to go in and get accounts created to these sites – this one included – and set up a collaborative framework to start building our little-big Electronic Catalog for Chicago Activism.

It never cease to amaze how much stuff is available for free and allows everyone to be part of the media; it is interesting also to see how some of these medium could be actually used to make money based on the amount of traffic they receive. This kind of activity is no longer usable solely by the big companies who purchase data from the stores who gave you their preferred card.

Now you can tell you write something interesting because people want to read what you are saying and like to interact with you and offer their responses.

Sometimes these responses can be harsh; Tom (prof. Tresser) told us someone received death threats because they were advocating their rights to delete a post on their blog if they demeed it offensive. Wow, we do need more nice people on this Earth.

Perhaps in a period of sustainable development we should start to think about being friendly with the environment and being friendly with each other; it seems the world lately is all about going around to get even. The answer to our problems is not longer the solution; it is who we can blame for them.

April 2nd class

April 23, 2007

Entered three weeks after the starting class, this blog entry is the proof itself I have learned something. Now I have my personal Blog page, I have posted to it and browsed the functionality of this blogging engine.

The class was a surprise in many ways: I had not taken a class in the CNA building before; so the first challenge was to find where the building was. Then the class looks like a computer lab – that’s why we paid that fee 🙂 –

The professor started with what is now known as his standard greeting: “Good evening ladies and germs;” we started learning about what was his vision for the Chicago Activism Catalog. He gave us a brief introduction on his biography and passed along a little flyer about a theatre production he is involved with. I believe the company is named “Collaboraction” and the play was “The intelligent design of Jenny Chow.” Quite an interesting play: I hope I will have the time to go see it.

April 23rd class

April 23, 2007

After struggling with WordPress neat user interface – but awful formatting engine – I came up with an idea to automate the creation of a blog entry for the Catalog. So “CataBlog” was created: a program in java swing able to accept all the elements we need for a blog entry in the Chicago Activism Blog and ouput a document that can be cut and pasted in WordPress without formatting surprises.

I tested the program and it worked very well; now if I can only get the site working fine it will be great. Of course any program written by you becomes your little puppy and it comes without saying I am proud of this little thingie that helps me with my assignment. I think it might be also a great tool for everyone to use to speed things up: I asked Tom (prof. Tresser) if we could do that.

Last class I started to be curious about blogging engines and that spawned curiousity towards what was available in the open source arena and I found a couple of great technical resources: I reported them in my tech blog posting. 

Another point made was a little discusison about the free internet; should it be privatized? I had to confess I never thought about it; I guess I always took the internet for granted. As a professional of software development I started to pay a little more attention to the subject and decided to propose to write a paper on it.

Seriously I use the internet for everything in my professional life and personal; I realized I put in discussion connectivity issues and security and integration challenges while I am in “work mode,” but somehow I take all the rest of the stuff that clearly someone else developed as just there.

Perhaps you think you might encounter bugs, but you never think that the whole kit and kaboodle could go back to the CompuServe days, where you had to pay a hefty fee just to have email – and on top of that you could not even choose your own id. –

In myspace I keep getting solicitations for sexy sites or pictures; how do you know someone could be a real friend and just have as hobby that? I do have a friend who is a photographer and I imagine his page would be something like that; so sexy is not the bad part, but the fact most of these so called “new friends” are in just for the money and they use their own body (I have to confess some of them really attractive)  to lure you in and pay money based on your own hormonal activity.

Could you be friend to someone in that line of business and yet avoid to be a customer? Would these people be willing to share their experience and opinions beyond the service provider/customer relation? I feel it is really hard to answer that and for the time being – although feeling a little bad about it – I decided to deny their “friendship” offerings.

Today’s lesson started with a discussion on trusting the content on the internet; who can we trust if we do not know who is writing and checking the sources.

Blogging in the news: and his owners. They turned down 1 billion from companies like Yahoo and Google.

WBEZ radio news. How do you get your news? network news, cable, public radio, Magazine, Internet.

Politics and the internet. MySpace has quite a few personalities in there included Hillary. How many friends do they have in MySpace

Example of video on utube hacked the original macintosh ad and substitutes the logo Apple with the O as in Obama. Interview with the author: he used Final Cut Pro and Motion to “mash up” or video hack and remix.

The macaca video: ?

Beats for tonight. Change to Social Justice.

April 16th class

April 17, 2007

We are going to check “blogging in the news.”

Some people out there have been using blogs to publish dubious content. Some receive death threats for mentioning to delete comments in your own blog that are considered offensive by you. From this point of view someone started to think about a “code of conduct;” like the O’Reilly Radar site at

Clearly playing on the name of Radar O’Reilly – a character in the old TV series MASH – Mr. O’Reilly started a white paper about a code of conduct for bloggers.

We are going to have our welcome page that will list the rules of acceptable content in our own blog.

It is indeed a heated argument when it comes down to being able to exress any comments on any blog. I believe the owner of the blog should be able to delete content he/she does not like or consider offensive.

Some family sites have been used and their pictures remapped to set up very discutible sites. Is it even feasible to know when and where our blog content is being used? How can we protect the content and yet still make it available online?

Flickr is the Yahoo images database; using our login as a class we are looking at ways to re-use the pictures uploaded to flickr into our blog on wordpress. 

We will learn about the controversy that is raised by the blog phenomenon.

Sometimes I think I am getting behind and there is too much information and then everything falls into place: it is necessary too to add articles and add the link and your comment.

For the L7 the final presentation would be a powerpoint presentation of the blog for this class. This very blog.

What in the heck is “net neutrality?”

There is a movement right now to privatize the internet and is trying to raise the issue of free internet for all. Will the internet be as free if privatized?

5 beats for the night: ours is “Environment.”

I will be in a group with Ms Dawn Hodges for “Environment.”

The format for the blog page is in one of the powerpoint presentations in BlackBoard. After the page is formatted we will upload the pictures in Yahoo Flickr and reference them in our page on WordPress.