Hack-A-Day

This site is really interesting, even for a non-hacker such as myself. The focus for this site is less on hacking websites, but more about hacking life. It works similar to a blog, where you can search for articles by different categories and see the posts by chronological order. But the real appeal is the content. You find tutorials and written how-to’s on any topic here. Jailbreaking an iPhone, to making a really cool looking robot from parts you can find in an old computer, and everything in between, can be found on the site. The best part I like about it are how well written the tutorials are. Youtube is great for tutorials, but the quality can be meh at times. However, hackaday.com has done a great job of keeping the content interesting and well done. Another great site for the curious and mechanically inclined.

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Coding Help

Since HTML5, CSS, PHP, and Javascript are becoming more important in the new media curriculum, I’ve been looking for sites to help me increase my coding skills. I’ve been to sites like e3schools.com, but those are better used for reference, and not so much for someone with a basic understanding of code. To be honest, I was a little lost as to where to go from there. Until I found hackthissite.org.

This site is great. It offers a way to increase your skills in a fun and engaging way. They seriously want you to learn how to hack their site. It makes learning all the code more fun and inspires you to learn more, so you can continue on up to harder lessons. The motivation that this site creates is wonderful, and the idea of a site openly inviting you to hack it is definitely new and exciting. The community there is dedicated and intelligent, and there are answers to the lessons found all over the internet, for those lazy enough to give up before figuring it out on their own. It gives the user some practical application to use their skills, and this really helped me get excited to learn code. I didn’t get very far, as this is something I do in my free time, but I would highly recommend trying to get this into the new media curriculum to inspire students to get excited about the skills they are learning in class.

Interactive Textbook

I’ve noticed more and more classes are asking students to rely on online tutorials or texts to help learn the material taught in the classroom. I’ve even been in classes where there was little education outside of tutorials found online and the projects assigned in class. This is a great idea. Text books are an old medium, and an ineffective one at that. I’ve never met anyone who enjoys reading from textbooks that aren’t in their major. I’ve met one or two that actually enjoy reading textbooks. It’s basically just a way for universities to make even more money. I know I’m over generalizing here, but the fact remains that textbooks are an inefficient way of communicating an idea to a student.

Considering this, I love finding online resources available that help me learn what I need to learn, but in an interactive and often interesting way. Here’s a link to an art history site that I used to study for my exams. I really hope that this trend continues and becomes the norm within all aspects of the education system. It’s time to end this love affair with the textbook, because it’s only going to hurt us in the end.

http://smarthistory.khanacademy.org/

Approach for My Campus: Sticky Note Edit.

When first logging onto the website, you’ll be greeted with a wall of sticky notes with all of the blurbs written by students of various campuses. There will be no filters yet, so the screen will be covered with them. At the top will be the site logo, categories and a search bar. You can limit the amount of stickies by clicking on a category and searching within it or by typing in any other criteria you wish. The results will be shown on the page, again stuck all over the page but with a much smaller number, so to make them more readable and appealing. A slideshow option will also be made available for those with a slower internet connection. This view will allow them to view the stickies one by one, compensation for their slow connection speed.

Response to As It Happened

This movie was great. I had little knowledge of any kind of hacking and famous hackers before this movie, so the entire movie was fresh knowledge for me. The movie presented really well too, so it was a pleasure to watch. Learning about the fore fathers of the hackers movement really inspired me to go look more into the whole hacking movement. I wonder whether that was the intention of the film? It must have been. The positive and friendly attitude it had towards hacking really helped me as a student and a viewer get interested in these people and their lives, and give me a look at hacking that the media hasn’t given us ever since the birth of the movement.

It made me wonder what these guys think of modern day hacking groups like lulsec and anonymous. These groups have received large amounts of negative media attention. After watching this film, I wonder what these men who began the movement would have to say about them. Would they agree with the media? Disagree? Or fall somewhere in between? I know I disagree with their tactics. They’re blunt and malicious, compared to these earlier hackers. But then again, that’s the medias portrayal of them. How does one even begin to define these groups? That’s a question I don’t think I’m prepared to answer. At least, not yet.

 

Response to the Yes Men

This movie was incredible. It was entertaining, educational, and eye opening as well. There should be more movies like these in the pubic school system for sure. We’d certainly learn more. The movie was just so well put together too. The most amazing this was how simple the plans were that they put together. Often it was simply a false website and some posts, and they were receiving their own invitations left and right to extremely important events. What also amazed me was the guts these two guys had. Doing the stunts they did could not have been easy on them, and the sheer nerve and determination was inspiring in and of itself.

This movie is a must see for any new media major. It shows a side of what smart people can be capable of doing with the technology we’re learning how to use. All it takes is some brains and a mission, and amazing things can occur. A good lesson, but easily forgotten here on campus, what with all the homework and rules that being a college student entails. It’s easy to forget that sometimes you have to break a few rules to get at what’s important, as long as you do it intelligently. Doing things intelligently means different things to different people, but these guys deserve a standing ovation for their aspirations and courage to go through with their ideas. Wherever you are, Yes Men, I stand applauding.

My Campus: Stick Note Edit.

A website where you can post quick notes about what it’s really like going to school at your campus. The idea is to get the real story of how your experience might be. The story that the tour guides are not paid to tell you. The story the University might not want you to know, or are too busy to realize how good something really is. Examples; where’s the best food on campus? Where are you most likely to get hassled by protestors? Who actually goes to school events? Are hockey games worth waiting outside for? When do the assholes workout at the gym, and when is the best time to avoid them? All these and more would be available to view, referenced by campus and popularity of the post. All posts would be available to vote up or down, which allows viewers to search by campus or by popularity. An admin would be assigned to keep an eye open for inappropriate posts, though swearing would be allowed to a reasonable extent. Validity of the posts would be determined by how many positive votes the posts receive. Basically an auto-correcting system built in with the up votes and down votes.

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