Information For the Wrong/Right Reason

When looked at in the most basic form, a hacker is someone who does something out of a passion for it. During the Preface by Pekka Himanen, he goes so far as to say [su_quote]”a person can be a hacker without having anything to do with computers.”[/su_quote] It does not matter what the area of interest for the individual is, a hacker is someone who has a strong passion for a subject and works at it enthusiastically. However, many people are passionate about everyday things, such as their job, but it is not the same kind of passion a hacker has. The drive behind those passions are a little different from a hacker’s drive. That is why Himanen says the three ethics of a hacker are, like I already mentioned, the work ethic, in addition to the money ethic, and the facilitation of information across a network, or the nethic.

When the money aspect gets into things, it is a little difficult to say whether or not an individual is still passionate about something or not. After all, some artists,like filmmakers, rely on their work to make a living. If people do not like it, then they may find it difficult to get more work and in turn make money. However, some people might make something and not worry about the consequences because of their creative desire. Despite needing to make money, they may be perfectly content with doing what they love and hoping that people feel the same as they do towards their work. Linus Torvalds says a person’s motivations fall into either of three categories: survival, social life, and entertainment. He does not give a particular order as to what people hold higher because it varies from person to person; however, he does say that [su_quote]”[m]oney is motivation for what it brings –it’s the ultimate bartering tool for things we really care about.”[/su_quote]

In order to truly determine whether or not a person is a hacker, one cannot look at the financial motivator, but instead, they need to look at what the alleged hacker does with their passion. Since the third ethic of a hacker is the nethic, one only needs to look at what the hacker does with information when they receive it. Does an artist keep their technique to his or her self, or do they try and share it with the world. This is where a person’s character really shines through. People in many different areas like  politicians, artists, or journalist may horde information, but they could also share it for the good of everybody. When that happens they exhibit their passion on the subject and demonstrate a desire to pass it on. That is not to say that every time a person passes on information they do so with a passion for the area.

We already established three motivational factors for why people do what they do. However, hackers do what they do for entertainment purposes, the spreading of information.Torvalds even states a, [su_quote]” ‘hacker’ is a person who has gone past using his computer for survival.”[/su_quote] People who share information, like journalists or whistle blowers, may find that the information does help people, but just because the information can be good for the masses does not mean their intention was pure. It is short of like doing the right thing for the wrong reason. Since the reason it the individual’s intent, it is nearly impossible for someone from the outside to say what it was.

Final Blog – Kyle

This collaborative publication has been a very interesting learning experience for me. In the past I really haven’t worked on a group project that has been this complex and with the entire class involved. I found the overall division of labor to be well thought out and organized in terms of everyone’s strengths. I am still fairly new to DTC so learning all of this software such as Photoshop, InDesign, TextWrangler, and even Pages has been a crash-course challenge for me. Trying to navigate through all of this software and programs has been tough, but thanks to all of my knowledgeable classmates and instructor, I can say I have learned a lot about the digital publishing process in a short amount of time.

In past group projects were not based off strengths with certain types of software or ones artistic talents. We would all just work on the same type of project with everyone using the same software at once and kind of just hope for the best. The workload was usually separated merely by the length of the project requirements. If I was in a group on 4 people, the workload was divided evenly into fourths not regarding ones strengths and weaknesses. This typical process can get the job done, but the end product may not live up to what it is capable of being. This is why I enjoyed how the processes and sections of this project were divided up based on one’s experiences using the software and skills required to complete this unique digital production.

This digital publication process has been a learning process for not only me, but for my book trailer group as a whole. We all come from different backgrounds in terms of our strengths needed for this project. I myself fall more into the category of writing, text editing, and formatting. I am glad I was paired with two partners that have a background in film and photography. Since our group is focusing on the book trailer section of this project, I feel we are well rounded and prepared to write about the do’s and don’ts of book trailers.

It has been very interesting and inspiring to see the strengths of the other groups. We have many skilled students in this class and I have loved seeing what everyone has contributed to this project. I enjoy that the entire class has the last say on any major decisions or changes to the project. Little things like that are reassuring that this truly is a group effort. As we wrap up with this final project, I am very excited to see how our final production turns out. It will be interesting to see everyone’s contributions come together as one unique production on what we have learned as a whole in this class.

 

Final Project Reflection

Final Project Reflection

I think this project went pretty well overall. The biggest issue seemed to be the amount of changes, which were made throughout the production process. Getting multiple people to understand what needed to be done and stay on the same page about things seemed difficult at times. It was a good way to practice effective communication and a learning experience though. With that being said, I think everyone worked hard and did a good job in all of the sections.

This project helped give me further practice in some of the writing software such as text edit and formatting. I was also able to receive more practice using Photoshop and naming/formatting images for web and print versions.

Final Reflection

I think that this project was an interesting chance to create a publication collaboratively. Initially, I was not sure what to expect. I did not know how smoothly things would go. I think that more time would have helped the project as I felt unsure and rushed. However, I think that everything has come together in the end. I really like the idea of a class collaborative publication. I think that once the kinks are worked out of the project this will be a really good exercise in publishing workflow.

I think that breaking the book into sections amongst groups worked well. For example, Cody and I were able to break up our section into manageable parts to work with. We collaborated together and came up with ideas for our overall section, and we worked individual to make the chapters within our section. Once we placed our parts together and edited them, our section seemed to come together.

In class, the production teams offered a new opportunity for collaboration that seemed really valuable. Thus far, I have enjoyed working on this project in the production phase. Working together helps to make our publication more solid. Personally, I had some difficulties on my own. Working with others helped me to understand softwares and programs that I was not familiar with.

In the future, I think that a clearer format and guidelines should be agreed to further in advance. Perhaps, the class could brainstorm a more detailed skeleton for the book prior to breaking into groups. I knew what subjects to write about, but I was not always clear on how much detail to go into or which topics should be covered more than others. With time, I think that all of these concerns could be addressed and tinkered with to create a better overall flow and smoothness to this project.

However, this project has impressed me despite the experimental stages we have progressed through as the first class to do this project. I think that together we have gained valuable insight into the publishing process. I look forward to seeing the completed project.

Final Reflection

I really enjoyed working on this final project collaboratively with everyone. Obviously, the industry of digital publishing involves collaboration between many kinds of professionals (writers, designers, programmers, editors, researchers, etc.). This project gave us a glimpse of what it would be like to be a part of producing a digital publication. Individual assignments are valuable, of course, in gaining experience with tools and honing skills; but there is nothing quite like working toward a common goal as a group.

Before this project, I had never worked with Scalar. It’s a very powerful tool; I appreciate how it provides a straightforward publishing interface with the flexibility achieved by customizing HTML and CSS—much like WordPress, yet geared specifically for digital publications. Importing all of our written work, I wish we would have had a chance to generate even more content, dividing the chapters of our book further into subchapters and so on. Still, it was satisfying to take part in the process of transforming plain text into chunked, readable, and visual appealing compositions.

It’s exciting to think about working on a digital publication like this as part of a career, pushing the boundaries of the post-artifact book.

Final Project workflow analysis

My workflow process consisted of research, planning and design. Caleb and I divided the work between each other. He took annotations. I took social reading. I began by reading essays and blog posts on the current condition of social reading. Above all it struck me that the websites missed one thing– instantaneous feedback and live interactions between students and teachers. Rather than choosing to write quick blurbs about the large number of social reading apps, I decided on an approach of deeper engagement with three successful applications. The essay was between 1000 and 1500 words and so I thought that deeper descriptions and thoughts about 3 of the innumerable projects would be more appropriate for the assignment.
I began planning what my site would be like. At first I began with the idea that I should mockup the entire interface of a social reading app. I was informed that this was too ambitious a plan for the project. This however encouraged me to think much more simply. In my user interface design class, I learned that it is better for an application to do one thing very well, rather than a number of things poorly; hence the stripped down, minimalist design of my mockup. It has only two functions. It allows people to select text and submit questions relating to it to an instructor via instant messenger.
I then created a mockup very quickly. This original mockup was unsightly (it used what struck me as carnival colors) and hard to use, in that the background color made the highlighted text difficult to read. So I came up with another mockup with a greater deal of thought. I again made the site very simple. It does not consist of dozens of functions. In fact the functions are the same as my original mockup. But I came to the realization that a reading app should be much more about the reading experience than anything else. At first I thought I would go with an elegant, old-fashioned serif typeface, but this decreased the reading experience a great deal, especially when the text was highlighted with color. At first I thought I had to rework my new color scheme of blue, orange, green and gray. But ultimately, I solved the problem by using Verdana, as opposed to Book Antiqua. This greatly improved the experience. This made me contemplate the problem of aesthetics versus usability. Certainly Verdana is a boring typeface. But its fresh and clearly delineated letters make it possible to focus on the text itself, rather than the design, which is a key factor in websites or books with a great deal of text. The design should be invisible, rather than highly visible. A little research revealed that cliché typefaces like Verdana are better to use, because people are used to using them. I also chose a relative neutral palette for the background colors–white and gray. I used the gray to offset and separate the white background and the instant messenger. I chose to use jewel tones for my highlighted text, as user interface design best practices suggest bright colors as opposed to pastels (which do not work, incidentally on a white background).
I will close by say that this was not an empty experiment. I intend to write my own application along these general guidelines, using the mockup as a springboard to get started. Thus I began my iterative design process of research, planning and design through this class.

Final Thoughts and Comments

First and foremost, I think one recurring theme within the Digital Publishing course was that most students wished that they had taken this course as a full-length semester as opposed to a six-week accelerated course.  It would allow for more time and consideration to be placed into our projects, and as a result perhaps encouraging a more refined project.  I don’t mean to say this in a condescending manner, in fact I find the thought quite encouraging.  I’m sure many professional publication studios do not have the luxury to spend a whole lot of time on each product.  I’m sure that in crunch times, the staff will have to be prepared to produce publications at break neck speed.  So perhaps there’s a sense of realism to this accelerated course, and I’d prefer an atmosphere that closer matches a real world application than one more leisurely.  I feel like more experience, learning, and cohesion between students will occur as a result.

That being stated, the expectation of collaboration between students for this final project had me a bit concerned at first.  Many students have had bad experiences with group projects in the past, and a group project including an entire class seemed like a near impossibility.  I was impressed and amazed with the students’ ability to come together and tackle a project of this magnitude within a relatively short time frame.  To my surprise, despite our class being the “guinea pigs” of this course, as it has never been offered at Washington State University Vancouver before, everything and everyone seemed to come together seamlessly.  I think that grouping students initially for the writing portion of the project, then regrouping them to template the work was very effective for two reasons.  The first, it forces the students communicate with one another more so than an average group project, and therefore the students become more comfortable working together as a result.  The second is that regrouping the students to template the project allowed each student to play to their strengths for the project, since in its final form will be published across multiple platforms.  This might have been necessary given the short frame of time students were allotted, but more importantly I think that the students were far more comfortable with the project as they were all using familiar tools and strategies.

I certainly had strengths and weaknesses in this course as well.  Although quite affluent with HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and many front-end tools for web development, I was lost when it came to a lot of the software that we used to complete each project.  Many tools, such as iBooks Author and Scalar, came quite easy for me, as I feel that they were created to be accessible by just about anyone, and able to be used effectively a priori.  Others were not so friendly.  NewHive is an example of a tool that I did not have a particularly comfortable experience with.  I assumed this tool would come the easiest for me, because it is a simple drag-and-drop, but the quirks that came with this web application made production of even a very simple template a challenge for me.  After completing the project and reflecting on my work, I was sure I could have created a better product even faster simply using hand-coded HTML and CSS.

Publication Studio Visit

I’ll admit that at first I was a bit skeptical about our visit to Publication Studio in Portland.  I had this preconceived idea in my head that we wouldn’t gain much from the visit.  Needless to say, my mind was changed upon arrival.  Browsing the variety of books that had been forged there, all with different shapes, sizes, paper weights, cover material, etc… along with the minimalist and hand made approach to book making all caught my interest.

In particular, the most intriguing part of the visit to me was to see the variety of machinery that they used to complete each step in the book making process.  Printing aside, I loved the fact that cutting, binding, aligning, and finalizing the book was all done by hand.  The guillotine machine was reminiscent of a piece of machinery that I used during my time as a Topographic Analyst in the Marine Corps.  Our platoon had very large (upwards of 50 inches long) manual guillotines used to cut maps that were printed from the plotter to size.  They worked very well. One day, our staff decided to allocate some of our unit’s funds to purchasing electric “automatic” guillotines.  After a few short days of use, we quickly realized that the manual method was a far better way to achieve a more consistent and clean cut.  The automatic guillotines would always jam, and often times the cuts were misaligned and looked more lacerated than clean cut.  I’m sure Publication Studio could have spent the additional dollars on more fancy machinery, but there is something to be said about doing everything manually.  Artisans in the field might have better luck doing things that way.

One thought that I had about the business model behind Publication Studio and its two owners was that, although it’s a for profit business, it’s certainly not a business that one would choose to establish expecting to make boatloads of money in a very short time.  The two owners demonstrated to the students, with the attention to detail and pride they put into their work, that this is a business that they established because it was something that they loved; which in my opinion makes it that much more valuable.  That being said, I think it’s remarkable how much Publication Studio has grown in the six or so years that they’ve been in business.  Not only partnering with thirteen other similar studios around the nation, and even one as far as London, but also managing to rent their very own storefront in downtown Portland as little as one year after establishing themselves as a business, moving from the event center of a local hotel to an established storefront that they’ve managed to maintain ever since.

As a final thought, I found the manila folders to be quite innovative as a material to use as a book cover, but one thing that I found even more fascinating is their reliance on rubber stamps.  The stamp collection that they compiled during their time in business was remarkable, and even more so that they manually stamp each book with perfect alignment.  It was humorous to me that they actually had to teach a few European publishers how to stamp during one of their residencies.  Apparently it’s a far more practiced skill than one might initially think!

Meditations on Publication Studio

I thought that the fact that they were a for-profit business was fascinating. I had not heard of them until we visited the studio. They did not have the same ruthless attitude of other publishing companies. For instance, they admitted that they referred writers to other publishing companies if they felt they did not have the resources to do the job right. This astonished me. It seemed so anti-capitalist, anti-for-profit. Granted, many publishers turn down books, but for different reasons. For instance, the standard publisher will reject a book because it will not sell. In addition to this, large book publishing companies live in constant competition with each other. I have not encountered any story in which a writer received recommendations about which publisher would be most effective. In this regard, the company seems more like a nonprofit business. So it struck me as a paradox. The Publication Studio is a for-profit company that does not compete with other companies. The business struck me as completely different from a publisher like Hawthorne Books. I worked as an intern at Hawthorne Books before beginning my DTC career. This company seems almost old-fashioned or traditional in its practices when compared to the Publication Studio. Hawthorne Books virtually jumped at any client they could garner. Hawthorne Books also publishes titles that were rejected by other companies. But it does this on a much larger scale (instead of maxing at 300, they sell upwards of a thousand books). But I would say that Hawthorne Books is less innovative and less willing to sell books that are unconventional. As our tour guide informed us, the people at the Publication Studio are more willing to take risks with books. The print on-demand side of the business frees the business up to work on books that are less conventional. This seems to me to be an original way of doing business and more inline with the 21st century, wherein everyone has the opportunity to express herself.
The social element of the Publication Studio’s practices struck me as intriguing. I have heard of a writer in residence before, but I have never heard of a publishing company hunkering down at a bar. For such a small company, the Publication Studio seemed particularly adept at forging partnerships. Once again, I will compare it to Hawthorne Books. Hawthorne Books’ efforts consist mostly of drudgework. That is to say, the P.R. person spends a large portion of her day emailing potential bloggers and websites to find out whether these other agents will review a book. This is a slow process and only sometimes rewarding. The Publication Studio gains instant connections with people by presenting itself in a highly visible location. It also seems to me, that in a city of artists and writers, this would be an ideal place to network and tap into the energies of young talent. Such practices provide new avenues of growth and allow for new connections that are profitable and mutually beneficial in the 21st century.

Final Thoughts

When I first heard about the final project I was skeptical about getting in all of our ideas done but we worked together to meet our groups goal.                                                                                                                                                         Working collaboratively with the other students on this final project has been educational experience. The assignment has really transition from the first class. We started with an idea and then turned it in to a group project that show case our education on digital publishing. When we first began working on the project I was concerned that the time frame would be cutting it close.

We used a divide and conquer strategy to work out the book in almost two weeks.  In order to explain how covers can be improved we discussed how covers need a “face lift” and to be improved. We started explain how we see covers and what connection we have with them. We also discussed how we could expand that relationship to digital covers. Designing for digital book covers is a major topic as well.

Breaking the project up in to grope was the best possible plan. By dividing up the workload we ensured that we could have a complete book in our limited time frame.  We also get to learn a few things from our peers. I’ve always felt that two heads are better than one and When it comes to big project like this I find it to be true.

 

Final Blog

WELP wordpress just ate my entire post so let me try and recreate it from memory

The system that we used for most projects for this Digital Publishing class is the system that I tend to work best in. I like being able to ask others for help (read: hollering across the computer lab ala HEY CALEB DO YOU KNOW HOW TO HIDE THIS DIV WITHOUT DELETING IT). I also like being able to help others, as I tend to learn best when I’m explaining a process or a concept to someone else. And even if I don’t personally know how to help you, chances are I can find somebody that does.

The DTC program constantly encourages you to use new software and new processes to create new works of fiction or art or multimedia projects, but the resulting factor is that you hardly have time to work with tools that you feel you use the best. You spend quite a lot of time wondering how you could possibly be so awful at something and oh god why did you pick this degree you should have gone into marketing. With this system, everybody won. Everybody had a strength and a ‘Supapowah’ and used it, and nobody was flung into the proverbial abyss with google and a handful of Youtube videos and a whole ‘lotta luck.

You want me to whip up a graphic for that? Sure. Need this edited? Yeah, no problem. Need a quick website? I’m not the best at it but I’m sure I could whip something up. ‘HEY GUYS COME OVER HERE AND TELL ME WHICH COLOR SCHEME YOU LIKE BEST’, etc. This is what I’m happiest with. It’s not one person taking on a massive design or project all by themselves, but spreading the responsibilities between people that feel the most comfortable with them. Nobody gets a job that they don’t want to do (except for Will and editing all the separate sections. Sorry, Will.)

 

Blog #9

 

When I first heard that the final publication would be a large group project I had some reservations. After all, I am sure many people have had those bad experiences where they worked with a group and not everyone contributed equally. However, I think it is safe to say, from my perspective, everything appears to be going smoothly. That is not to say that there is not any hang ups, but at least I feel confident that I will be able to finish what I am supposed to finish.

One thing I appreciate about this project is that it mimics other collaborative projects I have worked on in the past. Much like the work force, not any one person can do every job, and the dynamic we have in the class plays to that. It is great having sections divided up for the content to be included in the project, and the production aspect of it. By just being assigned to an area of focus, I feel as if I can produce a better quality project than if I were to have to do everything myself.

It should also be considered that when a person has to make a large project with little to no help, they tend to slack off on areas they are weaker at in favor of those that are a strength. While this approach does make sense, it is ultimately a detriment to the final product. However, if one area of the project is a weak point for me, then someone else who sees that area as a strength can work on that while I do something else that I specialize in.

Since I have the luxury of being able to focus on an area where I have a strength, I can further refine my work and make it better than if I just had to rush through it. When someone is working on a larger project without help, I already established that the overall quality of the product would suffer because of a lack of knowledge; however, the quality of the individual’s areas of strength would also suffer because that person would not be able to devote as much time to producing it. With this group project we are doing, I feel that I can work to get my part of the content and publication done, while also checking, and double checking, my work to make sure it is of high quality.

I usually try and stay away from group project because I have had bad experiences with them in the past. When the work load is not evenly distributed, or it is not crucial for everyone to do their part, people tend to slack off if they do not have the right work ethic. Since a project like this book is so reliant on everyone doing their part, no one is able to slack off without everyone else taking notice. This way everyone has to pitch in and contribute. With that, everyone should be able to focus on their area of strength and the quality of the product should be evident when it is done.

 

A visit to Publication Studio

The visit to Publication Studio was very educational. I had never seen how a publishing studio function until that visit and it was interesting. I love that they use manila folders as book covers. They have a very unique cover and stamp system, it’s so cost effective and crafty. It was fun to learn about the business from two people who are genuinely passionate and care about their work.

I think that they have niche market and location has a lot to do with their success. The processes of making one book it very tedious and meticulous. I think you would really have to have the right passion to work there. The care that goes into making each book is also what makes them unique and special.

I could see some Cons to their business. They would have a hard time scaling the business at their current location. Since the machines they use are a little older making the books is time consuming. I could also see some pros to the small shop like the freedom to print what they want to. They also get to work with authors they like. They have full control over their publishing. They are a small company and while that might it can be a con I think it is working for them. They are the right size for the current market for publishing. Their cost of producing a book is very low in comparison to what they charge. Based on that I’d say they have a pretty good profit margin.

In a dying field they found a niche market and they are making it work. The idea of print by order makes a lot of sense especially for their business. Since they don’t make a book until it is purchased they don’t have to worry about making their money back. That is really smart for the size of their business. It wouldn’t make sense to have so much tied up for such a small business.

The idea to expand to different locations is really smart and by sharing author’s works online they can have a larger reach. Working together with other locations to make sure the work is identical is instrumental it authenticates the product.

They take on a lot of the responsibilities of publishing including the editing most works. The art books are an innovative idea and a great way showcase artist work. I think it’s funny that a few weeks ago in class we discussed the purpose of art books. I think we said that the only time people see art books is on a coffee table. Well I thought they we’re doing a great job with them. They had some great collaborative works between different artist and I found that very interesting.

Publication Studio may be a small shop but they have a great business model and with upgraded equipment they could be the future of digital publishing. The class book was a great way to see how it actually work and what goes in to putting it together.

Publication Studio

I was greatly interested by Publication Studio. The trip ended up being more interesting than I anticipated. It was really interesting to hear about their workflow and process. I would be interested in checking out their studio and services again some other time. Personally, I think that their business model was savvy and smart. The model really allowed for the studio to take creative risks and help out local authors and artists. This creates an environment and community with real value. I appreciated their integrity and approach to publishing because of this. It appears to be cost effective for the studio to print on demand. Similarly, print on demand allows for a wider range of materials to be published.

The social aspect of Publication Studio seems like a real asset. The work they do with the community and public feeds right into their goal of creating a public through publishing. Sharing their work and publications with the community fosters further interest in not only reading but in alternative publications as well. In today’s digital age, print books seem to be dying. Publication Studio offers an alternative form a print book that validates the continued existence of print media.

I believe that collaborating with other institutions gives Publication Studio a real uniqueness. I have never heard of publishers collaborating before. Often times, the best works of anything really are produced through collaboration. I think that publishing through collaboration can also produce similar effects. Some of the best works by Publication Studios sounded like they came from the collaborations between studios. It would be interesting to see the difference between something made from the Portland Publication Studio and something made in collaboration with the Portland Publication Studio. Regardless of quality, the collaboration projects certainly have added value due to the special editor factor that comes into play.

One of the most interesting things to hear about on the trip were the art residencies. For some reason, I found these projects to be the most intriguing. I have heard of art residencies before but never in this fashion. There was something really interesting about Publication Studio’s processes in these situations. These residencies create genuinely special and creative opportunities for the studio. I feel that these residencies are in a way similar to the collaborations. The residencies allow for the studio to approach projects in new and creative ways that they might not have been able to do from their home location and regular setting.

In the future, I will probably look into Publication Studio again. I actually followed their blog on my Tumblr too. I am interested in print media as well as digital publishing. I think that for future personal projects I may look into Publication Studios to see how a publishing process like theirs might benefit my projects. Regardless, the trip to Portland certainly gave me a lot to think about both in digital and print media. I am continually surprised by the amount of unique businesses found throughout Portland and Vancouver.