Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Course Reflection

Before this course I guess I didn’t know much about digital media. I had used some Photoshop in courses prior to this, and that was basically the extent of my knowledge. The first thing that I felt was very helpful was that I found out my phone can actually take decent pictures, and there is free software where I can edit the images. I figured I would need a larger more expensive camera to take photos nice enough to use for assignments. Before this course I had little understanding of what an image resolution really is, and this is probably the most valuable lesson to me. I simply figured more pixels is better, which I guess is still true. However it was important to know what resolution your camera has, and how you are able to tell how many pixels it is able to capture. I will never forget that my phone has an 8 mega pixel camera, well until I get a new one :). Figuring out the dpi for prints is still a bit fuzzy in my mind, and I know that is something that I will have to look up once more if I want to print an image. 

Thanks to this blogs and the website I can now embed codes like a champ. When I had to make websites for previous classes I would end up messing it up somehow, like placing the wrong code in the wrong area. If there was a way to screw something up I managed to do it. In the beginning of this course I know I stated somewhere that I was not a tech savvy individual, I didn’t know how to do much of anything on a computer. Now I think I might be able to help someone with their digital assignments. 

Two of the more difficult assignments to me were the video mashups and creating the songs. These projects took me way out of my comfort zone, and were probably the most challenging. It may have been more challenging since I had zero knowledge of this software prior to the assignment. These were things that I know that I was not happy with my results, but I know if I chose to complete these assignments again I would have a much better outcome. The mistakes are there in each assignment, but you don’t learn nearly as much from your successes as you do from your failures. 

You learn something new everyday, and you learn a lot more through an entire semester. 

Larry and Harry

During my communications this term we had a lecture about intellectual property, basically copyrights. An interesting thing we learned was that it is possible for a person to create the same exact version of something, even though it was already created and copyrighted, as the other created might not have known about the work. If the other creator was proven to have no knowledge of the other work, then the money earned for the second already copyrighted work would have to be shared amongst the two. That was neat, and seems nearly impossible for that to happen today with the help of the internet. But the second interesting thing we learned was about a case involving Harry Potter.

This case involved J.K Rowling, the creator of Harry Potter (I would hope everyone knows this) and an author by the name of Nancy Stouffer. Stouffer brought up this case in 2000 claiming that Rowling had stolen the idea of Harry Potter. Stouffer's book was called Larry Potter and His Best Friend Lilly. The characters names were similar, I'll give her that. Also both Harry and Larry wear glasses. The highest form of evidence that Stouffer had was that she claims she had created the term "muggles." During my class the professor stated that Stouffer mainly lost the case because her book was just worse that Harry Potter, so the courts did not rule in her favor. But as I found out on the case ended in a different manor. Stouffer created Larry Potter in 1988, but only found out one mention of his last name being Potter, and the font for "Potter" was written in a text that had not been created until 1993. Stouffer had changed pages far after her book had been created to add the word "muggle."

Maybe this case was common knowledge to most, but hey, I didn't know about it.

Mushrooms? Mushrooms.

If you were lost in the woods in Ohio, and you were at the point of starvation, what do you eat? Well I don't like mushrooms, but I thought thats a common thing that you could eat, right? But you have to know whats edible and whats not. So here is some information I found from my dumb question. 

First of all, there are over 2,000 kinds of wild mushrooms in Ohio. Here are some that are not safe to eat. 

Fly Amanita. This guy is poisonous.  
Destroying Angel mushroom. This one will kill you.
False Morel, yeah, this is poisonous. 
Green-Spored Lepiota. This guy is responsible for the highest amount of mushroom poisonings. 
This wasn't all of the poisonous mushrooms, but there are too many for me to do all of them. Not all mushrooms will kill you or make you ill, but its good to at least be able recognize some of them. Here are some of the mushrooms in Ohio that are safe to eat. 
Shaggy Parasol. Totally edible. 
Morel Mushroom. This guy is definitely safe to eat, just don't confuse it with the False Morel above.
Chicken or Sulfur Mushroom. Safe to eat, also fun to look at. 

Giant Puffball. They can get up to 150 centimeters in diameter. Eat up! 

For some more information on the fungi of Ohio here is a fun link. Enjoy.

Wildlife bridges

Something that people in our area have not yet seen, but something that is needed in other ends of our country are wildlife bridges, or Ecoducts. These bridges, like the name suggests, are created for the use of animals to safely cross the road. The bridges are typically built on roads that have heavy traffic. These bridges are both beneficial to people, and animals. Animals aren't going to be hit by a passing vehicle, while people are not going to crash into crossing animals. A win win! Primarily it is deer that are the issue with crossing the streets, and deer are creatures of habit, like us. The deer will use the same paths for generations, so if a road is plopped onto their path, they will still cross it. These wildlife bridges will be placed on the animals usual trail or close to it, to encourage them to use a safe crossing point. This is something that I wish would be more prominent in our area.

This bridge is located in the Netherlands. Here you can see the trails from the animals that use it. 

The crossings may also be in the shape of an underpass. You can't have this adorable little family crossing a busy highway. 

Bridges have also been constructed for the red crab migration, which is awesome. Way to look out for the little guys!

Save these little angels. 

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Learning more about cats (kind of)

Not learning about real cats this time. More about an app that makes you feel like a cat hoarder.

I was told about an app called Neko Atsume (cat collector), where the goal is to document all the local cats in the neighborhood in a scrapbook. You can't interact with your cats, just lure them in with food and toys. The cats only stay for a little while and when they leave they will reward you with their form of money, fish, so you can buy them new toys.

This sounds like the dumbest game ever. I was skeptical. But for some reason this is strangely addicting. I'm not sure if its just the excitement of seeing a new cat in your yard, how it feels when you are trying to complete a Pokedex, how you're afraid to let your cats go hungry, or simply for the fact that these guys are adorable.

But there are a few things that we don't really understand fully in the game. For instance each cat has a personality, favorite toys, and a power level. As far as I can tell no one is really certain what a cats power level means, especially since they don't really do anything. A theory that is out there is that if a cat has a stronger power level and one with a lower is using its favorite toy, the stronger cat is able to kick the weaker out of the yard so that it is able to use it. But these cats look too precious to be doing anything such as this.

There are also some special cats that you are able to gain in your scrapbook, depending on the items that you purchase and place in your yard. The only special cats that I am aware of so far are the baseball player Joe DiMeowgio, the rough cowboy Billy the Kitten, and the Persian prince Xerxes IX.

The good news for you is that this app is free, and its available for both apple and android.

Happy hoarding.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Blog logos, vector images.

We were assigned to make logos for our blogs. My blog has a pretty open theme, so I think I was able to be more open with my logo. We watched a PBS video on logos and I really enjoyed the simple logos. The super simple logos. I wasn't really a fan of the logos that were heavily detailed, or that had text in them. I made a logo with my blog title incorporated in it but it it my least favorite. I wanted to use minimal colors just for the fact of simplicity. I also wanted to use my cat because she has been involved within the blog a few times now, so I think she really fit. There was a symbol of a lightbulb available and I thought that worked best for learning things. The first attempt is definitely my favorite. The circle around the outside of the cat figure gives the whole image the look of a cats eye. The second image I am not really a fan of. I just don't like the text on the inside. But I felt like I needed to create a logo that had some type of text. I used Method Draw to make my logo, and it took my quite some time to figure out how to use the application. I honestly felt like I was using Microsoft Paint when I was using this. Maybe that means I was using it wrong... I don't know.

Thursday, October 29, 2015


This was by far my least favorite application that we used. It looks simple to work with, but to add an image was complicated. I ran this off of chrome, which I had to switch over to Safari to use. I never use Safari simply for its lack of speed. I also had to download Silverlight, which I have never heard of. After doing that I still was not sure I was using this application correctly because I did not have the option of adding an image. Apparently I was using the application wrong, and after Googling how to run it I figured out how to add an image. I tried adding an image of one of my urban landscape photos, but without a precise outline of the shape it was nearly impossible to see the image within the tag cloud. I went into photoshop with my image and removed most of the background with the wand tool, in hopes of simply making a silhouette of the image.

Once I had the shape on there it was difficult figuring out how add more words to the tag cloud, I am surprized that I didn't give up on this. One of the most frustrating things was that the text would not take up my entire image. You can see here that my shape has much that is not filled up with text. I maximized my word count and was still not able to fill up the shape. This application took the most amount of time to finish and I am not happy with any of the results.

Here is my attempt. I like that it looks like its falling apart, kind of how this house looked anyways.