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A Successful Failure: The TI-99/4A Turns 40

My family had one of these when I was 12 or 13. The games I remember include a Pac-Man clone called “Munchman,” but I think I remember learning BASIC, blocky computer graphics, word-processing, and using a speech-synthesizer. The TI-99/4A was a great computer to learn on. I remember making a Star Trek combat simulator (based on the text-only battle games that were popular at the time), and I remember being incredibly frustrated, that in order to get a “+” sign, you pushed “shift” and the “=” button; but that in order to quit a program, you pushed “function” and the…

Dennis G. Jerz | Associate Professor of English -- New Media Journalism, Seton Hill University | jerz.setonhill.edu Logo

In February, 2001, I was blogging about computer nostalgia, Napster, a horror typing game, usability, and web blurbs.

In February, 2001, I was blogging about Computer nostalgia and text adventure games.“Walking into a room rendered in the Q3 engine can be lovely and impressive, but when you’ve only 16K to tell a story, you have to rely on the gamer’s imagination to provide the details. Just the words ‘you are on a beach’ can summon vistas no game can provide.” — James Lileks Napster. File-sharing was destroying the economic model of the recording industry. Here’s a screenshot of what the Yahoo News “Technology Full Coverage” section looked like on February 23, 2001. The Typing of the Dead: A…

Texas lawyer trapped by cat filter on Zoom call, informs judge he is not a cat

A Texas lawyer accidentally left a kitten filter on during a video conference call with a judge and was unable to change it, eventually responding to a judge’s query about why he was being addressed by a digital feline by saying: “I’m here live. I am not a cat.” Later, the judge wrote: “These fun moments are a byproduct of the legal profession’s dedication to ensuring that the justice system continues to function in these tough times. Everyone involved handled it with dignity, and the filtered lawyer showed incredible grace. True professionalism all around!” —Guardian

The Myth of North America, in One Painting

Fascinating art history — a thoughtful close reading of a painting. Great example of multimodal journalism. The clouds are heavy and black. A grim day for fighting. In the air is the smell of damp, and mortar fire. It’s a little after 10 a.m. on Sept. 13, 1759. The battle is almost over. In the distance, the wounded French soldiers are retreating. And a young general in a red coat is dying far from England, on the other side of the Atlantic. What does history look like? Who gets to write it, in whose name? The Seven Years’ War —…

Dennis G. Jerz | Associate Professor of English -- New Media Journalism, Seton Hill University | jerz.setonhill.edu Logo

In November 2000, I was blogging about the US Presidential election, mirrors, Arts & Letters Daily, and more

In November 2000, I was blogging about Ursula K. Le Guin Why we perceive mirrors reversing things left/right but not up/down Pioneering blog Arts & Letters Daily (just a year older than my own blog) Nick Montfort’s constrained poem “Upper Typewriter Row“ The 2000 US Presidential Election controversy (ballot design, hanging chads, recounts, political cartoons) The Web Economy Bullshit Generator The Onion’s fake “Fontly Speaking” typeface design column. James Lileks’s Orphanage of Cast-off Mascots A Quake 3 gamer who misses solving puzzles in text-adventure games

Cameras and Masks: Sustaining Emotional Connections with Your Students in an Age of COVID19

There are some sound pedagogical reasons for turning cameras on. Thus, I suggest sharing those reasons with the students before giving them the choice of what to do about their cameras. Explain why you are making your request. For example, being able to see students’ faces gives instructors a quick and easy way to discern whether students are finding the material engaging, at least in smaller classes. One instructor told me that “I asked students to turn their cameras on to say hi to their classmates at the beginning and end of class, and those were the best moments of the class.”

Deadline seems to have briefly published, then taken down, story that says Pence has tested positive for coronavirus

Deadline seems to have briefly published, then taken down, a breaking news story including the sentence “Pence announced late Wednesday that he is among those who have tested positive in the ongoing White House coronavirus outbreak.” 1. Google search for “tom tapp coronavirus pence” shows a hit for a Deadline story with a headline prefaced “PREP. DO NOT PUBLISH UNTIL THE NEWS CROSSES.” 2. Clicking the URL takes you to an error…   3. Clicking the down arrow by the URL reveals Google’s “Cached” version of that page.   Some years ago, people found CNN had pre-published obituaries of famous…

Dennis G. Jerz | Associate Professor of English -- New Media Journalism, Seton Hill University | jerz.setonhill.edu Logo

In September, 2000, I was blogging about PICK UP AX, Bellamy’s Looking Backward, WB Yeats, Jupiter Communications, and why Flash Animations Suck

In September 2000, I was blogging about The nerdy, 3-person 1990 play PICK UP AX The full text of Edward Bellamy’s Utopian fantasy Looking Backward (written in 1888, set in September 2000) The papers of William Butler Yeats (donated by his son to the National Library of Ireland) An elitist press release from Jupiter Communications that catered to web users with the fastest computers and Internet connections Why Flash animations suck

Dennis G. Jerz | Associate Professor of English -- New Media Journalism, Seton Hill University | jerz.setonhill.edu Logo

In July, 2000, I was creating handouts on the sounds of poetry, prototypes, and writing for the web

It seems that an unusually high percentage of links I posted to my website in July 2000 no longer work, but here are a few links that I could find via the Wayback Machine: The guy who invented the “pet rock” won the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction contest for really bad writing. Humorous courtroom transcripts Q: All your responses must be oral, OK? What school did you go to? A: Oral. In July 2000 I posted several new handouts that I’ve kept up over the years and still use in some form or other. Current Poetry is For the Ear; 2000 version…

Dennis G. Jerz | Associate Professor of English -- New Media Journalism, Seton Hill University | jerz.setonhill.edu Logo
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In May, 2000, I was blogging about the ‘I Love You’ virus, hacking URLs, PG Wodehouse, and Pez poetry

In May, 2000, I was blogging about The “I Love You” IRC virus A college that shifted to online applications only A poem about Pez that has lodged this couplet forever in my brain: What art thou, Pez, that must needs be dispensed? T’ be merely wrapped would leave thee so incensed? Hacking the URL A school for doctors with bad handwriting P.G. Wodehouse

Dennis G. Jerz | Associate Professor of English -- New Media Journalism, Seton Hill University | jerz.setonhill.edu Logo

In April 2000, I was blogging about HTML frames, the future of reading, grammar, Kairos, and Hypercard

In April 2000, I was blogging about… HTML frames (who remembers how much they sucked?) The sorry state of web design (AskTog) The future of reading “Rules grammar change: English traditional replace to be new syntax with” (The Onion) Journalism students who don’t read or watch journalism A design critique I published in the innovative online journal Kairos How Apple’s Hypercard set the stage for literary hypertext

Dennis G. Jerz | Associate Professor of English -- New Media Journalism, Seton Hill University | jerz.setonhill.edu Logo

In January 2000, I was blogging about dancing paperclips, the transience of literary judgement, “bafflegab,” and a planned B&N/Microsoft online bookstore

In January 2000, I was blogging about Dancing paperclips and telemarketers A “100 best novels” list published in 1899 Updike’s prequel to Hamlet The “bafflegab” jargon generator “Bookseller Barnes & Noble is teaming with Microsoft to build a new online e-book store.” (but the link is dead)

Over time, Google has made paid ads harder to spot

  In 2007, Google changed the long-standing shaded background indicating the ads section of the page from blue to yellow. In 2008, it then briefly tried a green background before reverting back to yellow. Google continued to test variations of background colors including bright blue and a light violet. In 2010, violet officially replaced the yellow, but only lasted about a year before yellow reappeared in 2011. In 2013, Google tweaked the yellow to a paler shade, which would close out the era of background shading. At the end of 2013, Google removed the background shading and began testinga yellow…