Archive for the Assignments Category

Intro To MSIT 3810

Posted in Assignments, Photo Shop For Internet Graphics with tags , on January 26, 2011 by zach-attack-shaw

I guess I should start off with what I find myself constantly saying on this blog: I’m sorry for the lack of content! I originally created this blog in the Fall of 2009 for the Computer Mediated Communications course at Clark University, but made the promise to continue writing reviews and opinion pieces even afterwards. Well, I did a somewhat ok job doing that in the Spring of ’10, a lousy job during the Summer of ’10, and (to be blunt) didn’t even bother doing anything last Fall. “What’s my excuse?” you have the right to ask? Well, I know I’ve said it before, but it truly is the truth. A majority of my time away from college is focused on contributing to MetalInsider.net. Since the Summer, I’ve been contributing more to the site. So whenever I write something of music interest, it usually is for MetalInsider.net rather than for the blog. Whenever I do have free time to write, I just don’t because between school and the website, I tend to get beat (surprise eh?).

So why am I back writing this post? Well, because you can somewhat say that I’m “returning” to the blog. I am currently taking the course Photoshop For Internet Graphics where we essentially learn the ins and outs of using Adobe Photoshop. As part of the requirements, we are suppose to post our class exercises/assignments on our own blog. So rather than create a new one, I decided to use ZachShaw.wordpress.com once again. In a way, it’ll be somewhat similar to the written article’s/assignments I’ve posted here in the past. The difference is though that instead of writing, I am expressing my opinions through imagery and photoshop…or at least trying to (hopefully I’ll be somewhat good at it).

Our first reading assignment for the class was to read chapters 5-8 in Photoshop CS5: Visual QuickStart Guide. These chapters focused on guides to using Workspaces, Panels, Pixel Basics, Layer Basics in Photoshop. In response to the readings, I decided to create a “course picture” as a way to play around with layers. The background is a picture I took from an Avenged Sevenfold concert I attended recently (note: I hope to post more pictures from the show very soon. If you are impatient, check them out here). I then changed the image’s color saturation to “+70” to give it a little more glow. Then I added two text layers in Copperplate Gothic Bold font. Also, next to my name, you’ll notice a miniaturized, color altered and cropped version of this picture. If you’re interested to see the difference, you can see the original image of the background and the text layer without the background below. I must admit that I probably could have played around with the image to add more from what I read in the chapters. However, even after the readings I am still not entirely comfortable with Photoshop (in fact, I was originally going to just create something in Word Paint just for this first assignment until I decided to download a free trial of Adobe Photoshop. I hope to actually purchase it soon). Hopefully within the next few weeks my confidence will grow.

So please continue to stop by at ZachShaw.wordpress.com to see the new imagery I’ve created for the class. As always, I encourage you to share your thoughts on my work. Even if you don’t like it, let me know! I hope to get back in the habit of writing for this blog as well, though to be honest that isn’t as sure of a thing. If you are still interested in reading new written work from me, please head over to MetalInsider.net where I continue to contribute news non-stop. Thanks everyone and enjoy!

-Zach

The Original Picture I Took Pre-Saturation

The Text Layers

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Top Ten Underrated Guitarists: Overlooked No Longer

Posted in Assignments with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 4, 2010 by zach-attack-shaw

For my Writing For Magazines course, our final assignment was to write a feature article for a magazine of our choice. I decided to write an countdown list about the top ten most underrated guitarists in rock for Guitar World Magazine. I know that many of you may disagree with my list or feel I left some off (I definitely struggle with a few I had to leave off). So after reading my piece, jot down some guitarists you feel don’t receive fair recognition in the comment section. This way we can further shine a light on more unsung guitar gods! But first, take a look at the feature article I wrote (as well as the sidebar about underrated songs). Read the intro first then read the list after the hit.

Eddie Van Halen, Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton or Slash: these are a few of the guitarists who always dominate the covers of magazines. Media outlets are constantly praising their influence and talent. Yet whenever the discussion of guitar idols arises, there always seem to be a few names that don’t get fair acknowledgement. While these guitarists are given honorable mentions and modest placements on count-down lists, they still fail to receive rightful admiration despite their remarkable approach to the guitar.

Well not any more. It’s time to countdown ten guitarists or duos, both current and established, which too often get overlooked.
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Computer Mediated Communications Assignment 7: Social Networks

Posted in Assignments with tags , , , on December 8, 2009 by zach-attack-shaw

1. Which of the various tools for communication/collaboration do you find the most useful? Why?

I lean towards saying that Facebook is the most useful communications tool. Facebook biggest strength is in its capabilities to allow people to stay in contact with friends and acquaintances without any difficulties or hassle. I can easily talk to a friend I haven’t seen in years by leaving him or her a comment on their wall or status. If I want to send something more private to a friend, then I can send a message to that person in their inbox that’s only visible to them. An additional advantage to this social network is giving everyday people the chance to promote a cause or event through “Facebook Pages/Groups” and “Facebook Events”. While Facebook “Pages/Events” are not the most reliable ways of securing an audience (you can usually expect half of the people who say they will “attend” an event to not actually do so), such applications are great tools for the everyday user who don’t have the same support or backing as an actual marketing company. In other words, Facebook is a great tool for the independent, smaller operations (like college campus groups and events).

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Computer Mediated Communications Assignment 6: Attending A Virtual Event

Posted in Assignments with tags , , , , on December 3, 2009 by zach-attack-shaw

1. Which event did you attend? How did you go about attending this event?

I attended a live music video screening online (cool right?!) this past Wednesday night (December 2). The rock group 3 premiered their music video for their song “Rabid Animals” live on a music website called Sputnikmusic.com. The band and video director Chase Pierson appeared live via LiveStream and interacted with fans through a chat room set up on the site. They answered fans questions before and after showing the music video a couple of times. The event ended at 11pm with an acoustic instrumental performance for everyone viewing. There were about 45-65 people in and out of the chat room posting questions as well as comments.

The video that they premiered, “Rabid Animals”, was actually shot in front of a live stream online. Fans were able to view and chat with the band in a similar fashion as to the event I attended. In addition to being able to make suggestions for the video while they were filming, 3 actually featured submitted video of their fans “foaming” from the mouth in the video. On top of that, footage was taken with only web cams and flip cameras (which I thought was extremely cool). In a sense, this video was made online. In addition to these past online events, 3 will be streaming their record release concert live from Woodstock, NY on their band’s live stream on Friday, December 4 at 8:30 pm. I highly recommend checking it out!!

2. What happened? Did anything unexpected happen?

Besides a few tiny glitches (which were not that bad), the event ran really well and smoothly. Not only did I post comments and questions for the band, but they actually responded! I asked the question “What lead you guys to holding such cool events like these online?” Singer/guitarist Joey Eppard explained how they wanted to do more then just film a video to put on MTV and do something that would really connect to their fan base. I was extremely flattered that I even received a response. However, in a surprise course of action, Chase the director followed the singer’s answer by saying “Wait is that Zach Shaw?! Oh hey! Why haven’t you returned my calls?!” Sadly, I wasn’t the same Zach Shaw he was thinking of (unless if I misunderstood which Zach Shaw he was talking about. If so, call me Chase! Haha). “Oh. It’s a different Zach Shaw? Well you haven’t called me back either!” he joked once realizing the mistake. I have to admit, even though he mistook me for someone else, I was still extremely flattered by the shout out. It definitely made my night!

3. Was this experience any good? Would you recommend it to others?

This was an amazing experience. Even though it was open to the entire world online, the event felt like it was an intimate social gathering. I felt as if I was actually apart of a conversation with the director and band and not just an observer. Mixing Q&A with a video screening and an acoustic performance, 3 did an amazing job at using new technologies to better connect with their audience. This was truly a unique experience that I would recommend to any music fan. In other words, you should absolutely check out the live stream of their record release concert live from Woodstock, NY on their band’s live stream on Friday, December 4 at 8:30 pm!!! I believe the show will be streaming on LiveStream.com/3live.

I must admit, this was actually my firs time hearing music from 3, despite hearing rave reviews. After seeing the video for “Rabid Animals”, I have come to see how awesome these guys truly are. With its mix of melodic and progressive rock, it’s a safe bet that 3 will blow you away! Check out the band on their MySpace page. Their latest release, Revisions, was released on October 26 via Metal Blade Records. Check these guys out!!

Computer Mediated Communications Assignment 5: Build “Something”

Posted in Assignments with tags , , , , , , on November 29, 2009 by zach-attack-shaw

1. Which application did you use to create something? How could other members of the class go about accessing your stuff?

I used Facebook to create a “Fan Page” for my sketch comedy show The Kevorkian Slips. The point of having a fan page of something on Facebook is to showcase information to fans. It’s a great way to keep people updated with news and special features (including pictures and videos) and promote a product/show/business. The difference between a Facebook “fan page” and “group” has become less and less diverse. Previously, a “fan page” allowed one to update its “fans” faster by featuring a “fan page status” (similar to a status featured on a single person’s page). However, Facebook “groups” have incorporated the same design and format (including status updates) as “pages”. So in reality, there are no longer distinct/recognizable differences between the two.

People can access the fan page by simply typing in The Kevorkian Slips in Facebook’s search engine or click here.

2. How much time/effort was required in building your creation?

Not much time was required to actually create a Facebook “fan page”. It took a few minutes to add the show’s description and details regarding the cast, the writers, the producers and the airing of the show. Since I already had a picture I wanted to use for the “fan page”, it took no time to upload the picture. It probably helped that I am very familiar with making Facebook “fan pages” and “groups” previously. What took the most time, however, was suggesting my Facebook “friends” to become “fans” of the page. This is basically the same as “inviting” Facebook “friends” to become members of a Facebook “group” or to attend a Facebook “event”. You literally go through each person and click on the icons of friends you want to invite/suggest. Because I invited a majority of friends from Clark to become a “fan” of my sketch show (keep in mind, I have a little under 900 friends on Facebook and a majority of them attend Clark University), it took me over 20 minutes to suggest the fan page to people.

3. Do you like what you have made?

I am pleased with the fan page of The Kevorkian Slips. It provides fans with details regarding the show. It also provides me with a platform to promote the show. I can use the page’s status to update it with show related events, show airings on Clark Cable Network (CCN) Channel 11, and show related news. I can also post videos on the page as a way to provide people with previews. So yes, I am pleased with the Facebook “fan page” I have created.

Since I created the fan page to promote The Kevorkian Slips, let me be a publicity whore. The Kevorkian Slips’ first episode will premier on CCN Day! The screening (along with the debut of other original CCN programming such as Horde House and other student short films) will take place on December 10, 2009 at 9pm at Clark University’s Cafeteria (in the UC). Click here for more details regarding CCN Day.

UPDATE: The first episode of The Kevorkian Slips is now online. Check out the entire episode on our Youtube Channel!!

The Kevorkian Slips will also be shown regularly on CCN Channel 11 (available on Clark University Campus) and online.

Computer Mediated Communications Assignment 4: Playing Well With Others

Posted in Assignments with tags , , , , on November 2, 2009 by zach-attack-shaw

1. How many of your comments turned out to be the only comments attached to a particular post?

Most of my comments were the only ones for particular posts (with the exception of Becca’s post about her filming project). However, I did receive a reply to my post on Libby’s post regarding Second Life. Her reply engaged a discussion about the post’s topic.

2. How many different blogs did you comment only? (Remember: 3 is a minimum number, you are not limited to only three people)

I so far have only commented on four different blogs, with the intention to comment more. I have been having trouble posting comments on blogs using Blogspot.com. Since I use WordPress.com, I guess it is a little trickier to post a comment on Blogspot users (even though it says I can leave a comment on my WordPress address). Anyone know what I am doing wrong?

3. Did you tend to respond to people you already knew from outside the class?

At first I tended to respond to people I knew (at least knew as more than just as fellow students). However, I have been trying to take a look at more blogs, preferably ones with more active posts.

4. Do you think this is a useful way to communicate in a class setting?

I think it is a creative way to communicate in a class setting. Instead of making students post responses on Cicada discussion boards, we are given a platform to stretch our own input. It creates more of a personal connection for the student, allowing the class to see a different side of each other and not just the person they see in class.

5. What are the advantages/disadvantages of this method of communication?

The personal input I mentioned above in answer 4 is a major advantage of blog comments. A disadvantage to this method, however, is ensuring students view everyone’s blog. With 24 blogs, students may not look at every post. Thus, you are faced with the same issue of a lack of participation as you may see with Cicada.

Computer Mediated Communications Assignment 3: Editing and Building CMC Wiki

Posted in Assignments with tags , , , , on October 20, 2009 by zach-attack-shaw

1. Which entry did you write? Which did you edit?

Previously, each micro-assignment was mentioned on the Wiki CMC page. When Libby, Ali and I added the Grading section to the page, we create a separate page for each part. I wrote the pages for the Micro-assignments and Attendance/Participation. Libby wrote the page for Blogs/Journal. Ali wrote the page for the Macro-assignments. We also created links for each part of the grading, as well as for the authors.

In addition, added more detail to the course description. I changed “This course” in the first sentence to “Computer Mediated Communications (COM 170)”. I also added the sentence “This course is taught by Professor Paul Bohan Broderick at Clark University” to the end of the course description.

2. How hard was it to make an entry?

The only difficulty I had when making an entry was not being able to edit when others were. The site did not allow you to edit while others were editing the same post. However, once more pages were being creating, there were more things to edit (thus speeding the process up). It also helped that I was working with Libby and Ali. We were able to spread the work together so more was done. For example, while I was creating a link page for Micro-assignments, Libby was able to work on the page with Blogs/Journals without interference. This way, everyone was able to contribute to editing.

3. Did you notice the opportunities for social interaction? Did you speak with the student whose entry you edited? Did anyone speak to you about editing your entry? Was there any sort of spontaneous order that resulted from this exercise?

I absolutely noticed the opportunities for social interaction. Wikipedia gives people the chance to create and edit a piece of work together. People are collaborating to accomplish the same goal: gathering information. While I did not speak with students whose post I edited, I did collaborate with Libby and Ali on editing the page. As soon as we got started, we began a pattern of how we posted updates (each of us taking a turn posting something), which then led to us working on new pages. Our communication led to building more on the site.

4. What is your general impression of this tool?

I am personally impressed with this tool and the capabilities it gives the web user. People are able to engage with a platform that seeks to enhance information. Through the discussion board featured on each page, people are also gathered with other people interested in the same goal of bettering sources about the subject. It is truly refreshing to see a Web 2.0 program that encourages participants to converse in order to improve something, rather than bashing.