Friday, April 23, 2004

RIO PMP300 Nostalgia

I was just digging around in some old boxes when I came across the dongle for my "old" portable MP3 player. It seems like an oxymoron: "old MP3 player." The actual player has been sitting in my desk drawer (stuck to the bottom of drawer due to some sticky substance actually) for quite some time. Without the dongle, however, I thought it was useless. The player is a beaut. It was one of the first turqoise portable Rios. It had some sex appeal in its day! The dongle is even better. You have to synch using the parallel port (oh! the speed!). The actual driver app is similarly complex: "Sorry. Only Windows 95!" After breathing some life back into the old player I was shocked to find my old playlist still very much alive. It was a bit shocking to be able to listen to those vintage 2001 songs again! Who needs an iPod when you've got 64-megs and a parallel port!
Get Fuzzy Out Of Iraq

I'm a big fan of Darby Conley's 'Get Fuzzy' strip. For those of you who are unfamiliar, imagine Garfield (i.e., guy, cat, dog) but funny with plenty of oblique references to esotera like Rugby and the Quebec Nordiques. This last week, however, it's been a bit more sombre. The protagonist--Rob--is at Edwards Air Force base visiting his cousin Willie who has lost a leg. Yikes.

--Repost from Brint--

Stories are quite resistant to scripts and browsers for a few reasons:

1. Stories are very context specific. We don't necessarily tell stories just for the sake of telling stories. The natural exchange of stories is dependant on the situation and audience. Unless you're an author--and few of us are--it's very difficult to record a story without the cues provided by the audience and environment. It's even difficult to remember a story or recall an anecdote without these prompts.

2. The language of stories is highly varied. In the Information Science world, we would refer to this problem as polysemity i.e., words can mean a variety of things. Scripts don't tend to handle metaphor very well. The sentence "a dark and stormy night", for example, has nothing to do with lumens or average precipitation. Instead, the sentence sets the tone to facilitate the oral exchange of information.

If you're really interested in this stuff, here are a few references of note:

Gabriel, Y. (2000). Storytelling in organizations : facts, fictions, and fantasies. New York: Oxford University Press.
Simmons, A. (2002). The story factor : inspiration, influence, and persuasion through the art of storytelling. Cambridge, MA: Perseus Pub.

For a general treatise on oral culture, Ong is cannonical:

Ong, W. J. (1982). Orality and literacy : the technologizing of the word. London ; New York: Methuen.