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English 420 - Penn State Harrisburg

Revised: April 28, 2008
Shaped By My Experiences ...

 

 


Interactive Computing - 1984

The Texas Instruments "TI-99/4A Home Computer" was the first computer me and my brother owned. We would spend hours tearing up the Munch Man course as we franticly linked our chains together in this our first interactive computer gaming experience.

George Landow in his book Hypertext 3.0: Critical Theory and New Media in an Era of Globalization states that the word interactive "has been used to sell anything that has to do with computing." Espen Aarseth points out that "to declare a system interactive is to endorse it with a magic power.

Ted Nelson's writings following in the same vein of thought. The computer user must be s an active participant in the process, choosing the path on which they will be lead.

Think About. . . Are video games of past and present interactive, or do they need a player to invoke their capabilities?

Remember the Floppy ?

FloppyThe 5.25-inch disk held 360 kilobytes compared to the 1.44 megabyte capacity the 3.5-inch diskette and disketts were only the beginning ! Can you believe how far we have come as consumers of technology?

 

 
Taking Into Account the Visual

I entered the workforce in 1992 and was introduced to WordPerfect 5.1. I was awestruck at the speed at which I could perform tasks!

The IBM Selectric typewriter with the changeable font elements was dinosaur compared to my Swan Technologies computer.

Throughout time we have learned that change is constant. Like other forms of change, the expansion from a system of verbal language to one that revolves around visual information has met some resistance. (Landow) Landow discusses that some authors have been told that visual appearance of text should not be of concern to the author- "Just Write" (pg.86)

The injunction "just to write" is based on a verbal concept of writing (Landow). This assumes that verbal information holds value and visual information does not. Excluding visual elements "asks the reader to decipher the text in spatial as well as linear terms."

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Something to think About...

Image if you will, just for a moment the Internet and web pages without color, without font changes and most importantly without a visual/graphical presence. It is difficult to do isn't it?

This significant pictorial medium would be nothing more than a web of generic and static text.

Internet writing without a visual component "threatens to hinder our attempts to learn how to write in an electronic space". (Landow, Pg 87)

Enjoy your time in cyberspace and I hope that you learn from my visual and textual presentation.