Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Advice to Future Students

     Ms. Belisle's EIT class has turned out to be one of the most useful classes I have ever taken. I have learned an incredible amount about how to use a computer to its fullest capabilities. I am so grateful for this class, especially going into such a technilogically advanced work world. Ms. Belisle really knows how to encourage her students  to work hard and learn in a hand on way!

     In order to be succesful in this class, you need to do all the work that is assigned! I know that sounds obvious but I truly cannot stress that enough. Make sure you do all assignments to the fullest and due it on time! Most importantly, open yourself up to learning all that you can and ask Ms. Belisle for help if you are confused about anything at all! She is extremely nice and willing to work with you until you understand, so take advantage of that. Have fun and enjoy this class and explore things about you and technology that you don't even know exist!

Study Abroad!

Please visit my website at www.cs.trinity.edu/~lkrummel

     To create my study abroad website I used Expressions Web 4. I orignially thought it was giong to be exteremely difficult to make a website but found that, with the help of Expression Web, it was actually quite fun! I had a great time picking the pictures and videos I wanted to use and loved making the colors of each individual page fit the page while keeping a theme to tie it all together. Although it still took me a long time to complete this website, I am very proud of the way it turned out. My favorite part about my website is how each page has three pictures at the top that highlights the country and I love the timelapse videos I added at the bottom of each screen. I really put a lot of thought and work into this website so I really am proud of the whole thing, considering I never thought I'd  be capable of making one in the first place! The only thing I would change about my project is maybe put a map on the home page and I can always add that on later. The biggest technical challenge I faced was trying to get the pictures in the table on each page roughly the same size and looking uniform. It also took me a while to make sure all my links and the nav bar led me to where I wanted to go!
     My website would be great to show other students who are trying to decide where to study abroad, just like myself. I think that at times the decision can seem so daunting and overwhelming but creating the website made me have fun with it instead. I will most difinitely make a website for future classes if it calls for it, as I had fun with it!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Horrible Webpage

The contest to win "Worst Website" was a tough call for me. However, when I unfortunately stumbled across a religious website that supposedly leads you to Jesus Christ, I felt like I had just entered a very colorful Hell. The webpage, "Accept Jesus, Forever Forgiven," makes it incredibly difficult to look at for more than two seconds because of the rainbow background that continuously flashes across the screen. Along with the distraction from the background, there are many different fonts and shapes on the page that I felt lost immediately for there was no coherence at all. Notice the random black cat running about in the bottom left corner? After clicking the doorway to enter the website further, things got a lot more normal. However, this website still wins "Most Distracting Entrance Page." To see the site for yourself, click on the link and beware!  http://www.dokimos.org/ajff/

Monday, November 5, 2012

Pictures That Lie

     The director of photography for National Geographic, David Griffin, raises a valid concern that PhotoShop could make photojournalism (among other things) lose its integrity, but I believe there are positives that derive from photo manipulation as well. In light of the upcoming elections, I chose to alter a picture involving the two presidential candidates, President Barack Obama and Governor Romney.  They say a picture says a thousand words, and this doctored photo is no exception. Although the scene depicted in the picture did not actually happen, it still maintains validity because of its message.
      Currently, America suffers from extreme partisanship, where party lines are hard drawn and unalterable. Though parties have also been an influential and necessary political institution, I believe that the partisanship has increased exponentially over the last several years. This may be because I am becoming more politically aware as I grow up but I feel as though everyone is feeling the tension as I do. As I mentioned, political parties are absolutely necessary in a successful democracy but there comes a point where they begin to be detrimental, too, and we are at that point. The harsh, unnecessary bickering and child-like behavior displayed by both major parties, Democrats and Republicans, is depicted in the above picture.
      I purposefully chose to have Romney depicted as "winning" the physical battle, not because I think he will win the election or not, but because I see him as a more moderate politician than his Liberal counterpart. I came to this conclusion based on him being the Governor of a very Liberal state where he was not only elected by many Democrats but where he also had to work in a very bipartisan manner if he wanted to accomplish anything in office. However, both need to focus on what their people want instead of how to better insult the other for personal gain. After all, we should be fighting for America, not against one half and for the other.
      I achieved this effect by using PhotoShop. I began with a picture of Romney giving a speech in front of an American flag. I was immediately inspired to place Obama's head in between his hands for this assignment. I knew that I had to make this photo manipulation a little crazy in order to get the message across. Next, I brought in a picture of President Obama and used the quick selection tool to select everything surrounding Obama. Then I deleted everything else but him and used the move tool to drag and slightly rotate Obama's head into Romney's open arms. To get Romney's hands into position, I used the Puppet morph tool to bring them together. To make it appear seamless (at least as much as my skill allowed me), I used the clone stamp tool to color in the discolored or morphed areas. I also had to use the transform tool quite a bit to get them to be the same sizes. My last touch was to add the two catchphrases "No Socialism" and "No Selfishness" because I have observed a large number of these signs in people's front yards. Using the text tool, I typed them in. This further shows the huge gap not only between candidates but also our perception of what they stand for. I hope my PhotoShopped picture shows people that doctored photo's do not always have to be used for bad but can also teach a lesson by pointing out flaws in society. Hope you enjoyed!

Haggart, Rob. "This Photo Is Lying To You." Outside 34.9 (2009): 20. MasterFILE Premier. Web. 31 Mar. 2012.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Web Is Keeping Us Closed Minded!

I use Google every single day. Although I have begun to use academic search engines, like JSTOR, now that my classes call for research, Google remains my trustee aid when navigating the internet. I always thought that when I searched a term, the million or so results I got back were completely random and only appeared because of matching terms. Thanks to Chris Nolan, I now know that I was so wrong! in fact, not only does Google customize results based upon my previous searches, it also customizes them based on where I am. This tool does prove useful when I search "Spurs," for example, and my server knows I am in San Antonio. However, I run into a dilemma when my searches become more serious.
Being a political science major, I find it rather disturbing that Google, Facebook, and the like can alter your search results and news feed based on what you've clicked on before. Say I usually tend to research conservative members of our government because I agree ideologically with them and want to see what they are up to. Well, come election time, if I search for information on the candidates I may only see Right-leaning blogs and opinion pieces instead of well rounded, unbiased information. This may seem like a small problem but when no body has their views challenged, we become a very closed minded society. Not only do we see things that are personalized just for us, but we don't see what's not just for us. That is where I see a problem.
Nolan did teach me some wonderful things about Google, too. For instance, he showed us how to turn off the personalization settings and reminded me that deleting all the cookies my computer stores will also help reset my computer. Furthermore, I was so pleased to learn more ways to narrow the results for a search. If you type in 'site: gov' then Google will only return .gov websites! Also, Nolan reminded me that the most popular items usually appear near the top, not always the most scholarly. If I want to make sure a website is legitimate, I need to look for an author, publisher, the intended audience, objectivity, substantiation of claims, and recency of information. With all the research I have to do here at Trinity, these tips are sure to save me time and help me get more relevant results, too!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

PowePoint Overload!

PowerPoint can be a very effective way to present information to an audience. However, there are so many things that can go wrong that makes PowerPoint go from good to very bad. One of my biggest pet peaves is when there are cheesy graphics that move around (to get my attention?) when really it only distracts me! Second, I hate when PowerPoints are only black and white and the speaker reads directly off of the slide, word for word. As a Political Science major, this happens in all of my classes and I have fallen asleep more than once. PowerPoints can also hold too much information and I feel like I'm reading a textbook instead of a review, which is very frustrating when taking notes! The last thing that drives me crazy about PowePoint is when there are an infinite number of slides and it seems to drag on forever. Bearing all this in mind, there are effective ways of creating a PowePoint! Use your spaces well, take off the last graphic you added (just like jewelry before you leave the house) and make it concise!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Experience with Excel

Microsoft Excel is a truly fascinating program. Almost everything that Excel is capable of is brand new to me since I had such little experience with it before. What I find to be really interesting is all the calculations it is capable of and how many different things it can be used for, like planning a wedding, tacking sales, or managing salaries. In the "real world" I see myself definitely using Excel to keep a running balance of my income and expenses, especially as a financially independent person or when I have a family to help care for. As for school, the uses are nearly unlimited but I am sure I'll be using Excel in the future business courses I take. I cannot find anything to complain about with Excel because it has so many helpful and time-saving tricks (like auto-fill) and if I can't figure out how to do something, I always have Lynda.com to help or I can always look around and find what it is I'm looking for. Microsoft Excel is extremely handy and I'm so glad I am learning how to take full advantage of the program.