ScratchJr is a new iPad variation of the Scratch programming language, a tool created at MIT to help teach kids to code. The premise for both is the same: instead of text, Scratch uses interlocking colored blocks to mimic the logical structures and functions of a typical grown-up programming language.
MORE: Finally, a Way to Teach Coding to the Touchscreen Generation
Let’s not forget Hopscotch, please.
Technically it’s malware. But there’s no patch yet, and pretty much everyone’s got it. Homes up and down the block are lit up, even at this early hour. Thankfully this one is fairly benign. It sets off the alarm with [dubstep] music I blacklisted decades ago on Pandora. It takes a picture of me as I get out of the shower every morning and uploads it to Facebook. No big deal.
When I moved into my house in the 20s, I went with an Android-compatible system because there were more accessories and they were better designed. But then I changed jobs and now my home doesn’t work with my company-issued phone. Which is a bummer because I have to keep this giant 7-inch tablet around to control everything and Google doesn’t support the hardware anymore so I can’t update it and now the door just randomly unlocks. Ugh, I’m going to have to start using keys again.
Cyborg writing must not be about the Fall, the imagination of a once-upon-a-time wholeness before language, before writing, before Man. Cyborg writing is about the power to survive, not on the basis of original innocence, but on the basis of seizing the tools to mark the world that marked them as other.
Amanda Phillips, Dissertation abstract:
“Gamer Trouble: The Dynamics of Difference in Video Games” “Gamer Trouble: The Dynamics of Difference in Video Games.” Supervised by Rita Raley (chair), Alan Liu, Bishnupriya Ghosh, and Lisa Nakamura. This dissertation is a transdisciplinary study of video games and gaming culture that builds on a foundation of race-conscious feminist and queer scholarship, as well as existing paradigms on electronic media and gaming to understand ‘gamer trouble.’ Gamer trouble is the rich interplay between the cultural control structures embedded in a digital game system and the freedom allowed by the possibilities of play, or by the virtuosic disruption of the system through modification, cheating, and emergent behavior. This project works across multiple layers of the gamic system, from technology to representation to community discourse, and brings traditional critical methodology together with digital humanities experimentation like text analysis and image manipulation.
(via Research | Amanda Phillips)
This group struggled with how humor and minimalization would dilute their message, and their writing and discussion of their project indicated to me that they had a more nuanced understanding of both colorblindness and intersectionality than Equality Street might otherwise suggest. This was a problem that came up in multiple groups: how do they balance fun and playability with communicating social and theoretical phenomena that are impossibly complex even to talk about. Their design decisions came not only from technological and time constraints (which were considerable given student experience with these programs and the demands of the quarter system), but also from a desire not to reduce identities and problems to caricature. For example, they declined to include a queer character in the game because of the difficulty in creating a visually queer avatar in pixelated style without resorting to high heels and feather boas. Another design compromise resulted in the apparently additive formula used to express intersectionality. (via Crossing Paths with Colorblindness: Equality Street | Amanda Phillips)