Bleh with Barry

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Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

Commenting on Things: What You Should and Should Not Do

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Recently, I have been perusing the deep, dark recesses of the internet, and I have found that I am constantly irritated by people who find it necessary to comment on any and everything that appears. Whether it be on Amazon product descriptions, comments on people’s’ personal blogs, etc., I find that much of what it found in these handy-dandy commenting areas to be anywhere from completely indecipherable and unhelpful to irreverent and confrontational.  I believe comments can be helpful and can offer a lot of insight on a topic that the writer and the readers are adamant about, but frankly, I think that many people either do not know how to comment or just don’t care the image of themselves that they put out on the internet. Hence, I offer some of the most common commenting concerns that I see for anyone who comments on others ideas, writing, etc. and some ways in which to avoid them.

1) Fangirl / Fanboy posts– You’ve all read these types of post. These are the one in which people will blatantly bash someone’s work because they enjoy the source material that someone is writing on. This is not what bothers me per-say, but I think that

By User:Pianopianissimo (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

if you are going to disagree with someone’s opinion on a subject that you should be able to disagree with them in an intelligent and civil fashion. Be able to critique someone else’s ideas by giving information from the original source material to back up your ideas. For example, don’t just say “OMG you don’t understand Edward and Bella’s relationship. You’re a big do-do head.” First, one should explain the complexity of the subject that the person obviously doesn’t get by giving details about said subject. Second, one should be able to do so without name calling. I mean seriously are people 6? Tip here is to know your shit and be willing to back up your opinion in an intelligent way without just clinging to your love of said topic.

2) The vague comment– Again, we’ve all seen this. This is the post where the person appears to either not know what they’re talking about at all or they haven’t even read the post. For example: “I really appreciate the words you had to say about this.” One, this is not helpful at all. Two, this makes it seem like you’re just trying to promote your own blog or site (as they are generally followed by the most recent blog post). If you can’t find something that you would truly like to comment on (whether you like it or not), then don’t comment… or simply say that you like the blog post and move on (which I’m still not a fan of)… Don’t be vague just to try to sound provocative or to be mysterious… please.

3) The confrontational comment– This is the comment and the commenter that will disagree with you just to do it and try to get a rise out of you. Yet again, I think that we’ve all seen one of these. They attack both the ideas presented (with or without evidence to the contrary) and usually attack the person who created the item in question. Usually, they are inflammatory. For example, “This book would have been better if they had gotten people working in the field to write it. As it stands, it sounds like a group of graduate students wrote it.” While it may appear that this person may not have liked the book, they additionally feel it necessary to attack the credentials of the persons who edited and wrote for the book in question (I’ve actually read reviews similar to all the ones that I’m using for examples… However, none of them are verbatim). This commenting situation can again be rectified by simply expressing reasons as to why they think the book is not up to snuff and also by not attacking the group of people in question, especially without explaining why.

4) Illogical comments– While these comments are usually harder to spot because they may appear to do all the good things that commenters should, they are also quite annoying to find. For example, on a friend’s blog, a guy is arguing that the Schumacher “Phantom of the Opera” should not be compared to Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical because they are in too absolutely different mediums. However, the fact that they are based on the source material of Gaston Leroux and that the movie is directly based upon the musical stage show makes his assertion pretty much invalid. While some (or many most) of the things that he says could be arguably debated if he framed his argument a little differently, the illogic he uses taints the foundation of his claims. What’s more, he’s the confrontational and dick-ish commenter (view the above) that lashes out against my friend even as she tries to deal with him calmly. Here, thinking through the logic and tone of the  comments he posted could have made him look like an intelligent individual who wanted to exchange ideas in a civil fashion, but as it stands, he just looks like an asshat. One thing more I will say about this is that persons (including myself at times) may not know that they are being illogical but if their opinions are shown to be falsely based with evidence they should be willing to admit this and move on (believe me, I’ve had to take back things that I’ve said before because I proposed something that was illogical… yeah not proud to admit that myself). However, the tone has a lot to do with this type of commenting…

While I could go on listing egregious commenting annoyances, I think that I will stop where I am and reiterate the suggestions that I’ve been giving throughout for what I think makes a good comment, regardless of the situation.

  • Be civil. Don’t attack the writer’s or artist’s opinion or art. It’s okay to disagree with someone as long as you do so in a nice way (while there might be some exceptions here that people may think of, I think that generally everyone deserves this courtesy). Encourage the debate but don’t do so in a way that is ugly.
  • Be knowledgeable.  If you have an opinion on the subject that is being discussed and have a difference of opinion, tell them why with specific examples from whatever it is that you are talking about. Don’t say that their opinion sucks because it’s just as valid as yours.
  • Be specific. Don’t just say that their opinion sucks (in a polite way of course). Tell them what it is that you don’t agree with in their argument, and again be specific.
  • Fact check. Don’t tell your opinion without knowing what it is that you’re talking about. Also, think through what it is that you’re going to say before you actually put it in print because this might save you have to write a retraction in the end.
  • Comment on others’ items as you would have them comment on yours. I know I’m taking liberties with a christian bible verse but yeah… I think that it applies and is easy to decipher.

These are just a few tips I would like to share with the blogosphere to encourage more civility and thoughtfulness before people write. However, I would also like to say that I do not do so to discourage debate and argument with others. I just think that people should do so in such a way that they clearly make known what it is that they want people to know and do so in an informed way. Additionally, I am not saying that if you know the person you are commenting  on that you should necessarily follow all these rules because you know the person and know what it is that they are comfortable with. For example, I’m okay with my friends and family saying random things across my blog without really taking it to heart.  I’m just tired of reading ill-conceived or non-nonsensical yammering where I expect to see thoughtful or civil idea exchange. Here’s hoping it can be better… yeah…

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Written by barryr22

April 9, 2012 at 2:16 am

Bones–A Procedural with Heart

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As I am enrolled in graduate school, I often find myself writing or reading all the time (which might be one of the smallest understatements of the year). However, while I am reading or writing, most of the time I must have something on in the background in order to maintain my thought process and forward momentum. I know that there are a lot of people out there who will say that they need to have something on in order to write…I am being entirely honest here…I do have to have something on, but this fact is beside the point. Recently, I have found Bones to be one of the most enjoyable shows to have on in the background because it is an interesting and fun show and because it is something that I don’t have to pay super close attention to in order to understand the episodes. However, there are several things about this show that make it fun to watch and keep myself entertained.

 

**Emily Deschanel’s ( playing the character of Bones) and David Boreanez’s (playing the character of Agent Booth)  chemistry is one of the most memorable parts of the show. While I have watched shows with David Boreanez in the past, I can’t say that I have watched one that I thought was as fun as this one. With the dry wit of Bones and the cracking wise of Booth, they make a pair that is both interesting dynamically and balanced as seeming opposites against each other.

**The other characters of Hodgins, Angela, Cam, and the others–While other procedural shows (by procedurals I mean ones involving law enforcement or one that has a definite process that is followed in almost every episode…but I digress) have characters that are fairly forgettable and the main focus of the show is on the solving of the murder, on the other hand, Bones offers  us a cast that is both odd and causes the story to revolve around them. Thereby, they take the focus off the murder solving and cast the light of the show on themselves.

**The wit of the show is fantastic.–With the level of intellectuals that are supposed to be in the show, this makes for interesting conversations and moments that the other procedurals that I’ve seen just don’t have. It’s both intriguing and exciting to be able to chuckle at nerdy jokes and moments that occur within the context of the show.

On the whole, I would give Bones 7.5 out of 10. I really like the premise and the characters are interesting. However, the fact that it is a procedural is a little bit of a downfall simply because each episode has pretty much the same basic plot and ends with the good guys finding the murderer. Overall, I like the show and will continue to watch it. However, the lack of the overarching themes tends and plot (other than the Booth and Bones love that is there but isn’t there….I’m in season 5 so please don’t spoil if you know more than I do) makes it a little less than cohesive…I can catch later episodes and be fine without knowing everything that has went on or will go on.

Written by barryr22

March 1, 2011 at 11:04 pm

Technology: The Itch

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In the last little while, I have been having a desire to go out and buy something technological. I know that part of it is just because I am looking for a new toy to play with while I’m still in grad school. I’ve been trying to rationalize buying something, and some of the items that I’m thinking about would be more beneficial for me in the long run. However, others would also bring me pleasure as well as being useful.

The Kindle–This is the first of the toys that I am looking at purchasing. Now, I have motives about this that are both for business and for pleasure. One, as a college student, the Kindle would be beneficial because I would be able to upload my books and pdf articles directly to it. This would cut down on the weight of the books that I have to lug around at the present time (the fact that I am an English major makes this a little easier because most of my books are available via the Kindle services). Two, the Kindle would make it easier for me to read some of the pulp fiction books that I read. Again, this would eliminate a lot of the bookshelf space that some of my trashy novels accumulate (by trashy, I don’t mean romances or something…I’m talking about random novels that seem to appear on my shelves). Altogether, I think that this might be one of the more beneficial purchases that I could make because it could be very useful in the long run.

On the other hand, I don’t know that I could get used to the idea of reading on an e-book reader…it’s one of those odd things…I like the feel of paper and the smell of musty oldness that many books seem to have (especially old ones).

Flip Video HD–This video camera is pretty amazing for the price. It has a USB connection, a built-in stabilizer, and 8 GB (2 hours of video) for around $200, give or take. Again, as with the Kindle, I have professional and personal usages that would be good for this item. One, I am currently working on a project during which my partner and I will be interviewing students for a study, and it would be helpful to film them rather than just recording audio since part of our project relies  on physical behavior as well as vocality. The camera would be a nice helpful little tool. Personally, I would be able to play around with the camera and film random things (I like playing with cameras. It’s one of those things). Who knows what could become of this?

Conversely, outside of playing with the video camera and the professional moments when I could use it, I don’t know that I can see much on the outside of this…it could be potentially a powerful tool. Yet, it also could be an expensive paper weight.

Playstation 3–Overall, this is probably the least productive of the things that I currently think about owning. There is nothing here that is for anything other than pleasure. From playing games to watching Blu-ray movies, this system would be a fun thing to own, and I would like nothing better than to have one. However, I don’t know that I can convince myself that this is a good thing simply because I know that I will spend copious hours on it that will come to effect my sleep (which is probably the case…I’m not a terribly good sleeper anyway). Anyway, I know that it would probably bring me a lot of stress relief too. Still, I’m not completely sure about my decision.

So, there you go. Now, all of you have my delima…Moreover, I’m not completely sure that I will do any of the above. Who knows? I might buy a fish tank for the apartment…

Written by barryr22

February 11, 2011 at 11:13 pm