WORDS, WORDS, WORDS

Politics has always fascinated me. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, politics is “The art or science of Government”. For me, the definition of politics is more ominous.

From where I am standing, politics is the art or science of spinning the legitimacy of the actions of an individual and/or episodes of national interest, with the intention of gaining the favour of a particular collective.

It is no secret that politicians remember their faithful with renovated vigour when an election campaign looms. Promises are made, opponents are called all sort of names and the blame for unaccomplished undertakings is placed on the opposite camp or attributed to unforeseen circumstances.

The latest and most interesting chapter on the political charade is taking place right now in The United States.

This electoral campaign has become one of the greatest box office hits. It has two main characters. The villain or baddy is impersonated by Mr Donald Trump and the all-conquering, immaculate evil basher role has been seized by Mrs Hilary Clinton. Also, there is no lack of intrigue, hidden agendas and of course money, loads of it.

At this point I have to emphasize that I am not a Donald Trump follower, neither do I follow or favour any of the other candidates. I am a spectator watching with amusement the triviality by which all candidates are more concerned with defending themselves and their past actions, some with great media help, rather than to focus on policies that will affect the people voting for them. The reality is that regardless who wins this presidential election the lives of the people in the street will not be affected dramatically.

The main objective of this paper is to show via visualizations and text analysis, how the media portrays Donald Trump as a chauvinist, racist, arrogant and deluded individual and conveniently choose not to remember or mention past actions of other candidates.

For the purpose of this exercise I decided to disregard the most colourful episodes where the main characters choose to overlook the script and went off the reservation. I did ignore, among others, Hilary’s barking speech as well as Donald’s remarks about women and abortion.

TRUMP

FIGURE 1.1 TRUMP.

As a sample I decided to utilize Super Tuesday’s winning speeches delivered on March 1st 2016. The reason for this arbitrary decision is very simple. Traditionally the candidates who win on this day become the official candidate for both the Democrat and Republican parties. This particular day is considered to be of the utmost importance leaving no room for mockery or flamboyant approaches and the candidates are inclined to play safe and avoid controversy.

clinton 2

FIGURE 2.1 CLINTON

No surprises, both candidates delivered optimistic measured speeches. However Super Tuesday saw Mr Trump break from tradition as he decided to answer questions from the press once he finished his delivery. In the meantime his main rival, Mrs Hilary Clinton, declined to interact with the press.

Nevertheless, Mr Trump’s forward attitude was given a negative connotation because it meant that he broke with the established custom. I can only wonder what would have happened if the step forward had been taken by Mrs Clinton.

Ironically, the bold efforts that “The Donald” is commanding, translate into more media coverage and attention for his persona and campaign. Obviously Mrs Clinton’s campaign cannot be pleased with this outcome.

Nevertheless visualizations 1.1 and 2.1, do not reveal with certainty the differences between candidates. The word count in Trump’s speech (1), is approximately 1250 words. That is without taking into account the Q&A session with the Press.

Clinton’s discourse (2), is somehow longer containing around 1550 words. Trump’s most used words were “going”, “we’re” and his favourite one “great”. In turn, Clinton’s more frequently used words were “America”, “barriers” and “Country”.

For me, none of what is being revealed by the visualizations makes up my mind in order to favour one candidate over the other. The rhetoric used by both is very similar.

I cannot deny the multiple incoherencies on the part of Mr Trump. He deserves the attacks and hatred that he is facing. On the other hand, his success is testimony to the validity of his argument.  Just a few months ago very few gave him a chance of winning a fixed raffle – he proved them wrong.

It is fascinating to see how the media that criticises him for being a multimillionaire, his haircut, his wife and his failed enterprises keeps ignoring the voice of millions of U.S citizens that believe in his postulates.

On the other hand, it seems that in the eyes of the media, Hilary can do no wrong. Everybody from feminists to bankers to lobbyists to the establishment in general is backing her up and the presidency is there for her to take. Yet, nobody seems to remember the dodgy business, the email accounts and her un-feminist attitude when standing by her man.

In conclusion what I learned from this exercise is that in today’s world having the media on your side is what counts. Politics has a lot to do with the way that you are portrait by the media, to certain extent the content is becoming irrelevant. As seen above the rhetoric is the same. The press is the omnipotent filter that can make or break lives and destinies. If my personal opinion is of any relevance, Bernie Sanders is the less evil option, who knows.

The reader should know that I utilized VOYANT for this task. The complete data analysis can be accessed by clicking on the links bellow. Hopefully it will lead to the same conclusion.

 

JUAN CARLOS GUAQUETA

 

(1) http://time.com/4245134/super-tuesday-donald-trump-victory-speech-transcript-full-text/

(1.1)  http://voyant-tools.org/?corpus=9e24cfa9d9541db3b1300351bf502582

(2) http://time.com/4244178/super-tuesday-hillary-clinton-victory-speech-transcript-full-text/

(2.1)  http://voyant-tools.org/?corpus=9cf1ffbe4b79acac620a660593457171

 

THE ZOONIVERSE EXPERIENCE.

2016-02-21

With the recent proliferation of crowdsourced projects, it is becoming more and more difficult to properly assess the relevancy of many of them, the variety goes from the bizarre to the plain innocuous. Hence, I started this journey with a certain degree of scepticism.

Fortunately, once I finished browsing through the projects included within ZOONIVERSE, one aspect was clear. Although, I am unfamiliar with most of the topics considered, it is evident that great amounts of economic, technical and time-based resources have been employed in the development of some of these initiatives. The interfaces encountered are user friendly with tutorials and chat rooms available for the collaborator. I believe the objective behind all the digital infrastructure is to make the experience gratifying and as easy going as possible for the user/collaborator, as well as productive for the project.

Following a simple registration process, the next step was to commit and explore the different initiatives. The goal was to narrow down and select a number of undertakings that were interesting to me. As mentioned before, I began by perusing through the 42 projects and subsequently I proceeded to choose and discard based on my preferences until three projects were in the final shortlist.

Condor Watch, Emigrant City and Operation War Diary, gained my attention for different reasons.

As a native South American, Condors have always fascinated me due to their size and rarity. Unfortunately, this project only relates to the Californian sub-species and for that reason I decided to discard it.

Emigrant City’s purpose is to create a historical frame of New York City’s architectural development as one of the great cities in the world. The user/collaborator must index the sites, addresses and mortgages given after valuation in the late 19th and 20th centuries. Definitely luring to a former New York dweller, but I believe it is not universal enough.

Predictably, Operation War Diary was the chosen project. The aim of the venture is to bring back to life realities almost forgotten about the First World War. The diaries contain 1.5 million pages written by soldiers while in the western front. The task consists of classifying and transcribing pages according to their content. This particular venture strongly appealed to the amateur historian that lives in me for two main reasons;

Firstly, the importance of this period of time in human history. Spanish Philosopher Jorge Santayana once said, “Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it”. The repercussions derived from WW1 are still evident and some of the lessons have not been learned.

Secondly, there are no more first-hand witnesses and oral tradition is almost extinct. As a direct consequence of these facts, it is only possible to pass onto future generations the understanding of the endeavours, sufferings and tribulations undertaken by the protagonists, by making these diaries accessible to wider audiences.

Positively motivated by a topic that has been of interest to me since my late teens, I decided to pick one of the diaries with less percentage of completion.  As follows;

5 DIVISION: 5 BATTALION MACHINE GUN CORPS  (1 APR 1918 – 31 MAY 1919).

The first page given by the interface was the cover page of the Unit diary related to August 19182016-02-23

Based on this first page I was set to believe that I could achieve/contribute something of relevance. Unfortunately as the pages given started to change, a sense of frustration began to come down on me.

I can’t blame the interface, I certainly believe that the project has made available to the collaborator/user as many tools as possible in order to achieve the objective. Nevertheless, it became apparent to me that the time/progress equation was in the negative. The time I was consuming trying to recognize the calligraphy used by the different authors was not yielding satisfactory outcomes.2016-02-23 (1) To illustrate this inconvenience with an example, when striving to identify a soldier by his rank, the interface gave me all the possibilities within a drop down menu. Perfect, notwithstanding, due to my lack of familiarity with cursive calligraphy, a minor obstacle became the tallest wall. Lack of feedback with the intention of corroborating if the entry was valid and/or correct, only helped to exacerbate my sense of failure.

Summarizing, given the magnitude of the project, 1.5 million pages, and having accomplished to finish only three of about twenty of the pages accessed, I consider my contribution to this undertaking to be of very little relevance.

On the positive side, it has become evident to me that the objectives pursued by the project can only turn into reality by means of crowdsourcing. I believe that most user/collaborators don’t and will not encounter the same obstacles as I did.

This project deserves and needs to be completed, the importance of the content is of incommensurable significance. I tend to believe that the problems I encountered should be bypassed and the big picture should be the relevant item. For me, the actions of the soldiers are more important than their names. However, not knowing the proper names and ranks of the soldiers on the fields, would be the same as to read a book with without knowing who the author is.

JUAN CARLOS GUAQUETA.

STORIFY A CRITICAL REVIEW

After being introduced to Storify I found the tool to be very dynamic. The registration process is straight forward and once you start playing with it you can see the advantages that can be gained by having an in-house search facility that allows you to include elements that will enhance and back up the text you are writing.

In short, it helps the writer to make the story much more attractive to the audience while simplifying the research and referencing processes. I included images, articles even complete websites without having to change the screen on my PC and most importantly, without generating hyperlinks and/or using the hated copy and paste method.

Overall and after utilizing the tool for a couple of days, I can say that I liked it. Nevertheless, every tool has strengths and weaknesses and the intention of this review is to highlight the ones that the author considered of relevance.

“Curation, formerly understood as the traditional organization of physical materials, is now an act of Internet users”, Cohen and Mihailidis (27). From that standpoint Storify filters the information and displays elements that are recent and considered to come from recognised sources. It is evident that the idea behind these filters is to stop the user from wandering about in a mountain of useless information. I recognize the validity of the argument but at the same time I believe that the list of items that is offered for examination should be broader.

How can we properly learn to evaluate sources and subsequently curate them without learning first to distinguish between a good object and a bad one? This may be interpreted as defeating the purpose of Storify but we don’t only learn from good examples. Also, by scrutinising material of poor quality, the writer can be made aware of grammatical, contextual and narrative mistakes made by himself.

As mentioned above one of the best attributes of Storify is its dynamism. The interaction between panels is remarkable and although sometimes I found hard to edit the text after including an object, I believe that this was due to my inexperience in handling the tool rather than a malfunction within.

“After posting these Storify artefacts to their blogs, students then had to read and comment on those of their peers”, (Sasser). As aspiring digital humanists one of our main objectives is to become better communicators, to that effect it is primordial that our blogs get populated and reach not only our peers but bigger audiences. I found that the process of transferring and displaying the artefact to my blog post was a little cumbersome. Unless the reader is an experienced user of both WordPress and Storify the full content of the artefact won’t be displayed to its full extent.

Firstly, once the page was published in Storify and then embedded, the WordPress display will only show an HTML document that you will then have to click on to get access to the artefact. From the aesthetic point of view this does not look good.

Secondly, the document that opens in WordPress does not display, at least in my case, all the images included. In order to see the completed article including all its contents and images, you will have then to click back to Storify.

It is my opinion that unless this process is simplified for the reader, the first and more important impression will somehow be diminished. I would like to attribute this to my lack of experience, but I tried different ways to make this process more efficient with no success.

On a less important matter, I have a browser of preference, unfortunately every time that I tried to sign into Storify through it, the return message was “invalid user or password”. Not really something important yet annoying.

In conclusion, I believe that my lack of experience managing the different capabilities of Storify somehow hindered making the exercise more satisfactory. At the same time I was able to recognize the usefulness of it and will continue to explore it and utilize it.

For me the most important attribute of Storify is that once the tool is mastered, the message that one is trying to transmit will leave no room for ambiguity in its meaning and intention. It will be for the viewer to decide agreement or disagreement with it.

The multimodal display function that allows to present the same content in three different ways impressed me. Different artefacts require different presentation types. The only aspect that I would like to see improved is its user friendliness in respect to publishing and embedding. Speed and ease of access for the viewer are as imperative as the content itself. Other than that, I will venture to say that is a very good instrument of communication.

 

JUAN CARLOS GUAQUETA S.

 

Referencies:

Cohen, James, and Paul Mihailidis. “Storify and news curation: Teaching and learning about digital storytelling.” Second Annual Social Media Technology Conference & Workshop. Vol. 1. 2012.

Sasser, Tanya. “Data Mining in the Trenches: Using Storify to Teach Research.” Hybrid Pedagogy (2012).

CROWD SOURCING: A PROBLEM SHARED, A PROBLEM HALVED.

Three billion people use the internet today and this number will continue to rise in the future. For that reason alone, it makes sense to use Crowdsourcing and Crowdfunding as resources to develop products and services.

The benefits of using these strategies are obvious. Depending on what your objectives are, to solve a problem, to disseminate knowledge, to launch a business, to create awareness, it is more likely than not that within those 3 billion individuals you will find somebody willing to cooperate.

Jeff Howe on his 2008 article “Crowdsourcing, Why the power of the Crowd is driving the Future of Business” explains how entire communities have been built around common interests, fulfilling individual aspirations through digital networks that have made geographical barriers irrelevant.

It is very interesting to see how working environments are changing thanks to Crowdsourcing. It seems that monetary reward sometimes takes second place to recognition among peers. Similarly, individuals that are not considered professionals in a field have been able to contribute valuable solutions to problems that experts couldn’t solve. Both these two elements wouldn’t be considered by any industry in the past. The norm was to solve the difficulties “in house” by the “in house” experts rather than to accept external influences.

There are many other benefits about the implementation of Crowdsourcing. However the role of diversity is the one that gets my attention the most. Mr Howe explains “The Diversity trumps Ability Theorem” as “a randomly selected collection of problem solvers outperforms a collection of the best individual problem solvers”. This implies the intrinsic value of difference, how many different angles on the same problem can yield a better solution.

Unfortunately there are some drawbacks. Given the Open nature of Crowdsourcing, when compiling information there will be an immense amount of filtering to be done. Nevertheless a well-structured plan would use the same crowd to do the filtering.

Also, as mentioned previously there are a great number of people willing to work without economic rewards, nevertheless in order to assure success, some sort of remuneration should be put in place. In my opinion the recruiter should establish the rules from the beginning of the project and avoid disingenuous situations.

As a Digital Humanist, I have been advocating for democratization of knowledge and information. I believe in the principles of Universality. It seems to me that Crowdsourcing and Crowdfunding are creating the necessary space for the development of the least favoured. Individuals with empirical knowledge have found a forum where success with the help of others may become a reality.

Nevertheless, it is my aspiration that political agendas and big economic interests don’t truncate the success that has been obtained. Hopefully more software and hardware resources, both vital components of a successful crowdsourcing campaign, are going to be made available to sectors of society that still have no access to the most basic elements of technology.

JUAN CARLOS GUAQUETA.

Ref/ Howe, J. (2008) CROWDSOURCING Why the Power of the Crowd is Driving the Future of Business. http://www.summaries.com

SURREALISM AND PHOTOGRAPHY

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, Surrealism is “a 20th century art form in which an artist or writer combines unrelated images or events in a very strange and dreamlike way”.

robertcapa

Figure 1Robert Capa 1936

The picture above, “The falling Soldier” attributed to Robert Capa has been the source of divisive and controversial opinions, nonetheless the picture gave the photographer instant fame and recognition.

Taken in 1936 during the Spanish civil war, communist militants made it the symbol of their struggle. Others have alleged that it was not Capa who took the picture. Another person took the trouble of identifying the soldier in question in order to emphasize its validity and finally, some people have said that this is nothing other that an unknown soldier who merely stumbled on a slope without suffering any injuries.

Regardless of which side of the argument you believe, this image represents the dreams of some and the nightmares of others. It is undeniable that the picture itself is very powerful, but its intrinsic value lays upon what is not graphically represented. Hence the inherent surrealism of it.

Although only few individuals can be considered professional photographers, the reality is that in today’s world almost every human being in the planet has a camera at their disposal. Most of the time these cameras are used as recreational tools, but if we take into account that in 2014 around 250000 pictures per minute were uploaded to two social media entities, a question arises.

Is the general population trying to fulfil an existential void by trying to capture many instances of a normal life?

Chapter 3 of Susan Sontag (1973) book “On Photography”, begins with a powerful statement, “Photography has the unappealing reputation of being the most realistic, therefore facile, of the mimetic arts. In fact, is the one art that has managed to carry out the grandiose, century-old threats of a Surrealist takeover of the modern sensibility, while most of the pedigreed candidates have dropped out of the race”.

In my opinion Sontag assertion answers the question without ambiguity. It is, in effect, a lot easy to take a picture than to paint a portrait, and without getting too deep into the discussion not all photographers, amateur or professional, have the intention of transmitting a Surrealist concept. But a still image will always transmit forceful emotions of different natures to different people. This seamlessly fits the definition given by Merriam-Webster.

The line attributed to Frederick R. Barnard, “A picture is worth a thousand words” summarizes it all. As Digital Humanists we have at our disposal a great instrument in images and photography. If we properly manage and contextualize images, our goal of reaching and deeply touching audiences is nearer than we thought. We can unleash passions and generate reactions on people that can change their opinion about topics of relevance.

My goal as a Digital Humanist is to contribute to the struggle for a better informed world where misconceptions, taboos, extremism and radicalism are causing havoc. By using the magical Surrealism inherent to photography we can appeal to the most inner feelings of every human. For me it is worth trying.

JUAN CARLOS GUAQUETA S.

Ref/

Sontag, S. (1973) On Photography. Rossetta Books.

STANDARDS IN DIGITAL HUMANITIES

I have been advocating for Digital Humanists to become open minded and to stop trying to circumscribe or box what Digital Humanities should or shouldn’t be. Likewise, I still have not taken sides in any of the multiple discussions such as Hack v Yack, while believing that the main purpose of DH should be to make education, culture and information available to everybody in order to empower and enrich lives.

However, I cannot remain absolutely neutral, it is not in my being just to stand by on a pusillanimous way and wait from a safe distance. For me, content is more important than the way that content gets delivered.

Therefore, I have to agree with what Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie has to say in her TED Talk, “The Danger of a Single Story” (1). In it, Mrs Ngozi explains that authors can create a “patronizing well-meaning pity” on their audience by developing their work from just a single point of view that most of the time is biased and not even handed, maybe the product of dreams and ideals rather than facts. This concept can be directly linked to a famous line by Walter Benjamin “History is written by the victors”.

Hence the difficulty is that technology in the 21st century world has made anyone and everyone a published author. I include myself in this category and although this process is democratic and liberating, I have to admit that given the gullible nature of today’s society, it is of relevance to create a minimum of standards that can help to filter digital artefacts. When I say that Digital Humanists should try to be open minded and stop trying to frame DH, I am not trying to infer that technical expertise or rigorous research should be excluded from the equation.

It is obvious that without the technical expertise and coding abilities, a well-researched content will lack the necessary appeal to reach the intended audience. Vice versa, trivial, misguiding, untruthful information can reach the status of invented reality by being supported through excellent technical cooperation.

So where should the compromise be? How to evaluate Digital Projects? Fred Gibbs on his article “Critical Discourse in Digital Humanities” (2), states that “Everyone in the field knows that the most innovative digital humanities projects cannot be fully evaluated through the traditional, critical, and theoretical lenses of the humanities. But what lenses do we have? How do we know when to use them? How can we help others outside the field use them?”

As can be gathered from their name, Digital Humanities require close cooperation between their two basic components but, and this is my personal point of view, reality and practicality have created a gap between the two of them. This in turn, is making it increasingly difficult to set core, definitive, homogenised, agreed upon standards that would effectively reflect on the quality of the projects.

At the moment the argument seems to have no end. However, difference is the incubator of great things and the more we ponder on the matter the more beneficial it would be for our relative new field of choice.

(1)   https://youtu.be/D9Ihs241zeg

(2)   http://journalofdigitalhumanities.org/1-1/critical-discourse-in-digital-humanities-by-fred-gibbs/

IS THERE A LIMIT FOR DIGITAL HUMANITIES?

New Republic published an article by Adam Kirsch called “Technology is taking over English Departments” where he states that, “Despite all this enthusiasm, the question of what the digital humanities is, has yet to be given a satisfactory answer. Indeed, no one asks it more often than the digital humanists themselves”(1). As an aspiring Digital Humanist, I could not agree more.

In today’s environment to define or to find an absolute truth, is becoming increasingly difficult. There are too many voices trying to circumscribe what is the real meaning of Digital Humanities. There is Hack v Yack, there is the Scholars point of view and the Intersectional perception, just to name a few. So what role should a Digital Humanist assume? What line of enquiry should be followed? Are there any real parameters to judge the validity of the code written or the topic studied and made available through digital platforms?

I do not have the answer to any of these questions. From where I stand today, the principal function and role of an individual involved in Digital Humanities is to make knowledge understandable and available. Digital Humanists should take advantage of the technology available in order to make accessible information that has been buried for centuries, in the corners of ancient sanctuaries of education. Nevertheless, in addition to our duty as preservationists, we must dig at the centre of our societies and study behavioural patterns, social upheavals, collective fears and anxieties. Also, we must manage, collect, process and make available the information with a view to improving the quality of living for future generations.

It seems like a very heavy and burdensome load and to make things worse, it is clear that no individual can assume all of these responsibilities. Hence a collective effort based on group work seems to be the way to go, which brings me to the core of this paper.

I have chosen Geography as my elective study subject, and many times I have had to answer the question of how Geography relates to DHIT. If I am honest, I could not see a clear relation when I started this Programme. In primary and secondary school, back in the late 70’s and 80’s while studying Geography, the objective was to learn and memorize Capital Cities of every Country in the World, the main rivers within Countries and Continents along with the physical location of all them. I loved it, hence my choice of elective. But today’s Geography has not an iota of resemblance with the memories I have. All the same it is even more fascinating to me.

Geography in the 21st century has become a field of study of incommensurable proportions, there still is the physical element, but every aspect of human development, misery and future is now included within the parameters that can be studied by geographers.

Therefore when a geographer goes to a field trip to Mozambique and starts studying its population, its mortality index, the HIV percentage and many other issues within, and then compiles, maps and processes the information into 1’s and 0’s in order to make it available for everyone to see, is He not being a Digital Humanist?

The answer is blurred, but the real question for me is very simple. Can we Digital Humanists afford the luxury of ignoring important work done by someone else just because their work is not framed in the correct context? Or instead, should we try to expand our horizons, become more dynamic, interdisciplinary and open minded with the purpose of building a field of work and study that transcends all set boundaries and reach higher audiences.

JUAN CARLOS GUAQUETA.

(1)http://www.newrepublic.com/article/117428/limits-digital-humanities-adam-kirsch

GOOD BUT NOT TOO GOOD……

MY BUSINESS, DOLIBARR

 

Having been self-employed for a considerable part of my life, tools that can help me to analyse and dissect the small details of a business always get my attention. DOLIBARR, is an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and Customer Relations Management (CRM) application, available within the Reclaim Hosting frame. Without going into detail, the ERP section of the application is focused in the financial aspects of the business. The subsections include invoicing, suppliers, accountancy, inventories, cash flow and many other items of monetary importance. The purpose of these facilities is to give the administrator a clear view of the state of the company and as a consequence, decision making and planning become easier and more accurate thus rendering higher benefits.

The CRM section is of no less relevance. Fundamental data such as previous purchases, returns, payment policies, addresses, email communications, referrals,   and telephone numbers of all customers are needed to keep a happy customer base. It is well known that a satisfied customer will bring many others to the firm hence a close relationship is a must.

Summarizing DOLIBARR enables the administrator to keep a small enterprise running properly and my interest in it is based on actual circumstances. At the present I have a small e-commerce interest that is being managed without any particular objective other than to make a few extra euros. Nevertheless, as I will explain later on, I believe that the way forward is e-commerce and based on the short time I have been exploring DOLIBARR, I believe that the application could be very useful to me when developing future plans.

It is well known that I am a Colombian National aiming to change the image that my Country has. With that in mind, I have wanted to market Colombia as a holiday destination as well as the excellent quality of its exports, both these challenges require a proper structure within the web and nothing is better than a well-designed and supported webpage offering information, services and products.

The idea is not new, The Colombian Tourism Board has many campaigns running to the same end. The difference would stand on the personal touch and one to one relation with the customers. By mixing applications within the Reclaim Hosting environment, marketing, e-commerce, advertising, blogging et cetera, I believe something viable can be achieved with a minimum outlay.

I had problems when setting up my domain. For reasons still unclear to me, Reclaim Hosting vetted me. The page wouldn’t allow me to register the account and I had to get in touch with customer service in order to solve the problem. It seems to me that it was a case of mistaken identity and although they replied to me promptly and efficiently, the fact is that Reclaim Hosting made a blunder which dented my confidence on a service that I was paying for. The term used to name me was out of order.

Setting up DOLIBARR was straightforward. Once the domain was up and running and I have decided which of the many tools supported by Reclaim Hosting I would like to use, it was just a matter of a few clicks to get it installed. However, I tried to follow all the steps given by the help facility in order to avail of all the services at my disposal and I was disappointed. I am using Windows 7 as my working platform and followed all the instructions given for it. The end result is to have an icon on my desktop that doesn’t recognize the user name or password given to me by Reclaim Hosting. I repeated the process three times and there was no change. My domain is juanguaquetas.com and is active, but I will need to spend time with the application in order to get what I want from it.

I have confidence in the usefulness of Reclaim Hosting, I believe that is a very good starting point for people wanting to let the world know about their particular interest. It is open to everybody and for a modest annual fee the return can be well worth it. In my particular case the goal is to achieve a space where the Colombian name is highlighted for the good reasons, as well as giving me financial rewards.

The only observation I would like to make is that the platform is not user friendly. I have had more than one inconvenience trying to sign up and then attempting to use the services. Right now being about half eleven at night neither my log inname nor password seems to work. I didn’t have these difficulties in the past with any other websites or tools.

JCGS.

MY LEARNING CURVE, MANY EYES.

As a non-native English speaker, one of the challenges I have to face on a daily basis is to express myself in a clear and thorough way by making use of the English Language in a proper manner.

figure 1

figure 1

For the best part of twenty years I have been living in English-speaking countries. I very seldom read in my native language, my sleeping dreams are in English and stunningly, when trying to communicate in Spanish, I find myself looking for words and translating from English to Spanish. Nevertheless, the minute I communicate in English there is always a fretting sensation of not being understood to the appropriate standard. I have to admit that maybe there is a certain degree of paranoia in this, however, just because you are paranoid does not mean that they are not out get you!!!

That is the reason behind my continuous search for ways to improve my written and spoken English. Although MANY EYES was not designed to help people to improve their languages skills, I saw an opportunity to use it to that end and uploaded to the application an essay written by myself. The idea behind the thought was to see if the application could reflect graphically two aspects of the document; firstly how clear the core of the essay was for the reader or if the topic got diluted in a sea of words lacking clarity. Secondly I tried to establish if there was an excessive repetition of certain words, hence an indication of a very limited vocabulary from my part.

I created two different visualizations of the essay, one for each of the objectives and proceeded to analyse the results.

To my surprise, the graphic representation of word repetition was very satisfactory indicating that the vocabulary was comprehensive for a document containing around 1300 words. On the other hand, when a third-party was presented with the graphic representing the content of the document, the result was ambivalent.

It seems that unless the third-party has previous knowledge of the document and the topic discussed on it, the graphic only represents an abstract concept and it does not reveal the topic that the text is set to address.

As mentioned before, the intention behind the exercise was to use the application as a tool in order to advance my command of the English language, henceforth the end result is by both accounts positive. If I take at face value the input given by the third-party, it becomes clear that there is a need on my part to determine the topic with more transparency and use more assertive terms with the aim of reducing uncertainty to the reader. Equally based on figure 2, it is clear that the text was written with an acceptable number of different words avoiding unnecessary reiteration and implying lack of vocabulary from the undersigned.

figure 2

figure 2

In conclusion I believe the exercise was a success. Very often we hear the phrase    “An image is worth a thousand words”, MANY EYES has given me another perspective from which I can look at my writing. Without being over-indulgent, I believe that the graphics helped me to see something that at the time of writing the piece was not clear to me; I do have to focus more on what I am saying instead of how I am saying it. Great, now I have a specific challenge that I can center my attention on and as a result my written communication skills will improve.

As a final point I would like to say that unfortunately the platform breaks very easily and is not as user-friendly as one may want. Nevertheless, and taking into consideration that I used the application for a different purpose other than the one that it was originally developed for, the advantages of its uses are evident in more ways than one.

JUAN CARLOS GUAQUETA S.