Response to Roy Rosenzweig’s Essay

With the abundance usage and reliance on internet material comes the problem of organizing and preserving the data as noted by Roy Rosenzwieg’s in "Scarcity or Abundance? Preserving the Past in a Digital Era".  Rosenzwieg raised a genuine concern for historians and many other scholars such as librarians, curator, and archivist.  There are disadvantages and advantages in preserving information in digital form.  One of the disadvantages are the ephemeral quality of digital information.  In under 50 years the form or instrument used to preserve the digital information may become obsolete in light of the rapid technological advancement.  Another disadvantage is if there is one tiny problem or corruption with the diskes or files in which it is saved the entire work might be lost completely.  Also there is the issue of who will continue to fund the continuation of the archive after the originator is gone?  How can one assure that the site will continue to exist?  There are many issue that arise with the idea of how best to deal with internet materials and abundance of things online, but with all the problems, Rosenzwieg argues that it is necessary to start an attempt to preserve the information.  Even though he recognizes that it is impossible to create a flawless retainment of documents or the "perfect plan" of implementation, it is better to save some then none. The advantage about placing things on internet archive and digitizing materials is so that many people can access the infomation with more efficiency and convinence.  Information can be made readily available to the public.  There can be an availablity of numerous perspectives on one single issues that can complicate and enrich historical perspectives. 

 On a personal level, the essay brought to mind the idea of perserving emails.  Emails are regarded as a quick form of memo and is not appear to be on the fore front of the need to put email in preservation as mentioned in Rosenzweig’s essay.  Nonetheless, with the recent emergence of google email, the idea of the site is so that the users will have enough space in the mailbox so that they will not have the need to delete a single email.  Also google brought the idea of facilitating searching mechanism through your emails.  Just to think, many years in the future, instead of going through paper bound diaries and letters, people can find ways to access online journals and emails of an important character.  If only there are ways to continue preserving emails sites and some ways to posthumously make public emails account in an archival forms. 

Perplex

The Bomar Gene interactive fiction incorporate sound and visual effect to better enhance the reading experience.   Each story about the individual characters is uniquely different from one another.  All the character exhibit a peculiarity and speciality about their life and who they are.  One of them seem to have an engineer logical mind, some are arts oriented, one is works well with identifying photographs, and one is oriented toward sound.  Each of the unique attributes that the characters possess influence how they view and experience the world.   The graphics and the sound that accompany each characters lexia help us to experience and understand the characters in its unique way.  The sound track that accompany each page definitely enhance the experience.  The sound provide a eerie atmosphere in turn effect the readers’ interpretation of the written text.  On the other hand, whereas the sound provided more substance to the narrative, the interactive graphics  mainly distract from the narration, or at least complicated the narration further by causing confusion.  The most powerful graphic representation in Bomar Gene is about the character who can see four numbers of dead people.  The changing numbers as the mouse move over each gravestone is truly creepy.  You the readers can actually have a glimpse of the experience of the fictional characters in seeing the different numbers change.   The other graphics hindered the reading of the text and does not seem to relate to the narrative as much.

Unlike the multimedia interactive fiction of Bomar Gene, Lexia Perplexia is only created in texts and graphics.  Lexia Perplexia explore the idea of hypertext and creating different lexias.  Lexia Perplexia intent truly is to provide complex sets of lexias to complicate the readers understanding of the text.  One of the sentence found in Lexia Perplexia states, "When everything is crystal clear and susynchronized the passage of meaning through the bi.narrative conduit is smooth, without catches or serration and the doubled trans|missive agent(s) never meet, combat or challenge."   The sentence before shows one of the reasons that Lexia Perplexia is complicated to read is because passages are not "crystal clear".  "Crystal clear" passages are rather boring and does not provide any challenge to the reading experience.  Therefore, by creating perplexing text it challenge and force the readers to reevaluate the traditional reading styles and habits.  Lexia Perplexia is not written as a story narrative form, it does not have characters or plot, but simply facts about lexia.  Two of the symbols present in Lexia Perplexia are the eye and the computer panel.  The reason for this is because some of the sections of lexia show the connection that the readers have in perceiving the lexia on the screen. 

 Comparing Bomar Gene and Lexia Perplexia against one another they each have their own advantages and disadvantage in using different forms to get their message across.  Bomar Gene is more aesthetically appealing and easier to understand.  Bomar Gene have a enticing narrative that draw the readers into the story and are able to maintain the readers’ interest than Lexia Perplexia.  However, in Lexia Perplexia with the minimal gray-black grided screen with text and occasional pictures the numerous amounts of links provide the readers multitude of options to explore around the website.  The trajectory path of Lexia Perplexia resemble more of a kalaidoscopic and disconnected lexia, whereas in Bomer Gene the trajectory path is more connected to one another and more of a linear narrative fashion. 

A Coded Message, Alternumerics

After exploring around the website for Alternumerics I am still puzzle about the intent and purpose of the creation of alternumerics.  I am still trying to figure out how this website or the invention of laternumerics ties in with interactive fiction. 

Alternumerics seems to have artform or different ways to represented the typed (printed) alphabets and numbers.  It is another means to speak two different message in the same passage, similar to the idea of a coded message. I decoded the first paragraph in Self Portrait as a Font–Print, the art form have a message because I am curious about the original message behind the coded alphabet.  It turns out to be a message from a chinese zodiac superstition  stating, "Happy Belated Chinese New Years. It-s the year of the snake, so beware of weasely types and people who can swallow rodents whole".   The original message does not appear very awe inspiring, however going through the code, the alphabet representation have an undertone of apologies and excuses.  For example, the letter n stands for "apologize", s stands for "plain forget", r stands for "don’t mean it" and so on, giving the idea that the person writing the letter titled "Letter to a Friend Who Doesn’t Seem to Want to be My Lover" is full of apologies.  Nonetheless, the nonchalant message after the decoded phrases are taken out does not match with one another. 

A similarity I can make between alternumerics and interactive fiction is that both forms can be read at different layers and level.  Nonetheless, I cannot see how alternumerics is very interactive, for each letter of the alphabet already have a set representation of a phrase and didn’t change from reader to reader. 

Picking up Puzzle Pieces

"The Color of the Television" by Moulthrop reiterates image of putting a jigsaw puzzle to describe one of many reading experiences in hypertext fiction.  With each new link comes a new piece of information that might or might not fit into the whole narrative.  Every new paragraphs one have to hunt and search for clues to try to make some sense of what is presented before our screen. Since three different narratives seem to be put together on the same lexia, sometime by hunting around one can find clues that contain semblance of previous narrative.

The different thing about this hypertext fiction from previous ones we have read in class are the little quotations and factual information outside of the fictional story narrative located on the side of the page.  Many of them explain the definition of hypertext fiction.  One of the quoations I found interesting is:

"Following" a link means leaving it for another lexia; "gathering" a relation means bringing things to a central place: whereas the disjunctive link is associated with travel, the conjunctive relation is associated with locus, with an inherently structured lexia." Link to Quotation

The above quotation encapusalate another experience of reading hypertext fiction.  The above quotation seem to differentiate between a disjunctive link and a conjunctive relation.  In this hypertext "The Color of Television", is he creating mainly disjunctive link or conjunctive relation?  Many times from one link to another it seems that the idea of gathering a relations instead of simply following a link.  Nonetheless, I think that it requires both to read hypertext fiction because one can passively follow a link to whereever it leads you, but if the information does not appear as expected one must gather the information there and save it for later to see if it fits into another part of the narrative. 

A readers may have to suspend a narrative from a certain characters for a while in order to gather more information surrounding the primary narrative one is reading to open more paths. As Moulthrop writes in another aside quoatation from the fictional narrative is,  "READING SHOULD BE A SEAMLESS AND UNINTERRUPTED EXPERIENCE. ITS CHOICES PROCEED FROM THE EXPRESSION OF POSSIBILITIES AS A NARRATIVE MEDIUM, AND DEPEND UPON THE COMPLICITY OF THE READER IN THE CREATION OF A NARRATIVE. READING IS DESIGN ENACTED." Link to quotation  Reading "should be seamless" but in hypertext fiction it is interrupted at almost every paragraph and the readers must gather up clues along the different lexia.

Minimal Textures and Closure in Afternoon

            There is not much texture in the link between lexia titled 2/, Talking at the Boundaries, White Afternoon, Speak Memory and Winter.  Meaningful or weighty texture found in words that yield is limitedly few throughout Afternoon.  The lexia 2/ have seven words that yield but in the Links menu it shows 10 different links that the readers can follow.  Similarly in White Afternoon and Speak Memory, these two lexia have more links through the Links button then links embedded in the words.  The words that yield in White Afternoon are boy and him, but they both lead to the same lexia (Speak Memory), but Speak Memory does not seems to have any relations to the narrative of the car accident in White Afternoon.  Speak Memory lexia appear to take place at a different time in the narrative from White Afternoon and different characters speaking as well.  A statement that sums up well about the readers quest in finding words that yield can be found in 2/ lexia one of the words that yield is free which lead to another lexia dialectic, “It’s all a fraud: the illusion of choice wherein you control the options, the socalled yielding textures of words…”   Most of the lexia give an illusion to the readers that they do have choice and freedom in the paths of the narrative, but many times the narrative is very much guided by the author.   

            The themes that run through the lexia are history, memories and death.   Afternoon as a whole presents the Peter’s reflection of his son’s death and live with his wife before the separation, and the rest of Afternoon shows snippets of Werts, Lolly, and Narsicaa’s past.  In Speak Memory and Winter, there are the idea of trying to remember or recall some events or images in the characters life.  In Winter, the character that tries to recall winter I speculate to be Peter speaking, but since it follows right after the lexia Speak Memory where a female character exclaimed that she would remember something, makes me come to the conclusion that in Winter the I refers to the female narrator.  Winter describes a scene when a snowmobile burns up and a bunch of yellow oats stands as helpless witness to the incidents.  Then in White Afternoon, the victim of the accidents, presumably Lisa and Andy, lie in the green grass and the witness stands helpless like the oats in Winter, just gazing at the bodies lying on the ground.  Everything in life is part of history, even the poem is “a kind of history” in Talking at the Boundaries lexia.  The type of images and remembrance one has of history is chaos and death. 

Some lexia may repeat itself but in a different context.  A lot of the story is built on associating one events with another depending on which order the lexia are placed.  There is a play on the idea of closure, which is two folds in this hypertext.  There is not a sense of ending or conclusion in the story; therefore it can be taken as a story with no closure.  On the other hand, the story relies on the technique of closures that makes the readers draw their own conclusion from the orders of events that is presented to them.  The readers have to assume that whatever comes next in some ways refers to the lexia that was mention before in some ways.  For there are no names in some lexia, it is merely stated, she says or he says or I.  Therefore based on context depending on the choices of the readers, one can assume the she might be referring to the characters previously mentioned.       

Afternoon, a story

Afternoon, a story is not as obvious as Hegirascope that it is a hypertext fiction.  Afternoon does not seem to present as diverse a possibility of tangent paths from readers to readers.  I wonder how many different variations that Afternoon offers.  There is one line that stuck in my mind as I explore the story, it is found on the lexia titled "Hop Scotch", it states, "In its own way, this book consists of many books, but wo books above all."  Then the the paragraph goes to describe how this book of many books, consists of two books depending on the way that the reader reads it.  The different method determines the book, one reader can go almost a linear path without clicking on the possible links, whereas another readers can skip around like in hop scotch but still remain somewhat of a linear progression through the story. I am wondering if we all read Afternoon long enough, we will all come out with the same information and understanding of the plot and characters?   Is it just one great narrative with the same information but presented to the readers at different orders depending on what paths the reader choices.  The idea of the order of information reminds me of the main character, well at least the main characters for me in my experience of Afternoon, his ex-wife name is Lisa and his son is Andy.  There is a episode when the main character reflects upon his marriage, in one sense, on the literal level, he is addressing his marital failures between him and his ex-wife, on the other hand, metaphorically, this can address how some readers like certain control over what information is given to them and in a specific order. 

 I am really curious to know what other experience and narrative of Afternoon is like, because I am wondering if this hypertext is more linear, or if it has more diverse paths imbedded in the stories than I thought. My version of Afternoon so far center around the male narrator with the ex-wife that was never named.  Then I discovered more about Lolly, Nariscaa, Lisa and Wert’s different past and their lives.  A correlation that I found consist in Afternoon that also exist in Calvino’s novel is the unidentify shift in narrations.   The readers found out from whose  perspective the passages are coming from through the hints of that persons situation and characteristic to find out who is speaking.  In Calvino’s novel, the point of view is in second person throughout the main narrative, and then it shifts to different first person narration in the incipits.  Afternoon the passages are usually written in the first person but coming from different person at different time. 

Exploration of Hegirascope

The initial three links pages that intrigued me was Page12, Page 51, and Page 52.  The tension and the mood created in Page 12 narrative between Gina and Bent on their road trip peak my interest to want to know more about them.  I want to know where Gina and Bent are going and why, therefore I click on the link that state “Next Stop” that brings me to Page 51 which appear to be a disconnected narrative.  Before I get a chance to select on one of the four links after I finished reading Page 51 then the page automatically refresh to page 52 which continues the story of Gina and Bent. 

The insert of Page 51 sandwiched between Gina and Bent’s original narrative seemingly stands out as an unrelated story.  The visuals clues, such as background colors, font style, or structure of the words layout offer a hint of continuation or divergent from one groupings of narrative to another.  Similarly, the title also signals that some pages are either from the same or different narratives.  The title at the top of the narrative changed from “Driver” to “Cataglog of Dream #14. 

Although Page 51 appear different, it is natural tendency to draw connections between them to establish a semblance of cohesiveness in the narrative, which is similar to the ideology described in J. Douglas’s article.  The rational that can be given to justify the function of the break between Gina and Bent’s narrative is that Gina is probably dreaming and fantasying.  Since the title of Page 51 is a “Dream Catalog”, also in the next link Page 52 Gina is described asleep in the car while Bent drove.  So this three links merge together as if they are one whole narrative and complimented one another quite nicely. 

Nonetheless, other times the separate links does not fit neatly together as if one cohesive narrative and the meaning between the link pages are harder to understand.  I found the limit of only three linked pages to use as the bases in articulating a critical reading and interpretation of Hegirascope a difficult task to do.  Hegirascope offer lots of possibilities of different narratives that it is hard to settle on just a small section of three linked pages.  To facilitate with understanding of what I am reading in Hegirascope I made a simple map of the link that I have visited so that I can retrace my step.  I like to explore majority of the possibilities and different variations the story can offer.  In Gina and Bent’s narrative I am interested in what the original intent of the original story with the title “Drivers” and brown background. So I try to find out additional links that have the same aesthetic that distinguished this narrative from the rest of the others in Hegirascope.  So far I traced about the story titled “Drivers” to ten different linked pages in Hegirascope.  Also there are groupings of different story imbedded within Gina and Bent’s story.  Second-degree removes from the original story there are links to the dream sequence, the Amanda, the number poem and many more other stories.  The mix and match of all the different stories reminded me of the One Hundred Thousand Billion Poems by Raymond Queneau.  By mixing and matching several different pages of story together one can recreate a completely different narrative.

All together the links and different stories inserted into the narrative create a broader and more comprehensive narrative. Through the selections of my links and the method of how I go about tracing down the links, Gina and Bent’s characters and journey changes from one encounter to the next, whereas, other readers might have a completely different understanding and experience in reading Gina and Bent’s narrative. 

Hitcher Guide to the Galaxy Interactive Game

Out of all the interactive game we have played so far, I found Hitch Hiker guide to the Galaxy the most user friendly.  The graphic help in determining what objects are in the room and where I am at a certain point.  The hints are great also, because some of them does guide you to the next step but they do not completely give the answers away unless we really want it.  I like how the hints are given in progression so that still leave me the freedom to try things on my own until I am really stuck and need to refer back to them again.  The hints are also quite humorous as well.  For example, I am trying to obtain the bable fish and that attempt got me into a big mess.  I still haven’t obtain my bable fish and was then kicked off to another space ship.   I’ve been playing this for hours and thinking that I should go do my homework and realized that this is part of my homework.  One thing about this game I realized is that I really have to be persistent at things.  Certain parts required me to do the same command over and over again.  Reading the series on the Hitch hiker Guide to the Galaxy and playing the interactive game are two different experience.  Playing the game I am the one making the decisions to examine things and find out what works and where to go.  The terminology of the game and the book are similar such as the characters names, the bable fish and the setting, however the game requires more problem solving skills and of course interaction on my part to advance the narrative.