Class 17: Programming Adaptive Hypertexts
Held Tuesday, October 26, 1999
- We've rearranged the syllabus
somewhat. There may be some inaccuracies introduced by the
- Please get us thesis paragraphs by Thursday morning. Your thesis
paragraph will be a one-paragraph introduction to your planned
- Jamal Rogers is speaking today at 4:30 in the Math Seminar Room
on a search tool for the World-Wide
Web. Is talk is non-technical, and you are encouraged to attend
- Mills Kelly is speaking Thursday at 4:15 in ARH224 on the Web in education.
- I will be returning your papers on Thursday (or so I hope).
- I hope you had a good break. Mine was busy. I
- Walled off a doorway in our house
- Put up a bookcase over that new wall
- Wrote a 20 page paper and a 24 page paper
- Graded exams (oh boy!)
- Incorporated copyedits in 300 pages of my manuscript (only 150 more
pages to go!)
- Spent some time playing with my kids
These are the late questions on the readings. They are included
here for posterity's sake. I've included short responses.
- Brett Simon is talking about a computer program that "uses" its users. Is
this a warning towards the usage of subliminal messages to influence the way
people think? This what? This program or this article? Blam! seems
to be doing many things: commenting on interactivity; commenting on the
ways that all programs manipulate their ``users''; perhaps even
commenting on subliminal messages.
- Is Davidson's article optimistic or pessimistic about the democratic side
of the Internet? Good, basic, question.
- Are people more inclined to have computers if they feel isolated? This
question is in reference to the Monthly labor review article with demographcs
I'm not sure that we can answer this with that article alone.
- Is Mr. Bungle (a rape in cyberspace) akin to Eric Swenson (producer of the
BLAM! series)? Or is there a fundamental diference in that BLAM users
all paid for the service to be manipulated? An interesting
question, but not one that we can answer from the readings.
- (Speculation, probably not acceptable) What accounts for the tremendous
size of the computer owning Asian demographic? My biases lead me to
believe that many Asian-American families do whatever they can to support
their children's educations. Since computers are being hailed as a great
learning tool, families are buying them. One might also consider expected
demographic information about Asian-Americans (income, geographic location,
- (Mean Machine) Wouldn't producing a cd like Blam!1 discourage major
software companies from hiring you? How can he get a job at Pace University
if he creates software as it is described in the article? Not a
particularly deep question, but clearly one that concerns you. Most
places care that you have appropriate skills. I certainly appears that
the designers of Blam! were skilled multimedia developers.
- (Profile) Why was the ownership of computers measured by region? Why is
that a relevant variable? Why not? It's easy data to collect.
I agree that it may not be useful for our purposes, but it may be
useful for others'.
- If a community feels threatened by having hate groups, as the Beckles
article suggests, why aren't they making their own website that would
come up on a websearch before the website of the hate groups?
Interesting question, but not one we can easily answer.
- I agree that having hate groups on the Internet is a bad thing - but, how
could the Internet ever be censored? Who has the right say what should
or shouldn't be censored? Don't most things offend someone somehow?
(I'm not saying I agree with the implications of the last question
it'd be fun to talk about)
More an argument against censorship than a question.
- If the Internet is such a breeding ground for destructive elements of
society to grow and get stronger, why are we advocating that children
get on computers and the Internet at earlier and earlier ages?
Could not be argued based on the readings.
In a short lab, we'll look at how to write CGI scripts for the
once-popular (and possibly still popular) Madlibs game. I'd
prefer to have discussion first, but scheduling dictates that
we use the MathLAN first.
As we've suggested in the past, you will be expected to write a
term paper for this class (about six double-spaced pages). The
paper can be about anything you like, as long as it has some
substantial relation to hypertext. I expect that most papers will
be ``hypertext and X'', but other topics are okay, too.
Your draft introduction (intended to get you thinking) is due on
Thursday. Your annotated bibliography (at least ten items,
at least five of which are not Web pages) will be due the
In many of our readings, we've seen claims that hypermedia should
``adapt'' to the reader, given information about the reader.
How might you use the stuff we did in lab today to build
appropriately adaptive hypertexts?
Let's look at the program code for the Web pages and CGI scripts.
What does each part do?
Monday, 22 March 1999
- Created as a blank outline. (Can you tell
what I was doing during Spring break?)
Thursday, 14 March 1999
- Filled in questions left over from the last class.
Tuesday, 26 October 1999