Author: Micayah Ambriz

Surprised with How Little I Knew about the Stuff I Know

Here’s a shocking fact from an English major: I don’t remember ever hearing about the book Walden before this class. Now, I know more about Thoreau than I can care for but not all of what I’ve discovered is negative. I had no idea that this man decided to spend two years of his life in a cabin that he built himself in the middle of nowhere and that he documented his experience. Although I was captivated by some of his notions of the comfort in solitude and the respect for nature that is all around us, I was just as surprised at how whole chapters were dedicated to the most mundane subjects like the changes in the color and states of a pond. Since the beginning of the semester, I’ve learned a lot more about Thoreau through Walden and his philosophies that are at times inspiring and at other times disturbingly arrogant. Thoreau wasn’t the only thing that made me take a step back to assess my relationship with technology. The Information which was accompanied by numerous discussions, made me realize just how far we’ve come in dependency as well as how a lack of reliance can also be crippling in today’s society. Now, when I come across news on upcoming technological advancements and even simple everyday activities such as accessing a website, I can stop and think about all the components and customization that when into it. It’s easy to take advantage of all the work that went into what we see in everyday life.

This class has also made my brain spiral into infinite questions. Although I’ve heard the classic, “what came first, the chicken or the egg?” argument, I have never been thrown through such a loop as when I first thought about how information requires information in order to create new information so where did the original information originate from? In The Information and Metadata, there were mentions of this phenomenon and it felt like a knew that logically it made sense but the more I thought about it the more I couldn’t make any sense of it. Recently, my group discussed a part in Metadata that mentioned that a library was more than just a room full of books and how an organized system of categorizing was necessary. This is a perfect example of how I agreed with a statement once I heard it, but I never thought about it before and still can’t quite wrap my brain around it. This has happened multiple time in class and I always find our discussions interesting. Other than these overarching concepts, programs like Virtual Box and Omeka are platforms that I’m not surprised they exist yet I’m surprised by how much you can do through them. I show my friends Virtual Box and they already feel as if that is “hacker level” and they can’t believe it’s just a free program we use to experiment commands with. Everything I thought I knew about the basic function of technology and components of the world was put into consideration through the material discussed in this class and I’m grateful for the eye-openers!

Finally Starting to Learn as much as I Claimed to Know

Besides my laptop, there is only one other computer in my home which my mom mainly uses to watch antique shows, play solitaire, and print coupons. My dad will occasionally browse for news articles, but I am the only one in my family that knows how to fully navigate the web and computer programs. Perhaps this is where my false confidence in my computation skills have originated from. When it comes to how my own technology operates, I consider myself well-versed. If someone asked me how tech-savvy I am, however, I put on an air of humbleness as if I don’t understand technology. Yet when anyone offers to show me a better way or new way to utilize a function on my computer, I claim that I don’t need help or reluctantly agree. Of course, I know that there are numerous aspects of my computer that, if I could learn to utilize properly, would help me perform and understand daily tasks. However, I am resistant to change when it comes to a system that I have had no problems with previously. I have used Microsoft since high school and although I’m pushed to use Google slides and documents for many group projects in college, it will never become the ‘norm’ for me. When I came the first ENGL 340 class, I had brought with me years of experience in using a computer for entertainment and work since elementary school. I was confident in my skills with my computer because I was good at using it to complete what I needed, but I never pushed myself to learn more about my computer than what was necessary.

The command prompt was a foreign concept to me, something that I knew existed but never thought about. If I had any concerns or questions regarding the use of my computer I would turn to Google where I would usually find an answer to a way to evade the problem with the same end result. Although I’m comfortable with where I am with my computer, I find a lot of the different computations we go over in class interesting. The information in The Information is especially interesting and has opened up my eyes to the relationship between computers and humanities which I never gave much thought too before. I didn’t see all the different ways these two things were connected let alone how it connected to basically everything. Although the text is dense with endless information, things such as binary opened my mind up in a way I didn’t expect from an English course. Maybe I should start exploring parts of technology I don’t necessarily need so that I can better understand the world around me.