So the main assignment for this week was to write a story using the web I usedMozilla X-Ray Goggles tool to complete the project. I wanted to try and pick a website I did not think a lot of people would pick but also one that was not completely obscure. So I decided to remix the Instructables page. Their home page offered a lot to work with because it had lots of image spaces and text to mess around with. Here is how it looked originally.
I decided to recreate the website to still be an instructions website but one geared towards spies. With helpful instructions on activities like forgery, hacking, or tunneling. For each activity I wanted to include the submitter of the instructions as a member in the class because it seemed fun. But hten problem one hit. About 20 minutes or more into working on the page trying to find cool and propperly licensed images I made a mistake and accidently clicked a link. Which meant that the page reloaded and I lost everything. It was a setback for sure but I resigned to be more careful and started back again. This time I took some screenshots as I worked just in class. Two hours later of picking funny spy images, and categories for those instructions I was getting towards the wrap up part where I would add in people’s names to creators of the project. It was super late though so I decided to just keep it up on my computer and finish that in the morning.
This is where mistake number 2 came in. If anyone in the class also lives on UMW’s campus you know Apogee the wifi networks been having some problems lately. Today when I came back to my res hall to finish up my project I bumped into an Apogee guy who was trying to solve the problem. He asked if I had a Mac and if so could he look at it to see if he could figure it out. (Spoiler he still didn’t know what was wrong when he left) While looking at my computer he was supposed to be in systems preferences but for some reason without asking me if it was okay he shut down my chrome browser. Now usually that’s not too much damage you reopen tabs maybe lose a bit of info but not awful. Except I had been creating the spy site in chrome meaning that I lost 2 hours of spy website time… gone. I’ll admit to being a bit upset and frustrated at this because in the craziness of this week I had a bunch due today.
So the good and bad news.
Good first I can show the screen shots of the cool site that I did take to give an idea of some of the changes I made before it died a sad death.
Part one after the chaos of the lost spy site I went to Twitter as one does and told the world of my failure. Which is when someone altered me that there actually had been a way to save your progress (this deepened my sadness more but you bet I will be saving from now on.)
@libcal3 Actually you can by right clicking on the page you are editing and saving the actual page html.
The Part two bad. There was not enough physical hours in today to complete the amazing idea site I had planned out and worked on this week. So instead I had to create a new less involved site in order to make the deadline of 12 and still produce something fully formed. So here is what i do have for you: Ballooning for Spies based off the umw.domains site!
For 4 (1/2) stars I completed the How It All Began Assignment. I decided to talk about the origins of the radio show group I had been a part of these past two weeks. I went through and created a page dedicated to the members of the show, the shows content, and how the group formed. I also included some of the promotional material we produced as a group. I actually created the assignment as it’s own separate stand alone page on my menu but have replicated it below as well.
THE AGENTS ON AIR
The Agents on Air are a group of radio show hosts who’s show appears on the DS 106 radio network. The show’s hosts consist of Agent Zero, Agent Reveal, Agent Jones, and Agent Fawn. The show’s purpose is to report on ongoing missions that the hosts are currently working on or on missions other fellow agents are completing. The goal of the radio show is to help out agents who cannot figure out how to best complete tough missions. The show operates as a way to bring the secret agency community together (which can be hard with all the secrets) it also strives to make connections between the larger community. Another portion of the show is dedicated to agent gossip and news. Reports about mission success, blunders, and team ups help keep the community informed about who to look out for in the secret agent world.
How it all began
The radio host group Agents on Air began only a short while ago this month from a transmission from the DS106 Agents Headquarters. (DS106 Headquarters of course serves as the greater agent hub to connect all agents both freelance and agency committed. It is an organization dedicated to bringing together the secret agency community more generally.) The transmission sent out a call for new radio shows for the longstanding DS106 Radio network. Immediately many agents jumped at the chance to take part in the community and many agents started communicating with one another via the agent networks about potential radio show concepts. Agent Fawn had been mulling through ideas about radio shows and decided to post a bulletin to the agent networks on Twitter full of potential ideas. She was then contacted by Agent Zero who had been looking to form a radio team as well. Agent Zero offered up other interesting concepts and the two decided to team up. Agent Fawn then posted a second bulletin to Twitter now incorporating their pairs team interests. At that point the team was contacted by an Agent Reveal. A trio of radio show hosts was thus formed! At this point the group received a few other potential offers of co-hosts who later decided to work on separate projects. As show ideas were due in the group realized they needed a fourth host to round out the network project, that’s where Agent Jones came in to the picture. Agent Jones rounded out the group and the four hosts set to work on creating their show.
O’Dell started at a clerical job at the Central Intelligence Agency for a number of years, after gaining access to certain key strategic documents her job assignment changed to fit with her new found expertise. She now works with securing and transferring important information for the agency both at home and abroad. Her ability to blend in and remarkable memory skills make her an asset.
With her husband dead, Kate “The Marksman” Jones’ husband dead, she’s on the hunt to find the killer and make him wish he was dead.
Lynn was recruited by the FBI in 1984. At 20, she was able to do things that no other agent was able to. She is a very valued agent that has been able to go under cover for many special ops programs and has come out successful. Agent Reveal is fluent in Arabic and English and has been able to translate Arabic for the FBI for 30 years.
“Waiting. Like it or not, it’s a skill all spies have to master eventually.” (Note: Little is known about Agent Zero other than their employment by the CID)
*Note: no images of the agents are available as photographs could potentially reveal them to enemy operatives. Promotional Material created by the agents has been used instead to capture their personalities.
For some of my stars this week I decided to do that Character Resume (3 1/2 stars) and create a resume for my secret agent.
I created the resume in google docs but uploaded it as a PDF. I also decided that I would host the final product as it’s own page on my site to give it an extra effect. I started off with following some of the basic resume looks that I have seen before. I decided to do a split column format initially but then play around with it to create a center area for a profile with information in two columns below. I tried to think of jobs my agent could have had pre-C.I.A. and went with a series of part time jobs and internships. (I found it hard to try and think of what kinds of early jobs my character might have had since I never had thought about it before.) While I was filing out the resume I felt it was lacking a personal element so I decided to add my agents “picture” to the resume. I drew an outlined silhouette using GIMP and fixed it up to add it into the resume.
I used my actual ds106 site as her website and made up a fake email in her contacts section. I tried to keep the resume pretty minimalist, since that fits my character’s personality. I had a hard time deciding what name to use originally I had it as a resume for Agent Fawn however when I looked through the resume I realized that would reveal her regular self to the world. So I decided to use her real name and allude to her secret agent name with the email address and nods to other DS106 work I have done in character. One of those points was that I included the group radio show Agents on Air that our characters took part in. It also helped to give the resume a bit of a fun touch.
For my first ever assignment bank assignment I decided to tackle the Harness Relationships: Make a Map with Kumu. I had never used Kumu before but I had seen people use it before and was curious to check it out. Seeing it in the assignment bank I was excited to try it out. I remembered people saying Kumu could be difficult to use so I started by going through all the tutorials for how to create a map. Kumu offers three types of general maps, the assignment bank specified a connections map so I selected that type of map. I decided to have my maps of connections tie into the secret agent theme of the semester. For my map I created a character map of the characters in a James Bond as a way to explore the story of a film.
I chose to look at the James Bond film Dr. No, now I have actually never seen this Bond film before and I purposefully chose one that I had not seen. I decided to do this because I wanted to see how much character descriptions alone could help you explore the story itself. Now I primarily used Wikipedia to inform me on the characters in the film. I know people often have reservations about using Wikipedia as reference however I have found that particularly dedicated fans keep a close eye on monitoring correct information on these pages. I also went into the pages edit history and checked through the history to see that it is well maintained. Another reason was that many people when they want a basic idea of a story tend to google the film and read the summary, so I was exploring how some one casually looking up the film could understand the story through it’s characters. (Although for my own part in trying to discern story from just character I only read character synopsis and did not read the plot. Only after I had finished my map did I go back and read the plot to see how much of the story I was able to discern. )
So as I started my Kumu map I decided to keep the descriptions for each character brief as well as the connections making it more essential to look at both the characters and the connections. So in Kumu each character is represented as an “element” or a little circle and the lines that go from element to element are “connections.” For instance here is my example element for the character James Bond. (The lines extending out of frame are connections to other characters.)
For each character I included a brief introduction about who they were, I also included the actor who portrayed them. In the case of frequently repeating characters in the franchise I included who else played the character in other films but specified the actor for this particular film.
I also went ahead and had to play around to figure out how to upload images and decided I wanted to keep the over all map minimalist in color after playing around with color in the Kumu edit section. From there is was all about imputing each character as an element. Once I had a bunch of floating elements going I had to go back and trace how each character was connected. After I created all the connections I went back and double checked to make sure everything was correct.
I was surprised how much about the plot I really understood just through the character summaries. I was able to figure out the events took place in Kingston Jamica, who worked for the villian Dr. No, and who made it out alive. Admittedly though when I read just the summaries of the characters as a group there were some missing gaps in relationships that I only got when I dug deeper in the process of finding images for the characters. For instance the short description for the character Honey Ryder focuses on her occupation but does not inherently link her to other characters. However when you click into the Honey Ryder page it becomes clear she has a romantic relationship with James Bond. Overall though I was able to discern a good deal about the film just through analyzing the characters relationships with one another.
Finally here is my final product! Kumu is a interesting tool to play around with but even more fun when it’s completed because the bigger picture is present. Unfortunately the way Kumu embeds in a site is rather small and changing the dimensions distorted the map so I suggest looking at it through Kumu’s site to get the full effect. (Warning though there site can be a bit slow to load sometimes.)