Digital History: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Posted by on Jan 23, 2014 in DGST101 Blogs |

Is it possible to research, design, write and publish a successful digital history project? Yes and no. After reviewing several digital history projects I have come to the conclusion that some projects can have great success while other just fall flat. Most of the historical research is impeccable and useful, some of the sites lack a user friendly interface, while others are down right ugly and reminded me of Windows '98 (for one reason or another). The three projects included the Emily Davis Diaries, The Valley of the Shadow, and the French Revolution. Each had a varying degree of usefulness, beauty, and horror. The Good: The Emilie Davis Diaries One of the better projects I looked at was Villanova University collection of diaries written by Emilie Davis. The site consist of all the diary entries of Emilie Davis, who was an African American woman living in Philadelphia during the Civil War. Each diary entry is transcribed for viewers to read easier than her normal handwriting. The organization of the website is built thoroughly with each diary entry placed in chronological order making it easy for users to go through the diary on a day to day basis. Additionally, users can search for key words throughout the website making for even easier user capability. One cool and useful aspect about the project is a keyword and most used word bank at the bottom of the webpage. Along with the transcribed diary is a digital copy of the original diary on every page. However, one of the best features of the project are the individual annotations on each page of the diary. This feature would work great for the project we are currently working on and is something we should all look into. Besides just the usability of the website, the aesthetics and design are above par when looking at other historical websites. There is not too little nor too much information on each and it has a very clean cut look. Continuity is key and the project is completely successful at not changing the site layout on each page. Most websites tend to diverge from their layout once you continue on through their sites. Overall the site serves its intended purpose and does not leave users horrified in what could have been a disaster. Instead the team at Villanova did an excellent job at bringing history to the web and giving access to those interested in the Emilie Davis diaries plenty to work with. The Bad: The Valley of the Shadow Though not wretched The Valley of the Shadow is nothing in comparison to the Emily Davies Diaries. The project consist of an online archive of material such as newspapers...

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Digital History: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Posted by on Jan 23, 2014 in DGST101 Blogs |

Is it possible to research, design, write and publish a successful digital history project? Yes and no. After reviewing several digital history projects I have come to the conclusion that some projects can have great success while other just fall flat. Most of the historical research is impeccable and useful, some of the sites lack a user friendly interface, while others are down right ugly and reminded me of Windows '98 (for one reason or another). The three projects included the Emily Davis Diaries, The Valley of the Shadow, and the French Revolution. Each had a varying degree of usefulness, beauty, and horror. The Good: The Emilie Davis Diaries One of the better projects I looked at was Villanova University collection of diaries written by Emilie Davis. The site consist of all the diary entries of Emilie Davis, who was an African American woman living in Philadelphia during the Civil War. Each diary entry is transcribed for viewers to read easier than her normal handwriting. The organization of the website is built thoroughly with each diary entry placed in chronological order making it easy for users to go through the diary on a day to day basis. Additionally, users can search for key words throughout the website making for even easier user capability. One cool and useful aspect about the project is a keyword and most used word bank at the bottom of the webpage. Along with the transcribed diary is a digital copy of the original diary on every page. However, one of the best features of the project are the individual annotations on each page of the diary. This feature would work great for the project we are currently working on and is something we should all look into. Besides just the usability of the website, the aesthetics and design are above par when looking at other historical websites. There is not too little nor too much information on each and it has a very clean cut look. Continuity is key and the project is completely successful at not changing the site layout on each page. Most websites tend to diverge from their layout once you continue on through their sites. Overall the site serves its intended purpose and does not leave users horrified in what could have been a disaster. Instead the team at Villanova did an excellent job at bringing history to the web and giving access to those interested in the Emilie Davis diaries plenty to work with. The Bad: The Valley of the Shadow Though not wretched The Valley of the Shadow is nothing in comparison to the Emily Davies Diaries. The project consist of an online archive of material such as newspapers...

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It’s Been A While

Posted by on Jan 21, 2014 in DGST101 Blogs |

Sorry about the long absence I have just been busy with other blogs for school. I am going to continue working on restructuring the website as I have deleted some files and pages that are no longer in use. This process may take a while because of the blogs I am currently working on, but I do promise to be more active in the near future. Please be patient and I will get back to this blog in about a week or...

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It’s Been A While

Posted by on Jan 21, 2014 in DGST101 Blogs |

Sorry about the long absence I have just been busy with other blogs for school. I am going to continue working on restructuring the website as I have deleted some files and pages that are no longer in use. This process may take a while because of the blogs I am currently working on, but I do promise to be more active in the near future. Please be patient and I will get back to this blog in about a week or...

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JttCotA Part V.V (Can you even do that?): Reflection

Posted by on Dec 13, 2013 in DGST101 Blogs |

How the hell did the Ancient Romans deal with decimals? Anyway, trying to jump into a programming language like I have is like playing a Bethesda game, but your only resource is a web forum. You have no idea where to go or what to do, you have a vague idea of where you want to go, and on your way to that objective you are just bombarded with overwhelming amounts of bullshit that are available for insane people so they can do insane things. The first time I played a Bethesda game (Fallout 3) I ran around picking up every fork, knife, plate, basket, and food item I found because there wasn’t anything to tell me what was important and what was something I would never need to touch. This is pretty much what is going on with me and this app. I do what the internet tells me to do and every time I try to type something into VisualStudio I’m bombarded with 2,000 properties of some function (seriously what are those called) that all have different little icons next to them and they scare me to death. I feel about this proud of myself right now. I think that the #1 place I went wrong was in rushing. Literally the first thing that the amazing Bob Tabor tells you in the very first lesson on Windows Phone app development is DO NOT RUSH and I think I did that a little a lot. I have been struggling with whether or not my main issue was trying to make an app first thing, but honestly if I’d put a lot of time into this then I think I would have been fine. The way that most of the tutorials work is to basically walk you through creating a sample app, but I didn’t bother to actually follow along and create those apps; I basically had them on while I worked on my own app in the background. This whole program is more of something that should be done over a long period of time rather than trying to get an app written, perfected, submitted, and published in two weeks. Like, a month. I also kind of screwed the pooch because I chose to make a flashlight. I should have realized that there was a reason I didn’t like any of the flashlights that I’d tried on the marketplace; it really sucks to try to use it. Especially for somebody that has never really coded in C# and has hazy at best memories of C++. Microsoft literally lets you drag a web browser from a toolbox onto the designer and presto you have a fully functional web browser;...

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JttCotA Part V.V (Can you even do that?): Reflection

Posted by on Dec 13, 2013 in DGST101 Blogs |

How the hell did the Ancient Romans deal with decimals? Anyway, trying to jump into a programming language like I have is like playing a Bethesda game, but your only resource is a web forum. You have no idea where to go or what to do, you have a vague idea of where you want to go, and on your way to that objective you are just bombarded with overwhelming amounts of bullshit that are available for insane people so they can do insane things. The first time I played a Bethesda game (Fallout 3) I ran around picking up every fork, knife, plate, basket, and food item I found because there wasn’t anything to tell me what was important and what was something I would never need to touch. This is pretty much what is going on with me and this app. I do what the internet tells me to do and every time I try to type something into VisualStudio I’m bombarded with 2,000 properties of some function (seriously what are those called) that all have different little icons next to them and they scare me to death. I feel about this proud of myself right now. I think that the #1 place I went wrong was in rushing. Literally the first thing that the amazing Bob Tabor tells you in the very first lesson on Windows Phone app development is DO NOT RUSH and I think I did that a little a lot. I have been struggling with whether or not my main issue was trying to make an app first thing, but honestly if I’d put a lot of time into this then I think I would have been fine. The way that most of the tutorials work is to basically walk you through creating a sample app, but I didn’t bother to actually follow along and create those apps; I basically had them on while I worked on my own app in the background. This whole program is more of something that should be done over a long period of time rather than trying to get an app written, perfected, submitted, and published in two weeks. Like, a month. I also kind of screwed the pooch because I chose to make a flashlight. I should have realized that there was a reason I didn’t like any of the flashlights that I’d tried on the marketplace; it really sucks to try to use it. Especially for somebody that has never really coded in C# and has hazy at best memories of C++. Microsoft literally lets you drag a web browser from a toolbox onto the designer and presto you have a fully functional web browser;...

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JttCotA: Part V: Western Promises

Posted by on Dec 13, 2013 in DGST101 Blogs |

I have had a very exciting moment in the development of my app. It’s on the level of the first time Oppenheimer ran the debugging software on his prototype nuke and it gave a little explosion, or the time that Steven Spielberg first hit the power button for Bruce and it bit half of his arm off before crashing. I deployed the app to my phone, and it ran (which its done before), and when I clicked the little abortive square that indicates that a button should be there, my flashlight turned on (which it hasn’t done before). Then it crashed with that System.Reflection.TargetInvocationException error. Oh. Poo. But hey, progress! At this point I’m not watching any more getting started videos, largely because I’m trying to figure out specific issues rather than major, fundamental paradigms. I’m not sure that that’s a good place for me to be right now, but what the hell do I know. I’ve still not figured out how to deal with my major TargetInvocationException, so I’ve been trying to kind of work around it. I’ve been dabbling in getting the settings page to be integrated with the main page, but that’s not going to great. When you click on the button while running the app, it seems to just switch to a totally blank page. There might be an issue with the way that I’m trying to get the page with the button; maybe a bad path? Or a bad… method? I don’t think that’s what those are called. I think it might be a path issue because it’s as relative a path as I use for the icons, and they’re not rendering on the phone either (but they are showing up in the designer window of VS. Typical). Speaking of icons, have I ever told you how terrible I am at design? GIMP and PhotoShop are my least favorite things in the world, and yet here I am being forced to use them. Below is the current work I have done on the icon: It’s supposed to be a little cartoon dude with torso and head, except his head is a sun with rays (flashlight on) or no rays (flashlight off). Right now I’m having trouble figuring out how to line the rays up well with the head. Seriously, don’t look at the picture it’s awful. The tile would use the same image (Perhaps just the sun on the small tile). The settings icon would just be, you know, a settings gear. kill… me… As part of my work on the settings page, I’ve also been doing some preliminary work on the code for implementing the Day/Night modes of the UI elements. My idea...

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