Monday, February 27, 2006

For those interested...

I contacted the instructor who sent his English students to the fiction remix wiki, and he said these were the instructions he gave to his students.

My Honors English class (ninth graders) has a weekly discussion board assignment. Many of them are a couple weeks behind, so there may be activity on the board for a while yet, but I think about half of them have given it a shot...some more successfully than others. Here are the instructions they revceived from me:

1) Go to this web site and read the story called "To Build a Fire" by Jack London:

2) After reading the original story in its entirety, you will have noticed that, while it is a great story, the language is rather dated. Some of the words are no longer in use, and sometimes it just doesn't sound modern. (That's because it isn't.) Your task for this week will be to revise one paragraph of the story to make it more accessible to modern readers. In other words, you will "translate" one paragraph of the story into regular, modern language. The way you will do this is by going to the web site that you will find at the bottom of these instructions.

3) When you get to the web site, the paragraphs at the top are the ones that have already been revised. Read through what has already been done and select the next available paragraph in the story. (It will be below the "Contents" links, so you'll need to scroll down.) Following the example of the paragraphs that are already done, "translate" your paragraph into something that would be easier for a modern reader to understand by clicking the "edit" link next to the paragraph. When you finish, hit "Save passage" and your revised paragraph will appear with the others. When we are done, we will have a completely revised version of the story.

4) You may look at the new version compared to the old version by clicking the "history" tab and then selecting "Compare selected versions."

5) When you finish, return here [to the discussion board] and post a report of which paragraph you revised and what you did to make it easier for modern readers. Also note any other changes you made or problems you had with the process of using the web site.

Here's where you can find the original version of the story:

Here's where you go to revise a paragraph of it:

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

The next step

OpenCourseWare is an important step in getting information to those that need it, but I think just as important, and perhaps the 'next step' is an alternative accrediation system. For many, just getting the information is enough, but for others, there needs to be some easy way to show that they have a good understanding of topic X. It looks like this idea of an alternative accreditation is being worked on, or at least talked about...

I think OCW and something along the lines of an ARL would be a nice one-two punch.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Fiction Remix

It was about a week ago I put up a few of my short stories, and one of Jack London's, on a wiki. The Jack London story is getting quite a bit of attention. It appears that an English teacher has assigned his class to go in and mess around a bit. I find the changes they are making very interesting, and can't help but wonder if the student's aren't getting more out of London's story because they are helping to remix it. They are reproducing it, not just consuming it.


Great Story.

"The episode illustrated the profound impact of the Internet on political discourse in China..."

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

It's probably the fact that I read too many science fiction books as a teen, but the idea of a space elevator really intrigues me. It's probably far fetched, and it may never happen, but then again it just might. Either way, it looks like we're one small step closer.

Friday, February 10, 2006

What is your price?

Yahoo is now offering rewards to use their search engine. The list of possible incentives looked pretty good, but the Netflix one especially caught my eye. I would be tempted to switch (or at least search on yahoo first) if I got a 7 dollar discount on netflix.

I wonder if google will respond with similar incentives.

What is the world coming to when companies pay you to use their free service? I think I could like it...

What do you get...

Have you ever wondered what you get when you cross a physics engine, a Rube Goldberg device, and a whole lot of free time?

Wonder no more.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Fiction Mashup

I posted a link to my wiki site to several discussion boards, and one suggestion was in addition to a remix, keeping in the spirit of things of audio sampling, was to do a fiction mashup. Take two pieces of fiction and mash them together. I think the idea is great. Anybody have two stories they'd like to see colliding?

More FictionRemix

So already I had an experience that shows me there may be something to writing fiction in a collaborative environment.

I posted a few stories on my wiki the other day, and then announced the fact on a few discussion boards I frequent. T. Lynn Adams, a fellow author hopped over to the site and read one of my stories. The story is an event that takes place in a children's Sunday school class. Now I sat through years and years of this kind of class when I was younger, so I thought I had a pretty good idea of what would happen in the story. But I haven't really been in a class like this on a regular basis for 15 years. T. Lynn Adams, on the other hand, said she has “sat through MANY a primary singing time”. She made a suggestion, based on her experience, that makes the story more realistic, and more humorous. Her suggestion adds an aspect of the story I had completely missed.

The crux of the matter is that the story will now (in my opinion) be a better story because somebody else lent their expertise.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006


Well, I've finally put up a wiki site where people can remix fiction. I found a free site that uses media wiki, the same code that wikipedia uses. Anyway, I've only put up three things, a short story in the public domain, and then two very short excerpts from my next book (the only two things I've written from it). If anybody would like to tinker around with them, they can do so here.

Also, as of now, this is wide open. So if you your own work, or you have a favorite story in the public domain, or you'd like to see Shakespeare's As You Like It remixed with a hip-hop feel, by all means, add whatever you would like to the front page.

Monday, February 06, 2006


There has to be an analogy to OER here somewhere...

Friday, February 03, 2006


I'm a writer, in the sense that I write. I've often heard the word 'voice' thrown around. When you write you want to create a good voice.

I'm a gamer, in the sense that I play games. I've never heard the word 'voice' thrown around. Until now.

Great article.