Week 1: Uncovering the Detective

Attempting to understand a detective might be impossible without the help of another detective to uncover the depths of character traits, personality and the unique sense of thrill.  While watching Sherlock in class and reading Poe’s short stories over the weekend, I’ve done my best to put my own detective skills into play.  Both Sherlock and the narrator in Poe’s “The Man of the Crowd” share key personality traits such as trying to stay hidden while following the steps of the cabbie and old man, respectively.  For example, Sherlock follows the cab he thinks might be linked to the serial suicides, but does so while hiding out in a restaurant, setting his scene exactly as he needs it to uncover the details.  As the detective-like character follows the old man in Poe’s story, he remains hidden in the streets of London.  Both these detectives work their surroundings into their puzzle, tracing and following without leaving their own trail to be found.  These characters also show a similar taste in truly enjoying putting the puzzle together under a crime. In both beginnings of the Sherlock episode and the short story, the detectives are hugely distracted from their surroundings and become infatuated with the idea of a crime.  In “The Man of the Crowd,” Poe writes, “At this particular period of the evening I had never before been in a similar situation, and the tumultuous sea of human heads filled me, therefore, with a delicious novelty of emotion. I gave up, at length, all care of things within the hotel, and became absorbed in contemplation of the scene without.”

The detective, Dupin, in Poe’s “The Murders of Rue Morgue”  also shows similar traits to Sherlock.  Most notable being the keen sense of detail that the detectives reveal in minutes after a crime scene.  While the show lets viewers see how Sherlock thinks, flashing images across the screen over dead bodies, Poe also invites us into Dupin’s thought process, allowing us to understand how he works out the puzzle, even if it’s just reading his partner. 

Over all, after reading these initial stories and watching Sherlock, I’m hooked on the concept of detective fiction. 




DJ Spooky & the Changing Same

When I first started reading this book, I was unsure about what DJ Spooky was talking about with Rhythm Science, and even further, what the “changing same” could mean.

As I continued to read, I realized something I hadn’t ever thought about before. There is most likely no sound that hasn’t been heard before.  I mean, think about it.  That doesn’t mean we have each individually heard every noise to exist, but unlike images or words that we might be surprised to see or understand, are we often surprised to hear a specific sound? Sure, we are startled when a loud buzzer goes off, or when our stomach makes a funny noise. But it’s familiar. Maybe I’m completely wrong about this, it’s just an initial thought, but one I’d like to explore in the future.  On page 017, DJ Spooky says, ” All of which points to the fact that it’s not so much new ways of hearing that are needed, but new perceptions of what we can hear.”  So maybe he disagrees with me.  But in a different perspective I agree with him as well.  While I still believe that most noises have been created and that there aren’t new ones to be made, that is very different than saying that new ways of hearing can’t be made.  I still think that we can change what we hear, manipulate the “same” thing and “change” it into something remixed. Like a Dj. But does that mean the sounds haven’t been heard? Or is it just that it’s in a new format, structure, frame of mind?

That was probably a rant that might have left you confused about where I stand on this. But to be honest, that’s exactly where I am, a bit confused.

As for the changing same, DJ Spooky plays with the idea that nothing we create is truly new or different.  It is a reflection of our culture, seeing all around us we take in experiences and change what is the same idea  into our own perspective, over and over, time and time again. This falls right into the notion of remixing and archives in our class. Our projects, for example, are completely comprised of remixed archives. We’ve taken stories, objects, people and ideas that have existed before and changed them into whatever our creative desire might be.  Is there anyway we could have avoided archives? Everything from writing a script to special audio effects have existed somewhere in our culture. We’ve taken it in, chewed it up, and spit it back out. It might not look the same, but it is the same.

Hopefully someone understands this because I had a lot of fun thinking about it, but not the easiest time conveying it.


How to (Correctly) Use the Special Effects

So I know we briefly went over some of the basic effects in class, but since we are all new to Audacity, I thought it would be helpful for us all to understand (and for me to really get to know the software) the very intricate effects that Audacity has very easily laid out for us to use.

The fact that the toolbar has an option labeled “Effect” is not surprising. But do we really understand how to make these effects worth using, more than just pressing fade in or fade out?  With a few of the options provided, we can alter our sound and cater it to exactly what we need for our piece.


1. Let’s start with the easiest: echo effect.

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Just plug in how many seconds you want it to delay under “Delay time (seconds).” By also playing around with the decay factor, you can choose the amplitude of each echo.  0 means that there is no echo, and 1 means the same amplitude of the original each time it echoes, so choosing lets say right in the middle at 0.5, the amplitude is cut in half each  time it echoes, slowly dying out.

2. Let’s enjoy sounding funny: change pitch.

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This effect can be used to correct singing imperfections, but since I’m assuming most of us aren’t laying down the beats for this project, we can still use this effect for other reasons.  Maybe you hate how your voice sounds recorded, why not change the pitch?  Changing the pitch from one key to another won’t affect the pace of the voice.

3. Esrever: Reverse

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I remember hearing about how the song Stairway to Heaven had backward-masking where the lyrics were played backwards and revealed some underlying theme.  As a little kid, I was so impressed, thinking that the singers had to actually sing backwards to record this effect.  Without really thinking about it again until now, I’m having my own fun playing with the reverse effect.  This would be especially useful if you want to create an effect like “So I said this” “WAIT you said what?” (reverse) and replay.  You can also use the reverse effect to “blur” a curse word or inappropriate phrase.

Hopefully you’ll now be able to effectively use the right special effects in appropriate sections of your piece to make it even better!

Good luck,


“Who Am I?” I’ve always wanted to know..

In the podcast “Who am I?” from Radiolab, I really enjoyed the use of distinct sound movement and sound placement to create a cohesive and illustrated story. When I say this, I mean several things.  First, I consider sound movement to mean how it a sound moves a story along and ties one piece to the next.  Sound placement is probably obvious, but I consider it to be where the author of the work places specific noises and sounds.   Cohesive pieces are works that take each element and come together in unison to create a podcast that audiences will understand — not multiple elements that are all placed together and don’t really work together to create understanding. Finally, when I say “creating an illustrated story” I’m referring to how the sound movement and placement and the other elements (speaking and audio) work to create a story that an audience can  visualize and understand.  Since this medium is solely based on listening to audio, creating an illustration can be particularly difficult, but if it’s done — and done well — it is especially useful to connecting to the audience. 

Some particular moments throughout this podcast really stuck out to me.  Around 8:25 there are two speakers going back and forth and there is noise and sound in the background and one of the speakers says “wait, how — …” and dives into a question. As soon as he says wait, the sounds die off and it goes silent in the background and the audio is dedicated to the question.  This allows audiences


Another moment was around 15 minutes when the topic switched over to the story where the woman talked about her mother.  This entire section was interesting to me because it incorporated a lot of sounds and noises but didn’t have any interruption from the radio hosts.  This made the podcast really open up and communicate to the audience (or me at least!).  When the older mother was talking about going to aerobics class, aerobics music would slowly glide into the background music, similar to the ambulance truck noises when she said someone called 911.  This is exactly what I mean when I say that the noises and sounds create an illustration of the story — it allows the audience to become engaged and visualize the story piecing together. 

Overall I feel like the podcast could have been shorter since the topic was a bit abstract, but I kind of liked all the little tidbits of information I picked up form the piece – including the monkey story, to the Bill Clinton mirror effect, to looking scientifically into the brain and the vocabulary of a neuron.  Seems like I have a new conversation topic! 





How To Add A Visitor Counter! (So you can see how many people are stalking you)

In the spirit of Halloween, let’s get creepy!

This tutorial. I’ll be showing you how to add a visitor counter widget to your website so that you can keep tabs on how many people are visiting your page.

So to start, open Dreamweaver and then follow these steps:

1) Open the project page that you will be adding this to (most likely your home index page).

2) Go to Google! Type in widgetbox. Choose the first link that comes up. It should be http://www.widgetbox.com/


3) Click on the top of this page where it says “Widgets.”  It is highlighted in the above image.

4) Type into the search box “Visitor Counter.”

5) A search results page will come up now:


You can choose from any of these widgets for the counter, based on your personal preference.  I picked the third one down that read “Free Hit Counter for Your Website or Blog.”

6) Once you choose which widget you want to use, click it and when the page loads, go to the left side of the screen and play around with the option of styles.

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I chose style 8 for my website. but again this is all about personal choice of how you want the numbers to appear.  You can also change the settings of how many digits you want to appear. like 0000000005 of just 005 or maybe 00005. It’s all about how you want to customize your page.

7) Once you are content, press the button that says “Get Widget.”

8) A box will pop-up that has the option to copy the link. Copy it.

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9) Head back to DreamWeaver.

10) Once you know where you want to add the counter, click into the editing page and paste. Something like this will appear:

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11) Highlight the text that in the live page appears once you paste.Then press delete. (This won’t delete the actual widget — don’t worry).

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13) Preview in the internet and your first “count” should register. Make sure to try this a few times to see if it counts! It should work.

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CONGRATS. You can now count your stalkers 🙂