Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Addressing Skype Issues 

(lost calls, poor reception, etc.)

Hi, this message is for anybody who will join any of the Skype group calls. If you won't or can't join the calls, you can safely ignore this message.

We've been experiencing a bit of dropped calls the last few weeks. Amber, as call host, is checking a few things out with her computer's set up. In addition, anyone who participates in the calls (or is planning to) can take a look at your own connection by doing the steps outlined below. Taking 5-10 minutes might really help improve the technical quality of the calls, allow more time for sharing our ideas and insights on the readings, and avoid the frustration brought about by frequently interrupted conversations.

A couple of things EACH of us should check on that could be adding to the issue (and, ahem; I'll admit right now, I was guilty of not using the latest version of Skype.)  

NOTE: Steps 2 and 3 should be checked BEFORE the next call. Depending on one's skills, equipment, and connection you may want to do this a couple of days before the call, in case you run into any glitches or want to do a test call with one or two other people. (i'm happy to help with that if anyone needs a second or third person for a test call this week. 908-433-0052 to contact me).

The links in the steps below jump directly to skype's relevant pages.

  1. We should be OK on bandwidth, since we are only using audio, not video. (talk about the impact of technology on the distributed person!)
  2. EACH caller should ensure their computer meets the system requirements for running Skype on their OS.
  3. EACH caller should ensure they are using the latest version of SKYPE for their OS.
  4. DURING the Skype conference call, it is important that EACH caller close all browsers or other applications that use the internet, especially any that play music or videos. (games, Pandora, iTunes, etc.)
  5. Two things that may help with clarity of the call if anyone's having trouble hearing each other:
Let's see if everybody takes these measures, if we might not have fewer dropped calls.

A Promise of Happiness?

The Rat Race

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Technology of Enchantment and Enchantment of Technology essay

Here is a bit of supplemental material that may be of interest to Art and Agency campers.

  • This is a link to Gell's 1992 essay, The Technology of Enchantment and the Enchantment of Technology This essay is one of a few mentioned as precursors of A&A (the other 2 not available free online, but if anyone has access to the Journal of Material Culture perhaps you could do us a solid with Traps as Artworks and Artworks as Traps.)
  • Alfred Gell (1945-1997) by Alan Macfarlane  (An almost encyclopedic obituary  published in the Proceedings of the British Academy, vol.120, 2003, pp.123-147) The last 5 or 6 pages in particular may shed some light on our reading.  
  •  The Making of the Modern World - ebooks by Alan Macfarlane. These are unrelated to Alfred Gell, per se, but are works in pdf format made freely available by the author on the origins and nature of the modern world. YMMV.
 I've come across a few essays that review/critique A&A and will post any that seem short, sweet or particularly persuasive in the weeks to come.