Category: Uncategorized


All I’ve Written in a Wordle

Well, now that the school-term is almost finished and my time posting on Erabit is nearly done, I thought it would be appropriate to provide a Wordle.

Wordle: ErabitMashup

I’m a bit disturbed by “Google”‘s prominence. From now on, I’ll only refer to the corporation as the G-word.

Podcasted novels, recorded novels available for download online, have stirred controversy since they were first made available back in 2004. In his blog, Howard Vincent Hendrix, an American scholar and science fiction writer, lambasted authors posting free podcast novels as “webscabs” responsible for “converting the noble calling of the Writer into the life of the Pixel-stained Technopeasant wretch.”

The less-than-subtle insinuation of Hendrix’s comments—asides from that webcasted books were ruining writing as a profession—was that podcast novels would quickly saturate their niche, and that a flood of “novels written by 15-year-olds” would make it impossible for respectable publishers to sort wheat from chaff on sites like podiobooks.com.

Admittedly, successful podcasting authors like Scott Sigler, who’s featured in articles in The Times and San Francisco Chronicle, are the exception. Most who post on podiobooks.com are likely to remain unpublished pixel-stained scribblers. Nonetheless, podcasted novels still hold advantages over tradition print books for budding authors and for you the listener.

First, podcasts give authors a way to circumvent traditional publishers and directly access an audience. Publishers like Random House have been shedding jobs for years and, as a consequence, crimped the unpublished aspirations for getting their work into print. For some authors—mainly male and mainly science fiction writers like Sigler—podcasts have provided a much-needed venue for publicizing their work and attracting an audience. In Sigler’s case, tens of thousands.

For listeners, podcasted novels have multiple advantages. They’re portable; you can download them onto your iPod, sparing you the need to lug around 300 pages of text. They’re also free and filterable. You’re not bound by the tastes of a publisher or a broadcaster; rather, you can filter them for which authors and genres you prefer—whether that be science fiction, military history, or otherwise—and you can download only what you want to hear. But, most importantly, podcast novels can be enhanced acoustically; authors can add ambient noise, sound effects, and even voice actors for characters. The result can be a highly compelling package reminiscent of 30s radio broadcasts, akin to Orson Welles’s Mercury Theatre on Air, only now recorded in someone’s garage rather than in a company studio.

So, while podcasting novels won’t guarantee you fame, they still provide a quick way to attract readers and offer a portable, entertaining experience for listeners.

What is Google Maps Good for?

Google Map, at first glance, looks simple. But used well, Google Map is a powerful tool for plotting info onto pretty much wherever you’d like–whether that be your neighborhood, campus, or otherwise.

Here’s a simple sample of what Google Map can do:

The map contains a selection of places to eat on my campus, the University of Victoria. UVic’s website offers lists of different cafeterias and coffee-stops, but those lists don’t show location–for that you have to access a separate pages. Obviously, a hassle for someone whose blood sugar is bottoming out. So, all I did was take what’s already online and plunk it on a map. Now famished students (like me) can skip the usual  web-surfing or wandering and get to what’s important: the eating.

To get started creating maps of your own, you’ll first need to get a Google account. After that, you only need a few moments tinkering to get the gist of the program; making a Google Map is easy (the map above only took me twenty minutes to create), and Google Maps’ help tab has a list of easily-assimilable video clips to help you along the way.

Welcome!

Not much room for exposition in the title. So if you’re wondering what this blog is about, let me clarify with this maiden manifesto.

eRabit proposes  to provide a skeptic’s view of online social media. eRabit aims to distill truth from rumour, and fact from  fiction, and to sift through the multiplicity of conflicting headlines and anecdotes that bombard us daily about our growing online world. To that end, eRabit will tackle issues like privacy, online piracy, and copyright. eRabit will weigh the up and downsides of crowdsourcing, wikis, photosharing, podcasts, and more.  Through exploration of  sites like Twitter, Facebook and Flickr, eRabit will try to gauge online networking’s potential to inform and broaden our lives, but also its potential to harm. Ultimately, eRabit’s purpose is to educate readers about what’s worth engaging (and how much) and what’s worth keeping at an arm’s length.  In short, the goal of this blog is to be your guide, to help lead you down the rabbit hole and through the bewildering world of online social networking.

If you’re curious about what the internet offers but are a young fogey like me, or just a regular reticent rabbit, then this blog will strive to serve you. If not, if you’re already a well-adapted online denizen, don’t be afraid to drop by and leave a comment or two. Pointers and tips (so long as they’re constructive) are always appreciated.