Disruptive Technologies

Course site for Disruptive Technologies. Exploring identity, community, & design.

Author: Richard Smith (page 1 of 2)

Bittersweet, Like an Apple Removed from My Heart

So guess what? This is it. It’s a bittersweet moment as I sit here typing out my final blog post. I had so many goals and aspirations to achieve this semester and reached some while never thinking twice about some others. Then there are the goals that I achieved without intending to. You may be wondering what some of those goals are, but I’ve decided to not tell you. If you’re reading this, then let me tell you that you have been blessed with a magnificent brain that can come up with ideas that I could never dream of—don’t let me hold you back.


There is one thing that I learned this semester that I really think you should keep in mind. It’s all about people.

All of this. School, technology, families, the postal service, all of our communities, everything. Don’t take people for granted, but in turn, don’t take yourself for granted either. You’ve fought half the battle by just taking the moment to read this. It proves that you not only want to, but can do it. If you’re having this read to you, guess what, you still can.


After school special aside, this has been a great semester. It’s one of the first courses where I felt like whatever I put in I got in return. I definitely appreciated that it was taught and attended by university administrators–not to have an outlet to vent, but it was encouraging to see that the people behind so many emails care about improving the school and are motivated to do it with students in mind.

As you should know by now if you’ve been keeping up with this blog and course, we had iPads all semester. Needless to say that all my plots to keep mine have been thwarted by that nifty ID number on the back. Oh well. I must say that I don’t know if this semester could have been possible without them. They established a baseline technology that we could implement in whichever ways we saw fit to be successful in school. I frequently caught myself panicking if I left my iPad at home (moreso than if I left my phone). It has been everything this semester–never leaving my side. It took some getting used to, but wasn’t unbearable, and since it was new, it forced me to begin thinking out of the box in general. In essence, it was disruptive. Knowing that I would be giving the iPad back, I can speak honestly and say that I failed and didn’t push it as far as I could. As a broke college kid, I refused to spend money on it. If I had brought my own, or purchased it in the beginning, I think my selection of apps and utilities would have been much more in depth (would have had an external keyboard too). Do I think iPads should be implemented in education? Definitely. Will something new need to be added eventually? Definitely. Is that okay and natural? Definitely.


I bid you adieu, and may the dreams of a back button forever rest with you, my dear Future People.

Technically Yours,


Oh Back Button, I Hearken Ye

It’s been a while since I posted an update on what apps I currently have on my iPad. I’ve definitely increased the number of them that I use. Only the highlighted ones are used without fail every day, but I will definitely say that I still use most of them on a weekly if not every other day basis. I have now used the iPad for about three months, and have finally gotten used to not having a keyboard. Granted, I could never imagine writing a paper without a dedicated one. Other than that, I have noticed that I am much more productive throughout the day–I always have access to materials and tools for each of my classes.

I still want a back button. You think I’m joking, but I’m not. There are so many apps that you cannot simply go back one step; you must completely start over.

Apps As of 4_20_15

Technically Yours,


P.S. I assure you that the game “8bit Doves” says exactly that. Image compression is a bit dirty..


Hello My Name Is [insert artsy photo here]

Richard J. Smith


My project using Adobe Slate is intended to  serve as a mock visual bio that I could incorporate into a website. Of course the photos are not high enough quality to be used in an official setting, but it is a good starting point for thinking about what my biography can say aesthetically and vice versa. It is also helpful to show how design must be built with multiple platforms in mind. I created this on my iPad, but it looks quite different on a desktop computer and my older iPhone 4S. It is definitely something that I would like to pursue further in the future.

Please Google, May I Have Some More?

With all of this newfangled technology that’s being offered to us as students in 2015, there sometimes seems to be a disconnect between what’s helpful or good to use and how quickly we can actually use it. It’s 2015 so there’s no reason to not immediately reply to a text (even at 4:36 am), no reason I should not immediately know an answer in class, no reason I shouldn’t have an immediate comeback to someone else’s wit, and no reason I should have to wait on a table at 7 pm on a Friday night at T.G.I. FRiDAY’S. You know I’m joking, but people often forget to take a moment to breathe and realize that not everything has to be so immediate–if you’re shooting for a comeback, that’s another story. Funny is as funny does after all.

One thing that can be sped up, however, is productivity on mobile devices. Mobile apps were created in part to make things faster for the consumer. For students in particular, Google Apps for Education has been a great addition to our productivity toolkits. The problem with using them on a mobile device is that they’re often limited versions of the actual programs. Another issue (even when on desktops), is that the user has to create a project in one program, save, export, and maybe be able to upload it into another program for further edits. I propose a Course Management Software not completely unlike Blackboard or Moodle, but one that is based on Google Apps for Education.

This app would have all the general functionality of another CMS, but is set apart by the affordances of Google. When a professor uploads a PDF of a reading, I would be able to open and annotate without saving it to my device and opening in another app. I would be able to record my lectures and tag them appropriately for followup. One of the best parts about a Google-based CMS is the data creation portion. Instead of having all the Google Apps as part of separate programs, they would all appear on one main screen as a “toolbar selector.” For instance, I begin a new document and type out what I want to say (Docs toolbar), then I want to add a nice visual so I click on the LucidCharts toolbar option and immediately my toolbox items change, but my document remains. When finished with the document, I would have the option of saving in a variety of formats (depending on what media I used to create my project).

As a student that has been using an iPad for a few months now, I feel that I can adequately navigate through iOS quickly and efficiently. That being said, I often am just waiting on my apps to swap over (or to figure out how to export and reopen elsewhere). With a fully integrated app, I can probably save an entire 2 minutes a day. It may not seem like much, but over four years of education that’s almost 11 hours of time that can be spent elsewhere–quite possibly used to make even better work.

Do Not Press[ure] Me to Do Something


Big Red Button


We’ve probably all seen something similar to this online. The infamous Big Red Button that we are not allowed to press. I think that it is a great example of design. Why, you say? I’ll tell you. What is the first thing that you want to do when you see it? Press it! This object, is not only recognizable, but it implores you to use it without overtly saying to do so. You think that it is of your own will that you’re pressing the button–in fact, it must be your own choosing because the button said don’t press it.

For those visually inclined peeps, the contrast of smooth-edged red, and seemingly rough-edged white balance each other out. If you’re still not sure if this design is up to par in terms of artistic content because I made it in Microsoft Paint, I know of a great nation on the other side of the world that might help you decide.

Let me know what you choose. In the meantime, I’ve got a button to go press.

Technically Yours,


Listen Up, Can Anyone Hear Us?

To prepare for Thursday’s synthesis presentations, those of us that like to be Too Disruptive would like for you to do two things. First, take a look at Sam Richards’s Ted Talk,  “A Radical Experiment in Empathy.”

Then, we would like for you to take a brief, semi-anonymous quiz. Especially since this is such a small class, we hope that everyone gets a chance to take the quiz (even Cole). Also, please do so no later than Thursday at noon so we will have time to compile the results.

Click here to take the brief quiz, Making ‘My’ Way Downtown

[We] Identify as Disruptive Too

A person’s identity indicates something about them. As a set of social classifications, identity is created by viewing two or more people or groups in relation to one another (oneself is included). Identity  is a paradox in two ways.

First,  it is constantly in flux, but at the same time, suggests an ever-developing constant within a person. How someone chooses to identify his/herself (or someone else) can change over time; there can be momentary or long-term changes. For example:

  • Momentary: Role as friend takes precedence over role as student if a friend is in a car accident.
  • Long-Term: Gender or sexuality can fluctuate over time.

Second, a person’s understanding of their own identity affects the lens through which they view his/herself and others.


Hello, My Name is Apple

A couple of weeks ago when Apple came to visit our class, I was very excited to really jump into creating content on the iPad. I was disappointed, however, when much of the class was spent on “lecturing” about identity. I was personally taken aback by this as I must have been confused about the reason of their actual visit. It was occasionally disconcerting because of the inevitable Apple advertising.

Eventually we did get into creating some content–that being said, we did not do much creating, ourselves. For me, the most beneficial part of this presentation was the discussion about Keynote. I was surprised at how “perfected” this PowerPoint app really was. I was especially impressed at its ability to create a mock app. As a hyperlink-driven application, I see Keynote acting more as an interactive presentation rather than one say, for an actual keynote or other address. Another app that I would be curious to look at more for actual presentations is Quip. The representatives from Apple did not do a full walk-through, but did mention that it was a very effective app. I hope to eventually explore this one further.

Over all, the effectiveness of Keynote harkens that the iPad be considered further in terms of using it in education. I appreciate the fact that students can create an accessible overview of a project while on the go.

Technically Yours,


P.S. Why yes, yes I did use the word “harkens,” and although Google does not accept it as a modern word and insisted on underlining it with that nasty, squiggly red line, it is the perfect word as it can be read into further.

A Little Birdy Told Me All About You

Over the couple years that I’ve used Twitter, I have mainly purposed it as a place that could contain quick little witty or funny messages that I would like to share with my friends. I also used it briefly (but successfully) as a marketing tool for when I worked for an online news company. I learned the power of the #hashtag; with it, I could direct my message to particular people around the world that might be searching for what I’m talking about. After leaving the news company, I continued to try to be smart about how I tagged things. Often, the humor is in the hashtag. I began to form part of my online identity toward the idea of having “followers.” This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but I believe that it definitely has changed the way I go about my own personal marketing.



Also, after doing my first video, I wanted to try my hand at iMovie for iOS again. Here’s some footage from a recent trip to NYC to see Swiss Sound Artist Zimoun’s installations.

Identifying Frustration


When I started working on this project I found that creating a movie with the mobile iMovie app was fairly simple. Of course there are things that I do not know how to do, but for the most part everything was straightforward. I have one issue however: I made my video (purposefully very simple), but each time I saved it the audio was messed up. For the first portion of my video I had two audio tracks playing at two different tempi. This only happened after saving…not before. After spending a couple hours on this, the best solution was to delete that entire portion of the video and start from scratch. Luckily, I was able to get it edited back down to the two-minute time limit with not much trouble!

Will I continue using the iMovie app for the iPad? Probably not, but as a student in the media arts, I have had the opportunity and access to learn professional grade software–at this point, I just choose to make videos that require a bit more precision than an app can give me. That being said, I found iMovie for iOS to quite fluid (as much as Apple can be with directory routing information) and think it is a great opportunity to get into video making or make quick and [attempted] easy videos like this.

Survey on Interactive Content in Teaching & Learning

Just came across this. It’s an anonymous survey for Suny’s FACT2 Task Group on Interactive Content in Teaching and Learning. If you have a moment, it would probably be helpful if you all took it. They are looking for insights concerning the assessment of interactive content in the teaching and learning process at SUNY campuses.


/r/McLuhan Drives a Ford


  • The problem of using old tools in a new world. Linear understanding / experience of knowledge (through reading) VS. immersive epistemology, connectivity, and multi-modal discourse.
  • Truly living in the present involves embracing modulating and advancing forms of technology. These adapting technologies began with what people called quill and paper, but was really random access memory. We don’t really know anything… we have it stored for later reference.



  • Who is in control of your information, and are you okay with it?
  • “The web is not, despite the desires of so many, a publishing medium. The web is a customer service medium. ‘Intense moderation’ in a customer service medium is what ‘editing’ was for publishing.”
  • “That’s what I tell my Gutenbourgeois friends, if they’ll listen. I say: Create a service experience around what you publish and sell. Whatever “customer service” means when it comes to books and authors, figure it out and do it. Do it in partnership with your readers. Turn your readers into members. Not visitors, not subscribers; you want members.” This speaks volumes about business, post-Web 2.0. By creating a community interested in what is being peddled, the community has the potential to influence the future direction of the product which makes it more suitable for that community.



We now see Reddit as a CoP, whereas before, we only viewed subreddits as this type of community. Redditors constantly ask WWIC? People want to not only ask questions, but be heard as well. Reddit offers a medium through which crowd-sourcing information from hundreds of people is available.

Robert [2.]fr0st


In sociology, we talk about four main different types of identity. 1) Felt. This is someone’s inner-most thoughts about his or herself — a sort of personal decision of which path you will take. 2) Claimed. This is what someone outwardly expresses as who they are — just as may be represented in one’s art. 3) Attributed. This is how others would identify someone — just as we often do over the net. 4) Perception of Others’ Attributions. Whether or not we are correct, we all think about how others view us — once again, this easily happens on the net each time we post, comment, create, or interact in any another way.

Image compiled using Text2Pic app (free). I took the background image at the Knockdown Center in Queens, NY. It is a picture of a sound art installation by Swiss sound artist Zimoun. I overlayed a “digital-looking” filter to represent the internet, and the words evoke inner-choice and outward decision of which way to walk through the installation.

iSpy an iPad Frustration

Hello Everyone!

Now that I am about a month into using the iPad, I feel that I need to come forward and admit a few things. I love the iPad in general. The UI is great and quick, and I can’t get over the multi-touch swipe function. However, I feel that I am beginning to plateau in the iPad’s functionality. Granted, this plateau is probably representative of the tiredness that I am feeling in the rest of my work. So maybe I should also call it a lacking of patience.

In the first couple weeks, I was still getting used to the iPad; now, I feel fairly comfortable in my abilities. I am beginning to notice a speed curve. I feel that I can type fairly fast considering I am using an on-screen keyboard; however, some things just refuse to work with iOS properly. This website, for instance, is nearly impossible to deal with. I usually give up and go to a computer for my blog posts. I have to swap back and forth between the “text” and “visual” options just to get these simple paragraphs entered. I know that Stony Brook is working on getting support from the WordPress and/or Edublogs app though.

I also was surprised a few days ago to realize that I had to download a separate app in order to play .wav files…that’s a fairly generic file format that I hope that I am just completely iOS incompetent and that Apple did not not support! More than just being a music major, I appreciate high quality audio, and iTunes isn’t really gonna get it for me.

For now, I am also experimenting around with different productivity apps, and in particular, apps for note-taking and writing. I have to read a lot for my field, and I love getting to highlight and whatnot in a book. So as a positive note, let’s see what the iPad can do since I keep finding things it cant!


Technically Yours,

Does Anyone Have a Clue?

7. Hyperlinks subvert hierarchy.

We build a sort of hierarchy through search engines, but at the end of the day we are all equal here.


23. Companies attempting to “position” themselves need to take a position. Optimally, it should relate to something their market actually cares about.

This does not mean advertising through Facebook though. The Internet brings people together that can possibly call someone out. We all are more responsible for what we say and do on the web.


67. As markets, as workers, we wonder why you’re not listening. You seem to be speaking a different language.

Once again, a Facebook link I click on is not my part of the dialogue.

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