Friday, April 14, 2006


1. What you can do doesn't necessarily mean you should do

2. There are always exceptions

3. The end-user delivers the final judgement.

4. The designer should make efforts to find cross-platform experiences

5. Humility is the best policy

6. You can't possibly amuse everyone.

7. Try to stay in the top edge of the current specification standard.

[Translation from a book titled "Professional Web Design"]

Tuesday, February 28, 2006


When we see a magician cut his assistant in half, he makes us all believe the result without actually bleeding his assistant. Similarly, in animation nothing actually moves. In Flash we create a series of frames that make you believe something is moving. We love watching movies in the theatre or dramas on TV and are so touched by them. Are we watching the real thing happening, or just the illusions created by a series of films and the changing of the illumination on the screen to trigger our cognition? It's all about illusion and believing. Magician, Flash, Film or TV they all do nothing but utilize the technology available to help to "fool" the audience.

Why do we want to "fool" people when we have the real things? A magician will definitely defend that he doesn't want to commit murder by cutting anyone in half just to entertain. We won't be able to see many interesting people and things happening around us every day. Surely we would take the real if available, however, most of the time we are simply out of the reach of the real things. What would you do then if the real things aren't available when wanted or needed?

Most people nowadays hear the sounds of the musical instruments mostly from the woofers of the speakers, but not from the real instruments. Amazingly it may even be true to most professional musicians. Certainly the woofers aren't strings, pianos, flutes, or any of the conventional musical instruments. However technology converts the binary codes and translates them via Digital-to-Analog devices and make the woofers produce very convincing soundwaves that we will recognize and relate them to certain real musical instruments as we hear them.

What do we really want from technology in this aspect? The result! Even it's not a real one (illusionary or imaginary.)

Consider how many arts depend on the creation of such illusion. The technology is only the way that allowing us to achieve such results. When we are dealing the cyber/virtual realm, espeacially artistic creation, the most important essence is always keeping the direction we really want to go/achieve. Once we have that, then we can create a "real" illusion, with lots of functions and means. Most part of it also leads to imagination, which is one of the most valuable assets to humanity, as well as education.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006


[after Agent J witnessed extraterrestrial life existence on the Earth, MIB (Men In Black)]
1500 years ago, everyone knew that the Earth was the center of the universe. 500 years ago, everyone knew that the Earth was flat. 15 minutes ago, you knew that humans were alone on this planet. Imagine what you'll "know" tomorrow.

-Agent K

We can't possibly know everything. Even if we think we do to certain instances, we could still be blinded by the limited perpectives we might have. Then, if such ignorance is inevitable, do we still motivate ourselves to pursue knowledge vigorously, or we don't? Do we remind ourselves the ignorance and try all efforts to fill the void, or we shall keep it as a bliss? When we find out something that we didn't know, will we be happy to know about it and learn it, or be annoyed by knowing about it and refuse to embrace it?

This course was originally titled: "Problems in Music Education: Computer Assisted Instruction." Why this title is no longer a valid one nowadays? What was the definition of the "Computer" back then and now? Do they function basically the same, or their roles have been changed dramatically? Is "computer" equal the term "technology"? What is the role of the "computer" in the realm of "technology"? What is "internet" back the day of its invention, and now? What's the relationship with "internet" and "computer"? And last but not least, what's "blogging" within the "internet" realm?

We start to know what is happening in the world: Millions of people are communicating each other in a huge scale that never happened in the history. Thousands of graduates are getting their degrees on-line. We enjoy all the entertainment given by the binary codes: MP3 music, digital video/movie, multimedia performance, etc. But do we realize what's the most original concepts of these new technology inventions and more new ones to come?

Will we give up walking if we have the options of riding in a car or even an airplane? Or, could it be that riding in a fancy high-tech vehicle is actually the same concept of simply walking on foot?
Imagination can go multi-dimensional. While we can imagine forward, finding its origins sometimes reveals even more realization due to the different perspectives. While we're redesigning the course to a new title and content, we need also to exam what is the original purposes to all these struggles. Are we just being trendy, or trying to really understand what is going on with the world (again with the ignorance subject)?

Let's try to go even a little bit beyond. So we've learned to blog, then what? (at this point do we think we know everything about blogging at this instance? do we want to pursue more or want to stay and feeling enough?) What can blog really do to help the educational setting? Right now we're using google to blog, how about other free blogging servers that provides different concepts and functions? Or wait, how about design and actually construct a personal blog and not using any of the free blog server (such as design a website instead of using a templete) and upload to the server for the purpose of your classes and students?

I know I could have believed the Earth is the center of the universe too because of my limited perspective. I know I can always walk and not riding in a vehicle. But I also know I want to learn a bit more than what I did, then I can imagine and possibly go beyond. The reason for these is still the same as the origins: to make life better, more enjoyable, or whatever your original goals of life.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006


[To a reporter at her door the day she won her second Pulitzer Prize:]
I can't talk about that now. I'm in the middle of a sentence.

-Anne Tyler

Remember back in '95 I built my first personal homepage by using a free web authoring program, "Netscape Composer", which is a by-product of the Netscape browser. It made it so easy that almost every bit of operational interface is exact the same as word processing program. There I started constructing my first creation of webpage without reading any program manual or instruction. It was a pretty new concept of learning programming then, and it has also become almost the main paradigm of commercial programming learning design, if not at least in its entry level.

Fist day I was able to type in some paragraphs, set the font and alignment properly, also insert a few my favorite pictures (jpg). Then I spend rest of the day wanting to find a cool animated gif of "Under Construction" sign. It was so important to me that without it I didn't want to publish my first page. It's almost the same fear that if I'm digging a hole on the center of a road, without a proper warning sign, people may just fall and get hurt accidentally. I never came across to find one I like, and there I spend another 5 hours to learn to make one (animated gif.) It was almost twice the time I actually spent on writing the web content itself. And I thought I was just being responsible for putting up the sign.

Time changes, technology changes, philosophy of generating contents starts to do too. It has become redundant to put a U.C. (under construction) sign on any page. It comes to a point that if a page is not yet readable, then it's no reason to publish and put a UC sign. But the thin threshold of "when" it's ready for public browsing is definitely facing new challenging to a new level. What could be the major impact of the philosophy to read and write web contents following?

In the old days, a tape with recorded converstaion or so-call on-the-record statements, you may have quite a stand even in court. Then what is it now if the web content is changing every hour, does the screen-shot of no-longer-existing page count for something? It is less true to what's been said on the web, or it's more true and closer to the reality of a human mind (or desire)?

Maybe this is the answer of this always-in-progress philosophy to the world nowadays. New things evolve so fast that by the time you familize it, it's already been fading away. Humanity strives for improvement all the time, and now we are marching into the era that the speed of the changing we might not be keeping up with. Or maybe not, we just need an updated philosophy to exam all these phenomena and our reflection to the impacts.

And again, this is my thinking "in progress" too. I published this because I think it's reasonably readable, it's reflecting my current (at the very moment at least) real thoughts, although I know it's not up to my past stand of a real finalized statement. However if not with this "in progress" philosophy, I would not have publised this, and you may not get the chance to read it.

Aren't most of the events in our lives simply "in progress" too?

Wednesday, February 08, 2006


If there is a book you really want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it.

-Toni Morrison

Sometimes the most rewarding part of being in a creative process is its contributions to not only the creator, but all the others. Let's see the most invaluable inventions (philosophy, theory, machinery, medicine, technology, etc.) and art creations throughout the history, every single one of them has evidently become the greatest contribution to the world, no matter what the original reasons were to its creation.

Before the motivation of creativity, it's almost certain that there is the non-existence of the subject waiting to be created. A creator senses the non-existence and uses the creativity to bring it forth to the existence. The non-existence becomes an opportunity to motivate the creativity, and should be considered as equally important as any of the creative processes. The first question to ask is "what don't we have that we want most?"

So, what don't we have that we want most to see in the future of educational/instructional environment? Is it a new adapted paradigm for classroom setting, a new theory for educational method, or new technology for instructional environment? Don't we all feel the non-existence of something we would like to see it happens in the future, but it's not really happening yet? Well then, that's our opportunity to evoke our creativity.

The more non-existence we can find, the more creativity we may evoke. This will result in more contributions to the world.

[In a note found after his death by his apprentice:]
Draw, Antonio. Draw, Antonio. Draw, and do not waste time.


Wednesday, January 25, 2006


Platform as Instructional Environment (P.I.E.) is one of the core ideas we wish to explore during this semester.

Since the early 21st century, e-Learning has become a popular educational paradigm because the multimedia communication has been made possible through nowaday internet technology. The main feature of e-Learning is to integrate the technology of communication, computing, and multimedia to break the boundary of the limitation of time and distance. It transforms the conventional classroom instructional environment to WWW internet networks. In this virtual classroom environment teachers and students are no longer limited to face-to-face type of interaction. Hence they can adapt themselves according to personal preference.

Platform is a virtual space where everyone can contribute. Educational structure should no longer limit to one-way feeding of information from the teacher to the students. In an e-Learning instructional environment, blogging can serve as a viable platform for teachers and students to generate and share information/ideas together. The platform, as a result, is a creation of the entire educational process. The students, as well as the teachers, will learn the information through creating this platform together. e-Learning also emphasizes on the freedom of the limitation of time and space/distance. Blogging will give the freedom just as much.

As all would expect, each member in the instructional environment can have a piece of a PIE. Internet has been bringing this world into a virtual realm, as all the information and technology will evolve. It isn't the question of whether it's a pie in the sky. Actually, sky is the limit.