Cory Doctorow


Hi class!! I don’t think you planned on coming on to this website to post anything this time but while you’re here, check out the video that I posted above. It’s a little long but it encompasses a large portion of our class from an author we all know, Cory Doctorow. He talks about a wide range of topics including copyright policy, software property, etc from the technological side of things. Enjoy!!!

And please comment if you watch it! Thanks!







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Final Blog Post


Also very late :( sry

Best Comment: Finals

Best Post: Book Vs Ebook

Second Best Post: Video games


So, after a whole semester of blogging, I feel I am officially a blogger. Through the Final Project for this class I ventured into writing my own blog and loved it equally as much as this blog. However, this blog is where I got my start. I fell in love with the ability to write as I pleased. No restraint as long as my opinion was coherent and clear. It was a space where I could get into an argument about science or debate the politics of the day, and frankly I’m going to miss it a lot. But I am by no means ready to make my own “Professional” Blog. I still have amateur spelling and grammar errors, I have the tendency to rant and go off on tangents, as well as a host of others issues with my writing. But if we compare some of my older posts to the new ones we see something completely different. My eloquence changed, I stopped typing like a high school student and began writing as a college student. Common words and colloquial phrases have all gone out the window.  I also believe that I dropped some of the antagonism that I had towards those who had opposing beliefs to my own. My emotions tended to get clouded by my “need to be right” complex. This is still a short coming of mine and it comes out in my comments on peoples posts. This is something that I will work on more as college goes on.

My posts this semester have been more about what we did as a class and less about political topics. All of these discussions have been just my thoughts about the lessons that we have had in class. Being a maker was the crux of our studies this semester and has influenced all of my posts and has guided my thoughts for the whole semester. In the end I would like to thank you, Dr. Vee for allowing us to use your blog as a free and open space for our ideas. It has been wonderful to have this taste of freedom and I hope to blog and comment more and more as I get older. I truly see it as a great means of news and communication in the future to come.


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Mid-term blog portfolio

I know this is very late in coming, but here is my midterm blog portfolio.


For my blogger, I picked Pamela Roland, who is the professor of plant pathology at the University of California. There she studies the role that genes play in the way that plants react to their environments.  Her blog, that is called Tomorrow’s Table, focuses on the importance of genetics and how the field has been advancing in the current years.

Roland writes in an informative manner. She starts each post with how a brief overview of the topic that she is covering. Although her writing style varies with each post-some are written as stories, while others are written as though it is an informative paper-Roland keeps an overtone of informative speech. Every one of her posts, while keeping to her general topic, goes about like a research paper. It moves from one nugget of information to the next, with a certain flow that comes with years of experience in her field. Her recent posts not only focus on plant genetics, but the behaviors of genes as a whole. Much an academic paper, she cites every one of her statements, giving links to the different papers or other sources of media from which she pulls her facts. These links allow the reader to have a wider understanding of the topic than is reported in her posts, allowing those who peruse her blog the chance at a better understanding of the topics she undertakes.

Realizing that academic papers are dry and boring, Roland enlists the help of pictures and creative methods with which she enlivens the information. The ends of her posts fulfill a two-fold purpose. On one hand, they give credit to the discovers of the information, noting the apporiate papers from which her research stems, but sometimes they also pose questions of the possibilities which further research can extend.


My best post:

My best comment:

My second best post:


As I reread my earliest blog posts, I see the change that I, like most of my classmates, went through as we became more accomplished writers and bloggers. Early on, the writing in my posts was short and mostly not entertaining. They were filled fully with opinion and were structured purely as my mind worked. Through the clever guidance of Dr. Vee, with helpful suggestions from my classmates, the complexity of my writing grew. While the ideas still came from desperation (I’m not a natural blogger), they began to coalesce into something more than just the ramblings that they previously where.

As my posts on the blog itself are very few, I can see my greatest improvement through the thought and sentence structure of my responses.  My largest growth in my posts, evolved from comments. What began as just the opinions of one person began to grow. I began to cite sources from our readings and my own knowledge and tie that together with my personal experiences, as seen in life without the fix. As much as I have grown, however, my ability to draw in readers is still very lacking. My ability to grab and hold the attention of the viewers is very poor, and as such, it leads to very bland blog posts. This is my greatest weakness, and the downfall in my blog writing abilities. My greatest strength is the complexity of the thoughts that I blog about and my writing style in general, which can be seen as my sole redeeming factor when you look at my blogging. On the whole, since the beginning of the blog my writing as improved immensely, both in structure and idea and although my work is not perfect, I’ll keep working harder until it is.

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Final Blog Portfolio

Blog Post #1 – The Whole Enchilada

Blog Post #2 – Occupy Wall Street

Blog Comment – Adam Grosser

The most challenging problem I find when it comes to blogging is picking a topic to write about. Since I’ve been at college I seem to have writer’s block twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. When Monday rolls around and it’s group one’s turn to blog, I freeze. What topics are controversial, something I’m interested in, and something that someone else would be interested in as well? How about neuroscience? Could I write about the Holocaust? The only things I read while at college are lecture notes or the hundreds of pages of reading assigned by my professor. I should definitely stay more aware and keep up with what’s happening around the world. I feel like I would be a much better communicator if I developed posts that were about controversial recent topics or news stories. The vast world of the internet is constantly moving forward, and I need to do this as well. My comment about Adam Grosser’s portable refrigeration system reflects this, but I would like to incorporate this into my regular posts. The Whole Enchilada is about a current website that displays recent and innovate projects, but it’s not really controversial. I’d love to start a good argument.

As a whole I am pleased with the progress that I’ve made on my posts and comments from my midterm portfolio until now. I vowed that I would include pictures, links and videos and this is exactly what I did! Also, I believe that when displaying your opinion on the internet, you must maintain your voice so that people know where you’re being sarcastic, angry, or even just plain happy about something. I do this by trying to type exactly what I’m thinking in my head. While you still have to keep it somewhat professional, blogging is a completely different style of writing. The Whole Enchilada is more of a free spirit writing whereas Occupy Wall Street is a more serious and political tone. I’m going to strive to combine the two to create the master of all blog posts!

There’s one problem with my last point: Cory Doctrow seems to have already achieved this on his blog. Cory Doctrow is a maker and his blog reflects this! Like I said previously, blogging is a different style of writing. You need to incorporate your own voice, while making it interesting enough to occupy someone else’s attention as well! These two things are SO CRUCIAL when it comes to the internet. Anyone can post about anything that they want: this makes competition feisty. You must stand out because you’re competing against millions of other people across the world to be heard.

Making, Hacking and Composing has certainly enhanced my making abilities and I’ve enjoyed getting to know you all!

That’s All Folks!

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Final Blog!

2. Reflection

Through this class I have watched my writing change drastically.  All the rules that had been drilled into my brain for years flew out the window.  Writing became more than just trying to reword sentences the best possible way so there are no linking verbs.  Writing was given a greater purpose for the first time; to not just write for a teacher, but a true audience.  Blogging was the perfect opportunity to exercise this skill.  At first, I was not all that thrilled about the idea of blogging to say the least, but it ended up opening my eyes to what blogging is all about.  Going back through my blogs and comments I had no idea how much writing I had been doing, which is a huge accomplishment for me.

I chose my best blogs and comments because I feel they are easy to relate to, well written, and included outside sources of media.  Through these blogging assignments I have been opened up to other blogs and noticed these elements are a common theme in the ones I enjoy most.  I believe a good blog should be easy to read and act as a pathway to new knowledge and ideas.  I like to think my blogs and comments did just that for someone.  That the links I posted led them to new sites to explore and enjoy.  For instance, the inspiration for my blog post, “Decisions, Decisions,” was from a blog I discovered during this course.  Hopefully my blog led someone else to Rebecca Ruizs blog just as I was.  If anything, I would want my blogs to incorporate these ideas even more.  I wish I would have spent more time researching more in depth for my posts, and maybe added some pictures to catch the reader’s attention.

I think the internet is heavily relied on by the maker movement, and through blogging I have gained a slightly stronger connection to making.  The internet used to have a negative stigma attached to it for me of purely being a distraction.  Blogging has opened up the internet, allowing more avenues to explore different ideas.  Sites like Instructables give people easy access to learn about and participate in the maker movement.  By writing on the internet myself, and now knowing where to find all the new happenings in the maker world, I feel more connected with society and like I have a greater use for the internet.

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Final Blog Portfolio

Part 1

Best Post:

Best Comment:

Second Best Post:


Part 2

Throughout the course of this class, I have noticed what I believe is a large improvement in my writing in general. When I look at the blog in particular, I can see the evolution of my public writing. I think my strengths have generally stayed the same since my reflection on the midterm. I try my best to pick relatable topics; I did not want my posts to just be class-related, but also wanted them to relate to my target audience i.e. the class. I think I’ve also successfully continued to utilize my skill of engaging language. I think that it makes readers believe there is a real person behind the posts, not just a college student who wants to get an assignment over with. I have also been lucky enough to have oddly specific things happen to me that ended up by being right on topic, like my talk with my friend about how TV has changed. My weaknesses are still more prevalent in my comments; I tend to not leave them as open-ended as my posts. My event-related posts are also noticeably less open-ended than all my other posts. I tend to think that just because they were there, that means I don’t have to head my readers into a certain direction, or elaborate on something more specific that happened. I think I have improved after my reflection on my weakness from the midterm portfolio. I have definitely been utilizing the internet in general more by linking Wikipedia articles and blogs and pictures, and I think that that strengthens my posts and makes them less boring.  Comments in general still challenge me because for some reason I find them harder to write than posts, but I let my comments lack the elements which I improved on in my posts.

When I think about how my sense of making has developed, I like to look at two specific posts of mine. The first one, “The American Scholar and Making,” made me think about how making has evolved and how it isn’t really a new idea, but a Renaissance of those ideas. Also, it is just always a good idea to study the history of something to gain a better understanding of its present-day state. The second one, “HackPittsburgh,” made me think about making now, and what elements have made it evolve, as well as the future of making. In all, my sense of making has gained a greater depth from not only talking about what it means to be a maker, but also from a deeper understanding of all the ideas that have and are going into it. I don’t think that making so much depends on the ability to write in public spaces, but that it helps it to proliferate.  As I saw from Thoreau, he did not have public writing ability even close to our degree due to the internet, but making was obviously still around. Looking at today though, you can see that this more accessibly public writing space has made the idea of making more universal to people.

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Final Blog Portfolio

1. Showcase of my best blog questions/ comments

My Best Post: My Flag on the Moon


My Best Comment: Response to Anky’s Hackers of Pittsburgh


My Next Best Post: Back in the Good Ol’ Days

2. Reflection on my blog posts and writing about “making” online

The areas I wished to improve identified in My Midterm Blog Portfolio included developing deeper, more analytical questions in my posts and using the wealth of media that can be found on the web.  After analyzing my selected posts, I feel that I have improved in both areas.  In the post Back in the Good Ol’ Days, the question I pose about the effect that the Internet had on the Internet.  This question requires more than a simple yes or no, to properly answer it one needs to analyze both how the Internet reduces workload, and how dependent people are on it.   Also, in all of my posts after the Midterm Portfolio, I included at least a picture to either symbolize the major theme behind my post or to attract my peers into reading what I wrote.

On top of improving in the areas I set out to achieve, there are some things I believe I do well in general.  For example, after reading my own posts I feel that my tone got across well.

In My Flag on the Moon, I believe my tone was filled with pride and excitement adding to the meaning I was trying to get across in my post.  I believe tone has always been important, especially after analyzing James Fallows and feeling his tone “drip from the pages.”

An area still slacking in my blogging work is commenting on my peers’ posts.  I find them to be a bit dry, like telling too much of a story and not enough analysis.  If required to continue to blog, this would be my major point of concern.  You (Dr. Vee) stressed at the beginning of the semester that the blog should flow, the comments on a post do not always have to linearly stem from the post. I did not do the best job of building on to the post, similar to how my writing was at the beginning of the year, very “linear” with no argument being built throughout.

After going on, I found a fitting post for this

assignment titled the Sunset of a Blog.  The post focused on the end of a man’s blog, after the niche it once filled was no longer present.  Glenn Fleishman’s blog was based on Wi-Fi hotspots, a new and exciting idea a short ten years ago.  The creator of the blog wrote about how his blog once affected those involved in the computer industry.  By being able to freely access his blog, people in the technology industry were influenced to continue to make.  To give an example, Gizmodo– a well-known gadget site– was created after its makers read Fleishman’s blog and thought that they should do something like this, but with gadgets.   It is this power of online communication– the power to quickly spawn new ideas– that fuels the maker community.  I believe that the maker community is reliant on the online availability of ideas, to make new and innovative things

I believe my blog can be seen as an analogous to the work of a maker.  Our class time discussions or assigned materials to read are the available, accessible, and common work makers rely on.  In my blogs I attempted to put my own spin on the material, interpreting or looking at it from a different direction similar to how a maker will hack a  old item to make a new one .  Over time, I also learned how to effectively state my ideas online.  In the beginning my posts were boring paragraphs, I simply did not know what I was doing.  Here at the end of my blogging experience for this class, I feel that I have become a much better online communicator by utilizing different media sources and new writing styles.

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Final Blog Post

Final Blog Portfolio

Section 1:

My Best Post:Crafting? Or Making”- This draws on a more personal style I wanted to work on after the midterm portfolio. It also gives a strong opinion on the maker movement and its place in the world, something that I feel has significance moving into the future and I wanted to inject more of my own opinions and feelings.

My Best Comment: My comment on “Scandalous Seaworld” written by Erin was my favorite. I think that I voiced my opinion, and a comment is meant to do that. In the beginning of the year, I would not directly respond to the bog post as well as I responded to that one.

My Second-best Post:Hack Pittsburgh”- I think that personal blogs should involve a lot of discussion and telling of a story. I took this post as almost a review of my time there. Again I worked on adding a stronger personal flair, and giving simply an opinion rather than facts. I think that strengthens the post and makes it more influential to readers. It helps them think of Hack Pittsburgh the way that I did.

Section 2: Reflection

In my blogging, I try to utilize these ideas by speaking with a more personal style than I usually use in my writing. Many times I draw inspiration from a blog written by my boss at work, and from a fashion blog with a unique flair. My manager’s is a Phillies blog, “Phanatic addict,” but I feel that the style he uses gets his personality across well. To me, he makes the blog about his opinion while still leaving discussion open for others, and presenting the facts in an interesting way. I strive to write a blog that will be as interesting, informative, and narrative as his can be. The fashion blog is pretty, pictures of designer clothing and trendy pieces are going to be. However, Leandra Medina, the author of “The Man Repeller” makes her blog more than a topical site. She is comical, informative, reflective and “cool.” Her blogging inspires me to lighten the mood in my posting.

Throughout the year, my blogging style has progressed; during the midterm blog portfolios, I wanted to increase my personality in my writing, make my posts more interesting to read, and overall tell a story more. I accomplished this by writing about personal experience, commenting about personal beliefs, to including elements like links and pictures into my work. However, I think that in blogging, people need to watch how they say things, though it may not be as exciting to read an informative piece, I would not ignore the facts simply to strengthen my opinion. While we did not have to write pieces that were particularly controversial or that would inspire such tactics, I like to think that if I were to write my own blog now, I could get the facts across to the readers, even those that do not support my views.

As I became more comfortable with blogging, and publishing my feelings and experiences for basically the whole world to see, I realized what an impact it had on how I looked at the posting. Instead of looking at it like a paper that I had little to no personal connection to, I became attached to my posts. The represent me, and how I observed the world around me.

I think that the personal observation and reaction to the world is what makes blogging a form of making. Instead of passively reporting details. Bloggers from any site work to create their own opinions, and comment on the world around them. While they are not physically making an object, their piece of writing is a “thing” in itself. They hack their own world by commentary. By getting their opinion onto the web, millions of people can read their opinion, and develop their own. The great thing about blogging is that it allows for commenting, where readers can “make” themselves. Because they add to the world’s knowledge and opinions, they are participating, and inspiring development in the world around them. Literally becoming “makers” of change.



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Final Blog Portfolio

Section 1

My best post I Want to be a Maker for Halloween

My best comment was on the HTML post

My next best post finals are coming

Section 2

One of the main things I have learned from this class is that the lower the word count is for an assignment the harder it is to write that assignment. After constantly writing 1,500 to 3,000 word papers in High School, I was happy about the transition to what I thought were easy 300 word blog posts. I was wrong. The challenge I found with most blog posts was getting my point across in a few concise words. The original draft for my post “the new way to get the news” had a 100 word paragraph about the effects of different screen types of e-readers. While this is an interesting topic, it has little to do with my post, so it had to be cut. I think the posts and comments that I have chosen as my best represent the times I was able to clearly get my point across and spark conversation. I liked the HTML, and “finals are coming” posts because they both have a large amount of conversation. In the “Finals are Coming” post I sparked the conversation, and in the HTML I gave my input in ab ongoing discussion. I have always been very web and programing oriented, and it was very interesting to exchange ideas with people who had completely different viewpoints from mine about the coding process. I could have improved on these posts with outside sources to reference my point. The posts also could have benefited from more of the formatting tools wordpress provides.
This free exchange of ideas is what I think makes the Blog and Maker movement so great. People from all over the world are helping each other through the Internet. In the Maker Halloween post, I also was able to utilize the blog tools of inline images and links. I noticed after the midterm and our intro to HTML class, most of us started to use the tools that wordpress provides. The blog and class have helped me evolve as a maker. I have read different blogs and instructibles posts for many years but have never thought about posting to them. I just never saw a point in adding my voice to the conversation, but after experiencing what it was like in the small sandbox of the class blog, I realized it was pretty fun to join in the conversation. What I have learned from the blog experience is that since our class only meets once a week, it was a great for us to talk out of class and practice our writing skills. I would also like to note that is was a great experience looking back over the blog to locate these posts and see how far our class has come.


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Final Blog Portfolio

Final Blog Portfolio


1. Showcase of my best blog posts and comments


I believe my best blog post was


I believe my next best post was


I believe my best comment was



2. Reflection on my blog posts and “making” online


I believe that these posts are my strongest because I analyzed presented information and used outside links or sources to support my claims. I believe these added links and videos gave the posts more dimension and added interest; I used different media to make the post more engaging. At the end of each post I posed a relevant question for my readers to answer and debate in the comments, or I asked for my readers’ individual opinions or thoughts. An example of this is seen in my post “We Are Makers” where I used a video to explain a point and then explained my opinions on things said in the video. I ended by asking others to share their thoughts on the video in the comments.

I think, however, that I could have provided more links or pictures to add even more different forms of media to my posts, and included more opinions from around the web to get my point across more cohesively. I also could have written longer, more in-depth analyses based off of these links or sources, incorporating more current news sources, video, pictures, etc. from around the web.

I do honestly believe I have made progress in blogging since the midterm blog portfolio. In my midterm portfolio, I expressed wanting to use more media from around the web to add to my posts. Although I think I could still use more, I did make strides in incorporating these things into my posts since, as in the post containing the We Are Makers video. I also expressed wanting to make my posts more appealing to others, and have them read and interpreted as more than someone doing it only because they had to for a class. I think I improved most on this front by taking my posts to another level and writing about subjects that interested me personally with genuine enthusiasm. I hope that this sentiment could be felt when reading my posts, and it is another thing I can continue to work on further in the future.

Blogs like this one are very important to the making community. Communicating amongst peers is a pivotal part of sharing and contributing ideas and techniques – which is at the core of making. Making involves learning from others and also teaching them as well, which can be done conveniently and on a worldwide scale using blogs and open forums online. Writing ideas and opinions openly on Internet blogs is what keeps makers moving and creating; different procedures can be learned for free so that new concepts can be easily imagined and become reality. Websites like, where makers can go and post online tutorials and step-by-step directions, are perfect examples of this concept; making depends on this free sharing and without it no one would have access to many valuable resources. On our blog, the comments section represented a place like this, where we could share our thoughts freely with one another and learn from each other along the way. The making community has started thriving because of the resources provided by the Internet’s open communication spaces that open up learning to a worldwide audience.

These blogs, in this way, have given me a way to communicate with my peers over the Internet and incorporate different forms of media into reporting a subject in current times. I, overall, think I responded to the task very diligently and well, learned a lot, and look forward to improving on my faults further in future work.

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