True Life : DS106 Poster “Step Into The Jungle”

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A Final Post Describing How Amazing DS106 Is!

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So I decided to take this class in the summer session to fulfill my ALPP Gen Ed requirement. I had never heard of this class before and quite frankly had no idea what to expect. I couldnt get in touch with anyone who had taken it before, and hadn’t a clue about the professor. Then the e-mail from Martha came a week or so before class, and it seemed intimidating (good job Martha :P), and I definitely thought about dropping the class a couple times, but decided to stick with it. And its one of the best decision I’ve ever made! This class is by far the most laid-back and most fun class I’ve ever gotten to take in college. Martha was a wonderful professor to take, loved her humor and helpfulness. The people I met in the class were all unique and friendly (love ya guys 🙂 ). I was able to use and utilize Twitter and create a Flickr account. Besides that, I enjoyed everything I did in DS106. As frustrating as some of the projects were and downloading and manipulating software, I had fun while doing all of this. The experience of this class has been unlike any of my other classes, and I really have nothing but good words to put in for DS106.

I think I would have to say this last final video project might have been my strongest work in the class, besides one of the four visual/design projects I did that turned out great  (the Google one). It was an experience to say the least, but I was proud of what I was able to accomplish. Of course if I was given more time, practice makes perfect, and I would have used different downloaded editing software and created a trailer that was more appealing and smooth, but I did what I could with the time I had I guess. “Digital Storytelling” to me probably had a completely different, and WRONG meaning before I took this course, but after the recollections of this five-week period, I could tell you that it is the reaching across a message through the cyber world, through the different levels and medium of digital media, which are all so powerful and provocative and their is leeway to accomplish so much even if you have so little. Technology really has no limits and it continues to expand its horizons. To future DS106 students, come into this course with creative juice flowing and an open mind, and I’m sure this class will be a lot of fun, and I’d be hardpressed to find somebody who disliked this class. Overall, there was much to learn from this class and all of what I took in could be potentially very helpful because of my ability to use these different types of digital mediums to my benefit, and for those who get into the computers field these information is gold. As I depart, I gotta thank everybody for making this a great time, and a positive experience! DS106 For Life!

I Present to you…

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….. my final DS106 video project.

I had previously decided to do the Movie Trailer Mashup, but the idea of putting together scenes from a series of the same movie intrigued me even more. So what I’ve done is taken the 5 trailers of the Final Destinations movies, took scenes from the trailers and put together one trailer, and added the Saw theme music in the background. I was definitely trying to give it the epic look. I then submitted this type of assignment on the DS106 website. This took time and effort, and was definitely challenging. Windows Movie Maker/Windows Live Movie Maker… -___- . Just frustrating, not many editing options, but I put my mind to it and got it done! I also had a tough time because I accidently saved it as a WLMP file, which didnt work and I thought my hours of editing had gone to waste, but some helps from friends and some googling around did the trick. I really hope you guys like. Feel free to comment.

Without much further ado:

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America…. God Or No God?

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So for perhaps the final This American Life we listen and respond to for DS106, I listened to the hour long show on Godless America, a thoughtful and entertaining segment, but unlike the others we have listened to so far in class. The show gave a closer look to the controversial divide of Church and State in our nation, the opposing arguments and cases for both sides, and the influences on our infrastructure, schools, politics etc.   Those in favor of making the United States a religious nation want Christianity embedded in everything, from the selection of judges, to science in classrooms. The segment shows us why anyone liked the idea of separation of church and state in the first place.

The first part really made me think of how, even though the nation isn’t considered a religious state, our faith seems to mend and add bias into the national media, and trickles down into society. Paul Williams, a city councilman in Janesville, Wisconsin, wants to make sure a Salvation Army built with public money doesn’t proselytize. Soon he’s getting attacked in the local press…and by President Bush. He’s got the freedom of speech, but his anti-religious comments stir so much controversy. A Georgia teacher finds that by teaching what she’s supposed to teach — evolution—she turns her school against her. This is the case in other places around the country as well, and it really makes you think the extent to which we base our opinions, decisions and actions on faith, religion and our beliefs. Those who are non-religious, athiest and sorts and looked down upon and turned against when they say what they have to say.

Now I come from a devout and strong Muslim background, and so we do take into consideration what our religion would want us to do in any situation, but at the same time its not right to cloud our judgement of other people because they may not believe in the same ideals or in the same God. I just think there should be a fine line drawn between the separation of Church and State in America, where it can be the best of both worlds, but that expecting too much. This issue has been a problem since the forefathers found this nation, and continues to havoc the reflections of people based on their beliefs today.

As for the radio show, in Act One,  we hear a quick rundown of all the ways that Christian conservatives are making headway in advancing their values as public policy, why they think total separation of church and state is not what the founding fathers intended. And why they’re wrong. Both sides and their advocates brought up good points, and defended their side well, but the whole dilemma is just frustrating… its just one of those issues.

I thought the story in Act Two was compelling and an attention-grabber. Julia’s Sweeney experience through this, and her questioning and cracking down on her religion made for intriguing content. Her references to Hitler was interesting and the moment when she thought about the idea of death, and the life after, and her brother were the highlight of the show. Now her conclusion is one I don’t agree with, and she was nitpicky about what she wanted to believe and what she didn’t but nonetheless her story was very interesting. This episode might have been the second best I’ve listened to, and proves that there is still much to change about our society and nation as a whole, and these problems will plague us until we find an efficient solution. Great Job to Ira and the crew, another good production!


After Much Ado…

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So after thought, since this is the final project after all, I decided to do the Movie Trailer Mashup for the Video Storytelling Assignment. Yes, this is gonna be difficult and challenging, but I wanted to tackle something tough as I exit this course, and hopefully it can turn out be at least decent. I’m not getting my hopes up yet, and I havent selected the movies I’ll do yet, but that’ll come along soon. Also I didn’t know whether to submit this as an assignment again, since it’s already on the DS106 website and I’m going to do that same exact assignment. Correct me if I’m wrong about that Martha. So we’ll see how this goes, still a chance I end up doing something different. But this is what I plan to do, and who knows, it could turn out real well. Nothing like ending the class with a bang…

Web Story: Twist off of Textfromlastnight

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After much trouble and problems, I finally finished my web story. I manipulated the website, and changed the theme of the texts to “Texts from the nursing home”, basically showing funny texts that senior citizens would omit, instead of the usual college student and young adults who appear on the site.

I had trouble with ScreenGrab after I was done, and it just would not capture my entire webpage for some reason, but thanks to a classmate I was able to acquire a PNG image file, and also I faced difficulties with Firebug and Notepad++ and the integration of both to edit the website. But I was able to come up with a final version.


Switched At Birth, another TAL exclusive…

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Well before I started to listen to this 4th episode of This American Life, the preview and title just seemed enticing and very interesting. “On a summer day in 1951, two baby girls were born in a hospital in small-town Wisconsin. The infants were accidentally switched, and went home with the wrong families.” That caption itself made me want to start up the radio show and see what it had to offer. It set up the story pretty well, of course Ira Glass doing his usual brilliant work. But I believe that about 20 minutes into it, the story seemed to lose me, and I think the segment should have been narrowed down to a shorter length, perhaps add some more stories in the hour long broadcast.

Now for the story, I just its mind-boggling, crazy how 43 years can pass without this truth and secret being exposed, and the fact that one of the mothers had known all along, but never could garner herself to let the truth be told…. that does absolutely make for a great story. As the show progressed, it really dug deep into family values, and the difference of lifestyles the girls lived through, as opposed to what they would’ve gone through living with their biological families. The sudden change and shock for all parties involved after the truth was exposed was also dramatic and emotional, having to adjust to knowing you belong to another family and have another set of parents, while calling those who really aren’t your own for 40+ years. Now given that, some of the content was unnecessary because it didnt captivate listeners, or at least not me.

However, I did like this episode, it kept me interested and entertained for the 1st 20-25 minutes or so, the story and background was really fascinating. I just wish there were some subsegments that changed up the topic a bit, take our attention elsewhere, because an hour on the same story was too much. Anyone would start losing interest towards the end. But still a great job from the production, the piece was still powerful and provocative.


Third Time’s…. not a charm…

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Well, lets just say this was my least favorite of the three This American Life episodes I have heard so far. Just unusual and weird stories seemed to be my thoughts as I listened to the 59 minutes of audio of this one, perhaps expecting more because of the complexity and excitement of the previous two. This one just really didn’t hit the spot. I thought the “greatest phone message in the world” was kind of humorous, because of the fact that a simple message turned out to be such a hit, so that was one of the high points of the episode. Act One was just negativity, and a downer of a story. Act Two was awe-inspiring and a good way to send a message, so I thought that was neat. The last act with the man who found the love of his life through the message he sent her to Italy, was a feel-good kind of story that makes you say “Aw thats cute :D” and I felt happy for the guy because his method and his success at something he tried very hard to achieve. But overall, honestly I kind of got bored with this episode and kept zoning in and out, and this is from trying to listening to it twice; the content was again very creative and definitely portrayed a message I understood and created my own meaning of, but I could say the first two episodes I enjoyed much more. But nevertheless, This American Life never does fail to disappoint, but maybe a little sometimes… hope the next episode is entertaining again though!


A Rainy Day at the Ballgame

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So this was my quick, all-sound-effect story that got me started working with Audacity. It was tough putting it together at first, but became easier as I got the hang of it. Still have to play around with the editing tools though….

So the story portrayed here is of a baseball game, and its highs and lows through the game, hopefully you guys enjoy it…

Zarar soundaffectstory by zararzaahmed


I Swear You Two Look Alike…

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For the final project, I wanted to complete something that has always been an interest of mine and that fascinates me: when people tend to have doppelgangers, or celeb look-alikes. When I saw the option of completing that as a project, I took the chances and pulled the trigger. My friend Mohamed has, for a long time, been compared to look very much like an NBA player that currently plays for the Los Angeles Lakers, Matt Barnes, and so I’ve decided to show that similarity and see if you guys think the same thing:



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