I received an email from SFRA Web Director Matthew Holtmeier this afternoon that the new and improved SFRA.org website is now live. Go here to check it out and find out what the new site can offer you!
Yufang and I are sitting outside a Starbucks enjoying the warm weather–reading magazines and checking email. We left the Hotel Midtown around noon, saying goodbye to our friends, and we made our way to Norcross to begin our vacation.
During the conference, I was busy making sure the program executed itself with as few memory errors and illegal operations as possible. It may not have been necessary to do this, because everyone really came through in many different ways to make the conference come off as well as it did, and for that I am thankful to everyone at SFRA 2009.
I didn’t have much time to sit in on full panels, so I don’t have much to report on DynamicSubspace.net. However, I will report on the major events and those that I was involved in when I can sporatically connect to the Internet over the coming week. Also, I’m looking forward to reading what other SFRA bloggers have to say about their experiences in Atlanta. As I find these, I will link to them from here.
Talk to y’all soon about our southern-fried science fiction studies conference!
Bob Mackey gave my contact information to the future Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Sarah Sepanek for a story she was writing a week ago on student cheating and the Internet. I responded to her email questions about my experiences with plagiarism in my comp classes and what I know about the possibilities of student plagiarism in the Internet age. Now, you can read Sarah’s reporting with a bunch of quotes from me in the Youngstown Tribune here. And, here is a short excerpt from Sarah’s article, “Electronic Cheating”:
Jason Ellis, an English composition instructor at Kent State University, shared some strategies he and fellow instructors use to prevent cheating. He said that catching a student cheating is only the beginning. “The English department is very supportive of teachers who catch plagiarism and provide proof that plagiarism has taken place. However, I will also say that it is difficult to catch plagiarism,” said Ellis.
Ellis said he combines many tactics, such as knowing a student’s writing style, arranging the students so that he can view their computer screens, and running lines of students’ essays and test answers through Internet search engines to see if they are cases of plagiarism. “I pay attention to the writing style and any formatting quirks that might flag that essay as containing plagiarized work.”
To my future students: I want to help each student become a better writer during each course, and I hope that you come to class with a desire to improve your writing for all of your future works during and beyond your time at KSU. I’m more interested in each student giving their best effort in class rather than having a student represent another person’s writing as their own. Giving your best effort will help you in the long run, while the latter is taking a chance on getting a good grade, failing, or expulsion. Before you run afoul of plagiarism, come by my office and ask me about it if it isn’t clear enough in the syllabus. I always stress to my students is that you come see me during office hours if you have questions or want extra time working with me on your writing. It is up to each student to work hard on their own endeavors as well as make the effort to work with one’s writing instructor, who can guide the student through the writing process as well as develop a sense of one’s responsibilities as a writer. One of a writer’s most important responsibilities is to not present another person’s work as their own, and to always cite the work of others when it is used in your own work.
While my pants were washing in my awesome Frigidaire combo washer and dryer, I rewrote the concluding section of my World of Warcraft essay that I am presenting on Friday morning. Now, I just need to type it up, but I’m out and about right now, so that will have to wait until later this afternoon when I am back home.
With the conclusion finished (but not yet joined to a shorter length overall essay), I drove back to the Starbucks area in Tucker, and got lunch at the delicious Kochi Sushi and Hibachi. For only $10, I got a Coke (it’s required in Atlanta) and a bento box full of sushi, tempura, teriyaki chicken, and fried rice along with soup and salad. There was so much food, I couldn’t eat it all, but I sure did try. Kochi’s lunch is yummy and highly recommended for the taste and the price!
One more thing–I never complained about my unibody MacBook’s glossy screen, until now. It is nearly impossible to use this thing outside where I”m sitting on Starbuck’s patio. My blue IAFA shirt is perfectly reflected on the screen where I am typing this blog post. Chock one up for matte finish laptop screens.
I didn’t sleep nearly as long as I would have liked to last night, but I do feel more rested than I did yesterday during the twelve hour drive. Now, I’m sitting in the Tucker, Georgia Starbucks working on shortening my essay for SFRA. I think I’m going to return home, because there are eight advertising robots arguing and shouting over what surfing is like with analogies taken from the movie Blue Crush for some new campaign. I could say some nasty things about how their hive mind works, but I think it suffices to say that Thomas Nagel’s “What Is It Like to Be a Bat” comes to mind.
Yufang and I are finishing our packing now, but loading the car will have to wait until tomorrow. I have put some things in the car, such as the three rotisserie cookers for my folks and Aunt Lettie-Anne and Uncle Doc. After loading up, I’ll have an approximately 11 hour drive ahead of me to reach Norcross.
I can confidently say that packing and preparing for a long drive is a lot worse than any other aspect of conferencing (including programming). That’s saying a lot, because I still have to whittle my 31 page monster from the deep essay on how World of Warcraft creates cosmopolitan subjects to 8 pages. I feel good about the impending revision, but I’m afraid that it will take most of Tuesday with me sitting some place comfy with a steady supply of coffee.
I called the Midtown Hotel tonight, and they said that they only offer wired Internet access (at almost $10/day). I know there are some places nearby that may have Internet access, but I don’t know what my connection will be like (if at all). I did want to blog from the conference, but my updates to DynamicSubspace.net may come in fits and spurts. If I cannot get a reliable connection, I will save my posts and run them all at once the following week.
The first draft of the SFRA 2009 Conference Program was completed weeks ago, but I’ve learned that putting together conference scheduling and producing a relatively error free printable program is an arduous task! Lisa Yaszek and Doug Davis, along with folks attending the conference, provided a lot of feedback and offered corrections to turn it into a finished product. Here is the full program for your viewing pleasure. See you in Atlanta in a few days!
I want to give a big thanks to Julius at the FedEx Office (formerly FedEx Kinkos) in Hudson, Ohio for doing the seemingly impossible. I woke up early this morning, and I thought I would try to get some new business cards printed before going to SFRA in Atlanta next week. So, I downloaded the FedEx business card template, and designed what can only be described as an awesome business card. Then, I called the FedEx Office in Kent, Ohio and asked what the turn around time would be on a run of 100 cards. After the saleswoman returned from talking with her colleague (that means that there were at least two people working in that branch), she said it would take 7 business days. I said thank you and hung up. Yufang suggested I try another FedEx Office, so I called the location in Hudson and spoke with Julius. In a relaxed and friendly tone, he told me that he could print them right now and I could email him the file for faster service. So, I sent off my Photoshop file, and drove up the road to pick them up. He told me that it would take about 15 minutes to complete the order. When I arrived at the Hudson FedEx Office, Julius was the only person there, but he handled a phone order, two walk in print orders, and a package shipment while printing and cutting my cards. Also, he saw that I was a student, because of my cards, so he gave me a student discount that I didn’t even know FedEx offers. So, let me break this down for you–Julius did more work single handedly in what turned out to be 20 minutes than a whole crew at another FedEx Office could do in 7 business days. Thanks, Julius–it was a pleasure doing business with someone who really knows how to work.
Oh, and here’s my new business card that matches my header for DynamicSubspace.net:
You can find the full size image in the public domain here.
In an abandoned corner deep within the Cheyenne Mountain Operations Center , Skynet’s prototype T-400 (half an 800) goes online. Wearing titanium weaved blue jeans, a bulletproof black turtleneck, and rocket blast sneakers, the ‘Steve’ model makes his first tentative steps and immediately begins yelling at the researchers about how “insanely great” the mind download process was. After collecting his thoughts, padding himself down, and gawking in a mirror, Steve shouts for Ive–”why do I still look like a skinny white guy? I specifically said that I wanted to look like Eve from Wall-E and have a laser blaster in my arm. Goddamnit.” We all knew that the Steve-inator would be back.
More (less accurate than my reporting above) details about the return of Steve Jobs here. Thanks Chris for the link!
On Tuesday, the fantasy author David Eddings passed away. His works are definitely important and well-regarded in the field. Unfortunately, I have not yet had a chance to find my way into his imagined worlds, which my friend A.P. Canavan is writing about in his dissertation at the University of Liverpool.