Pages named Stepno
Bob's best bets, bytes (webstuff), boats & banjos
- This is an archive of pages kept at blake.unc.edu and www.unc.edu/~rbstepno from 1994 to 1999, at which point they became "cobwebs," no longer kept up to date. In Fall '99 I became an assistant professor of journalism (and online journalism) at Emerson College in Boston, while remaining a doctoral candidate at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Journalism and Mass Communication... which is where I started looking at the World Wide Web as a communication medium. That includes attempts by the slightly-old "500 channels and nothing worth watching" media to adapt to a digital world. (Click on the TV if you're annoyed by television or gratuitous Web graphics.) This page leads to others including Webstuff I've been involved with for school, for money or for fun, connections to some sites I find interesting or amusing, and links to Web tips and resources I find useful. Those are the best bets referred to in the menu above. My resume (not that I'm actively looking for work or anything...) was my first HTML page, written in 1994 and updated a few times since then. It has links to places I've studied or worked (including "The nation's oldest newspaper of continuous publication" for you trivia fans), and to my decade-old master's project about hypertext. That HTML resume led to my job for three years at Nando.net's Nando Times, which I left to work for the Graduate School at UNC-CH, and to teach summer school in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Meanwhile, I tried a few more Web bells and whistles, and to got some momentum going on the dissertation I still hope to finish.
- I've been thinking a lot about newspapers and "new technology," including some technology that has been around longer than you might think, particularly the virtual reality of manipulating photographs to attract an audience. This picture of a celebrity-filled wild party on Broadway is more than 70 years old, and it's a fake. It was created by a newspaper art department using old-fashioned scissors and glue to illustrate a story about what one sensational writer called a "wine-bath orgy." I especially like the touch of having one of the revellers hiding his face from the camera. That picture made the front page in its day, probably sold a few papers, and fanned the flames of a controversy that helped put a Broadway big shot in prison... Imagine what the editors could have accomplished with Photoshop! (As I told my students this summer, the temptation is certainly there for all of us.) Fortunately my own experience as a photographer has been more conventional.
- For the past few years I've paid part of the rent by writing about the Internet for Soundings magazine, where I previously was a full-time staff writer and photographer. I did some research for the publisher about putting stories and advertising online a couple of years before the Web arrived. Now Soundings has a new publisher and has its marine classifieds on the Web. An archive of stories--including a series I started about the Internet--was online for a year or two, but didn't survive a recent transition in ownership of the company. With the editor's permission, I've preserved my first couple of DataWaves articles as samples of my work. In addition to Navigating Cyberspace and Becoming a Virtual Community, there's a selection of websites about boating, although some of them may be derelicts by now since I don't actively keep the page up to date.
- Away from computers, folk music and contra dancing are among my favorite things to do, so I collect related bookmarks. I was the first Webmaster for the Triangle Folk Music Society, building its collection of music-related online resources. The Internet helped me get involved with starting the group, something I was invited to talk about at a Conference on Urban Livability in the spring of 1998.
- Here are my Best Bets,Web sites I use most often, or at least tell myself I ought to. I have scores of other old and new bookmarks, which I upload to the Web server from time to time, mostly for my own use.... They're not very organized or annotated. In fact, I may not have looked at some of them yet if they came from computers I shared with other users.
- Personal revelations on the Web: Evidence that I am an "early adopter," not only of technology... a few months before Hurricane Fran I was the first in my neighborhood with this kind of arboreal adventure. Writing this quick and dirty Web page saved me from telling the story over and over to friends in New England who aren't used to such big trees falling on them. Soon the whole town was catching up, thanks to Fran.(Campus hurricane-damage images by classmate Mark McCarthy at Sunsite.)
I saw this quote (in the now-defunct online edition of a book titled AetherMadness) about FTP servers, and find it's also a useful way to think about the Web:
... like a library where they reshuffle the card catalog every day, where new books are shelved under old titles, where new titles are given to old books, where the staff is always changing, and where the total number of books grows with each visit.
Final comment: Writing itself is 'magick', when you stop and think about it. Today we may be writing and reading hypertext, but pay attention to the text and resist the hype.
Last revision 13 August, 2000