Studying "Digital Humanities" @HarvardX

Studying “Digital Humanities” @HarvardX

Months ago, I enrolled in Harvard’s “Digital Humanities”, via EDX:
https://courses.edx.org/courses/course-v1:HarvardX+DigHum_01+1T2019/course/

Then I procrastinated, other subjects got in the way, and I did not complete a single lesson. The course subscription remained active and on the last possible day to resume my studies with access to a certificate, in case of success, I took the opportunity to retry.

This course has an appellative syllabus, covering what “digital humanities” is; facilitating contact with several related projects worthy of the classification; and – this is my expectation, since I have just begun – exposing methods, approaches and tools that may help students in their own projects.
Eventually I will become better prepared to leverage some of my digital ventures to a research level, answering or posing interesting questions, producing and/or processing valuable data.

Today I adored the first hour I invested in the course, but there is a serious risk that I might “not belong”. In the first interactive moment, the student is asked to say the first four words that come to his mind, related to “digital humanities”. In hundreds of answers already available, I managed to reply two words/expressions with a presence of… 0% (!) and two others with a presence of 1%. Big, big miss!
My words/expressions were:
– “computer assisted” (I was thinking about computer assisted research, based on languages, frameworks, technology stacks, etc.), and this input scored 0%;
– “expression” (I was thinking about humanities in general, and how such subjects study the culture, history, art, and interactions of humans, which I broadly regard as human “expressions”), and this input also scored 0%;
– “human”, just because it honestly came to mind, as it did to 1% of others;
– “social”, for the same reason above, with same 1% popularity.

Shaken, but not deterred, I proceeded to learn about five amazing digital projects:
1) CHINA BIOGRAPHICAL DATABASE (CBDB)
In its essence, this is a database of biographical data of people, available online and offline, upon which many visualization, questions, etc., can be built and answered.

The course asks the student his perception of the “main purpose” of the project and my answer (“create a relational database”) was in accord with the most common answer to date.

I took note of the following resources.

CBDB main site is @
https://projects.iq.harvard.edu/cbdb/home

The standalone DB:
http://projects.iq.harvard.edu/cbdb/download-cbdb-standalone-database

Related video:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UChgYFvs116M-esBcUfcHKfQ

I also learned the word “Prosopography”, meaning “the investigation of the common background characteristics of a group of actors in history”.

2) The Imperiia Project
I perceive this project as maps of the economic and cultural infrastructures of the Russian Empire.

Project page:
http://dighist.fas.harvard.edu/projects/imperiia/

Interactive version:
https://worldmap.harvard.edu/maps/886

More:
https://dataverse.harvard.edu/dataverse/ImperiiaGIS

Most people stated that the main purpose of this project is to “analyze geography”. I did not answer that. I answered “visualize data”, because the analysis is (mostly?) map-based.

3)
The Neural Neighbors project

Start here:
http://dhlab.yale.edu/projects/neural_neighbors.html

This is an application of neural networks to compute the proximity/similarity of images in sets of images. Very, very interesting.

This project’s main purpose is to “arrange and compare images” – I got that right!

4)
The “Explore the Oxford Friars” project

The main page is at:
https://oxfordfriars.wordpress.ncsu.edu/

I watched a related video and perceived the project as a digital reconstruction of a disappeared building. It is also that, but it is mostly about answering historical questions, regarding its location, architecture, dimensions, etc.

5)
HARVARD LIBRARY SCANNED MAPS

The main page is at:
https://library.harvard.edu/collections/scanned-maps

I cannot wait to write a solution to harvest the maps in this project, whose “main purpose” is to “digitize library holdings”. I got it right.

It was a very well spent one hour, and I hope this post captures the juice of it.

Racing Nico Hulkenberg's 2017 Renault F1 around Silverstone

On 2019-07-13, during the 2019 Formula 1 Silverstone weekend, I decided to try the 2017 F1 cars around that circuit. I played rFactor2 for 30 minutes, racing Nico Hulkenberg’s Renault, on soft tires. I am yet to learn how to activate the DRS, which is inexcusable, since I have played this mod before.
It was fun, as always. I recorded this 01:32:xxx race lap, where I am in pursuit of Massa on a Williams, and being chased by Hamilton on a Mercedes. I managed to overtake Massa in a maneuver that from the next Sunday on, would be named a “Leclerc pass”, due to what happened in the real race.

URLs "p1" 20190715 – 74 VHQ resources, including heavy reading

I am an avid WWW surfer, with hundreds of websites visited each month, sometimes daily. I bookmark them all, at least for logging purposes. These posts having the "urls" category, capture what was on my browser on a specific date. I hope you enjoy some of these shared resources.


Productivity: force Firefox to ask you which profile to use

In my view, Firefox is the best web browser, considering a mix of criteria, including the freedom and trust that comes with its open source nature. However, it should be more “profile centric”. Too many people work with a single Firefox “profile”, and that profile probably has a crazy random name assigned upon installation, which is a lost opportunity for improved productivity.
I create multiple Firefox profiles and use them for different purposes: discovery, regular destinations, home network destinations, etc.
One part of using multiple Firefox “profiles” is forcing Firefox to ask you which profile to use, every time you launch it. To do it, you’ll have to edit the Firefox shortcut and add it the arguments “-no-remote -ProfileManager”

In my case, the full shortcut reads:

C:\wp\inet\ffox\firefox.exe -no-remote -ProfileManager

Odds are that your path will be different.

The image should make it clearer what “editing” the shortcut is. To get there, right-click the Firefox icon, choose “properties”, and then pick the “shortcut” tab.

Today's my_dot_com tweets

Today, 2019-07-14, I did four tweets via my “my_dot_com” Twitter account: https://twitter.com/my_dot_com

About ebay.com’s handling of site language:
@ebay site handling of language is a mess. It presents itself to me in bad PT-BR, but only in some pages, while others (sitemap.html) remain untranslated. Bad! Some PT-BR words are inadequate to a European user, namely “cadastro”, which means “criminal record” and not “sign up”.

About steampowered.com’s handling of download bandwidth for users in the “Spain & Portugal” region:
#Steam download speeds have been inadmissible low for the “Spain and Portugal” region for 1+ month!! For those suffering from this miserable neglect, my suggestion is go to Steam > Settings > Downloads, and change the “download region” to “UK – London”.

About the bad obscurity of Apple’s iTunes software regarding its backup process:
Oh the ridiculousness of #Apple #iTunes in its device “backup” function. All the user gets is a “backing up ” message. What is the software doing? It is a mystery but it voices an attitude of fake quality by obfuscation.

About commenting on motorsports events:
Commenting motorsports has to be one of the most useless and frustrating jobs in the world: most of the time you are saying nothing non-obvious and racing appreciators would much prefer you to shut up and allow the action’s natural sounds to prevail.

URLs "p1" 20190711 – 64 resources

I am an avid WWW surfer, with hundreds of websites visited each month, sometimes daily. I bookmark them all, at least for logging purposes. These posts having the "urls" category, capture what was on my browser on a specific date. I hope you enjoy some of these shared resources.


URLs "p1" – 82 resources

I am an avid WWW surfer, with hundreds of websites visited each month, sometimes daily. I bookmark them all, at least for logging purposes. These posts having the "urls" category, capture what was on my browser on a specific date. I hope you enjoy some of these shared resources.


URLs "p1" 20190708 – 77 great readings

I am an avid WWW surfer, with hundreds of websites visited each month, sometimes daily. I bookmark them all, at least for logging purposes. These posts having the "urls" category, capture what was on my browser on a specific date. I hope you enjoy some of these shared resources.


Listening to Chris Forsyth – "Tomorrow Might as Well Be Today"

The wind of good fortune brought me the music of Chris Forsyth. By chance, I just discovered his latest album. This is a mostly instrumental piece, with punctual singing. It is different, even experimental, yet without unpleasant ruptures. The audio in this album paints a very “full” stage, with few opportunities for silence, but it does not get tiring, instead involving and flowing through the listener. At times, it remembers me the early Pink Floyd.