Monday, March 2, 2009

Sniffing Packets is Cooler than Teacher's Dry Erase Markers

We are used to observing written materials after the fact. Or theoretically, in an instructional narrative. The teacher draws a diagram on a whiteboard. How do you perceive (using all your senses) writing in progress? The scent of dry erase markers lingers for a little while; then there is ink, a freshly sharpened pencil. How about digital writing? With a bionic nose! A packet sniffer is a software tool that samples network traffic, best employed by setting the Ethernet interface into promiscuous mode. This exercise has all the marks of cool: Transgression, Nonlinearity, Multiple meanings, Commutation, Imagery.

How-to demonstration: configuring Wireshark, creating filters, saving data

Phenomena to sniff: joining a network via DHCP; an iPhone receives a call; web browsing; network print job; Wii

What to do with it: collage/montage, create a narrative,

Thoughts on Mob Teleaction

Getting Content:

Many recordings of “the same” phenomena using different technologies from different positions

Managing Content:

Collecting these recordings into a (or distributed) database(s), tagging them, associating them


Presenting the database contents in different ways, the reversal of the recording. Using off-the-shelf tools like iPhoto, GIMP, OpenOffice, etc. as well as creating web pages, stand alone applications, etc.

Even if you are concerned that a goal to “synthesize subjective impressions into a single narrative” violates Rice's definition of cool, you get out of it by realizing that the group forming just one of many presentation mechanisms as the course is reiterated escapes the supposition of a single, individual viewpoint constructed by a single, individual writer (artist, creator, generator, builder, copyist, etc.).

Kind of like the “double funnels” model from Memmott's Lexia to Perplexia


This project should be hosted on or some other global, free, open source development community: to extend the work beyond the boundaries of the classroom both spatially and temporally, to provide world-class development, bug tracking, feedback, source control tools, and to expose students to these processes.
Over time and iterations of the course (perhaps taught at other locations, too) this toolset will grow and mutate so that it will not be necessary to enroll the help of a cadre of developers every time, expecting that the class enrollment will contain a mix of interests and proficiencies.

Design and Hosting are also project development aspects that must be handled along with behind the scenes programming and the actual collection of digital media.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the different perspective! I'm not familiar with Sourceforge, though I have a general idea of what it is. But that's easily looked into.


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