Author Archives: Ben Miller

About Ben Miller

Benjamin Miller is a Ph.D. candidate in the English department of the CUNY Graduate Center, where he has completed all requirements for the Interactive Technology and Pedagogy certificate program. His dissertation will use distant reading techniques to examine the dynamics of research- and discourse­ communities within recent doctoral-level scholarship in composition and rhetoric.

Posts by Ben Miller

More on Prezi: embedding long text in a Prezi

Another follow-up to previous posts on Prezi. Rishi had asked if there was a way to embed his essay on photography within the Prezi holding his photographs. You can!

The trick is to first save your Word document or blog post as a .pdf file. In MS Word for Mac, this option is available under File > Save As… > Format.

Then just insert the .pdf using the Media button (from file), just as you would a picture or video. And enjoy!

Note that you can also crop the pdf image, zoom in on particular lines using hidden frames, or even highlight particular passages. If you don’t want the pages to take up a lot of space, just shrink them way down — e.g. you could hide the whole thing within the vertical bar of the “h” in “click here to read my essay.”

Feel free to leave a comment here with any questions, or just letting us know how it works!

More on Prezi: embedding your presentation on the blog

Hi, all! Earlier in the semester, I posted a Prezi about using Prezi, and embedded it directly on our blog. If you want to do the same, e.g. for your Street Photography projects, it’s pretty simple:

  1. While logged into the Prezi website, view (but don’t edit) your presentation. Underneath the viewing frame, you should see a Share button. Click it.
  2. You’ll get three tabs, one of which is Embed. Go there and click the blue button to “Copy code to clipboard.”
  3. Head back to our blog, and edit the post where you’ll embed the Prezi.
  4. Click on the HTML tab, and paste in the code.

That’s it!

photography files not posting?

Hope you all enjoyed Thanksgiving weekend! I’ve noticed that a few of you are using PowerPoint to present your street photography projects, but in at least a couple of places the files aren’t displaying properly. In this email (which I’ll also post to the ITF corner on the site), I want to share a few options and optimizations.

1. Save as ppt instead of pptx.

By default, MS Office files will be displayed by the Google Doc Embedder plugin. (That’s what generates the little “gview” shortcode you see in your post.) Unfortunately, that plugin can’t handle the default filetypes produced by the most recent versions of Word, PowerPoint, and Excel, all of which end in x. The first line of defense is to instead save your file as one of the older types. Use the menus to find File > Save As… > PowerPoint 97-2004 Presentation (.ppt). Upload again, and see if that fixes the problem.

2. Shrink the sizes of your images.

In this day and age, megapixels are so easy to come by that even your phone probably makes huge files, far bigger than you’ll need for web display. You can shrink down the size of jpeg files using a program called JPEGmini Lite, available in the iTunes store.

3. Don’t use Google Doc Embedder.

You can also use other options to post your images: for PowerPoint presentations, one option is SlideShare (, which allows you to upload and embed presentations in the same way you’d embed youtube videos. To see what it’ll look like, check out the ITF corner; it’s what I used to post the Podcasting presentation. Just make sure that you’re happy with your default sharing and permissions options, which could authorize others to use your photos… or not. SlideShare does give you control over this.

Alternately, you can just upload and insert the images the same way you’ve always done for Cultural Encounters posts. Nothin wrong with that.

There are also more advanced gallery tools, such as NextGen, but they can be a little tricksy, so ask me if you’re interested!

Hope this helps,


In-class presentation, Tuesday, November 20, 2012. Includes the following sections: What is a podcast? Why podcast and not blog? How do I make a podcast? How do I post a podcast to our course site?

Notes on Visual Composition

In my webtravels, I stumbled across a link to this

image from

instructional comic:

Essentially, it’s a short slide show dealing with positioning, shapes and lines, cropping, and proportions, with quick-sketch illustrations of each point. It’s designed for drawing, not photography, but I think a number of the rules apply, so you might find it useful in thinking about your street photography, collage projects, and maybe even Snapshot Day, which is Thursday 10/11. I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Prezi Build a layout that captures the global concept you want to present, then highlight local frames and set a path through them. Here’s a meta-Prezi, a Prezi about how to use Prezi:

Embedding a YouTube video in your blog post

You’ve probably all seen this on magazine sites and Facebook posts: a video directly included within the body of the page, rather than a link. Embedding like this helps readers follow up on the video without disrupting their reading of your post or taking them on a distracting journey away from the site. If you’ve wondered how people do this, wonder no more:

  1. On any YouTube or Vimeo page you want to embed, click the Share button; a link should appear, and next to that a button labeled Embed.
  2. Click Embed and some html code will appear. Copy that to the clipboard.
  3. Now comes the one tricky step: come back to where you’re editing your blog post, scroll down to wherever you want the video to appear, and paste in that YouTube code you copied. Then convert the html code you get from YouTube or Vimeo into wordpress “shortcode,” mostly by converting angle brackets to square brackets. It will start out looking something like this:

    <iframe height=”315″ width=”420″ src=”” frameborder=”0″></iframe>

    But we want it to look like this:

    [iframe width=”420″ height=”315″ src=”” frameborder=”0″ ]

    Note that the final close-tag (angle brackets and a slash) is also removed.

  4. Publish (or Update) the blog post, and enjoy your spiffy video!

Welcome to the ITF Corner!

Hi, all! Ben here. This is a page on which I’ll post links, tips, and news about tech tools for learning and research. New posts will be announced in the sidebar.

reviews of a review: “A Shrew, and Broadway, Tamed”

In class on Thursday, 9/6, we talked about the review by Matt Wolf cited below. Feel free to continue the conversation online by commenting on this post and/or by replying to others’ comments. What’s working here? What draws you in?

Wolf, Matt. “‘Taming of the Shrew’ at Shakespeare’s Globe.” The New York Times, September 4, 2012, sec. Arts.

Remember that this blog is open to the public on the web — including, potentially, the authors  you’re writing about. So please be respectful, even when you’re writing about what doesn’t work for you: write critique, not criticism.


A very brief summary of the overall arc of a plot.

Whereas a paraphrase restates what you’ve seen in your own words, a précis is a distillation of the plot, with an emphasis on concision: sentences, rather than paragraphs.

Zotero A bibliographic manager that lives in your web browser. What does that mean? With a single click, you can grab all the relevant citation information from a newspaper article, academic database, google book, or just plain website — and for many databases, you can have Zotero automatically download a local pdf, too, so you’ll no longer need an internet connection to read it. Then, when you’re ready to cite, it’s as simple as drag-and-drop into any program or field that accepts text entry. There’s more to say, about tags and searching and in-text citations, but I’ll stop here to conclude as follows: this program will change your life. Watch the short demo video at You won’t regret it.

About Faces

What is it about a face? Though a picture may be worth a thousand words, a face’s value cannot be reduced to a convenient cliché. Here we explore portraiture and self-representations by creating our own. Meet the authors of CHC/IDC 1001H.

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