Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Next New Thing

Old media and new media have all worked off two of our primary senses: sight and hearing. However, new media has yet to have anything developed that uses our senses of touch, smell, or taste. In the future, I can see something coming up that lets us experience these senses without having to actually leave our homes by transmitting the taste, smell, and texture of the objects directly to our brains.

People could try out new foods to see if they like the flavor, try on new types of perfume and deodorant to figure out if it makes them smell worse than they normally do, or even try on new clothes to make sure it fits and doesn't have any overly itchy tags.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Presentation: Video Games and the Rise of the Internet

The goal of my topic was to cover the history of video games in relation to the internet. As the game industry grew, its reliance on the internet grew. At first, video games only used the internet for basic online gaming and discussion forums. In the current generation of video game consoles, however, consoles have grown to have various aspects of new media. Social networks are a prevalent part of today's consoles, modding and user-created content are actually possible with today's consoles compared to the last generation's, and online gaming has expanded from simple server-based gameplay to including functions seen in virtual worlds and MMOs.

Controversies have also played an important part in the game industry as well as research making outlandish claims about games. Although the response to these controversies and attacks has changed, what hasn't changed is how people still use games as a scapegoat for their own insanity and/or lack of common sense.

There were also some points that I wanted to get to in the presentation, but had to omit because of time constraints.
Game companies are using sites like Facebook and Twitter to promote their games and companies. Fans of Atlus, Fans of Bungie, and other such fan groups can all be found on Facebook. Twitter, meanwhile has been used for both standard marketing/advertising of games as well as character-based Twitter accounts, such as the one for Kevin Butler, Sony's VP.

Doom and Counter-Strike were slammed by the media for supposedly being the causes for shootings in schools. In the case of Doom, maps were supposedly made to replicate Columbine's layout. Proof of the existence of those maps has yet to surface. In the case of Counter-Strike, the game was blamed for the Virginia Tech shooting before the shooter was even identified. According to the shooter's roomates, he never played any video games at all.

Fox wasn't the only source of fun phrases regarding Mass Effect and the Xbox. Conservative blogger Kevin McCullough stated that
"Mass Effect can be customized to sodomize whatever, whomever, however, the game player wishes," and "with its ‘over the net’ capabilities virtual orgasmic rape is just the push of a button away."
Fox was still undoubtedly the leader, of course, with Martha MacCallum and Cooper Lawrence getting the most attention for their completely lack of knowledge on the game prior to bashing it.

Were video games to blame for massacre?
WebArchive: The Sex-Box Race for President by Kevin McCullough
Wikipedia's article on Mass Effect (link to media coverage of the sex scene)

For anybody who's interested in looking at the bibliography, the Powerpoint can be downloaded here.

Privacy and Confidentiality

The concepts of privacy and confidentiality are even more important now than they were before the internet reached the point it has in today's society. However, this increased importance only came about because technology today makes it even harder to maintain that sense of personal privacy.

Before Facebook and even sites like MySpace, privacy was much easier to maintain because not everyone was expected by their peers to update their status with everything they were doing.
Before e-mail enabled phones, weekend vacations were times people could relax and forget about office e-mails when they were out of the house and had no access to their computers.
Before Twitter-enabled phones, people were not expected to tweet about what kind of sandwich they had for lunch until after they came back home and were already in the process of eating dinner. People also didn't have to worry about something they did or said appearing on the internet literally minutes later.

All these technological advances have made it harder to maintain privacy, but only if the people using technology lose control over it. Privacy can still be maintained on social networks simply by choosing the right privacy options and actively screening people with access to your profile. Of course, those privacy options won't mean much if someone with that access posts your information publically (indicating that the screening process probably failed). There's not as much that can be done with work-related e-mails and phones compared to what can be done with social networks, unfortunately. Even without owning an e-mail enabled phone, people are still expected to check their e-mail constantly when they should be relaxing. One way around this is to have a work-only e-mail and a separate address for personal things.

Twitter is also rather hard to control from a privacy and confidentiality standpoint. With phones that can access Twitter, people have to really be careful with what they say, do, or don't say or do because someone with these phones might just post it online without them knowing (such as with Obama's unofficial comment that Kanye was a jackass).

References: "Obama, Kanye West and the trouble with Twitter", by Matea Gold, Los Angeles Times, September 16, 2009. http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-et-abctwitter16-2009sep16,0,3179288.story

Monday, April 12, 2010

Advice to Baruch College

There's quite a few things that could be done with new media to enhance the learning process not only in Baruch, but schools in general. There was one reading from several weeks ago about a professor setting up a Twitter feed for his class to post their own notes and questions related to the class.

While this would be a very practical and useful way to use Twitter , I don't think this specific method would be effective for Baruch just yet. The library does not have enough laptops for every student to borrow, and having every student buy one is out of the question (especially considering that some students are attending Baruch because of its price compared to other colleges).

This isn't to say that Twitter can't still be used, however. Having students and professors set up Twitter accounts could be useful for asking short questions, notifying each other of potential class changes/cancellations, and even brief conversations to organize events before posting a finalized decision on Blackboard.

By extension, use of Blackboard's features (other than My Grades, Course Documents, and Assignments) should also be encouraged. There's plenty of tools that can be accessed from Blackboard, but I rarely see them used at all (one of the few exceptions being this class). Even in my senior year, there's still functions of Blackboard that I didn't even know existed because no classes have ever used or mentioned them to begin with.

To make all this work, I think it would be necessary to require use of Blackboard and Twitter by all professors. It doesn't have to be extensive use, but a bare minimum of posting course documents, assignments, grades, and class changes/cancellations would at least push professors to use the functions that students tend to use the most. I've had many classes where I never received e-mails and could not find any information on Blackboard because the professors simply refused to use them. It's one thing to expect students to e-mail others for class notes when they're absent, but it's something completely different when there's no reliable way to get their e-mail addresses in the first place.

References: "The Wired Campus: Professor Encourages Students to Pass Notes During Class -- via Twitter", by Jeffrey R. Young, The Chronicle of Higher Education, April 8, 2009 http://chronicle.com/blogPost/Professor-Encourages-Students/4619/

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Our Class Wiki

I've been making more progress with the wiki since my last post about how my work in class has been. Just recently, I figured out how to make references to articles and fixed up the MMORPG page to reflect that. I also posted a link to the guide I used to do that.

Content-wise, I've worked primarily in the Entertainment and MMORPG pages. In the Entertainment page, I fixed up the Spore section and added information on the networking features of the PlayStation 3, Wii, and Xbox 360. In the MMORPG page, I worked primarily on grammar editing. I also added some information about Skinner boxes and how they relate to MMORPGs.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

And now for something completely different.

Youtube + Education = RESULTS: http://youtube-global.blogspot.com/2010/03/more-courses-and-more-colleges-youtube.html

Tigers + Lasers = EDUCATION: http://www.prospectmagazine.co.uk/2010/03/if-i-ruled-the-world-8/

Epic Beard Man: http://whatport80.com/Epic_Beard_Man (Safe for work version), http://encyclopediadramatica.com/Epic_Beard_Man (Not safe for work version)

Son of Epic Beard Man: http://encyclopediadramatica.com/Son_Of_Epic_Beard_Man (Not safe for work)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

My New Media Class - So Far

As far as assignments go, I've been staying on top of them and getting things done by the due date. The blog works hasn't been too bad and the posts have actually been longer than I expected they would be when I started working on this blog. The Twitter assignment was probably the most memorable of the assignments because it had a more immediate feeling to it in the sense that I had to actively scan for new responses.

Wiki work is not progressing as quickly as I had hoped because of work in general keeping me from contributing as much as I would like. Proofreading and grammar changes are always useful, at least.

Research is difficult to an extent because a lot of the material I've found on Google Scholar is either irrelevant, boring, or a combination of the two. I did manage to find a few useful articles on that, however. The rest of my research was taken from reputable gaming info and news sites which, at least for the topic, are much more relevant and useful.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Modeling Reality with Virtual Worlds

Virtual worlds are limited only by what their users do with them. Their primary function is to provide a sense of community among users, whether the world is dedicated primarily to social interaction (SecondLife) or a combination of social interaction and an actual game to lure those who are not as keen on interaction into playing (MMORPGs).

Virtual worlds can provide an outlet for user creativity (depending on the creative options given to users). SecondLife, for example, has incredibly detailed scripting functions that people can use to make things ranging from simple clothing to vehicles and even games within SecondLife itself. Virtual worlds also provide places for users to interact with one another without regards to physical distance. For some people, as shown in the video about the disabled people in last Tuesday's class, virtual worlds can even let people experience things (to an extent) that they can't physically experience.

Another advantage of virtual worlds is their adaptability to their users' preferences. Because of the dynamic nature of virtual worlds, the creators have to follow their users' trends to figure out what needs to be changed, added, or removed just like how the creators of Twitter added functions such as linking to specific users or hashtags based on what their users were doing.

Virtual worlds aren't the greatest thing since sliced bread, of course. If a virtual world is unable to differentiate itself from its competitors effectively, there is little reason for people to join in the first place and leads to a cycle of people not wanting to join because nobody else is joining. For the more popular virtual worlds, maintenance is always an issue if the servers they have are not stable enough for everyone trying to connect to them. Another flaw with virtual worlds is that language barriers can be even more pronounced than they are in the real world because they rely heavily on text for any sort of interaction.

In the future, however, the issue of communication barriers may be solved. A few virtual worlds already have primitive translators capable of rendering text between users in different languages, so it is only a matter of time before that is developed. The text-based barrier, although alleviated somewhat by the avatars used in virtual worlds, might become a thing of the past as virtual worlds develop and allow for voice transmission (and possibly distortions to fit the avatar) between users.


1. Twitter Serves Up Ideas From Its Followers by CLAIRE CAIN MILLER, the New York Times, October 26, 2009. Available at: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/26/technology/internet/26twitter.html

Monday, March 15, 2010

Reflection on Twitter Discussion

After actually using it for a discussion, I can see plenty of pros and cons for Twitter as well as the Blackboard discussion board.

Pros: Shorter posts means faster posts and less essays, condenses everything into what needs to be said without the fluff
Cons: Organization is hard even with the tags for both personal messages and messages to other people

Pros: Everything is more organized and permanent
Cons: Slow, hasn't been used since the introduction assignment, inefficient design

I can see Twitter being used more often almost as a chatroom-substitute (although an actual chatroom would be much more efficient) for discussion of immediate topics while the BBDB would be better used for actual organization and long-term planning for entire projects.

The interface of the BBDB is annoying to use, though, so I would only use that as a planning area as a last resort if the wiki somehow stopped functioning and access to ANY other sort of forum software was impossible.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Uses of Social Networking

What are some ways (corporate and otherwise) that these technologies can be used? What are the benefits of these technologies to society? Be specific. Is there a "dark side"? Make sure to include your opinion of the way these technologies might evolve in the future.

The benefits of social networking technology are readily apparent. Although physical distance still exists, social networking has made it even easier for people from all over the world from different backgrounds and with different interests to contact each other as well as find people with the same interests even if they might not be living in the same state, country, or continent.

Social networking sites aren't just limited to friends and old classmates keeping track of one another, nor is it limited to bringing people with a common interest together. Today, social networking is used by businesses, researchers, and politicians to reach out to a younger audience. Businesses can use LinkedIn to find potential employees, researchers can use Facebook to study certain demographics, and politicians can use Twitter to garner support for their campaigns.

Cole W. Camplese, director of education-technology services at Pennsylvania State University, has shown that such technologies can even be used in the classroom. He did this by integrating Twitter into his classes, having one screen projecting class slides and another showing a direct feed of the students' notes that were being taken in class to encourage "new kinds of teaching in which students play a greater role and information is pulled in from outside the classroom walls."
Sites like Twitter have even been used to save lives. With the recent earthquake in Haiti, Twitter was used to help land a plane that was being blocked from providing much needed supplies to the victims.

This is not to say that social networking has made everything better, of course. Privacy is always a concern and, with sites like Twitter making it easier to send out information by reflex rather than with concious thinking, means that people have to be even more careful about what they do. In September of 2009, ABC News employees tweeted that President Obama had called Kanye West a jackass after interrupting Taylor West's acceptance speech. However, this comment was not made on the air, but when cameras weren't rolling and the President was just speaking his mind.

Furthermore, not all tweets necessarily hold useful information. According to Pear Analytics, 40.55 percent of all tweets are completely meaningless and hold no real information. For people trying to use Twitter as a source of news and information, it may be difficult for them to separate the useful messages from the junk.

I expect that in the near future, a cross between Twitter and YouTube might be possible in which people can post short videos to the Internet for rapid viewing. Cell phones are becoming more and more advanced with each generation of smart phones, so it's only a matter of time before something like this could become reality and helps with situations similar to the previously mentioned plane landing in Haiti.

"The Wired Campus: Professor Encourages Students to Pass Notes During Class -- via Twitter", by Jeffrey R. Young, The Chronicle of Higher Education, April 8, 2009 (http://chronicle.com/blogPost/Professor-Encourages-Students/4619/)

"Twitter used to help land plane with aid for Haiti earthquake victims", by Helen Kennedy, Daily News, January 18, 2010. (http://www.nydailynews.com/news/world/2010/01/18/2010-01-18_twitter_used_to_help_land_plane_with_aid_for_haiti_earthquake_victims.html)

"Obama, Kanye West and the trouble with Twitter", by Matea Gold, Los Angeles Times, September 16, 2009. (http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-et-abctwitter16-2009sep16,0,3179288.story)

"40 percent of Twitter messages 'pointless babble': study", August 17, 2009. (http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=CNG.80c182849ca932a32a5eda49e4fe1b02.3b1&show_article=1)

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Social Networking Sites

Target audience: Just about anyone, but geared more towards older teens and adults
Pros: Clean interface, fairly simple to use and customize, just about everybody uses it
Cons: No real control in terms of color scheme
Impressions: This is the only social networking site I actually use for the reasons mentioned in the pros. I don't care for all the buttons and games and random spam these games generate, but it's convenient for at least knowing that people from elementary school still exist.

Target audience: Younger teens
Pros: Lots of customization options, color scheme changing available
Cons: Color scheme changing available
Impressions: I have never used this site and I never plan to. Just because there are options to change the color scheme of a page does not mean that the colors should be changed in such a way that even a unicorn would vomit at the sight of it.

Target audience: Just about anyone (similar to Facebook)
Pros: Lots of easy customization options
Cons: Not very relevant in America compared to Facebook
Impressions: I haven't had much experience with this site, but it seems fairly similar to Facebook aside from not having as many people. Supposedly, the site is incredibly popular in Asia and is synonymous with the concept of social networking there.

Target audience: Professionals
Pros: More professional/business-like for finding employers/employees, more customization options for finding business news relevant to you and your contacts
Cons: Less casual, fewer customization options for personal pages
Impressions: I haven't had much experience with this either, but I do plan to make a complete profile on this site once I have more time to.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Blogs v. Wikis

Blogs are online journals that anyone can see and (usually) comment on. Wikis are online encyclopedias that anyone can edit and contribute to. At their core, both are new media technologies that encourage collaboration among the communities that gather around them. Their similarities include being accessible from anywhere and by anyone, being able to be changed (to different degrees) by any users, and requiring no HTML knowledge to use at a basic level.

Although blogs and wikis are both new media technologies that do have some similarities, there are several key differences between the two.
In terms of control, blogs can only be changed as far as the comments go since commenters can't edit the actual layout or the posts of the blog. Wikis, meanwhile, can have entire pages changed by any registered user.
Blogs are also more personal reflections on whatever subject they cover from the blog owner's point of view while the comments are usually left as they are. Wikis, meanwhile, tend to be more objective in nature because they have to match the expectations of the most common user so the articles aren't changed because of inaccuracies. Wikipedia, for example, requires citations for nearly every part of its articles to ensure their accuracy.

This isn't to say blogs can't be used for community collaboration, however. Although the blog owner is the only person able to make posts on the blog itself, it's still possible to encourage collaboration among groups through inventive uses of tags and blogrolls. Each collaborator may have their own account that links to one central account that contains all of their posts that contain a certain tag relevant to the group's interest.

As stated at the beginning of this post, wikis are essentially online encyclopedias. In comparison to actual encyclopedia software, however, they still lack media functionality outside of displaying images. Music and videos, for example, can't be embedded into a wiki and can only be accessed by outside links. One potential addition to wiki software could be to allow for the embedding of such media files to give them that extra functionality.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Old vs. New

Presently, new media can be described as any web applications coming after Web 2.0: Software that emphasizes community participation and collaboration among users over the internet. Social networks (Facebook, Playstation Network, Xbox Live), wiki software (MediaWiki), and weblog software (Blogger, Wordpress, LiveJournal) are all examples of new media that allow the individual user to communicate freely with other users. Web 2.0 applications also aren't simply finished once they're consumed by the end-user. They can be modified and updated by either the users themselves or by the original creators to meet the changing needs of the users and creators.

Old media can be described as anything coming before Web 2.0. Books, newspapers, radio, television, and even Web 1.0 all fall into this category. Web 1.0 qualifies as web applications that did not have any true community aspects to them. They were simply produced, provided to the end-user, and consumed. Updates were limited to creator-made updates without any real input from the user.

Project proposal

Title: The Changing Face of Video Games and Mass Media

Description: My project will focus on how the video game industry has changed over the past two decades, especially in relation with new media (then and now). The growth of both MMOs and non-MMOs will be analyzed in this project, as well as the video game industry's overall image and how it went from being seen as a hobby and children's activity to a serious competitor for television and movies.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

What is New Media?

"What kinds of technologies are part of the new media? How important is the Internet to the new media? Why and how are the new media replacing and / or enhancing the old media?"

New media is just that: A new type of media for communicating. Books, phones, radios, televisions, and even Web 1.0 were all considered new media at some point. Although they're not considered new by today's standards, they were new in their time and changed the way people experienced the world. Today, new media comes in the form of community interaction with whatever media they're involved with.

The Internet is one of the biggest technologies involved in new media. Wikis, blogs, Facebook, Twitter, and even the social platforms in modern video games are all forms of new media that rely on the Internet to function. Without the Internet, none of those social platforms would be able to function.

Just because new media is "new" doesn't mean that it has to replace the old media, however. Just as Apple's WYSIWYG interface and Adobe Photoshop made publishing and picture manipulation accessible to anybody, new media is making it easier for anybody to express themselves and contribute to the online community.
(Clive Thompson on How YouTube Changes the Way We Think)

Similarly, just because TV shows are popping up all over the Internet and can even be watched from a laptop in bed doesn't mean that actual TVs and TV broadcasts are going the way of the dinosaur. The convenience factor is definitely there, but people still want to watch their shows the day they're broadcast on a 50-inch HDTV.
(Who Needs TV? I've Got a Laptop)

First post

First is a strange word. Second sounds more like a real word.

Seh was from awayu and we was worry of her?