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Archive for September, 2009

I’ve Never Enjoyed a Homework Assignment Quite So Much..

28 Sep

I have already spent too many hours of my life playing Snood whenever I remember it is on my computer, including this morning when I sat down to complete this assignment, so to come up with two new games to try out I went to addictinggames.com.  As I mentioned in my audio entry, it is the addicting games that stick around, and they do not necessarily have to be complex, the majority of the games on addictinggames.com are not.

Picture 2I started by going to the most popular games for the week and found one that said it combined physics and games!  Since this was the topic of my audio entry, trying to combine addictive games with an educational purpose this is obviously the one I chose first.  The game was Bubble Spinner and it was actually, in a way, very similar to Snood.  You had to get at least three of the bubbles together for them to pop.  The difference with this game was that all of the starting bubbles were in the center and when you shot one towards the edge of it the whole group spun slightly.  The game was fairly easy to learn, especially when coming from a Snood background.  The only parts that took me one round through to understand and may want to be made more clear was that 1) it was acceptable to bounce the bubbles off the wall 2) you can’t squeeze through open gaps like you usually can in Snood and 3)  the bubbles on the bottom represented when it was going to add on more bubbles.  Once again it was a very simple game that was definitely addictive, but I did not really see any educational benefit, even for physics.

The other game I chose on addictinggames.com was Maus Trap.  It was once again a veryPicture 1 simplistic game that only took me one, maybe two, times through to understand completely.  This game was not as addicting for me as the Bubble Spinner though.  In fact, if I had not been playing it for class I probably would not have played it more than once through.  The point of the game was to lead the mouse through to the end of the maze, picking up food and health along the way, and avoiding traps and the walls of the maze.  The major thing that they need to explain better in this game is the fact that you can not touch the walls or the mouse gets hurt.  The first time through I avoided all the traps but took a corner too sharp and suddenly there was blood everywhere and it sounded like my mouse was shot with a machine gun!  I think I would have enjoyed this game a little more without all of the blood every time my mouse hit something, but that could just be my personal style.  My poor mouse looked so sad after I lost! That didn’t make it fun for me!  Maus Trap was also another game that has absolutely no educational purpose to it other than working on hand-eye  coordination.

Maybe I’ll keep working hard on my homework and see if I can find any other games out there on the internet, or maybe even on addictinggames.com, that actually has an educational use to it!

 
 

Gaming+Education=Success! (Audio entry in response to this week’s lecture)

28 Sep

Thoughts on Gaming and Education

Above is a link to my thoughts on gaming and education and how they could interact with each other.  Below are examples of the Nintendo DS Brain Training game that I discuss in the above link.

 

Speak and You Shall be Heard

22 Sep

Our world today is making it easier than ever to get your message out there, whether it is images, poems, opinions, promoting yourself, whatever it is the world today allows you to make your mark.  But when everyone has something to say does anyone end up being heard?  I say absolutely, although it could be only by one person or by millions, the day you post it or a year later, once it is out there it will at some point get seen by someone.  Look at YouTube for example, how many completely ridiculous videos that people may even regret watching when they are done have over 1,000 views?  Information put out onto the internet is there for anyone to find, and will be found, now lets take a look at why.

Use it or Lose it.. Maybe Not

In the Benkler article “The Wealth of Networks“, the author makes the “Babel objection” that “When everyone can speak, no one can be heard” or that only the individuals with money can make their statements heard, but as I have already stated I strongly disagree.  In this article the author goes on to discuss the “most viewed” aspect of certain sites, such as YouTube, that “treat other people’s choices about what to link to and read as good indicators of what is worthwhile for them”.  This brings up the idea of hyperlinks, yet another way to get to someone’s posted information.  I thought about posting a really bad YouTube video above where I discussed regretting watching a video after, but then I felt bad and didn’t.  However if I was a guilt-free person and I had, chances are at least a few more people, even if they were just from the class, would have watched at least some of the video purely as a result of my link.  Get your video linked to on a very popular blog or site and suddenly you have thousands of views!

Another site that I discovered through a friend that helps to get the sites or images that you may not have been seen otherwise right to your browser window is Stumble.  For those of you who have never seen or used it before, it is a sort of search engine that you can “stumble” around in.

Look what I Stumbled upon! Must be someone's from last years class!

Look what I Stumbled upon! Must be someone's from last years class!

What does this mean?  You just type in a word or phrase and you can either search like normal or click stumble and it will select a site according to your search specifications that it thinks you will find interesting.  Don’t see a site you like?  Just keep stumbling, I’m sure you’ll find your feet eventually!

Modernizing a Classic

Photos have been around for ages, but not in this way.  The Photosynth demo was extremely interesting and just adds to the ways that your web material may be seen.  The most interesting part was the 3D models that were made using Flickr images

2309210259_0cd0b73d94that were all sorts of photo types from professional cameras to cell phone cameras. They demonstrated a 3D model they made of the Notre Dame Cathedral using a variety of images that were chosen by the program through anything that came up with a tag of Notre Dame Cathedral on Flickr.  Blaise demonstrated how even the “Look mom I’m at the Notre Dame Cathedral” type photos like the one on the left here, could be used to create the final image and would be viewed by many people who, as mentioned in the other circumstances, most likely would not have viewed it otherwise.  This program makes someone’s everyday photo part of a professional looking 3D masterpiece.  What more could you want!

Involvement= Innovation= Involvement

The Jenkins article brought up a lot of really good points, but only a certain few relate to my argument so while I could go on forever with many of the points brought up in the article I’m going to keep it brief.  The most discussed idea in the article was the concept of convergence.  Where all the different, old and new media, collide and the line between the media producer and the media consumer becomes much thinner.  How does this happen you ask?  With ” the electronic equivalent of my swiss army knife” (best quote in the whole article).  This is also referred to today as a cell phone.  We’ve already seen the day where your cell phone and Ipod can not only make calls or play music, but also record video, take pictures, access the internet, play games and a plethora of other actions that are being added every day with “apps”.  What does this mean for my argument that despite the fact that everyone is now posting on the internet your voice will still be heard?  You can now post from anywhere!  Not to mention that with the ability phones now have to take quality images and videos, news companies now have reporters already on the scene all over the world.

With all of these ways to make your information known to the world, the only way not to be heard is if you do not want to be heard, and that doesn’t always work if someone happens to stumble across a picture or statement that you didn’t want anyone to see or hear.  Problem with that is that you put it on the internet where everyone can see it!  It is not the place to put information you do not want the world to know- the internet is free rein.

 
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Not Exactly Mom’s Home Cooking…

18 Sep

I have a feeling Delicious is going to be one of those ‘one and done’ sites that I just experiment temporarily with.  I used Delicious to Bookmark a communication arts site that I found, and again for a more interesting specific part of the site I found relating more closely to interactive communication.  I found Delicious to be very easy to  use and understand, but I did not see much of an improvement over the normal bookmarking that you can do with your internet browser.  The only major difference that I found was the ability to see who else has the site that you bookmarked, bookmarked themselves, which I actually found more creepy and unnecessary than interesting and useful.  Maybe if I had discovered Delicious before I already had well organized folders of bookmarks filled with all the sites I use the most in folders specifying the reason I use them, then I may have been more interested.  But alas I did not.  I was actually more excited about the site I found to bookmark then simply being able to bookmark using Delicious.

The site  had an annual interactive award that they gave out to all different forms from advertising, to info design and entertainment!  It was a great collection of interesting examples of how interactivity is being used in the world today.  One example under the “Experimental/Community” winners was a concept titled Beyond the Fold daily_prophet_videoPicture 3which reminded me of the newspapers in Harry Potter where they include 3D in a typical newspaper design.  This “electronic newspaper for the future” allows for the benefits of a newspaper, the ability to read it over your coffee at the breakfast table, while also allowing for a step into the future by adding different commands that change the paper.  For example, “bending inward/ outward switches from local to international content”, “a 90-degree angle fold activates 3-D mode”, and “shaking [the paper] refreshes live information”.  It is a very interesting concept which definitely sounds like something in the not-so-distant future.  Now all they have to do is actually create it!

 
 

Change Sucks!

10 Sep


Find more videos like this on Hollywood East TV

As illustrated in the reading about the changes in technology over the years it is evident that change is continually occurring at an increasing rate.  From the price of things, like the price of lemonade at a child-run lemonade stand or the price of gas and milk, to when updated versions of programs come out, it is all changing faster and faster each year.  Yes I’m talking about Adobe!  Granted I love their programs, I have most of them, but the problem is they update pretty much every single year!  Meaning I have most of their programs, but I have Dreamweaver 8, Photoshop, Illustrator, and In Design CS2, Flash CS3, and After Effects CS4.  Why so sporadic?  Because sadly, I’m not a millionaire.  I can’t afford to pay over $300 per program every year.  When student discounts come around I try my best to take advantage of them, but I still don’t have enough cash in the bank to take advantage of every offer, especially since there will be a new one next year!  So, my question to all of you.  JourneyEd is currently doing a student discount where I can get the CS4 version of all of the programs I have random versions of now for only $389.98.  Wicked good deal right?  But the same deal will probably come around again next year considering that the reason they are offering this deal is that CS5 is rumored to be not too far away! So help! What do I do?

John Nack, who writes for an Adobe Blog, updated a post on August 29th in response to the difficulties people were having using CS3 and Snow Leopard. The comments already below his blog post reflect similar opinions to what I have discussed above including a comment from Pål Elnan made on August 26th at 4:26pm stating:

“A few more points:

- CS4 came surprisingly early after CS3.
- I assume Adobe knows the OS X roadmap pretty well.
- I also assume Adobe knows Adobe’s roadmap pretty well.

Put together, this whole thing looks like a deliberate action to push people to buy (old) CS4 software, which they did not plan to do.

Maybe it is not. Probably, it is not. But it really, really looks like it.”

So, I suppose that may help to answer the question I posed above.  It seems as if I should not fall into the Adobe trap that they have created because something else will only change next year. And as I have already experienced through trying to use After Effects files between CS3 and CS4, compatibility which often times results in usability is not their primary focus.

 

Blog Newbie

10 Sep

For a fairly inexperienced Blogger, Web Designer Depot\’s article on How to Blog Effectively, was exactly the-computer-demands-a-blogthe assistance I needed!  From finding ideas on what sort of things to write about, to getting people to actually read it, they had it all.  The article had examples of sites to look at for web design inspiration and topics of interest. Making a point to note that if what you were thinking of blogging about is all over the news then it has probably already been beat to death so either be sure to take a completely new spin on it or find something else! It also noted that it is helpful to keep an eye on other blogs. Not only will this give you ideas on topics to discuss and respond to but if you’re responding to other blogs maybe, just maybe, they might respond to you as well!

 
 

ICT’s- Impending Change of Technology

09 Sep

Choose You Own Adventure or It Will Be Chosen For You

Cave_of_time

Interactivity has always been an appealing option when available.  Even as a child I recall easily choosing the Choose Your Own Adventure books where both the book and I controlled the outcome of the story, over any of the other options in which the author had full control of the story I was reading.  This is still demonstrated today primarily through the use of computers.  Even the Engelbart Demo which is now over 60 years old showed the need for interactivity and their ability to fulfill this need with the computer system that they were demonstrating.  Today our everyday need for interactivity is being filled through the almost instantaneous interactivity we are able to create with each other via Facebook, Myspace, and Twitter.  Particularly sites like Facebook are creating communication between individuals who, without facebook, may not have continued to keep in touch.  Part of my mother’s day present to my mom this year was to help her create a Facebook account where she is able to quickly keep in touch, and be up to date with her current friends, as well as high school friends that she has not seen face to face in ages, and family across the country.  Regardless of whether you want to become involved in these sites or not, these are the places you need to go and become a part of these days to be accepted in today’s society.

The Day Has Cometext-message

In the Computer as a Communication Device article by Licklidder, he states that “In a few years, men will be able to communicate more effectively through a machine than face to face”.  Well, he was right!  You know the time has come when even your Professor for your grad class says he would much rather you IM him with a question than to call because he does not like talking to people.  One by one technological advances have made it much easier to not have to see or speak with a person in order to communicate with them.  On paper that does not even sound like communication- not seeing or speaking to an individual but still communicating with them?  Even texting on cell-phones has replaced what used to be a phone call.  Cell phones in many cases have replaced house phones; why pay for two when you can pay for one that you can carry around with you at all times.  The question then becomes are all these technological advancements improving or hurting interactivity and communication.

The Double Edged Sword

As jcherb mentioned in HER (oops!) blog, you can no longer go into a Blockbuster and get a videotape, as mentioned in the lecture, CDs and even DVDs are starting to fade away.  They are being replaced by new technology that is supposed to make life easier, but does it really?  The concept of social determinism versus technological determinism was discussed in the lecture.  Technology should be a result of social determinism- made from necessity, but the world today seems to be driven by technological determinism, meaning that the technology is created and then the need forms from the creation.  But when all of the technology we are used to is replaced with the new and exciting stuff, what happens with all that we have lived with for years before?  The online lecture  stated that we are losing the technology needed to read all of these formerly popular devices in order to turn them in for the latest and greatest way.  The major problem with all of this is what to do with the technological devices from the past.  Often times the devices discussed above get to a point where they are no longer useable, but what do you do with the information you used to use these devices to view or listen to.  I have lost many a childhood video to the advancements of video cameras and just today I lost $40 worth of ink cartridges to a broken printer that you can no longer buy.  Advancing technology into the future is great, but we need to also bring the past with us.  If the devices used to view our videos, listen to our tapes, even hear our CDs at this point are going to be no longer existent, we need to make sure we have a way to convert the information from the original form to a modern form that is readable today before the way to do this is unobtainable.

 
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Wow, I might use it!

06 Sep

As I set up my Google Reader account as instructed by my Professor for my Introduction to Interactive Communications class, I thought to myself, “How would this be useful to me if I wasn’t intending on using it for class. I don’t have time to read through all this useless information that I’m not interested in”.  Well, it turns out I was wrong.  As I logged into my Google Reader account today I looked at the first item that came up in my reading list which was about yesterday’s google logo with the alien spaceship abducting their second “o”.  Surprisingly I had a conversation with a friend yesterday wondering what exactly the meaning behind this logo was.  Although google has seemed to get further and further from actually having a reason for certain logos in regards to the day this one seemed even more out of the blue than usual.  Turns out my friend and I were not the only ones who thought so.  There are even Telegraph Articles out with theories on what exactly the logo meant.  In addition to this google has apparently released  mysterious “tweets” and other cryptic statements regarding the unexplained logo.  Had I not created a Google Reader account just before all of this occurred it would have been a fleeting question in my mind, now I am dragged into the trap of wondering what exactly does it all mean?  And when  in the “weeks to come”, as google hinted at, will we find out? So much for just being a stream of “useless information that I’m not interested in”!