Readings 11: Games and Stories

The Keitai shosetsu that the Japanese people can write on their cellphones and upload onto the internet is a great use of technology and use of spare time and the cell phone. The writers can simply type a novel on they’re phone, upload it, and if its good enough it can get printed as a paper book. Although very creative, i feel that it would be easier and probably quicker if the writers were to just type the novels up on they’re computer. A cell phone is small and you can only use two fingers to type where as a computer you can use all ten fingers and it is typically easier to type especially with a larger keyboard and screen.

The We Tell Stories site is an interesting site in how you can witness the story being written live every night. I really enjoyed the format of how “Your Place and Mine” was written in which it ping-ponged back and forth between the two main characters and had an interesting twist at the end of it. If all the stories share similar format or even share a similar surprise twist as this one did i would definitely read them also.

The Hamlet facebook posts and the history of the world according to facebook statuses, are pretty creative ideas. They are simple and really convey exactly what had happened in Hamlet and throughout history, respectively. These facebook posts help you learn about what happened in quick small posts. I have also see one called NFL QB’s on Facebook where every week a fake facebook status is posted by one QB and all the other ones comment based on their performance that week.

I think that “The Future of Publishing” video is very true in which the first time through can be seen as how the older generation thinks our generation views society and culture and in some cases is true. And as the girl reads back in reverse order she tells of what a part of the generation feels and what it should feel. As she read through the first time i didnt get it because she was making herself look ignorant and stupid. But when she began to read it backwords, it all started to make sense and she reassured us that this generation is not lost and is concerned with real world problems.

I think video games for girls is just weird to begin with, and just as the models in magazines make the girls think they need to be super thin to be liked, these video games are sending the same kind of message in a different way. These games are teaching girls that they need a boyfriend, or that they need to dress better in order to be happy. I think these are horrible lessons to be teaching impressionable teens and i would not want my children to be playing games these if they are going to believe that thats how your supposed to live.

Machinima is the use of 3D graphics in video games and other avatar-based platforms to create short films. Machinimists, as they are called, edit and render filmed scenes. I have no opinion really on machinima. Its a cool aspect of 3D graphic cinematography in the way someone can play the game, film it, edit it, and then have a completely different movie than the original game that they played.

Although IBM completed a study in which they proved that MMORPG can help develop good leadership and task management skills, i dont believe that it is worth theyre time to have their workers play these games at work. I do agree that theyre study produced accurate statistics but i also feel that real life scenarios would help create better leadership skills too; because again, its a game and my little brother could play it and be good at it, but theres no way he’s leading a team in a major corporation.


Readings 10: Photography and Lying

In the article “I Was There. Just Ask Photoshop” Alex Williams explains how a women had a friend remove her ex-husband from all of their vacation and other memorable photos over the span of a 12 year marriage. This is extreme, no matter how you want to remember the memories and who was there, you will always know in the back of your mind that “he” was there on vacation with you. In the other cases where missing family members were inserted into a family wedding photo, it is nice to say that everyone is there, and in a few years no one might even remember who was there or not. In the case where the woman had her dead father photoshopped into a picture with her because they didnt have any together. Not to sound mean, but if they went a whole lifetime and have no pictures together, why now?

I think the proposed law by the french politician that would require a mark on all altered photographs is a good idea. These images are giving the public, especially young girls, a skewed view on how people should. Young children do not need to have their minds poisoned thinking this is the way that they should look and with a warning on the photo, it would make them think twice. Similarly, in Berlin, adbusting is being done by the FTW crew in an attempt to show that these ads have been manipulated. The FTW crew is adding large stickers of photoshop’s interface panels and making the image look like its on a computer screen being altered with photoshop. This adbusting by FTW crew is genius and it would be great to see more things like this around. There is also research being done in Dartmouth University to develop a computer software that will be able to tell how much a photo has been altered. This software will use an algorithm and rate a photo on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being most altered.

In “The Photoshop Effect” video Tim Lynch takes us through a typical photo shoot and he he goes from the camera to the computer to touch up the pictures he just took. He goes on to explain how he would estimate that 99.9% of photos in a magazine are altered and that some celebrities have someone on their staff who alters all their photos. Similar to that, H&M has admitted that they use digitally altered bodies and paste real heads onto the bodies in order to best display their clothes.

In the “Body by Victoria” piece, the author was able to explain how he/she was able to break down the image and see exactly where the photo had been manipulated. He showed different image analysis and other photo gradients that contained certain clues that made it clear a photo had been manipulated.


Readings 9: Technology, Intelligence, and the Body

The cyborg article by Donna Harraway seems both cartoonish and extremely futuristic at the same time. To take a living being and inject it with certain materials in order to alter the chemical compound the change the being as a whole is an aspect of God, and something that i dont think humans should play around with. Not only is doing on animals wrong, but it will get to the point of transforming humans and making the super soldiers, and then who knows what is next. Would you want to live in a world where cyborg super soldiers are waling around?

In the article about second life, it tells the story of a man who has become so obsessed in the game, that he’s gotten married in the game, while he still has a real human wife in the real world. I think that that it would actually be considered cheating on his wife, but it is the same concept as if a husband is texting other women and never doing anything with them. I think for the most part that its just really creepy being in a fictional relationship like that on an online role-playing game.

In Korea, they have boot camps to battle internet addiction for young children. These children are put through military style activities and obstacle courses and gets it drilled into their heads to break the addiction. Boot camps are simply not the answer to break these addictions. They are a more physical rehab center, and even rehab seems over the top for internet addiction.

I think the 3-D Avatar article by John Tierney is very interesting and plausible. What the scientists are talking about doing with avatar technology seams so futuristic and almost not feasible, yet they say we could be doing it within the next 5 years. Also if they made changing the settings and features as easy as it makes it sound, that would not be a benefit. Its all great concepts and ideas but i cant possibly see it ever coming fully together; t least not in our lifetime. How could society benefit from entire classes of students and even teachers not going to class and it just being simulated instead?

Readings 7: Privacy, Surveillance, + Exhibitionism

Jennifer Ringley took part in the early stages of live webcams in the late 90s and was one of the first people to be streaming their entire lives over the internet. This new art form was entertaining to a lot of people seeing how she showed everything over her webcam including nudity and sexual relations. She took a form of art that anyone with a computer and a webcam can do and made a living out of it receiving up to 4 million viewers daily. Would you ever want your life to be broadcasted over the internet for everyone to view?

Technology might have taken it too far when it comes to posting a location on pictures. As described in “Web Photos That Reveal Secrets, Like Where You Live,” Twitter photos can contain a geotag which includes the longitude and latitude of where the photo is taken. Most people dont know about this, and this can cause danger. In a situation like Adam Savage’s where he posted a photo and said he was off to work, someone who now knows where you live and that your not home could come break into your house. I didn’t know that these geotags were that specific but i know that I do not have locations on my twitter account. After learning this information how cautious will you be when it comes to location services on social media sites?

I think people who would give their password to their boyfriend or girlfriend are just creepy. I guess its a personal thing that i dont want anyone especially a significant other being able to keep that close track of everything that i do. Even the part of just giving out a password,  because me as well as other people i know and im sure many other people have the same password for most if not everything. To have to then go ahead and change your password for email, facebook, twitter, bank account, computer login, etc. would just be an unnecessary hassel that i know i would not want to have to do. In what circumstances would you ever share a password with someone?

I think it is amazing as stated in “Upending Anonymity, These Days the Web Unmasks Everyone” that with the use of todays technology anyone in a single photo or video that goes up on the web can be identified. No matter what the photo is, there is someone that would be able to identify you. In the Vancouver riots many people were convicted of crimes because of being identified in amateur photos and videos that had been taken. How would you feel if you have been convicted of a crime because you were identified in an amateur  photograph that was taken?

Readings 6: Algorithmic Culture

In “How Computers Know What We Want — Before We Do,” Lev Grossman discusses the different recommendation engines that are on the web and what different components make them up. It starts off talking about pandora and how there is a very intricate algorithm that goes into matching similar songs with each other. I set of 400 attributes can be attached to a certain song and having similar qualities creates similar song selections. Grossman also mentions Netflix’s recommendation engine and how it is mostly user base with its rating system. How would you rate the recommendation engines of online websites?

“Amazon’s recommendation secret” is very similar to the above article in which it shortly explains’s recommendation engine. They have recommendations such as “customers also bought” and “frequently bought together.” While these are automated, there are also manual emails that get sent out based on what categories a customer qualifies for. Amazon also has an add on feature which displays small impulse items at the checkout similar to candy in a supermarket. What do you think is the best feature of amazon’s recommendation engine?

“Roommates Who Click” talks about the process of first year roommate selection. Some schools do completely random, while others administer a personality test and match up similar students with each other. Schools that dont allow personality tests do allow students do request certain roommates and students use sites such as URoomSurf and Lifetopia to find roommates that are compatible to them. I have no experience with having a random roommate of having been matched up with someone else because i requested to live with 2 friends i went to high school with. Given to chance to do it again, i might take the chance and get random roommates just for the experience. What are your experiences with roommates?

Noodle is a Google-like search engine and it is education specific. Instead of having to browse through pages in order to find what you are specifically looking for, Noodle has advanced search options that appear after the initial search. This allows users to bypass all irrelevant data and find exactly what they’re looking for in regards to education. Does having category specific search engines make looking for something that much easier?

In “Hitting It Off, Thanks to Algorithms of Love,” John Tierney writes about different online dating services like and He notes how they use different algorithms and personality tests to attain the best possible matches. These websites match people together mostly based on certain interests and personality traits while this is not how relationships are created. Would you ever use an online dating service? why?

Readings 2: Networks and New Media

Although business and personal life should be regarded to separately, they are not. In todays business world you have to be very careful as to how you broadcast your personal life over the internet. Everything that you do, every post you make, and every picture you are tagged in can have an effect on your job. You represent your company and if you do something that makes you look bad, then it makes your company look bad too. When looking for a real job, what steps will you take to ensure you dont lose a job due to SNSes?

As far as net neutrality goes, i think it is necessary for the internet and internet service providers to remain neutral and not discriminate against the content that is out there, no matter what it is. In the article about the online anorexia videos, the statement from Youtube says, “Our community controls the content on the site and they’re the ones (not us) who flag content they deem inappropriate,” and i think they are exactly right. If you think that a video is inappropriate, you can flag it and it will be reviewed; but for Youtube to have to prescreen every one of they’re millions of uploads would just be ridiculous. If someone thinks a video on Youtube or an article on another website, or anything else is inappropriate on the internet, simply dont watch/read/look at it and move on. What could be the next thing to be regulated if the government ever got rid of net neutrality?

Readings 1: Digital Photography and Social Networking

In Sherry Turkle’s “Avatar of Me” she has interviewed high school students and asks them to describe how they have constructed their online profiles and why they chose to include what appears on them. For the most part, the way they described it is, when you create an online profile such as Facebook, it isn’t as much for you as it is for all the other people who view it. They all mention that no negativity, such as a bad home life, goes on to their profile. They try to make themselves look better and cooler than they really are; and who’s to tell them that they aren’t like that offline, most of their ‘friends’ dont even know who they are. Brad says that it causes him some stress deciding over the fact of what music and books to list because he is thinking too much about what the viewer would like and not his own likes. Like many others, Brad temporarily deactivated his Facebook just to get away from it all. Have you ever deactivated your Facebook and if so, for what reason(s)?

In “Social Network Sites: Public, Private, or What?” Danah Boyd dives deep into explaining the ‘friend’ aspect of SNSes as well as what the mediated public is and how it affects the lives of todays youth. On most SNSes such as Myspace and Facebook you gather hundreds and even thousands of ‘friends.’ Most of these ‘friends’ are people whom you’ve met once at a party or have a class together back in sophomore year. You aren’t actually friends with them, yet you display to the public that you are. As far as what the mediated public is, they are a place where people can gather publicly through technology, and SNSes are the new mediated public. Rather than a group of friends going to the park to hang out for a few hours, everyone sits at home on their computers and talks and converses with each other online over a public domain. Everything you say and every conversation you have can be replicated and shown to thousands of people with the click of a button; theres no safe way to have a conversation online. If someone wants to find you, its just a few clicks away and they know your whole life story. How do you feel about someone being able to learn so much about you that easily?

In “Here I am Taking My Own Picture,” Alex Williams explains the many reasons why on would take self portraits of themselves and why it has become so widely popular in recent day. Since most self portraits are taken via either a digital camera or a laptop, the amount of pictures one can take are endless. There’s no concern for wasting film and having to buy more or even having to get the film developed. Once a person is in possession of a   camera/laptop they can take as many photos of themselves as they want until they get the perfect shot, even if it takes hundreds of shots; and then only the best shot may be displayed to the public and the rest can just as easily be deleted. My question to you is how have you used the self portrait in your life?

In “NY Congressman Resigns over Shirtless Photo,” Congressman Chris Lee chose to resign from office after a shirtless picture and emails he sent to a younger women leaked to the tabloids. My personal opinion on things like this is dont send any pictures out that you wouldn’t mind everyone seeing. Lee clearly didn’t have the same opinion as me and was very careless with what he chooses to send to people whom he doesn’t even know. Why would a successful person send pictures to someone they met on craigslist?

From “Nationwide Survey Finds a Disconnect Between How Teenage Girls Portray Themselves Online and in Person,” I can take all of that data and come up with one conclusion: girls portray themselves as in a more positive light online but would overall rather not have the sites and just a few close best friends. Would you give up social networking and all the “friends” you have on them to have more face to face interaction with just a few close friends?