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Readings 13: Virtual Reality & Gaming

29 Apr

Play the Game: Grand Theft Desire

When I was in high school I used to babysit two young boys, about 7 and 12 and they were obsessed with Grand Theft Auto. They would shoot people, steal their money, and run away from the cops. Why was this game ever even made? The whole thing was just violent. They would show me how instead of shooting to kill a person and take their money they could switch weapons to a baseball bat. Whenever I watched them, I would take that game and hide it. It bothered me to watch such young kids have fun doing such horrible things. They would tell me it was fake and that they knew it was wrong, but I just couldn’t be apart of showing them exactly what kind of person they should never ever aspire to be.

Ridiculous Life Lessons from New Girl Games

What in the world are we exposing today’s youth to? But then again, when I was little I was obsessed with Barbie. She had the perfect body and hair, her makeup never smudged, her boyfriend was the best looking man in the world, and her house and car were pink. Not really the best role model. But I think the difference between holding the actual doll in my hands and watching it move on a screen is that with the doll and nothing extra I could make her be anywhere, doing anything, and being anyone. There were no goals or challenges, just me and my Barbie. I think with a lot of these new games the imagination that makes growing up creative and fun is smothered.

With Kinect Controller, Hackers Take Liberties

This article made me think back to when we read about copyright and creative license. I don’t think it is right that people are taking the Kinect Controller and making it into other more advanced products. But it is interesting to read about how these people could be so inspired by one piece of technology that it propels them into creating another.

3D Avatars Could Put You in Two Places at Once

On Second Life my group and I created our own avatars and we followed each other all around to all the different worlds and as we passes other avatars it was interesting and really weird to be able to listen and see what in-depth conversations they were having. It’s all about connection really and while these avatars may connect a person virtually, it isn’t the same as being in person. I think avatars can be useful, but when we already have things like live chats it kind of seems pointless. I would never be able to trust that a person is doing what they should be through an avatar. Avatars aren’t for me.

Viral Hunting

This is outrageous. If you honestly want to hunt deer in Texas, get on a plane, get a license, and go hunt deer in Texas.The fact that people are trying to make killing over the internet purchasable and legal is ridiculous. How do you prove that the person controlling the mouse is actually licensed? How do you prove that they are even the person they say they are? There are too many questions that go along with this viral hunting.

Virtual Iraq and PTSD

We’ve had to watch other videos on this subject and every time I just believe that is a helpful and great thing. These men and women have risked their lives for our country and so anything that can help them sleep easier at night is amazing in my book. The fact that such a technology has been creative gives me hope that every advancement being made can have a positive effect on our society.

Gaming Can Make a Better World

I don’t necessarily know if gaming will ever actually make the world a better place, but it’s nice to hear that there is some possibility. It does make sense that there are aspects of certain games that can teach a person how to aspire for success and strengthen concentration. I feel as though with everything there is a good and bad though. Gaming may be teaching kids that there are obstacles that they can’t skip or go around, but these games aren’t getting them active or making them want to go out and make real relationships with  the real people around them. I will always have my doubts when it comes to the positives of gaming.


Readings 12: Narrative

28 Apr

Tone Language

I think there are days where I text more than I actually speak. It is strange to think how much our society has grown dependent on texting, even my parents have learned how to do it because they say it is necessary for communicating. To be able to actually write a book through text messages is something that I never even could conceive to be possible. But after reading the article it does seem like an easier route then sitting on the computer and devoting more than half your day to straight typing. Really makes you think about what will be the next new form of publishing.

“We Tell Stories” Project & “Your Place and Mine”

After just reading about what the “We Tell Stories” project was I was really excited to read the rest. It’s like an interactive mystery! Reading the story was interesting, going back and forth between the columns and seeing the time pass by. The perspective of each character is a lot more noticeable with it written this way. Almost like two stories at once? I can honestly say that I really enjoyed reading it.

The Future of Publishing

I honestly hate reading off of the computer and I tried using an iPad once and it just made my eyes hurt. I love being able to sit comfortable in a big chair, in a quiet room, and open up a book. Preferably an old book that smells like a musty library or like it has been damaged by water. For me at least, it makes the experience of reading more engaging. There are no pop-ups, no one is instant messaging me, and I’m not getting any Facebook notifications. Publishing can’t die. So when this video went in reverse I was in love.

Readings 11: Photography & Lying

28 Apr

Picturing Texts & I Was There. Just Ask Photoshop

I’m guilty of editing my own photographs, but to an extent. I usually just get rid of red eye, brighten the photo, and maybe once or twice have made a blemish disappear, but I just don’t understand editing a photo to make it completely different. When I look at a photograph I am looking at to see what a person looks like, not how society believes they should look or how they wish to look. It is like a lie published to the world. It isn’t only done in pictures anymore either, now in motion pictures can actors and actresses and sets and props all be changed. Makes a person really question what exactly they are looking at. I think people’s judgment on what should be edited has become blurred.

Picture Perfect & France Mulls Health Warning for Fashion Photos

I’m not exactly proud of the fact that I get the magazine Cosmo delivered to my house every month and read it religiously and occasionally pick up Glamour in the check out line, but they are entertaining. I look at the celebrities on the cover and am envious of what they’re wearing or how perfect their hair is and I’m 21 years-old. Imagine how a sixteen year old girl looks at these images. What is worse is that inside these magazines there is always an article with some sort of message saying how every woman should be proud of who they are and what they look like. Don’t write that a size 20 is beautiful and then not picture anyone in the magazine bigger then a size 2. There have been so many surveys and such with results that show that these too-skinny-to-breathe models (or how they are edited to look) affect how the average person looks at themselves. That being known it is truly despicable that magazines and advertisements still present skinny woman as the most desirable. Obviously though, as long as the magazines are being bought off the shelf the images will remain. Makes me really consider canceling my subscription! I think the idea that France has taken any sort of interest in warning their citizens of photo manipulation is awesome. Though who really knows if it will pass because people are so set on skinny being the it size, France is the capital of the fashion world. If there is going to be a change in the way people look at the fashionable weight and size, France is the place to start.

Adbusting Britney & Photoshop Forensics: Victoria’s Secret

It is great to see that instead of staring at photos of these perfect bodied celebrities people are taking the time to see just how manipulated their photos really are. The advertisement in Berlin is great just because it really makes you think just how edited all of those pictures are. I’ve seen Christina Aguilera in person and trust me, her eyes are not that blue. The article showing how edited the Victoria Secret advertisement is is amazing! I love that there are so many tests that can be done to see exactly what the picture originally looked like, really makes me want to go experiment with all of their pictures because I’m convinced that no one is that perfect and a little bitter about the fact that they can appear to be.

No boo boos or cow licks

Every school picture my mom has of me since I in first grade up until fifth grade I have some sort of scrape or cut on my face and honestly I think it is the funniest thing and I absolutely love hearing and trying to remember what it is from. A picture captures who you are and what you look like at that moment, why would anyone want that to be edited? For my senior pictures, the company in which took our pictures photoshopped every single image. I hated it. I have like three beauty marks on my face that I don’t love, or hate, or really have an opinion about, but them not being there made me so angry. I felt like it wasn’t me in the picture. I don’t see why any parent would want their child to be photoshopped.

Readings 10: Technology and the Body

3 Apr

A Soft Spot for Circuitry

Like many young adults my age, I had a Tomagotchi pet when I was growing up and though it might be embarrasssing to admit, that tiny computer chip surrounded by bright blue plastic was the little love of my life. Using that interaction between robots and people is being able to create a friend for the lonely. It is amazing that the elderly could find such comfort from the cooing seal and I think that those positives outway any of the negatives. Having that technology and not using it to help the less fortunate would be cruel.

Is This Man Cheating On His Wife?

He is cheating on his wife. There is no way that he isn’t actually, it might be just a game, but they are sharing intimate moments and conversations. He met his real wife online, so what is the difference between meeting his virtual wife? I think people take these virtual reality games too seriously, but after reading this article I am definitely excited to create my own SecondLife account for experiential hours.

You Are Cyborg, Better Vision, With an Implanted Telescope, Filmaker Plans to Shoot With Tiny Camera in Eye, & Wearable Computing/6th Sense

All these articles to me are just saying how one day we will all be like the superheros we dreamed of being as youngsters. Humans are going to all be Cyborgs that have injectors, proccessing, etc. that all make it so we would live forever and be able to accomplish many tasks so out of reach. With these fake bionic parts there would be drastic changes. I actually just find it all scary. I love that technology is constantly advancing, but I also like the idea that the human body is natural.

Twitter Telepathy: Researchers Turn Thoughts into Tweets

I am a big fan of the television show “House” and this article made me think of an episode where a father suffers brain damage and can only comunnicate through blinking. This technology would have been super useful in not only the patient’s diagnosis, but even making sure the patient was comfortable and letting him talk to his family. I think it strange to think that this technology is so closely linked with Twitter because I feel as though Twitter is hardly the most important program or forum to have opinions expressed.

Digital Nation

It is amazing to see such an old woman, so disconnected from the internet become such an advocate for it. She is the grandma so many people are missing and yet has become excessible. The games that people are now living through seem to have consumed a lot of people’s lives. The fact that they all meet in person to sit on the computer and communicate is scary. The virtual worlds are changing the real world. I disagree that more technology will connect us personally, though we are all on the internet, there is no real connection. Using virtual reality to make these fake virtual worlds more believable is a mistake to me. But that technology being used to help our soldiers is a lot more worth while. I honestly think that this technology used to help pepople is amazing, it is just using it for frivolous factors that deters me.

Readings 9: Mobile Devices

27 Mar

Always On/Always On You

Last week I got my first smart phone, the iPhone 4 and since that day I have yet to put it down. I am now checking my e-mail every five seconds and refreshing my Facebook newsfeed constantly. I am hoping that soon the excitement of having access to the world in the palm of my hand will die down, but I look around at my peers and I don’t see that happening. With this technology a person is always connected, but it brings about the question about how connected we then are to the people around us. My dad has always commented on how my friends and I will be ‘hanging out’ and all be on our phones texting someone who is not there. I always thought it was just the old man complaining about how we weren’t listening to him, but he does raise an interesting point about how seperate we really were.

Is this constant connection really good for our relationships?

China Deputizes Smart Phones to Spy on Residents

I am not the person to discuss current affairs with, but I do know that although China is thriving economically it’s people have always been suffering. They not only have severe censorship, but now they are being watched like fish in a fish bowl. China should stop trying to pry into their citizens lives to stop the government from being overthrown and actually work on making it a government that the people respect. The country seems to be getting closer and closer to George Orwell’s 1984.

Your Apps Are Watching You

This is terrifying. When I first got my smart phone I was tapping away, downloading anything free and whatever looked interesting, it is scary to think that by me just playing around to see how things work there is a whole profile of who I am being made. I can see how this would benefit advertisers and other apps that are like the ones previously downloaded, but it is an invasion of privacy. If I wanted the world to know what apps I had on my iPhone I’d Tweet about it!

How do they gather such specific information from just downloading an app?

Multitasking Can Make You Lose … Um … Focus

There is not a hour in the day that goes by where I am not doing more then two things at once. I am a full time student have a full time and part time job and honestly when I’m not working or doing homework or sleeping I am still doing multiple tasks at once. Our society has become overwhelmed with the notion of instant gratification and we have to be ready and willing to get what we need done and move onto the next. I do understand that quality is sometimes lost, but at the same the time there are so many new technologies that aid in this multi-tasking lifestyle that it has become quicker and easier.

Videos: Driven to Distraction & Texting While Driving

The “Driven to Distraction” video was interesting because I had no idea people could essentially be so reckless and not even realize it. I am a nervous driver, always have two hands on the wheel, and I could never imagine not having my eyes and full attention on the road. I guess it has a lot to do with the amount of people I know who have been affected by reckless driving which is why watching “Texting While Driving” was rough. Last summer a close friend of mine died because she was texting and swerved into on coming traffic. It is such a dumb reason to lose such a precious life. People need to understand that operating a car is a serious action and it shouldn’t be taken so lightly.

Readings 8: Privacy, Surveillance, & Exhibitionism

21 Mar

On the Record, All the Time

I wish I had a machine recording my life at all time. You’d never have to worry about forgetting anything and would be able to relive the good times over and over again. Life logging would be a great way to see how you age and how your body changes, the health logging open so many doors for scientists researching antidotes and doctors seeking diagnoses.

There are so many benefits to it, but there are also a lot of drawbacks. It is creepy to think that a person really has no alone time, there would always be a lens watching… very “big brother”-like. Also, life logging would definitely change the way people act, what they say, and do because they’d be haunted by the idea of that moment being forever captured on film. That aspect would come in handy to end homicide, but it also might stifle creative and free-thinking. I guess it would just come down to how it is being used and by whom.

Jennifer Ringley,, & Socialcam Launch

Jennifer Ringley makes me uncomfortable. I do not want to see the daily routines and such of an average person, it’d be like watching myself and that would actually be quite boring. Also the idea that absolutely anyone could be watching is positively creepy! Who knows who they are or what they are doing, it is just such an awkward concept. The only cool part about it is the fact that it is unedited, while chooses what he wants his audience to see. I definitely would love the idea of having so many people care about what I’m saying and doing, but I think I’d hate the idea of it being all strangers and having it published on such an open forum.

The Web Means the End of Forgetting

This article just goes to prove that privacy settings on social networking sites are VERY important. Poor Stacey only posted a picture that she wanted to share with friends and unfortunately it was seen by people outside of that circle. But I disagree that she is held to a different standard because of her profession. She is of legal age to consume alcoholic beverages and as long as she isn’t drinking while in the presence of her students it is perfectly fine. It is her own free time and unless she is on the clock should not be punished at her job.

Quiz: What do Facebook Quizes Really Know About You?

When I first made my Facebook I went kind of crazy with doing all of the quizes, I guess I just lived a boring life. But as soon as I started applying for colleges my parents went crazy and gave a speech or two everyday about how colleges would be looking on the internet before accepting me. So what did I do? Googled myself! Upon googling I found that the first websites to pop up were that of my Facebook quizes. I knew right then and there that I had to delete those because there is no need for strangers to know that my favorite color is blue and favorite season is Fall. This article just reiterated and set in stone the lesson I had already learned, nothing is private on the internet.

Readings 5: Copyright and Creativity

10 Mar

Copyright, Collage, and Creativity

I think all creativity comes from taking from what is around. Did the creator of the piano sue Beethoven? The world, although not always cohesive, has a flow. We as humans learn from doing and experimenting. So taking words or phrases from one piece of work and mixing it with another isn’t stealing, it’s adding. It’s opening our eyes to a different aspect that wasn’t seen the first time around. To some an improvement and to others second rate, but in any case… it is something different.

Recently there have been a lot of programs and efficiencies that have revolutionized how and how cheaply everything can be copied, distributed, and modified. With all these programs there of course has been more reproduction and more argument over what really is copyrighted and what is just creative. Honestly, if people weren’t so worried about how much money they were making they would realize that imitation is the best form of flattery.

The Generational Divide in Copyright Morality

I cannot lie and say I’ve never used Limewire or any other site that let’s me download music and movies for free, but I do always feel about it after. It’s like creating a masterpiece and not getting any recognition or payment for it. But at the same time, who wants to pay $25 for a CD when they really only want the one song? Itunes and other sites that provide pay-per-song also begin to add up very quickly. So if you aren’t getting caught does that make it okay? Thinking about all the people who worked hard to produce that tidbit of media makes you wonder if saving yourself the $.99 is really fair. How would these ‘artists’ get paid if no one buys what they are recording? When it is asked if it is morally correct the obvious answer (unfortunately) is no.

In Defense of Piracy

I’m in awe of the reaction over sharing a few seconds of this video. $150,000 is absolutely ridiculous. It’s obvious that the way in which media is shared has to be changed. There is way too much confusion and since there is no set punishment or really even law it just keeps getting more and more out of hand. This article is not only interesting in that it brings up such an extreme case, but it always gives suggestions to the issues. The way media is being shared right now obviously has to change.

Readings 7: Suggestions, Recommendations, and Algorithmic Culture

7 Mar

Hitting It Off, Thanks to Algorithms of Love

I actually have a couple of friends who have tried the whole online dating thing. They each have come back with the same conclusions, it’s a waste of time and money. I don’t agree with them, because it must work for enough people for these sites to keep popping up. Relationships are starting whether friendships or actually couples, something must be working. But even if it is, internet dating sites are not the place for me personally. I don’t trust those “algorithms”, I’ve taken many, many math tests to find that no matter how well I have studied how to use the equation, you still need to know how to read the word problem to know where each part goes. In that case, I think that these sites may get all the right information, but they don’t know exactly where it goes. So I guess it really comes down to luck, and that is how it is for everyone else who is going out to find there soulmate.


Artifacts From the Future: Online Dating Site

I think having information about your partners genes and such is important when it comes to a couple who already in a commited relationship and starting a family, that information could save their unborn baby. But for the those people looking for love, I think they should stay away from everyone else’s gene pool. It is such a weird concept to me. It honestly almost seems like something extremists like Hilter would promote, ‘creating the perfect match’. Love is how a person connects with another person, not how their DNA connects.


Roommates Who Click

This sort of site makes more sense then trying to find your soulmate from your computer chair. Living with someone is a commitment with contracts and such, but thankfully there is People’s Court with Judge Judy to get anyone out of that situation. When I was filling out my housing information to live at Ramapo College years ago, I was asked to fill out a questionnaire with only like ten questions on it and they only ranged from, “what is your favorite type of music?” to “what is your favorite book?”. These questions hardly said enough about who I am. When I finally got the names of my future roommates in the weeks before move in day I immediately Googled them and tried to find them on Facebook. Only one of them actually had a Facebook (which of course made me think the other one, who didn’t have a Facebook, was socially awkward and enjoyed things like knitting cat sweaters), but the information I gained from Facebook was a lot more useful then anything the Ramapo survey could’ve given. So, I think that sites for roommates is a really good idea.


The Song Decoders

I like Pandora, it is a great way to listen to music I’ve never heard before by artists I love and never knew even existed! I am actually kind of music obsessed, my ipod has to always be filled with the latest and greatest music so I use a lot of sites, but Pandora and have easily become my favorite. Pandora because it plays more mainstream music that is in the same genre of whatever artist or song I search for and because it more obscure and created by regular people making playlists influenced by their moods.


Search Takes a Social Turn

Advertising is a extremely important part of business. As much as I hate the ads telling me about a sale that I would be taking advantage of if I wasn’t a poor college student, it is a great way for companies to reach out to their specific consumers. The actual concept of these businesses being able to access people’s likes and dislikes is intrusive, but at the same time can be considered convenient for the consumer and after all, a great business is centered around it’s customers.


Readings 6: Digital Marketing and Viral Media

28 Feb

Youtube Ads Turn Videos Into Revenue

I’d much rather have advertisements play before the videos I actually want to see begin playing and have them pop up then have to pay for the clips and music I search for. While the ads are really annoying, the site overall is really convenient for finding videos of new songs, dances, news clips, and really a video about anything you can even imagine there to be a video made about!  Since all over the world people are constantly posting new videos, new accounts are being made, and millions of comments are being left, this site obviously takes a lot of upkeep. To maintain such a busy site there has to be professionals dealing with the tech problems as well as people dealing with the content. All these people have to be paid somehow and so it is really smart that Youtube would look to advertisements to make money. And while Youtube is competing with other video companies that do charge their viewers, Youtube is a step ahead in that more people view their site and so more advertising agencies are taking notice. No matter what, Youtube will always be the most popular video site because it is free and while the ads can be annoying, they are short and once they are over it is all about the videos.


Retargeting Ads Follow Surfers to Other Sites

No matter what website a person sifts through there seem to be ads everywhere! They have become an inescapable part of using the internet. But when the ads relate to what the site is or what a person searches for it takes it to another level. I definitely agree with the people who believe that targeted advertisement is evasive. It’s as if the internet, the portal in your very own home that you can sit in your feetie-pajamas and stumble through is judging you and cataloging your every click. Just because I’ve come across an article on an abundance of deer in the North East doesn’t mean that hunting and rifle advertisements apply to me. This concept may work wonders for the advertisers that are using it, but I think it is the consumer that gets taken advantage of.


For the Love of Google: Landing A Job With Search

Using advertising to get the attention of advertising agents is brilliant. He used exactly what skills and attention-getting creativity he would need for the job he wanted. Perhaps it was a little “stalkerish”, but I think sending a severed hand is just plain creepy and no one would want to hire someone they believed to be that corny. Brownstein was daring and innovative and lucky for him it was exactly what the people he targeted were looking for.

Since this article has been published has there been copycats trying to get hired through google?

Has google raised the price of their sponsored ads if it has become popular?


How the Old Spice Videos are Being Made

People used to complain about all the commercials on television and now they are sitting at their computers watching them for entertainment. I think this shows the evolution of the commercial from being just informative to something that people actually want to watch. What good is an advertisement if no one sees it? These catchy and entertaining commercials starring celebrities, athletes, or glorified reality stars make the commercials and advertisements the new water cooler conversations. And it is those conversations that are setting the creative wheels in motion for the next commercial.

Why don’t more businesses use  humor and well-known people in their advertisements?


Foursquare and MTV Team Up For 1st Ever Cause-Related STD Testing

I get that Foursquare is used by smart phone users and that “badges” are given when they do specific things, but I’m not really sure what Foursquare is and why people would even strive so hard to get these “badges”. Nonetheless it has teamed up with MTV for a noble cause. I think that especially in this generation where sex and drugs have been glorified from everything from music to lifetime movies, that sexually transmitted disease testing be encouraged. But it is especially strange that these two specific companies have joined forces, mainly because the idea of these badges seems like collecting Pokemon cards and hopefully young kids who do that aren’t worrying about STDs and MTV is an odd advocate because it airs shows like Jersey Shore and Skins where promiscuity is the norm. So while it is nice to see that action is being taken to educate and promote STD testing, it doesn’t seem fitting for Foursquare and MTV to be doing.

What is Foursquare?

Readings 4: Here Comes Everybody: Crowds, Collaboration, and Dialog

13 Feb

Crowdsourcing Website:

99designs is a great website for logo and webpage designing. It hosts what you need and your requirements and lets thousands of designers try to work their magic and make it what you are looking for.

The Machine is Us/ing Us

This clip gives great insight into how we as a society, and as an individual affect the web. We create what information is out there and we shape how it is seen and searched for. I feel as though a lot of people look to put blame on the internet for changing privacy, ethics, family, commerce, etc., but the same people are the ones who search for a new recipe or google their favorite political leader. As bad as a reputation has, there is a not a person today who has not gained something from using it.

Clay Sharky on Love, Internet Style

It is interesting that these big companies used to not rely on the ‘community’ and now they have woken up to a world where the information supplied on the internet is vital. I didn’t quite understand the Japanese shrine metaphor, but I do understand that he is saying that business needs to now rely more on the public for direction and help then ever before.

What “love” was he really talking about?

Should we Trust the Wisdom of Crowds?

I see crowdsourcing as a benefit. It  lets people find what they are looking for while seeing many other options. Crowdsourcing opens a lot of doors for even small companies, it is letting people have many choices and giving even more people the opportunity to respond.

Do these big companies actually use the crowdsourced information?

Amazon Mechanical Turk

As important and genius computers are, they are only as smart and important as we make them. This article compares the basic human to the basic computer, a very interesting comparison. Humans and computers have become co-dependent, a computer cannot program itself and there are tasks that humans just cannot do without these machine counterparts. The fact that computers can now recognize people’s faces seems as though we are living with the Jetsons.