Author Archives: nlyonssmith

The Social Side of Level Up

Had I left high school 1 year early, I would have missed out on a lot of social activity and learning (Although I learned A LOT more at college). I like the idea of the wiki site and mentors to help transition, but are there other things that students are missing out on and that perhaps they can still be included in (if they choose to)?

After school clubs that help the community
Sports teams
Formal dances

I imagine they could participate in these events if they choose to. What else are we missing?


I have never watched a single episode of Survivor (although I know the general plot), yet I found the 1st chapter of convergence culture very engaging and interesting. I have played part in fan communities trying to find out which direction a story is headed and I am a huge media consumer.

Many times I have been caught reading spoilers or hearing about spoilers because of the convergence culture of the media I consume. For example; I love Harry Potter and would buy and read the new books as soon as they were released. The story is engrossing and I love the plot. There was a big plot event at the end of the 6th book and as soon as it was discovered it was blasted to almost every forum and game that I participated in. I did not seek out this information, but it sought me out, and I was CRUSHED.

The convergence culture is great, it lets me discuss many parts of culture with many different groups. However, for big events, it seems impossible to remove myself from the possibility of receiving unwanted information but still remain connected to my communities.

Civ % breakdown – GAM3R 7H30RY

In Civilization, you, as a government leader, can put your economy to work producing technology research, espionage, or culture. All three together are given a % value and the total sums to 100%.

While reading GAM3R 7H30RY today I began to wonder what our %s would be over the past 100 years. I would like to think that we are spending a significant amount on technology research although in terms of America, the lines between espionage and tech research blur. It would also seem to me that we are spending at least some part on culture but that may be a focus of individual areas and not necessarily nationally supported.

Please forgive my very short and naive summary of these decades…

1911 – 1920 – War and Women’s Suffrage. Technology 50%, Espionage 50%, Culture 25%
1921 – 1930 – Roaring 20s. Technology 25%, Culture 75%
1931 – 1940 – Depression, war (but the % still need to add to 100). Technology 40%, Espionage 40%, Culture 20%
1941 – 1950 – War. Technology 45%, Espionage 45%, Culture 10%
1951 – 1960 – Space Race, War. Technology 45%, Espionage 45%, Culture 10%
1961 – 1970 – Space Race, Cold War. Technology 45%, Espionage 45%, Culture 10%
1971 – 1980 – Space Race, Cold War. Technology 45%, Espionage 45%, Culture 10%
1981 – 1990 – No big war?! Technology 40%, Espionage 20%, Culture 40%
1991 – 2000 – Explosion of the web and New Media. Technology 40%, Espionage 20%, Culture 40%
2001 – 2010 – War, more tech, some culture?. Technology 40%, Espionage 40%, Culture 20%

So this is where internet trolls come from… funny video. Link is to Gizmodo, a tech blog.

Game references in mainstream culture

I was reading the Espen Aarseth article, “How We Became Postdigital” and I began to wonder when we were going to see major game references emerge in everyday conversations. There have been very successful games in the past, but for the most part they aren’t thought of in many segments of the population. Where are the equivalent of Dorothy’s Ruby Red Slippers or Scarface’s “Say hello to my little friend”? I feel pretty well tuned to the gaming industry, but maybe I am too involved to see the whole picture from the outside?

Of course, as I was thinking about what big-budget gaming blockbuster could be permeating culture, I realized that the answer was right under my nose. I have to go harvest my crops… I know some of you are anti-Facebook and Farmville haters, but the fact stands that they pull in almost 83 million unique monthly users. As a core gamer, I am dismayed that Farmville (or something similar) will be the outlet. I have hope though. The other day at the grocery store, a younger cashier at the register was humming the Mario theme.

My question to ALL of you: what gaming references appear in any part of your non-gaming life? Discussed at work, gym, etc.?

(Maybe this is a career opportunity for me, maybe I should be working on a game that can develop into an iconic piece of culture).

Modern Biotech

As a 24 year old student, I often wonder what technology will look like in 50 years. Will we have metal implants terminator style? I have seen a couple recent articles related to biotech:

Using nano particles to kill cancer

Using electronic signals to stimulate muscles

I’m looking forward to Iron Man 2 😀

Differentiation of media boxes

In the Lister reading for last week there was a discussion of Microsoft’s design process for the physical enclosure of the original Xbox. Basically, they wanted to completely differentiate it from a PC and stress that this was a game console. It worked, and the xbox division is finally profitable (I think). It’s funny that with the PS3, Sony allowed users to install Linux, an operating system (although an update just disabled this).

In the middle of 2004 I was building a PC to take to college. I bought a nice case and I wanted to have optical drives with black face plates. The default at the time was the ugly beige and it cost $3-$10 more to get the same product with a black face plate (which I begrudgingly paid).

When I have the money, I express my style through the look of my PC/Laptop. Case, windows, face plates, and LED lights.

Virtual Credit Card numbers to help protect your identity

This post was inspired by this article here

Quick summary: It takes 18-24 year-olds an average of 132 days to find out their identity has been compromised yet just 49 days for older age groups.

The first guy in the article had his information stolen when he used his debit card to buy DVDs online. An EXCELLENT way to prevent this from happening is using your credit card company’s site to generate a virtual 1 time use credit card number. It is as simple as logging in to the site, loading a pop-up widget, and having it generate a one time use code. Use that card# for your online purchase, and you’re done. No one can use it again.

I do this with all websites with the exception of Amazon [I buy too much stuff there 🙁 ]

Buying an iPad?

If you are planning to buy one:

1) Did you pre-order or will you show up at BestBuy/Apple store on release day?
2) Which model (GB size? 3G?)

I haven’t pre-ordered but I am willing to line up early at the stores 🙂
I’m considering a base 16GB non-3g but I need to find some money somewhere 🙁

Web acronyms; tool, barrier, or a bit of both?

Are acronyms used as barriers to entry for new people or are they simply a tool used by community members that allow them to communicate more efficiently?

I believe I have used them in both ways. There is no denying that they speed up our conversation and allow us to communicate more quickly. I have even noticed verbal pronunciation of some acronyms can be useful. A popular game, League of Legends (LoL) and its direct competitor, Heroes of Newerth (HoN) are both verbally pronounced in conversation online and in person. (I find it quirky that we pronounce www instead of just saying WorldWideWeb, since the former takes longer to say)

Communities in World of Warcraft use them as tools and as noob identifiers. WTB, LFG, WTT, etc. help the playerbase communicate and present a small barrier to new players.

My dad uses lol as Lots of Love. The first few times he used it, I thought he was mocking me 🙁

One last question; is there a barrier to internet slang and acronyms when just about anyone can use to find out what the term means?