It is a point and click adventure and was made by Max, Tommy, and myself. Enjoy!
It is a point and click adventure and was made by Max, Tommy, and myself. Enjoy!
As of right now, I am procrastinating a lot. I have two big things due at 5 PM today, one of which is the project for this class and the other is a paper. While I was writing my paper, I was just thinking to myself about how much easier is must be to write a paper today, as opposed to pre-internet times. I can’t really imagine going to the library and reading a lot of books hoping to find somethign. The internet makes things so much easier through searching. Not only can I find articles online from magazines and newspapers, I can also search for material within some books that have been printed online. How cool is that? Very cool, as I am sure you all know. The other really cool thing that I like to use a lot is my graphing calculator. Math has just got to be a lot faster with graphing calcultors. How would you like to have to look up trigonometric ratios in a book instead of being able to punch it into your calculator? It would not be very fun. Anyways, I suppose I should actually return to writing my paper since it is a little more pressing than blog posts. Also, the title of this post is a song from the show Summer Heights High. It is a fairly excellent show, that I would recommend watching.
I just found this site called Academic Earth where you can watch lectures online. We’ve talked a bit about learning onine via programs like Second Life, and that a lot of universities are podcasting several of their lectures so I thought this would be an intersting link to share. I wonder if lectures will ever be produced and then aggregated on a website with the sole purpose of being an online lecture. For the most part, I think lectures that we see online now are already being delivered to some part of the real world and thus doesn’t really require any extra work to publish them online.
I believe that justin.tv started as a site that allowed you to watch the life of Justin 24 hours a day 7 days a week. It has essentially evolved into a site that allows you to watch live anything. I found this site extremely odd in that several people are now “lifecasting”. Essentially, they are volunatarily living their lives like Truman did in that movie The Truman Show. Really, really weird. I went on a site of one of the people who was lifecasting, and in the chatroom on the page several people were just saying really perverted things to the girl. I don’t know why you’d want your life online like that. I think that aspect of the site is very strange, but I was definitely glad to have a site like justin.tv this weekend when I wanted to watch the Sharks vs Ducks hockey game. Other than that plus though, I’m still kind of weirded out.
Although I have not really had much exposure to this new(ish) type of media-mixing, I thought the concept sounded pretty interesting. I think it is really amazing what people have done with video games, and similar to fan fiction, I think it offers a unique outlet for people to explore their creative potential. Beyond learning video production techniques, Machinima could even also potentially encourage students to start writing. After all, these short clips require dialogue that people will actually enjoy or find amusing if they are to become popular.
The most interesting thing about Machinima is the fact that (as the article mentions), nobody is being brought to court for copyright infringements. Thompsons writes, “they’re gleefully plundering intellectual property at a time when the copyright wars have become particularly vicious. Yet video-game companies have been upbeat — even exuberant — about the legions of teenagers and artists pillaging their games.” I think it is strange that companies are so upbeat about the use of their “intellectual property”, especially when the Red vs. Blue creators are making so much money. When we talked about fan fiction, the line seemed to be draw at making revenue; however, this apparently is not the distinction between okay and not-okay when it comes to creating machinima. What is the line then? I’m under the impression that only a few people are successfully creating machinima right now, and perhaps this has to do with the fact that companies are fine with creators making profits, but I’m really very unsure.
The article wrote that machinimists hope to “break out of machinima’s geeky subculture and vault into the mainstream.” I do not really see machinima breaking out of geeky subculture because I think that the geekiness is something very intrinsic to the success of the movies created. If it were to go mainstream, I think it would lose something about special about it. The mainstream, while it may increase your audience, isn’t always a better thing. Sometimes to become more mainstream you have to lower your idea of the quality of your product, which I believe is something very unfortunate that any creator/artist must go through. Stay true to your roots machinimists!
As a little side note, when I read this article I thought of something that could have possibly been a stepping stone towards the creation of machinima. I remember playing Super Smash Bros. Melee when I was younger and the video game gave you an option of capturing a screenshot of your fight. I don’t know if they put that into the game because they thought people would like to take screenshots of their really cool moves, or just as a random fun feature; however, I do remember seeing screenshots appear on the Internet of scenes that people had set up between the characters in various locations of the game.
So recently youtube released a mashup of its Internet symphony. I think they did a good job & I think it is really cool that the Internet has been able to connect musicians in this way. However, as neat a youtube’s musical mashup is, I think this one is cooler. I may like it more partially because it is compiled by Playing for Change, which as their website says, aims to “inspire, connect, and bring peace to the world through music”. I may also like it more just because I like the song more though. I think the youtube symphony video could have been put together better/played better & I especially think it sounds messy toward the end of the video. But really, who am I to say that? I’m no trained musician.
This weekend I learned about a search engine/website that is powered by Google called Blackle. Apparently, studies have shown that computer monitors using more white or light colored things on their screen uses a bit more energy than black or dark colored screens. According to the site’s “About” section, a 2007 blog post said that if Google switched to a black interface it would save 750 Megawatt-hours per year. So you should use Blackle even if it only save a little bit for each person. Afterall, little things can add up to something signficant.
The article by Henry Jenkins addresses the fact that writing is not taught in an extremely effective way to school-aged kids. In comparison to what they are required to do for class writing assignments, writing fan fiction seems like a godsend to these young students. Writing papers for teachers that are as Jenkins puts it, more interested in comma splicing does not inspire in the same manner that recreating the world of Harry Potter.
One sentence that caught my eye in the article read, “Interacting online allowed her to keep her age to herself until she had become so central to the fandom that nobody much cared that she was in middle school.” While this was not a critical argument of the article, I still thought it was an important point to make. The anonymity provided by the internet allows young writers to be taken more serious than they might otherwise be in real life because they would not be treated simply as a kid. This reminded me of an extremely academic example that I came across on Comedy Central a few years ago. In one episode Towelie decides to write a memoir, but cannot get it published because he is not taken seriously as a towel. The moment he dresses up as a human (by putting on a mustache and a hat) and assumes the name of Steven McTowelie, he is able to get his book published. The internet takes away some of this unequal treatment faced by Towelie, and I believe that it is an important contribution that encourages younger people to write more freely.
The article also wrote that some teachers complain that popular culture is taking over the classroom. The teachers instead of trying to push things that kids actually engage in out of the classroom, should facilitate it into the lessons. Students that are interested in what they are doing are (I think) much more likely to put in effort to their work and get more out of it. While I understand you can’t incorporate Harry Potter into every aspect of school, teachers should use these interests to their advantage.
So this weekend, I found myself being very productive watching the SNL Digital Short “Lazy Sunday”. When Chris and Andy rapped the lines: “Well, let’s hit up Yahoo Maps to find the dopest route./I prefer Map Quest./That’s a good one, too./Google Maps is the best./True that./DOUBLE TRUE.” I found myself wondering how people got directions before the amazingness of MapQuest, Yahoo Maps, and Google Maps. After not much thought I realized that people probably once used maps and atlases. However, it still shocked me that I do not know how to effectively use either of these things. I would think that since I grew up (partially) in a time that didn’t have these Internet services, I might be able to use a map. True, if I am lost I can un-lost myself using a map, but I would have no idea how to use a map out the best route to Mt. St. Helens. I wonder how much time people save on the road now that these online resources can instantaneously map out the most efficient route from point A to point B. With a map or atlas, my efficiency would probably be astoundingly low. I feel pretty ignorant not really knowing how to use a map or atlas, but I wonder: will paper maps/atlases become solely a thing of the past?