Author Archives: sprinkles

Final Proyecto

Here is our final project.  Nicola and I made a sophie project discussing how copyright laws affect creativity. In it we explore various ways that the law hinders musicians. We come to the general conclusion that, based on the opinions of mash-up artists and DJ’s, intellectual property is too strictly regulated. Alternatives to the law as we know it today are difficult to come by, let alone hypothesize. But, it is awful to think that artists are intellectually and creatively hampered. What does that say about the future of music?

Online Gaming: A World Community?

I found this article in the New York Times archives. It discusses how World of Warcraft has become popular globally. With current gaming technology, that means that users can and will play against people from the entire globe.

This is particularly interesting because there are very few reasons that people from multiple countries come together for reasons other than war. The only other instance that I can think of is the Olympics. This is not to say that World of Warcraft is on the same level as the Olympics, but it is still incredible that people from many nations have the ability to interract through liesure.

Usually, people from seperate nations would have nothing to do with each other. It is possible to go through one’s entire life without encountering a foreigner. But, with WOW, gamers could potentially interract with foreigners on a daily basis. The possibilities of internet gaming can expand someone’s online  community worldwide.

Second Life

Of the articles that we are reading for Wednesday, the most interesting to me was “Is This Man Cheating on His Wife” by Alexandra Alter. After just reading the title, I laughed hysterically to myself. However, after reading the article, I find the question to be quite interesting. Even if you do not believe that the man in the article’s Second Life habits constitute cheating, it is undeniable that his gameplay is straining his marriage. The article cited several studies that indicated that online relationships are not as different from real life relationships as we might think. In that case, who is to say that online relationships are not “real” relationships?

In real life, we try to spend most of our time with people that we find enjoyable, whether it be friends or family. The same concept holds true for Second Life. Users on Second Life build communities  of friends, hold jobs, and even have romantic relationships. Users will even be online all day. That is to say that some users spend more time in a virtual world than in the real world doing the same things that they would do in real life. This “second life” is so powerful that users spend real money on improvements for their avatar in the game. Since users are willing to dispose of wealth that they have accumulated within the game, then clearly the game is very meaningful to them. This meaningfulness leads to raw, real emotions about happenings in the game, so Sue Hoogestraat is completely justified in feeling cheated by her husbands involvement in an online marriage. Just the fact that Mr. Hoogestraat was willing to marry in another “life” that he has so much invested in is a slap in the face to his wife.


Machinima, discussed in tthe readings for Monday, is using video game characters to produce cinema. I had not been aware of this phenomenon, but after seeing the Red vs. Blue video, I think that machinima has a bright future. In many ways it is similar to fan fiction. I would go as far as to say that it is a specialized form of fan fiction. However, it seems to be a superior form of fan fiction because it is so appealing to watch. As Clive Thompson put it, “you could imagine waking up and watching this on a Saturday morning,” where as with fan fiction, it is not as inherently entertaining.

As a fairly experienced video game player, I have been fascinated with the relationship between video games and movies. There have been several movies made from video games, such as Tomb Raider. This seems very logical to me because the stories inside of games are extremely captivating. But, movies based on video games are quite different than movies inside of games, like red vs. Blue. Machinima feels more authentic than large scale movies because the actual characters from the games are talking to you, and not their human representation. When I am playing a game, I often get very into the story and wonder about characters’ personalities. Machinima takes advantage of this impulse of a gamer.

It will be interesting to see in the future if machinima makes it to the big screen. It seems only logical because machinima is much quicker and cost efficient than traditional animation. I would not be surprised to see machinima replace, or at least become a rival of cgi. One drawback is that, in its current form,  it would only catch the attention of those who play video games. If machinima can progress to make original stories outside of a video game, then it would be appealing to many other groups of people.

Sophie proyecto: Why I Blog

So, here is my sophie project. Sorry about the delay. I had some technical difficulties.

Mildly amusing fan production

Since we are discussing fan production this week, I decided to look for some on YouTube. I found a series of parodies of the Mac vs. PC commercial called, I’m a Marvel and I’m a DC. I found this one video to be the most amusing. It has action figures in it and even parodies Rocky. I recommend it if you’ve got the time.

Fan Fiction

The readings this week mainly discussed fan production. Fan production has been possible for a long period of time, but the digital revolution has made it much easier. In aaddition, the web allows for communities to build around common interests, which guarantees reaers for a fan’s work of fiction. However, fan fiction is a sticky issue, like any other issue of fair use. It is fairly well-accepted that fan fiction is fair use, but others (like George Lucas) disagree. I fall on the side that fan fiction is completely fair use. Fan fiction is far different than pirating movies and music from the internet. I would make that distinction because pirating music is taking someone’s work whereas fan fiction is merely a work based off of another. If it were criminal to use another’s story as inspiration, there would be very few good stories because most stories are based off of another (like the Bible).

I also think that fan fiction has benefits. The example that Hanry Jenkins used was that children who write fan fiction learn to read, write, edit, and review writing more quickly than they would through school. I would encourage fan fictionfor this reason as well. Becoming good at something it  takes an interest in developing a skill. Writing is considered an essential skill, but schools are often unable to instill an interent in writing. Fan fiction has the ability to spark an interest in writing, which would indefinetely lead to better writing skills.

The aspect of current fan fiction that people find most appealing is summed up well by Henry Jenkins. “In a very tangible sense, digital filmmaker has blurred the line between amateur and professional, with films made for miniscule budgets duplicating special effects which had cost a small fortune to generate only a decade earlier.” Fan fiction now has the feel ofbeing very authentic and professional because of advanced technologies. People are more likely to create if they think that they are capable of doing it well. This combined with the love of stories in pop-culture lead to motivation to produce. The more people creating fan fiction, the greater the likelihood of the creation of quality works.

Social Networking Part 2: FriendFeed and Such

I wanted to start my post with a general question: Has anyone heard of FriendFeed?

A quick poll around my neighbors in my hall  turned out a staggering no. Just to make sure I was as scientific as possible in my approach, I also asked about the various  websites that FriendFeed wants to aggregate.  My neighbors had unanimously heard of flickr, twitter, and YouTube.

This led me to believe that FriendFeed is lacking in popularity, at least among my generation.  In,  Is FriendFeed  Doomed, it was proposed that the reason for its lack of popularity is because it lacks a major corporate partner. I would respectfully disagree. I think that Arrington hit the nail on the head when he described the difference between FriendFeed and most social networking sites is  that FriendFeed  proposes to be  a centralized  me and most social networks are just a piece of a decentralized me.

The stark contrast that FriendFeed offers to Facebook or Myspace is bound to be met with scepticism as exemplified by the widespread resistence to minor display changes to Facebook. This is especially to be expected by  people who already use social networking sites. Change is often met with doubt, and this doubt wouldprevent most people from joining the FriendFeed  circle.

It would take a major shift in profile user’s attitudes for FriendFeed to boom, in my estimation.  The only way that I see this as a possibility is  if there were a large influx of new  social networking users to join FriendFeed. In order to do this, FriendFeed should most likely target adults, as research in the PEW article showed that the percentage of adults with online profiles  grew from 8% in 2005  to 35% in 2009.

If anyone  else has thoughts, let me know.

Social Networking

Websites such as Myspace and Facebook have completely changed the way people interract. There are so many users on social networking sites, especially for college age individuals, that an entirely new social dynamic is created. Although most support this type of website, there are concerns that come with it. In “Facebook’s Privacy Trainwreck,” Danah Boyd discusses how Facebook’s News Feed threatens privacy. The news feed has its advantages, as it allows you to feel a sense of closeness to others, but it is also unsettling to think that every single online friend can see your updates. Thus, the debate ensues whether maintaining an “ambient intamacy,” as Clive Thompson put it, is worth  an infringement on privacy. As a recent Facebook user, I never had to deal with the crossover to the News Feed. As a result, my behavior was shaped by the News Feed. There are just certain things that I don’t allow on Facebook, and I am able to control my information enough that people don’t see information about me that I don’t want them to. So, I would support the news feed because it maintains friendships in a way.

Some would argue that the “closeness” that sites like Facebook provide is artificial, and actually makes people less close. In the Thompson piece, he brought up the example of the woman who said that because she can see what her friends are doing online, she doesn’t actually go visit. Also, it is common for Facebook  users to have hundreds of friends. Add in a Myspace and a twitter page, and that could be over a thousand online contacts. Thompson questioned whether or not it was possible to actively be friends with that amount of people. I would argue that it is possible, but it is also damaging to have them all grouped together in one place. This is because itmakes the divide between closer friends and not as close friends much more blatant. If you know someone from real life but they are not  that close of a friend, you still have a context  that you know them through. For example, Sam is a bagger at the grocery store that I talk to when I shop. In an every day situation  this type of interraction would seem valuable, but if Sam is also a Facebook friend, he looks far less important compared to your other friends.

This division was essentially sponsored by Myspace’s Top 8. I know friendships that have ended because of the Top 8. The concept of evaluating friendships is built into social networking sites, but placing a value on friendships can only be damaging. Although social networking sites are a nice tool to have, they devalue relationships.

Surviving the Times

For our project, Nicola and I took a music video, “Surviving the Times” by Nas and made it into a movie trailer. We thought that this was a commentary on the way that video is changing because it shows the ease in borrowing a clip, rearranging it, and turning it into a new work. The music that we used is not the music from the music video. We also thought that was important because  it is a  testament to how easy it is to mash up videos.  

So here is our video: