Author Archives: tabularasa


Not only does this restaurant have a sleek design, but it produces its’ own oxygen. This is made possible by the giant algae filled aquariums placed throughout it…and I thought ice bars were cool. Wish we had something like this in the village.

Text adventure fun

This reading spent an enormous amount of time defining as well as distincting one thing from another, and I have managed to walk out of this being thoroughly confused as to what this reading was trying to express. I think a diagram showing how all the terms (Interactive fiction, hyperlink fiction, text adventure) were related and different would have been much more easily understood.
Montfort did express a desire for works of Interactive fiction to be studied more critically, however in the effort to define the form, he did little to motivate the reader the IF’s are worthy of being examined. I have gained a better understanding of what interactive fiction is, but have not been moved to think it warrants academic study.
When defining hypertext fiction he writes, “A hypertext fiction is a system of fictional interconnect texts traversed using links. Hypertext fiction also does not maintain an intermediate, programmatic representation of the narrated world, as interactive fiction does.” Maybe I’m not understanding fully what he means by intermediate programmatic representation. Does he mean something visual portraying the world of the work of fiction? If not, I don’t see how a body of descriptive text can’t present a vision of a world.
Throughout this reading I kept on thinking of the Legend of Zelda games. Some of them have intricate storylines, many of the riddles and puzzles Montfort mentioned, as well as the idea of “gaurd fields” in our previous reading? So does that game count as interactive fiction, or does the absence of the player inputting text disqualify it?
Lastly I was intrigued when he quoted Nelson and the idea of multiple voices being present. I tend to equate my own voice with that of the character in the game, and never bothered to really pay attention to the narrative voice being different from one that gives an error message.


Seems like everyone is doing a non-reading related blog for today, so I’ll follow lead. The word tentacle was mentioned in the reading and it made me think of these two  tentacle related posts I found earlier. Neither of them is really relating to the notion of a branching out tree of information, but they’re still pretty cool. First one is just on abnormal octopi, and the second is a jellyfish-like flying contraption. Interesting how lots of engineers are designing nature inspired machines.

…guess I have a fondness for jellyfish because of being stung three times in my life and that one scene in “Finding Nemo”

My “Bad” Site

Maybe painful would be a more fitting word…a sort of “once in a lifetime” sort of thing. I was most definitely thinking about being user friendly. Be sure to turn up the volume and take some time to enjoy the classic set of games on page two. Possible side effect of lingering at my site for too long is a headache.
If you have difficulty navigating to the second or third page, give up and type page2 or page3 at the end of the URL. ENJOY =]

Honey I’m Home!

Both of the readings for tomorrow things that caught my attention, but the most interesting of these was the notion of “home(land)”. Before getting further into the reading I began thinking of what qualified something as a home, and whether this entity could exist online. I say entity because my idea of home is more complex than a physical global coordinate or a building. Home is a place you take refuge in with people you have come to know and love, the activities you partake while there, overall a place you have history with and usually affinity for. After this train of thought I had run into nothing that could refute the existence of a home online. I’ll admit there were times back in middle school where I would get out of class, rush back home (to neopets) and spend enjoyable hours there with friends. If we open up the term to home-land, it gets more complicated. We usually associate the notion of homeland with a certain peoples/ethnicity/culture.
In the Mallapragada reading Willam Sanfran is cited for his 6 qualification of a diaspora. Each one I can see an online community passing. Their participants are located in many different areas around the world. Depending on how long they’ve been there, they have a history with the website, seeing how it has grown and changed. If their host society (current location in RL) really fulfilled them, they would not find a need to keep returning to this online site. Through continued time spent on a site, you grow fonder of it, some fond enough to donate to keep the site running. Like multiple readings of ours have said, there are users who use VL to work on aspects of their RL, and there’s probably crossover in the other direction. So is it possible for a truly diverse group of people unified by something online to be a culture/race? Not sure if I just have a more relaxed notion of what race/culture due to my background…Half Chinese, half American, lived all my life in Hong Kong till I came to college, first language English, raised Jewish in an Asian household, grown tired of hearding the question “What are you?” Probably getting off track now, and since I couldn’t resist taking it on myself to answer from the Schaap reading “What would be your ultimate online gaming experience – your dream game?” here I go:

I would want an online database that had recorded a bunch of peoples dreams including the environments they took place in. Users would be able to revisit their own dreamworlds as well as others, being able to experience them with all 5 senses in a more awake state of consciousness. I’m sort of thinking like that movie with Jennifer Lopez called “The Cell”…minus the possibility of someone hacking into your mind and the consequence of misfortune/death in there being actualized in the “real world”.

Monoculture and the digital divide

I’ll admit that a large portion of this reading whizzed past my head. I think this may be because I haven’t really seen enough racism online to signify it as an issue. For the most part people represent themselves purely through text based screen names. Unless you have a name that acts as a billboard to your race, I can’t see a way to get abused without disclosing it. Avatars are another matter. Allowing people options of skin color and body types was probably an effort to allow self expression but this is still letting methods of categorization rooted in the “real world” to root online.
Going back to the things that flew over my head, there was that whole sections on the “authentic native” and the “aura”. Anyone care to put it in simpler terms for me?

In regards to the monoculture, I believe in some sense it exists. We all go online for various reasons, but ultimately most of us come from similar economic backgrounds (rich enough to have lots of computer access). Diversity is something that gets promoted all the time (at least back in my international school), usually in regards to race. I think it’s important but something that shouldn’t be so focused on. Instead of looking at differences between us, we should be concentrating on things that unite us as humans. Anyways in the last part of the reading the idea of “access as an ultimate equalizer” was really interesting to me. I think the internet does have less barriers towards people of minorities, that would allow them to be better represented. Instead of thinking of what is socially acceptable or normative, minorities can put forth truer positive images. I disagree with the idea of “the master’s tools can never dismantle the master’s house.” Forms of hate may have transferred online, but that doesn’t mean we’re not progressing in solving them.

I’ll Toad You!

When first getting into this reading I thought, “Great…yet another reading about cyber rape.” This is due to my stance being that it’s absurd to get that upset over the act via computer. When I think of rape and how traumatizing it may be, I think it’s closely tied to being powerless and made to do actions against your will. I realize how the “voodoo” application Mr. Bungle used does allow him to dictate the actions/words of another character, but I do not view this as making them powerless. They still have the ability to clear up the matter afterwards, saying that they were being controlled, or even better yet, simply exit the server. This may be considered a lame and cowardly tactic in many fighting games, but if a person is genuinely upset with something in a online, they ALWAYS have the power to press ESC.

I think legba’s response to the incident was a bit much. Yes words can be powerful, but someone making you say you stuck a knife in an unpleasant place and enjoyed it, should not be looked at that seriously. It may be considered offensive or ill conduct, but I would think it takes a weak person to be truly hurt by it. Perhaps she feels a deeper connection with her avatar as many gamers do, due to hours upon hours spent investing in it. To actually view the avatar as a true part of your entity that can be emotionally abused makes me think that the player thinks of their RL and VL on two very close planes.

Should Mr. Bungle have been punished? Is punishment really that possible a thing to do? What makes him so worthy of attention compared to other sadistic creeps online? We all subject ourselves to risk of verbal abuse when doing anything online. I think people should keep this in mind so they don’t over react. Grow a thicker skin legba.


This reading was particularly amusing on how Rheingold made an online community seem new age cool. The people he described that started the WELL were not the sort I’d imagine them to be. “The PC was to many of them a talisman of a new kind of war of liberation.” Counterculture, activist, everyday passionate people. I find myself wishing for the same revolutionary feel in anything in our lives. The computer or online communities are so ingrained in our generation that I think it’s hard to really see the “magic”.

One select section of this piece that I liked was when he mentioned hackers. “The original hackers were young programmers who flouted conventional wisdom, delighted in finding elegant solutions to vexing technical problems, and liked to create entire new technologies.” It’s very true that hacking has deep negative connotations nowadays. Odd to see that it wasn’t always so. The most I ever see of hackers these days is in movies, or online forums teaching you how to beat the system of online games. Yay for Maplestory vacuums.

“Computer-mediated communications can break down hierarchical and departmental barriers, standard operating procedures, and organizational norms.” As wishful of a viewpoint this is, I still find myself skeptical of how substantial online communities can be. The random people that add on facebook, I never expect to be lasting friendships. The idea of online match making sites just seems absurd. Closest experience I’ve had that makes me have faith in online communities was witnessing the responses to 9/11 on Neopets. Sure it’s a “chidren’s game” site, but in that instance everything felt genuine and reliable. There wasn’t any worrying about people being fake or misleading….Going back to the idea of the internet being a “place” for those without a place in society, the first thing that popped into my head was pedophiles. Kind of worried about my train of thought, anyways I found a something

Thinking about machines (,) thinking about us.

As the world and technology progresses, fantasies become reality and past notions looked at as absurd. Both Turing and Bush bring up the limits of technologies as well as make us question where all this is heading. Personally I’m not in fear of the possibility of human like machines capable of thought. Sure, it might further render actual people inadequate, increasing unemployment, but I think we should accept the seemingly inevitable.

The sort of people who challenged Turing thinking that machines could never match the complexities of the human mind, could probably think up programming to at least emulate those complexities.
With the amount of storage for each machine continually increasing it is likely that gigantic programs tackling with the intricacies of the human brain would be able to fit. It may take a ridiculously long time till we achieve this point in history however.

On the other hand who would even want machines capable of that. Bush already motioned towards the overabundance of information, and the difficulty of sorting through this all. We’re already having a hard time dealing with important things getting lost in the sea of knowledge, unable to float to the surface…perhaps it would be a good thing if machines didn’t reach that level. I suppose regardless of what peoples opinions are, if it happens we’ll just have to deal with it then.


Pleix – Birds

Pleix is a community of artists based in Paris. They are composed of 3D artists, musicians, and graphic designers. If you have any interest in art of any form (and any dog lovers out there), this is for you. Check out more cool works at their homesite:

….I’ve watched this countless times and my best answer for why the video is titled birds is because it looks like they’re flying…>_> also if anyone likes the song, it’s Vitalic – Poney pt.1