Author Archives: 3sam

Final Project

You can see my final project by clicking on one of the two following links:

Direct Link to Blog

The link can also be found on the projects section of my website:

Projects Page

Hope you all have a great summer!

Final Post

It’s so strange that the semester is already over. This class was a really great experience for me. It was the first class at college I’ve taken with a lab, and I loved having time for hands-on projects. I didn’t have any experience with any of the technologies we used, and it was refreshing to start learning something completely from scratch. While the process could be frustrating or stressful, I was always really happy with the skills and familiarity I gained after the projects. My favorite two projects were probably HTML and Sophie (which I never thought I would ever say), although I’m really glad I got exposure to audio and video technologies.

My favorite readings/discussions were probably about cyber cultures (particularly Sherry Turkle’s articles) and the possibilities of hypertext in literature. My all time favorite reading was Agrippa, which I absolutely loved. I loved having a class that relied so heavily on multimedia, which was really engaging. I also gained more of an appreciation for what you can do with a computer; before taking this class I was fairly uncreative with my internet use. Overall, thank you all for a great semesters worth of discussion!

So A Little Embarrassing but Relevant

So the other day a friend and I were reminiscing about the book we read as preteens. As we discussed Meg Cabot books, (Princess Diaries or Mediator series anyone?) Amanda showed me Cabot’s website. Aside from being dismayed about the fact she has given in to the teen vampire trend, I noticed this quote in her FAQ section about readers who write fan fiction:

“I loved writing fan fiction too but those characters don’t belong to you. They belong to another writer, such as George Lucas, or me. You can’t publish the stories you are writing about that author’s characters, or you will be sued. Fan fiction is fun, but once you’ve perfected your craft, you’re kind of just wasting your time and talent when you could be making up your own characters in stories you could sell later.”

Meg Cabot, like the author of Why Heather Can Write, views fan fiction as a step on the way to becoming a great writer. Are these analyses valid? I think fan fiction has a different value than your own fiction writing because it’s a way of interacting with a text and making it your own that most readers don’t experience. While fan fiction can help writers to improve their craft and be a step to writing your own fiction, looking at fan fiction as a stepping-stone undermines its value. Fan fiction encourages readers to imagine a different version of the text and explore issues the author left untouched in the original.

The last part of the quote “you could be making up stories in stories you could sell later” also seems to misunderstand the goals of some writers. Many people write as a creative outlet, or as a hobby. Labeling all non-commercially intended writing as “a waste of time” is incredibly close-minded. What do you think of this quote?

Electronic Book Rights

Yesterday in the NY times an article was published, Random House Cedes Some Digital Rights to Styron Heirs. The family of William Styron, author of such books as Sophie’s Choice, has claimed right to creating digital books. Random House has conceded this right citing family circumstances, but has been vague about the circumstances. This concession is in opposition to their general assertion that they have the rights to ebooks. I’m interested to see where this will lead. I wonder if aggressive estates like those we discussed in class will use this case as a precedent to gain back rights. Do you think families deserve the rights to electronic copies since they are not explicitly given to publishers? Or do you think that these rights should be given to the publishers because no one had knowledge of the technologies when the original contracts were created?

Final Project in the Works

I’ve started my final project which is a blog in which I explore the blogosphere and sort of gain an understanding of the range and variation among different blogging communities. Anyway, if any of you have free time and would like to read it, I would really, really appreciate your comments.

Sam Explores the Blogosphere

Endings and Nostalgia in Gamer Theory

To me, Gamer Theory had somewhat of an unfinished feel that had more to do with the format than the actual content of the work. Even though Wark says she is unlikely to write another version of the book, the “2.0” implies something in a constant state of improvement. The note card format of the book also contributed to my impression that the text was a work in progress. I imagined that, like Nabokov and other writers, Wark used the note cards for the ease of manipulating the order. Even though the images of the note card do not correspond to physical pieces of paper, they carry the same connotations. The grammatical errors that Blitz pointed out give Gamer Theory the feel of a manuscript undergoing the editorial process. I got frustrated with the reading occasionally because I could not see the end. Yes, I knew that there were 225 cards, but I missed the sensation of being able to feel exactly how many pages stood between where I was and the resolution of the article.

Perhaps this unfinished feeling corresponds with Wark’s fascination with endings. Whether grappling with four endings, as in Deus Ex, an unsatisfying and perpetual end in SimEarth, or an ending that is derived of boredom rather than a completed task, Wark sees endings as problematic. In this sense it’s fitting that even the end product does not quite feel finished.

On another note, towards the beginning of the book Wark introduces the concept that real life is akin to a game. I got the feeling that she was in some way nostalgic for a time when real life was not a game. Maybe this impression was as a result of her references to modern day terms and ideas like reality TV and the rat race, but I found myself wondering at what point real life became a game. It seems like there is a point when work and play became indistinguishable, but Wark never specifically elaborated on when this time was. Thoughts?

New iPhone!

This is Apple’s next iPhone

Thought I’d post this article for any apple products addict who hasn’t seen it. Apparently an engineer from Apple left a prototype of the new iPhone at a bar, a big mistake since the phone wasn’t set to be released for several months. This event was seen as atypical because of Apple’s reputation for intense secrecy before the release of their new products. Consequently, there is a great deal of hype surrounding release days (remember the videos of employs cheering as customers purchased iPads?). I’m wondering what this leak will do to demand and enthusiasm for the new iPhone. One customer sent an email asking whether the leak of information about the phone would ruin a web developer’s conference scheduled for the summer. Steve Jobs simply replied “Don’t worry about the WWDC. You ain’t seen nothing yet.” I doubt that the new iPhone will be any less popular because of this leak; there’s some speculation that the lost phone was an elaborate hoax.


Shenmue Fan Video

Forgot to add this to my original post, just for fun!

Reading Response 4/19

As I was reading the Galloway chapter last night, my friend looked over at my computer and got really excited. He could not believe we were reading about Shenmue, a game he described as both a really dumb but awesome video game he had played with his friends when he was younger. His descriptions of the game really helped to elaborate on a lot of what Galloway was saying. He says the intro to the game is about a half an hour of straight video, and that much of the game is more akin to a movie than an active gaming experience. However, if you browse youtube there are a fair amount of live action video spoofs. Even the actors themselves made an “official” live action video of Shenmue. So even in a game that has more video, or noninteractive diegetic moments (There are 80 long youtube videos that you can watch in chronological order that read like a movie), fans are still embracing an active role. Shenmue, perhaps because of its film like aspects, seemed like a halfway point between the fan fiction articles from last week and the gaming articles from this week. Do you think Shenmue had so many movie components was because of a desire to make it less game-like? Or is the diegetic aspect central to its project?

Sophie Project

Sophie Project

Here’s my Sophie Project. Most of the links and comments are pretty straightforward, except for one on the first and last page which are slightly more subtle. On the first page you need to hover your mouse over the image, and on the last you should click the word “now.” Can’t wait to see all of yours.