Author Archives: anniekins127

Final Project: Web 2.0

Click here to see our final project!

Hey, guys!  For our final project Amaru and I decided to tackle the history, evolution, and endless possibilities of that wonderful invention we all know as The World Wide Web.  As you saw in our presentation, we stroll through the history of the Web’s beginnings with Berners-Lee at CERN all the way to the present day with Long Tail marketing strategies and social networking sites.  We ended with the rather open-ended topic of the possible future of the Web, and where we imagine it might go in the future based off of Vannevar Bush’s idea of the memex from As We May Think.

We apologize for the lateness, but Amaru’s computer decided to completely eat the content he’d worked so hard on writing for one of his pages, and he had to start over from scratch.  Technology can be evil sometimes, can’t it?  Nonetheless, feel free to poke around our site, and we hope you enjoy!

— Annie & Amaru

Last Post

Well, here we are.  I’m sad to be writing my last post, but it’s been an absolute joy this entire semester.  Our Introduction to Digital Media Studies class has been interesting, funny, and informative in so many different ways.  I loved all of our intense discussions, especially towards the end of the semester, when we were all comfortable sharing our opinions and thoughts with the group as a whole.  I learned a lot of things just by listening to you guys – so many of you follow a lot of blogs I don’t, so we were our own little hub of information regarding the news, debates, and funny happenings of the Web.  It was great.

Regarding the projects, I share a lot of the same sentiments as you guys.  I really enjoyed the website project, as it forced me to polish up on my HTML and CSS knowledge – never a bad thing.  The podcast project was fun in the sense that it made me step out of my comfort zone and work with audio, which proved to be easier (at least recording speech and adding in music…nothing too fancy!) than I thought it would be.  I was a little more familiar with video projects since I’ve done them before for other classes, but planning out a meaningful message and analytical spin of our video was a bit harder.  The Sophie project was surprisingly enjoyable for me, until I packaged the darn thing, uploaded it, and posted it up here on the blog.  I had pretty much zero problems with the program itself outside of general slow processing, but Sophie pretty much ate my entire book (even the saved files on a USB drive were corrupted).  So sad.

Overall, this class has been fantastic, and one of the best I’ve ever taken, college or otherwise.  I was always excited about coming to class (and that’s quite the rare thing, mind you) and listening to discussion that day, or learning something new and hands-on in lab.  I’ll give a shout-out to Professor Fitzpatrick, too – you’re one of the best teachers I’ve had and completely made this class.  Can we convince you to not go on sabbatical?  At least until we leave? Please?!  I definitely agree with others, in any case…we should all meet whenever Professor Fitzpatrick returns from NYC.  Hopefully I’ll see you all in the future, in another media studies class or around the campuses.  Keep in touch, everyone!  And if I don’t talk to you soon, have a fantastic summer.

— Annie

Halo 3

I personally loved the readings for tomorrow’s class, as I’m a big gamer and used to love Red vs. Blue like any other player of Halo did.  I had a great time combing through sites like This Spartan Life and The Machinima FAQ, just because it reminded me of just how well-loved Halo 3 still is.  Can anyone believe that Halo 3 came out in 2007?  Personally, it feels like just yesterday.  Halo 3 is still one of the favorite games to pull out at a get-together at my house or a lot of my friends’ houses — the multiplayer simply cannot be beat.  I’m sure I’ll spend a fair amount of this summer goofing off with friends in Forge or teaming up with them against players from around the world.  Unlike games like Modern Warfare 2, there can be up to 4 players on a single console, and party sizes can accommodate many more.  I usually play with my brother’s friends, which can range from 2, to 4, or even 8 guys from around the US and Canada.  MW2 simply doesn’t allow that.  While it’s a great game (believe me, I’ve played it through several times), it just doesn’t allow for the same group playing aspect that Halo 3 promises.

There’s a reason that Halo 3 was so popular when it was released, still is so very popular, and caused a flood of other media such as machinima.  Red vs. Blue was incredibly popular!  I really think that this popularity was not created by the single player story line (which was very good, all said and done), but by the multiplayer aspect of the game.  Hell, when I was browsing around This Spartan Life, I saw the Rube Goldberg Machine contest and immediately started planning ways to get my normal group of guys together and start building a machine to beat them all.  For me, Halo 3 was so successful because it offered a whole new way of playing online with friends from both near and far.  I can think of no other way that its popularity can still be so high.  I did my Sophie book on Halo 3 and Red vs. Blue, and the project only reaffirmed my beliefs about the game itself.

All that said, though, I am SO tempted to go and make some machinima out of Ocarina of Time!

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U77q2cJGOmg[/youtube]

Gamer Theory

Okay, I’ll admit it: while it was incredibly long, I felt that the form of Gamer Theory really helped with my reading of the text.  Perhaps I’m just a goal-oriented person in general (hence the love of video games?), but the “cards” helped me feel like I Was accomplishing something every time I clicked to the next one.  For me, the reading experience was definitely more enjoyable than if the text had just been a column of text running down the page.  The color scheme also lent itself to the reading experience in curious ways: for one, it helped to emphasize the main point of each chapter, as the deepening of colors paralleled the progression of the argument, and it also helped each chapter flow to the next.  The broad theme of life as a gamerspace was reflected in the broad spectrum of colors throughout the entire piece, a veritable rainbow of ideas.

Throughout Gamer Theory, I found myself reading through comments other readers had left on cards.  This process was enjoyable to me, as I am no stranger to online forums or communities where reader comments are valued and an absolutely central part of the sense of connection within the forum.  The fact that Wark responded to some of the comments made the process of reading them even more enjoyable.  It’s interesting to see which comments he responded to and those he just didn’t acknowledge.  I suppose I assumed an author would ignore all derogatory comments about his or her work, but Wark responded to a couple of his not-so-enthusiastic readers.  Sometimes he would respond with sarcasm, and other times he would honestly address whatever issue they found with the text.  It certainly made me feel closer to Wark himself, rather than feeling the inevitable ‘I’m the student, you’re the brilliant, lofty academic who wrote this’ sensation of studying a text for class.  I appreciated that.

How the form and comments help your readings of Gamer Theory?

Not Just for Young Folks

I swear, this is the last post I’ll do about the iPad.  I feel like an Apple fanboy, but when I read this article I really couldn’t resist.

Apple’s recently been getting a spark of good press from a 99-year-old woman who has glaucoma, as she’s saying that the iPad has “changed” her life.  Apparently, since the onset of the eye disease, she’s greatly missed reading and writing.  After purchasing an iPad, however, the woman has been able to enjoy these tasks yet again.  Thanks to the iPad’s many abilities, an older woman has felt as though she’s gotten her life back.  So, the iPad isn’t always about the younger generation, or just for technologically-minded people.  Interesting!

Interactive Gaming

I loved the readings for tomorrow, especially the selection from Galloway’s Gaming: Essays on Algorithmic Culture.  It was interesting that the article basically began stating that “[w]ithout action, games remain only in the pages of an abstract rule book.  Without the active participation of players and machines, video games only exist as static computer code” (4).  While this in its very bones is true, this passage made me think of video games that “continue” even when they aren’t in use – there are RPGs in which you still earn money, lives still continue, skills degrade, etc., until the player turns the game back on and actively continues.  Usually, these games follow a linear time progression.  They cycle through days, months, and even years.  Obviously, a gamer can’t play the games 24/7 – there’s just no way that’s possible.  So the game picks up where the gamer leaves off, creating a realistic environment to return to each time.  More money has filtered into the bank account, the seasons have changed in the game, and it really feels as though time has passed.  While the game is still very much just a bit of “static computer code,” it mimics reality in a way that suggests it is more.

What do you guys think?  Was Galloway not taking into consideration these games (and rather focusing on in-the-moment games such as shooters, etc.), or just not taking into account how much video games would soon mimic reality?  Do you feel that video games are really just static bits of coding?  I know I don’t.

Sophie Project

Hey, all!  Okay, so despite some technical setbacks and overall program difficulties, my Sophie project is complete!  I originally intended on covering all of the machinima art forms covered in Clive Thompson’s “The Xbox Auteurs” – but due to time restraints and technological setbacks I felt it was appropriate to stick to Red vs. Blue only.  In addition, the video’s audio seems to be slightly off, at least coming through my speakers – if the slight echo I’m hearing comes up for you and is unbearable, feel free to view the same video here.

All that said: here it is!

iPad: Pet Approved!

Someone showed me this video and I just had to share it on the blog.  The cat seems to be having fun, huh?

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q9NP-AeKX40[/youtube]

And if that wasn’t enough cute – this dog doesn’t even know what to make of the devil machine!

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H3xdcx2WUcU[/youtube]

Hope this fulfilled your cute quota for the day!

Fan Fiction's Worth

I’ll admit it: when I was younger, I loved fan fiction.  I devoured it.  My brother, who will gladly admit to you that he was a Star Wars fan boy in his younger days, wrote novel-length works based off of the science fiction he devoured in his free time.  My fan fiction leaned towards musical groups and movies, while his was book and movie based.  Did our parents really care?  The simple answer here is: no!  We were both devouring books by the time we were old enough to boot up a computer and start up Microsoft Word (with a clear purpose of putting someone on that digital blank page, anyway!).  My writings initially led me to a community online, which I still play an active part in.  While I’m not writing as heavily, I’m one of three moderators of the entire community.  Better yet, writing at a young age kept me writing outside of school and – gasp – for fun.  Without a doubt, my dreams of being a novelist were born by the urge to write fan fiction and the positive response I received when I actually shared work online.  This led to an administrative role in the community, complete with duties that keep my PR skills sharp.  Gotta keep those readers and writers happy!  I enjoy it, especially because I’ve known a lot of writers in the community for several years, now.  It’s fun to watch others grow in their writing and within the community itself.

I never thought about copyright issues when I was younger – and I suppose that’s an intrinsic problem with youth.  They just don’t think of the problem of “stealing” a character, but fan fiction’s reach is far enough that I honestly believe it can’t be stopped.  The argument can certainly be raised that the writing of fan fiction is an educational exercise, and thus protected (much like we’ve talked about in class).  This is certainly true outside of Harry Potter fan fiction, and I was slightly disappointed that the article didn’t touch on any other fan fiction areas besides Harry Potter.  It’s everywhere!  Kids aren’t just benefiting in the Harry Potter community – it’s all over the place.

I loved this quote from the Jenkins piece:

What I love about fandom is the freedom we have allowed ourselves to create and recreate our characters over and over again. Fanfic rarely sits still. It’s like a living, evolving thing, taking on its own life, one story building on another, each writer’s reality bouncing off another’s and maybe even melding together to form a whole new creation…. I find that fandom can be extremely creative because we have the ability to keep changing our characters and giving them a new life over and over. We can kill and resurrect them as often as we like. We can change their personalities and how they react to situations. We can take a character and make him charming and sweet or cold-blooded and cruel. We can give them an infinite, always-changing life rather than the single life of their original creation.

This struck me as a perfect explanation of fan fiction’s alluring qualities: kids (and adults) can let their imaginations run wild.  What is wrong with that?  Some may argue that this isn’t “true creation” of original characters, but I’d argue against that.  Writers of fan fiction are taking the name and appearance of a character they love and oftentimes completely changing their personalities, motives, etc.  They are flexing their muscles in the writing world, practicing in a safe, welcoming space – a space that, as Jenkins stated in “Why Heather Can Write,” that is full of beta readers and people who are not only willing to read and enjoy your work but help you grow.  What’s so noneducational about that?  Schools should take a second look at fan fiction communities and their worth.

Net Neutrality

If you’re confused by the recent rulings on net neutrality by the federal appeals court, then you’re not alone.  A lot of people are questioning whether or not the open Internet’s days are numbered – and where would that leave all of us?  CNET did a great FAQ style article explaining what is happening with this court case and its possible consequences.  I won’t try to sum it all up here as it’s quite long, but I figured I’d direct everyone to the link after this issue was brought up in class.

Check out the article here.