Author Archives: starki09

What can we do in 48 Hours?

I recently stumbled across a site called a site which describes itself as “raucous experiment in using new tools to erase media’s old limits” and is proposing to release a theme for it’s first issue, collect submissions for 24 hours, and then edit for 24 hours in order to create a comprehensive magazine in 2 days. The magazine will then be sold for 48 days and the profits will be allocated as follows:

Handy Pie Graph

25% – Investment in future issue.
25% – Payment of submitters/workers.
25% – Reward for the three best submissions.
25% – Grant to do something crazy.

Overall, I think it sounds like an awesome idea. I can’t wait until the theme comes out in 3 days, hopefully I’ll be able to submit something, and even if it doesn’t make the cut, I’ll be satisfied knowing I participated. I’ll also be interested to see how the time constraints effect the quality of the magazine. Has technology come far enough that people will be able to garner submissions, sort through them, and design and edit a comprehensive magazine in under 48 hours? Or, will the product feel lacking? How long will it be? Hopefully these are all questions which will be answered in the following days, but one thing’s for sure; without the internet and digital media, none of this would be possible.

Skinput Updated

I don’t know if anyone remembers my blog post on Skinput, but now Chris Harrison has put out an official paper describing more of the ideology and technology behind Skinput. It’s now apparent that Skinput is meant to skip over the use of tables and flat surfaces that it seems as though are concurrently in development. Harrison’s point is that a flat surface is not always readily available, whereas we carry our appendages with us wherever we go. After Harrison goes into more of the reasons why Skinput is the next logical step for mobile devices, he begins to talk a bit about the science behind it. He explains that, when a finger taps your arm, it creates longitudinal and tranverse waves which radiate out until they reach the bone, and are eventually picked up by the bone conduction microphone of the Skinput’s sensor. The thing that surprised me the most about Skinput, is that it is surprisingly accurate. The points which they use to collect data are, on average, 87% accurate which, if you think about how often you can get a touch screen to do what you want it to, is excellent. Another thing which surprised me, was that accuracy changed fairly little with BMI (Although for people in the upper 50 percentile, accuracy did drop to a little over 80%). Overall, I thought the paper was thoroughly interesting, and, at a mere ten pages (nine if you don’t count the bibliography at the end) it’s an easy read. I hope that someday I’ll be able to experience Skinput on a product.
The paper can be found here.

Which wife is this man cheating on?

After reading Is This Man Cheating on his Wife, my question wasn’t IS this man cheating on his wife, but which wife is he cheating on? It seems as though he has two wives, and, although only one is legal in the eyes of the law, he is very committed to both of them. However, considering that he spends 6 hours a weekday, and up to 14 at a time on weekends on Second Life, I think it is obvious which one he is more dedicated to. This account reminded me of the MOOs and MUDs which we were talking about earlier in the year, however, it seems as though this time, the effects of spending too much time in the digital world are trickling over into real life. His wife seems to be growing more and more fed up with the amount of time his Second Life playing is taking up (especially since she seems to think that it infringes upon his time spent with her) and, considering that they have only been married for seven months, it seems as though this marriage is doomed to fail. If this were the case, I would completely and utterly back up the wife. Because, while they have promised their presence in sickness and in health, it seems as though the husband has neither been attentive, nor truly faithful . I’m interested, however, in seeing what others think. Are you all as appalled with this man’s behavior as I am? Or, am I over-reacting, and reading far too much into a simple game? What would you do if your significant other spent all his time with a digital spouse?

Sophie Project (Second Attempt)

Sorry about all the confusion, I hope this works:

Sophie Project

Here’s my project:

And a few thoughts:
Honestly, I kinda liked Sophie…It gave me hell getting it running, but once I got that done, it was fairly smooth sailing. It never crashed once, but it definetly came close a few times. I don’t know if this is because I’m working on a PC as opposed to a Mac, or if it’s something else, but I actually kind of liked(?) Sophie. It reminded me of the first programming class I took which was in Microsoft Visual Basic 6.0 (A now VERY MUCH defunct language) which was a bit like Sophie on massive amounts of steroids (though it had no timeline). And Steroids are, in my opinion, exactly what Sophie needs. The interface needs to run a bit more smoothly, the product needs to be a bit more responsive, and they definetly need to make it a cohesive, but otherwise, I didn’t think it was half bad. I guess this sort of gave me a look at what Sophie could be in the future, and I think it could be something pretty great.

And one more:
I’m not exactly sure whether I submitted correctly, I threw the files in a bunch of different places and then tried to copy others. If for some reason it doesn’t work, shoot me an e-mail, and I’ll throw it on Megaupload or something of that nature.


So, those of you who who are really strange, like I am, might have noticed an interesting trend for our blog. No, I’m not talking about how the responses seem to magically shrink after an especially dry reading, I’m talking about a single line of writing on the Dashboard. At the bottom of the “Right Now” box, there appears a line saying “Akismet has protected your site from X spam comments already, and there are Y comments in your spam queue right now.” Right now it reads 171/31, but for the first few weeks it was in the single digits. It slowly creeped up, reading 13 for a long time, then started to grow seemingly exponentially. While I don’t remember exactly what it was the last time I looked, I am fairly sure it wasn’t even in the triple digits. Could this be a result of the growth of our blog over the course of the semester? Does this mean we’re popular?

Some Updates Since 2007

Upon reading Amanda Lenhart’s overview of social networking sites and teens, I was astonished by just how much has changed in the last three years. Pew Internet (the company with which Lenhart preformed her survey) now lists that 73% of teens use social networking sites, a nearly 20% increase since Lenhart conducted her research. More surprising, for me at least, was the fact that in 2007, only 7% of people who had a social networking profile named Facebook as their main profile, compared to an astounding 85% for Myspace. Considering that as of December 2008, Facebook surpassed Myspace in terms of unique visitors per month, Facebook has had an astonishing growth rate. In addition to that, a 2009 Study ( said that over 50% of teens check social networking sites more than once a day, as opposed to Lenhart’s 2007 figure of only 22%. Currently, (a web tracking service) lists Facebook as the #2 visted site (Google being #1), Twitter as the #12, and Myspace as the #17. However, not all numbers are on the rise, Pew shows that only half the number of teens that were blogging in 2006 are blogging now (28% vs. 14%). It seems that the social aspect of the internet is moving (at least for teenage users) towards a more fast paced world. Both bogging and using Myspace are “slower” than Facebook and Twitter. They require users to both go out and look for information and to attract people to their sites. Twitter and Facebook on the other hand both provided a constant stream of information for users and broadcast the information of users to their friends.

Youtube Hits

Youtube is awesome. We all know that. The question for me was, until recently, out of the millions of videos on Youtube, which are the ones actually worth watching? A while ago, I stumbled across this list of the “100 Most Iconic Internet Videos” ( Interestingly enough, The Machine is Us/ing Us sneaks in at number ninety. While I haven’t seen them all as of yet, I’m trying to work my way through the list. I would personally recommend: 8, 18, 32, 55, 58, 70, 71, and 73. However, there are a lot of videos that I love which didn’t make the list, including such great memes as “The Count Censored”, “INVASION!”, “Who’s That Pokemon” and “Brilliant Woman Solves All Of California’s Problems”. What are some of your favorite Youtube videos that did/didn’t make the list?

Old Time Radio, New Time Media

All this talk about copyright, media, and the internet has reminded me of one of my (fairly) newfound joys: old radio shows. My dad has been a longtime lover of old time radio, he often spends hours scouring the internet for obscure episodes of shows that aired long before he was born. Yet, it wasn’t until over Winter break that I inherited his passion for them. We were driving to upstate NY for some skiing, and, as the driver, my dad had full control of the radio, which meant three hours of Dragnet (each way). At first I tried to sleep, read, or do anything to ignore it, but slowly I realized that I was actually really enjoying the show. Since then, I’ve gotten more into old time radio and actually listen to it more than I watch TV. What, you may be asking, does this have to do with anything that we’ve been talking about? Well, since these shows are so old (most from the late 20s-early 50s), they’re all past their copyright and available on the internet for free. A simple search on Google will bring up a number of sites, such as which offers tons of different shows, all for free legally . I wonder if, someday far in the future, this will be the same with music. Will there someday (after all the copyrights have expired) be sites full of thousands upon thousands of the mp3s we listen to today, all available legally and free of charge? Or, will somehow itunes or some faceless record company keep us trapped within a pay based model?

A Love Letter

Dearest Lover,
I feel like I’ve been using you. It seems as though I see you every day, and whether it’s just a quick glimpse, or a long meandering conversation, covering what seems to be all the topics under the sun, I always enjoy our time together. I’ve learned so much from you, about history, philosophy, literature, and most importantly, about life. Yet, it seems like I barely know you. Your knowledge is greater than that of a hundred encyclopedias, and while no man can know you, I feel although my efforts have been paltry at the least. While your knowledge and beauty grows and grows every day, fostered by the loving care of thousands upon thousands of admirers, I sit here idle, simply admiring, and contributing nothing. Would that I could be the type of man who could embrace you, and try to tame your wild ways, revising your seemingly endless stream of characters, I would dote on you with the devotion worthy of a princess; admiring your articles one by one. Alas, I have neither the fortitude nor the time, and our relationship must stay that of an admirer from afar, hoping that the time to profess his love will one day come.
But I feel as though I can remain silent no longer. I have only just realized what you mean to me, and all of the effort that it has taken to become that object of fantastical beauty that you are today. I feel humbled that you have decided to open yourself up to me, when I have done nothing to deserve this. I was around when people saw you as simply an ugly duckling, but first ignorance, then apathy, kept me from embracing you far longer that it should have. If anything, I deserved to be forbidden from seeing you again, for I have, on more occasions that I would like to admit, led you astray, betraying the trust you had bestowed in me. But that was when I was younger, and far more foolish than I am now. I am just thankful that you have been able to forgive me, and grow despite the follies of me, and countless others who took advantage of your kindness. I can say that I will try to be a better lover, that I will pay you the attention that you deserve and that your exquisiteness merits, but knowing the type of man that I am, I would ask you to expect little. All I can promise is that, one day, when we have both grown old together, I will be honored to tell my children and grand children of the one great love of my life: Wikipedia.

With undying affection,
Louis Andrew Di Palma