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Please, I'm not a grammar Nazi but...

February 5th, 2009 (03:05 pm)
Tags: , ,

current mood: frustrated

I am so tired of seeing national advertisements and like-publications that are using "loose" when they mean "lose".

I swear I will never buy a weight loss produce that makes me "loose" weight.

Note to advertising/PR/Communications departments: Lay off the copy editors LAST!

Final Post

December 16th, 2005 (04:54 am)

Link to final.

Happy Holidays.

Assignment #4 Complete

November 23rd, 2005 (02:50 pm)

Assignment #4

Second Life Experience

November 10th, 2005 (02:34 am)

Since I wasn't feeling well and as a result didn't get to experience the Second Life journey on tuesday, I will attempt to remember what I can from my previous adventures in Second Life from last year's web design class.

I remember from the very beginning of my second life experience I felt as though I was put in a "comfortable" environment. Comfortable as in... user-friendly. The moment you step into the world, you are greeted with a "tutorial area" that helps you learn to navigate the virtual space of Second Life. You are also taught how you are allowed to interact with the Second Life world. This space allows those who are not accustomed to being in virtual spaces become accustomed to the interactions by which they will be existentially defined in many online realms.

I barely got to navigate the world of second-life, because we were given a lecture by one of the course-packet authors while in the game. This was actually exciting, meeting with an actual researcher that has written about the virtual spaces that we were given an opportunity to explore. Also exciting was the amount of interaction that a player may engage in with the Second Life world. One of the key advertising points for Second Life is the game is like a canvas, readily available to be painted by the user in any way one may desire. There are so many things one can make in Second Life, from board games to submarines to skateboards to infrastructure. And unlike most other games, the creations one makes in this multiplayer environment affect the world permanently. This creates a very intriguing social situation, in which people are coming together and utilizing creative talent in ways which are lasting, observable, and documentable.

Assignment #3 Complete

October 26th, 2005 (03:28 am)

I sure hope that the entire Trinity network (including e-mail, ftp, and website) was down for everyone from around 11:30pm (when I first tried) and now... I tried a few times between as well while I was watching the Astros lose AGAIN in the longest game in the history of the World Series.

Anyways, here's the link: Assignment #3

Further exploring my research topic

October 25th, 2005 (04:20 am)

Since my site for the class might be a little different than the rest of the class', i'll take a minute to explain a few of the features that I plan on integrating. For starters, the current website for my guild Onslaught, has some major design flaws. Among these are a frame page design that sizes the frames as a percentage instead of at a fixed width, this means the left-side menu will resize when the browser resizes and when stretched too wide this makes it look very funky. This was implemented to allow site navigation while browsing the forums, which are run off of a phpBB javascript template. I have found and looked through a couple of different phpBB forum templates that should support a navigational bar along the top thus eliminate the need for a frame-based site design that is ugly, buggy, and non-user-friendly.

Amongst the many site enhancements that are planned, the major points will include:
-programming the layout of the site with a style sheet so the finished product looks nice and is clean, uniform, and easy to read on a decently-wide variety of internet browser/OS combinations.
-making the site search-able, either through a redirect to a popular search engine like google, or through a script/db run on the server.
-creating a database of players that will reside on the server that people may access, search, and limit results in. This db will contain important in-game character information, perhaps catalog a screen shot of the in-game character, and will effectively function as a member-list, with certain additional perks.

The theory aspect of the final project is the least fleshed-out aspect of the project thus far for me. I am planning on building on Robert Reich's notion of the symbolic analyst as discussed in the course packet article. Humans beings that live in the first-world and on the binary side of the digital divide have increasingly seen their labor change. What Americans are employed to do today is totally different than what jobs were occupied 50 years ago, even 15 years ago. At the direction and discretion of Dr. Delwiche I might incorporate some Sociological/Anthropological work into my project and discuss different (economic) world-scenarios that might play out in the future. I am still relatively undecided on this aspect.

Assignment #2 Complete

October 6th, 2005 (11:46 pm)

Assignment #2

Trinity Group Project

October 4th, 2005 (12:21 pm)

I think that group projects are a neccessary evil here in college because many jobs that are held outside of the academic world will require skills obtained only by experiencing the group project. That being said, there are some common conceptions about working in group projects that make participating in the project frustrating for some participants, especially if problems within the group occur. For instance, if one person doesn't pull his or her weight in the group project, should he/she get their fair share? Should they only get credit for what they accomplished or get some of the group's credit for the finished product? My solution ensues in the following paragraph.

I think that group projects should be set up with specific roles in mind for each group member. Now, this really works out nicely if there is a static number of group members within each group, but can be more tricky if there is a different number of group members in each group. I'm talking about pre-defined roles that each group member can sign up for, like a researcher/bibliography member or a compiler/typer... or divided along the lines of sections of research. These rolls will ideally not limit the amount of thinking that each group member does (there will still be collaborative work) but will give each group member a sense of what to expect from themselves and from their other group members. The other part of this plan would be to give each student two grades for the assignment. One grade for the total project and one grade for their part of the project. Discerning the individual group member's grade is the hardest part, but could be accomplished via a survey of other group members, or more reliably by the teacher analyzing materials/notes/papers/bibliography etc that each student would turn in at the same time as the project.

Assignment #1 Complete

September 29th, 2005 (05:05 am)

Link: First Web Assignment

Robert Reich

September 27th, 2005 (01:42 pm)

I'm going to deviate slightly from the web log assignment, because I would like to discuss Reich in terms of a job that I once had, and also in terms of another job that I had more recently, one which I would like to continue to have after school.

The first real job that I had was as a janitor for the office building of a construction company. This most closely resembles what Reich calls a "Routine Production Service". This job was terrible, just TERRIBLE. The reason it was terrible was not so much because of all of the nasty things that I had to routinely clean (Males in the construction business, not only the field workers but the office workers too, as I have come to find out, oftentimes chew tobacco), the worst part about the job was the routine itself. I would come in for 2 hours a day, every day, and do the same thing over and over and over again. This repeated either until baseball season started up again, my mind turned into snot, or both... I don't know. The point is that there was never anything new, nothing more challenging than figuring out the most efficient way to get everything done so that I could finally leave.

Now, the most recent job that i've had was an internship in the Communication department of CenterPoint Energy. While I most certainly WAS an intern, and I had a lot of tasks that resembled the service aspect of some of my previous jobs. This job definitely gave me a taste of the symbolic analyst's work, because my job involved me using the four traits of a symbolic analyst: 1) abstraction, 2) system thinking, 3) experimentation and testing, and 4) collaboration

I will discuss how these four traits were utilized in respect to a problem that I was asked to solve at work, and was given full reign over the resulting project. (expounding after class)

McLuhan revisited

September 19th, 2005 (11:49 pm)

McLuhan was definitely correct when he pointed out that people have always been more influenced by the medium of communication rather than the message. I will use a classic example of a communication channel making more difference than the message that was communicated to illustrate this point.

One example is the 1960 presidential election debates between Richard Nixon and John F Kennedy. The two mediums in question are radio and television. Richard Nixon happened to be sick at the time of the debates (and I believe he was hospitalized with the flu until just before the debates) and yet refused to wear make-up in order to suit the aesthetic pleasures of the audience. John F, however, was not so afraid of a little camera prep. In the end, people watching television saw a pale and ungainly Nixon vs a strong, tall, dark and handsome JFK on the stage; the content of the message (what the presidents were actually debating) did not matter, television-watching America chose the better and healthier looking man. Those that were listening to the radio, however, heard a stronger and more steadfast Richard Nixon out-argue JFK over the airwaves. The result was that those that based their opinion of the "winner" of the debates on the actual arguments the two candidates made, chose Nixon.

Diffusion of innovations model

September 13th, 2005 (08:43 am)

The phenomenon that I haven chosen to analyze the is the Diffusion of Innovations model developed by Rogers.
This model is particularly interesting to analyze in terms of a network structure, because this is the area that is least explained by the model, but I digress.
Now, for a crash course: The diffusion of innovations model attempts to explain the process through which people cradle and eventually accept new technologies. Rogers divides people into categories that suggest at which point after the introduction of the brand new technology that it will be accepted by the person in that category. These categories include: Innovators, Early Adopters, Early Majority, Late Majority, and Laggards. These categories identify those who embrace technology the soonest after its initial release, to those who finally begrudgingly accept that the same technology is here to stay, respectively. According to Rogers, every technology has a Innovation Adoption Curve which explains how new technologies are not simply "dropped in the lap" of consumers, and why advertising which attempts to accomplish this effect are destined to failure.
The network which is created by new technologies and readily explained by the diffusion of innovations model could be centralized or de-centralized, or a combination between the two... If you are an innovator or an extremely early adopter, you may have only experienced, or heard of the technology with which you are one of the first to experiment with using, from a centralized source (or network) such as through advertising or a company website. However, if you reside further to the right on the innovation adoption curve, you have likely seen someone using the technology, heard about the technology, read about the technology from a secondary source, browsed the prices of the technology on eBay... you get the drift. This means that the further right that one resides on the Innovation Adoption Curve, or the later one decides to adopt a new technology, the more likely it is that one is exposed and conditioned to that technology via a decentralized network, rather than the source of the technology itself (or some other centralized medium).
I believe that this difference in exposure to new technologies could play a key role in the acceptance of human integration with machinistic or "cyborgian" technology (which we will discuss later in the year), the innovators will take (and actually have taken) the first steps, and based on their experiences everyone else will begin forming an opinion of what is happening and what will happen to them. The decision to accept or dismiss the technology, however, might not be feasible, as witnessed in the case of the dentist who was the first recipient of an artificial heart, who lost his life as a result of his human-machine integration technology. And so, unlike the 8-track which lasted a very short time, leaving the innovators of that genre with a useless stack of dilapidated 8-tracks and nothing more... the innovators of the cyborgian era will face an extremely significant dilemma if the era of the cyborg lasts a comparable duration.

Introductory Post

September 6th, 2005 (10:03 am)

current mood: ????!

Back to Trinity. Back to School. Back to LiveJournal. While I thought that I might never use LiveJournal again - I'm not the biggest extrovert (surprise, surprise) - I suppose I don't mind it that much.

My name is Vic Jackson, and I'm a Senior here, and don't let anyone from Trinity tell you different. I'm double majoring in Communication and Anthropology, with respective priority.

So, on with a bit about Leary's article. The notion of a cyberpunk seems to me to be pretty loosely defined. As far as I can tell, the major qualities of being a cyberpunk are A) Being familiar with and knowing how to use technology, and B) Thinking for one's self, going against the grain or the familiarity of the normal flow of authority. Given this is a simple word, the concept is more profound: take the standard definition of a punk - A young person, especially a member of a rebellious counterculture group - and add to that a reference to the world of technology that humans have created - technology - and you have a cyberpunk; a youth that has the power to manifest his or her own destiny, that is in control of his/her own life, that has the ability, and more importantly the will, to grab the bull by the horns and steer to one's own heart's content. The only modus operandi is the slogan of Leary's cyberpunk, TFYQA (Think for yourself, question authority).

I must agree with Leary that the Cyberpunk is a neccessity to the continuance of our existence on this planet. Without questions towards authority, no change could happen; especially considering how many corrupt authorities have reigned throughout history. I do, however, believe that his vision of everyone thinking for themselves, of self-governance, of self-politic may be a tad ethereal. Not everyone has the capability of thinking for themselves in ways that are constructive to society. Authority was first established for a valid social contract, in which we all entered via our ancestors, in order to exchange some freedoms for protection. It is that protection that we would lose if no one recognized authority, the protection we also need to continue to survive.

When, if ever, is breaking the rules justified?

April 11th, 2005 (07:30 pm)

This sounds more like a paper topic than a blog entry, but here goes...

I think that this is obviously more of a complicated issue than usually given credit. Rules are definitely made for some sort of reason. When we're talking about gaming environments, rules are generally made to keep the gameplay fun, for all parties invovled, and/or to keep to a certain storyline or objective that a game is trying to accomplish. In MMOs, the "rules" are what generally keep the masses satisfied with gameplay, and help the developers to provide as much fun as possible to their consumers for as long as possible while keeping everyone on the same playing field in terms of capability in the game.

In the real world, rules are are also complicated. In the real world, rules are made for a variety of different reasons. For the safety of the general public, for the common good, to protect the poor, to protect the wealthy, to maintain intellectual property rights, to maintain physical property rights, to keep the powerful in power; these are all reasons that rules, or "laws" as we call them in the real world, are enacted and upheld.

So, to the point of the question: is it every justifiable to break these rules that are set before us. While rules are definitely subject to the choice of those they are set before to either follow or stray away from, I believe that in general, rules should be obeyed. Without any type of common rules that populations in general may follow, certain chaos is to ensue. However, at the same time, rules are generally dead-ends, they are the expression of some sort of subjective ideal that drove the law to first come in to existence. In this regard, rules should not always be followed, for if they were, then nothing would change. Two words come to mind: civil disobediance. Without rule-breaking, the civil rights movement would not have had impact. Yes, they broke the rules, but peacefully, and for a higher ideallic notion of equality for anyone and everyone, not just a certain race, not just a certain color. Rule-breaking in MMO games, however, might be a slightly different story. Since the rules that are in MMO games (at least to my knowledge) are the result of game designers trying their damndest to create an equal playing field of enjoyable experience for all players equally, I think that it is very hard to justifiably break the rules set forth by these games. Bottom line, especially in MMOs, it is my opinion that rules set out by game designers should be followed. However, if there are situations in which rules are in place that are disagreeable by a majority of the population, and do not significantly affect elements of the game such as equality and fairness for everyone involved, action should be taken to some way correct the shortcoming of the game, even if it means breaking a rule or two to get the point across. The important thing is to keep in mind that every rule you break has a consequence, intended or not, and those consequences need to be properly evaluated before taking action.

Parlortown USA

April 1st, 2005 (10:11 pm)

After long hours of research, I have concluded that the only real "parlor game" that I played growing up is the name game; this I remember only vaguely from elementary school. In the name game, everyone writes down a - you guessed it! - name on a small piece of paper and proceeds to fold his or her paper up and place it into a hat-like container to be drawn from. The first player draws a name from the hat and discretely notes the name of the person (who should be famous or an easy name to act out). A second player watches the first player either act out the name or say words as clues to elicit the name from the second player. The only rule at this point is that the first player can't say any name while he's hinting, be it the actual person or otherwise. If the hinter ever mentions a name, however, a new name is drawn from the hat and the round starts over. This game wasn't the most fun to play but it did provide a few hours of entertainment to some gradeschoolers way back when.

Several of Salen and Zimmerman's concepts can be highlighted when analyzing the name game. First of all, everyone is expected to follow some fixed rules in order to maintain the level of fun for everyone. Prohibiting others from knowing the name that has been drawn is a rule designed to both encourage the inactive participation of the 'audience', and to discourage cheating at the same time.
There's even a built-in counter-cheating rule that is useful for people who accidentally blab or intentionally are trying to subvert the rules. By including this rule, the Name Game allows for human error and incorporates the handling of such a common infringement within the game, as described in Salen and Zimmerman's "Breaking the Rules".

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