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As I have been saying in class, MMORGP’s are much more than a game. They tend to suck you in and break the barrier between the fantasy and the real world. Not only are you playing with REAL people (in avatar form) but you utilize communication, business, tactical, and social skills in order to succeed and progress within the game. These communicative and social skills that are required in the game, humanizes your avatar and brings YOUR, as a person, personality into the game. Essentially, YOUR personal skills as a person (not as a player) come into play and affect how successful you are within the game. Due to this personal intimacy with the game or character, the game tends to become more real, or at least more attached to the real world. More specifically, players reach into their own lives and finances in order to further themselves in game, or even to purchase or sell an entire character. If you didn’t believe me that you can buy and sell characters and items in the game, and actually make a killing (because players are so connected to their character) take a look at this site: www.playerauctions.com . Another indication of how attached people are to their character is the site www.magelo.com . This is a site where players can enter their character onto this site as a member, which recreates the character’s inventory, stats, and levels in order to show off their rank and compete against other characters in the game to achieve the highest rank.
Much more than just hitting arrow keys and hitting action buttons, MMORPG’s take the game far from the screen and pull the player into a world where real life skills and media merge with fantasy.

Disconnected part 2

After failing miserably with the disconnection from texts, I decided to undertake a more manageable task of disconnecting from CD’s and DVD’s. In hindsight this doesn’t seem like a hard task at all, but at the time, for me, i thought it was quite an ambitious goal. Growing up I only listened to CD’s and tapes; i never listened to the radio and I didn’t start to put my music on my computer until about a year ago. Also, I have a pretty extensive DVD collection, and usually watch all my movies via DVDs in a DVD player or through my computer. Growing up dependent on CD’s and DVD’s for entertainment, I naively thought that I would share the same dependence when I got home. Throughout the week I listened to my favorite albums and watched some of my favorite movies, and some great new movies. All the while I didn’t touch a CD or DVD! It wasn’t even an inconvenience for me to find another media to listen to my music or watch movies on. I just plugged my computer into my speakers and could easily pick any album from the browser. Also, in respect to movies, I easily went to On Demand and had an enormous lists of movies I could watch for free (including both Twilights!!!….. i mean, fighting, sports, and action movies…)
The only time I had a slight inconvenience with the sans CD and DVD plan was when I was driving my car. I don’t like listening to the radio and I didn’t have an ipod connector to the speakers. This is where my CD’s usually come into play, but without access to them, I was forced to listen to the radio…a minor inconvenience.
Even though the disconnected project over break wasn’t very challenging for me, I took a great deal from it. It’s amazing to see in just 15 or so years media can become virtually obsolete. The CDs and DVDs that I grew up dependent on, now serve merely as relics and reminders of childhood novelties.

Max Barry wrote a fiction novel about the marketing industry, more specifically, the coke marketing schemes, called Syrup. Its an unbelievable story, but, more importantly, it calls into question how far marketing should go, and it illustrates how powerful and devastating manipulation through marketing can be. Without spoiling the novel, a marketer comes up with a marketing idea that is so influential and powerful to pop-culture, that it leads to an abundance of teen suicides. Even though the novel is fiction, the marketing schemes are accurate and the negative effects of marketing are very real; especially if this genius marketing scheme from Syrup was implemented. So far no marketers have taken advertising and marketing to this drastic measure yet, but if they did, and there is nothing stopping them from doing so, there could be some extremely destructive and devastating effects for youth culture and younger generations to come.
Its pretty scary how engrossed we are in advertisements and marketing schemes. We are surrounded by them every day, and every website we visit, or television show we watch, or movie we see is littered with marketing schemes and manipulating advertisements. How far can marketing go? How much time before everything we do is monitored and recorded for marketing purposes?

I highly recommend Syrup, by the way, its a great novel (its a bit reminiscent of Thank You For Smoking)

Sans Texties

Well I’ve been home for break the past couple of days and I was committed to disconnecting from Texting this break for our classes assignment. I thought it would be fairly easy, or at least doable, because my family would be around and not into the texting business, and my friends from home I could call and meet up with because we all live so close.
The first challenge I faced with this disconnecting from texting was other people texting me. Whether it was a funny text, a goodbye text, or a hey are you home text, I immediately felt the need to reciprocate. I felt so awful not being able to text them back, just out of courtesy if nothing else…not to mention wanting to respond with a witty, funny, or encouraging text. Of course I could have called them ad said goodbye, or that I was home, or whatever the text was related to, but sometimes calling is just…well, a chore. You have to invest in a full on conversation, especially if you haven’t seen the person for awhile, and most likely you’re not in a situation that is very conducive to a legitimate conversation (i.e car with people, dinner, or party). Within a day, I realized the extreme convenience of a text. You can get right to the point, you can contact them quickly in any situation, you can think about what you are going to say before you say, or text, it, and you can accurately recount what you said, or what they said in order to manufacture the perfect response.
Of course its important to call people and a hell of a lot more intimate and personal to call someone, and that should ever become completely obsolete, but there is an undeniable convenience and efficiency to texting that I just can’t disconnect from at this point.
So, after 2 days I already failed… Well, I’ve failed at alot worse than that! Going “sans texties” was just too ambitious for me. I’m glad I tried it because it really put the texting business in perspective for me, but I will try to find something else a little more manageable that I can disconnect from…. how about responsibility??? I can definitely disconnect from that! Peace, Love, and Texts over break!

Yesterday our class watched Disconnected, the documentary. For those of you reading this blog who are not in this class, it is essentially a documentary about three Carleton College students who go without using a computer for three weeks.
The most glaring lesson, or recognition, we took from the documentary Disconnected was how much computers save us time. Computers are so quick, efficient, and convenient; what would take an hour to track down a library book using a card-catalog (as we saw in the documentary), could be done in minutes on a computer database. Computers are an integral part of our lives, community, and world today; disconnecting from such a powerful medium yields enormous obstacles and drastic changes.
Although the premise of disconnecting from computers for three weeks is both impressive and admirable, there was a general consensus of negativity towards the documentary in our class. One of the main criticisms of the documentary was that there was no real diversity in the three students undertaking the challenge. All three students were relatively socially inept, very studious, and lacked demanding extra-curricular activities (or at least we were not shown these aspects of their lives). We were also unimpressed with the production value of the documentary and thought the students were a bit cliche in expressing their feelings throughout their computerless journey. Conversely, we were very impressed with the students’ dedication to the challenge, and for some, we were extremely impressed with their success and ability to adapt.
When our class was asked, “Well, do you think you could go three weeks without a computer?” The class responded, “I could, but why would I want to?” Also, we heard, “It depends on the circumstances and environment (i.e vacation, work, or school).” No matter what the responses, the entire class unanimously agreed that it would be an unbelievable challenge to go three weeks without a computer, and we all agreed that it would drastically change our day-to-day lives.

itunes rentals

Until this weekend I have never bought any music, or videos, or movies off of itunes; as a matter of fact I’ve never even visited the itunes store. However, due to a technological flaw, I discovered a brand new technological marvel!
For the past month I’ve been hearing unbelievable hype about the animated pixar movie Up! I was at Hannaford’s picking up a few things and I saw Up! gleaming in the Red Box movie rental case. It was absolute fate. I’ve never used a Red Box rental system before, and was quite intrigued and impressed with this relatively new way of renting movies. Either way, I was ecstatic that I was now in possession of the movie I’ve been dieing to watch. I ran home to my suite, assembled a fairly large group of anxious and excited viewers and popped in the DVD…it was finally time! Awful noises resembling a cat tumbling in a dryer emerged from our DVD player and after a minute of black screen text appeared on the screen informing us that there was an, “ERROR: Damaged Disc, CANNOT READ.”
I was crushed. We had all of these people over and my heart was set on seeing this movie; today, now. There was no way I was going to go back out, return the damaged DVD, and pick up another one, so I lost all hope and gave up.
My roomate, however, started plugging in his computer to the TV, switched to VGA mode, and said it will only be a minute. I had no idea what he was doing, thinking he might just show us some funny youtube clips or something else to ease the disappointment. Sure enough, in about 2 minutes UP! popped up on the TV in HD quality and in its entirety.
What used to take a trip to the movie store, an interaction with a clerk, and a working DVD player, my roomate was able to accomplish with the click of a button!!! He didn’t even have to type in a credit card number, he had a gift certificate loaded onto his account, so he literally clicked RENT and YES to confirm and we had the movie! Absolutely unbelievable. The convenience of this itunes renting feature is amazing, and I will utilize often…however, deep down I’m going to miss those trips to Blockbuster wandering around for 45 minutes fighting over which movie to get and inevitably ending up with one that half of us have already seen…on second thought, I’m over it! Click

I 100 percent agree with Liya in regards to spoilers. They are easily avoidable and can be very helpful and productive for a viewer who seeks them out.
For one, their is a certain novelty in being “caught up” with a show and following it live; viewing it for the first time with everyone else viewing it for the first time. Spoilers allow you to bypass the time commitment of watching the previous seasons or episodes in order to be up to speed and relatively knowledgeable about the shows history. Obviously you loose something by not directly watching the previous seasons or episodes, but spoilers are a great alternative for a fast and enjoyable power catch-up.
Secondly, for some movies or shows, especially ones I’m watching for academic purposes, I like to read everything about the particular movie/show before I watch it. When I know the ending, and know the famous scenes to watch for, and know the themes and intentions before hand, I can watch more intuitively and effectively. Being prepared and armed to watch the movie or show allows me to pick up on an abundance of elements and intricacies that would have evaded me if I was caught up in the suspense, plot, or decoding of the film or show.
Spoilers are extremely beneficial in the right cases and very destructive placed in the wrong context. Either way, spoilers definitely have their place and serve an important role in today’s media.

I’m in total agreement with you that our online persona is FAR from who we really are. As a matter of fact, I would argue that our online persona is who we want to be, or how we wish other people perceived us. You’re spot on with your claims that we only put our best pictures up, and untag our unflattering pictures. And even though people can follow our activity through the newsfeed, we predominantly have control over who can see our profile or track us. Not to mention, we KNOW people are tracking us and can see our profile, so we are very calculated what we say and write, and who was interact with over the web.
One of the main elements about our online persona that differs from our true persona is that online we have as much time as we want to formulate what we want to say. Where I can take my time and consult with my friends, I may be able to response to a post with confidence, smoothness, and maybe even some charming wit. Whereas in real life if a girl, or intimidating person says something to you, you may fumble upon your words or say whatever comes to your mind first; which in my case is usually stupid, immature, offensive, and off-putting. Thank god for texts and facebook right!
A classic example of the liberties we take online, especially when its anonymous was the advent of midd confessionals. That site got way out of hand and people were saying the most hurtful and harmful things to people. When people can hide behind a mask or a false persona they feel empowered and loose all sense of moral or responsible obligation. Who we are online is a protected, calculated, and liberal persona, where are true persona is a genuine portrayal and expression of who we truly are.

photoshop2

forgot to post the answer…. all of the photos were fake… the first one was obvious, but the second one i photoshopped mt reineer in the back, and the last one the wave had no surfer on it!

Photoshop

It’s crazy to me how one, very accessible program like photoshop can be so powerful and influential. The tutor today said that almost any photo you see today hanging on a restaurant wall or in a store has been photoshop(ed) in one way or another. That immediately made me question every image I’m seeing on TV, in magazine, or anywhere else. I’ve been using photoshop for a couple of years now, and am by no means an expert, yet I’ve tampered with photos a bunch and have never had anyone notice. For example, momdadbellagio, mt reineer Surffacebook
Can you tell which one is fake???

Anyway, the point is, when we see images, which we see hundreds every day, are we seeing reality? Or are we seeing images that are tampered with and manipulated to portray what they want to portray? When we see celebrity’s pictures in magazines are they really that good looking or are they airbrushed like crazy to look that way (I hope so, and I tell myself its all airbrushing to feel better about myself). This naturally makes me think about film and television. Even the news, or videos on youtube, or tv shows can manipulate the moving images so easily and so imperceptibly that, at this point, we can never be sure what is true footage.

Technology is truly taking over our world, and it is manipulating the perception of reality. It’s a crazy thought, for better or for worse, and its amazing that the programs or software that yield these capabilities are found on school’s computers, students laptops and on store shelves for anyone to utilize. It’s both exciting and scary. What’s next? How can these programs evolve and progress? As scary of a thought as that is, I’m extremely anxious to see where it goes!

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