Midterm Activity

Vegetable Platter
Rings & Fries

This is a picture of some good fried chow. Got to get your vegetables in some how! When I do this, my wife decries my zealous overuse of ketchup, something  she is not fond of.  It was photographed by our dedicated professor at scottloradio . It is a creative commons photo.

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Black Hole

I did the Banner assignment where you design and make a new banner for your word press. For this assignment I used Gimp to make a little spacey image of Jupiter and Mars with a nebula annihilating black hole in the back ground

For Jupiter I used the elliptical tool to make the planet then I selected it and bucketed some orange in. Then I used the paint brush to draw yellow  lines for an atmospheric effect. I did the same for Mars and Jupiters moons. The little asteroid belt are air brush points. I used purple on the gradient tool set to Aneurism to make some neat plasma jets out in the distance. I smudge them around to make a cloudy nebula effect and added a little black hole in the center.

Web 2.0

) For the end user, how is the experience of Web 2.0 different from web 1.0?

Web 2.0 is a term that attempts to make a distinction between two eras of the internet. The Web 1.0, content  was generated solely by corporations and marketers. Webpages and videos were static displays that internet users had limited interaction with.

Users could make webpages but it was complicated and required writing in HTML. The easiest way to participate in this era was in a chat room,on an instant messaging services or online forums. Users could have conversation with friends or people with mutual interests. The people of this era were generally socially akward and had the time to devote energy into doing these things.

2.0 witnessed the move to facilitate and encourage user generated content. The ability to make personalized webpages was streamline in the advent of social media. The proliferation of digital cameras coiniceded with the simplification of uploading photos and videos.

Word of mouth spread and more and more people started using internet media. Computers lost their nerdy stigma and internet literacy and computer use became popular.

Pirate movies

The DMCA, or Digital Millennium Copyright Act, was signed into law in 1998. It’s scope is to criminalize the copying and dissemination of  material that does not financially compensate  the creator of that material. This is known as pirating and can include films, albums, video games and computer software.

Pirating is a problem for a couple reasons. Movie studios and video game companies don’t make products using volunteers. They hire scores of talented, skilled people who need to be compensated for the hundreds of thousands of man hours spent working.

Pirating therefore is responsible for the banal and trite quality of films. This is self evident in just about every film released in the last ten years. Dialog is terrible. Plots are recycle. They make films about cartoons that were about childrens toys. Perpetual remakes, reboots, and sequels, ad naseum. Now films have to literally have the broadest possible appeal to a global audience so studios can make a profit in the initial screenings. It’s changing the content of movies.

Look at that last Fantastic Four movie. It’s starts with the wedding in New York, goes on to London,  the Black Forest in Germany, then their in a Siberian prison, they fight the villan in Shanghai, and finish their wedding somewhere in Japan. How much fuel could that stupid flying Dodge hold?

A planned remake of “Red Dawn“, a film about a Soviet invasion of the Sates in the 80’s, would be reset today as an invasion by China.  Chinese audiences wouldn’t pay to see a film casting them as aggressive villains. The studio then changed the antagonist to North Korea.  Either way the premise is unrealistic and unlikely, but North Korea is small and poor. Not a very convincing idea.

GI Joe  had a bunch of Europeans in it, cause other wise Europeans wouldn’t go see it. Studios cram all this in so foreign nationals won’t be put off by American jigoism. American studios need those overseas revenues to make a profit nowadays.  I like my Spiderman webslinging around a giant American flag, got it?

An arguement can be made that not all Hollywood films are terrible. But decent films are currently produced by established, respected directors. New, talented, quirky and nontraditional directors and film creators are going to rot on the vine in this kind of piracy environment.

Japanese animation studios are shutting down their US distribution and marketing divisions because too many Americans are downloading the shows instead of paying. Bandai doesn’t see the point in trying to sell a product there people are getting for free. This will certainly result in a further loss of revenue which, as we have seen, affects product content and quality.

Studios have to fold or expand. There’s no middle ground anymore, no room for error. This is detrimental to films and it is the audience that will suffer most.

Piracy is stealing. The government is responsible for the protection of property rights. DMCA is their attempt at doing this. People have no right to acquire material they neither made nor paid for. That being said, there is a huge volume of content being generate by web users that may rival what comes out of Hollywood.

Shark

Adachi. Outskirts of Tokyo. Old and filthy. Unforgivable sins in the city of the sleek and the new. Large arcade, full of acrid smoke. Tobacco scented. Lights dim. Late night. Everyone focused, numb and obsessed. Lanky geeks, sweaty schizoids, forlorn losers. Oblivious to the passage of time.  Atmospheric electronic thumping beats the preferred music of the evening.

Tense stand offs abound. Violent contests in virtual landscapes. Angelic female figures on projected screens slide and dash. Rending vibrating electric samurai weapons with blue tracers. Red blood. Game over.  “Uso! Konoyaro!”

Talent, when combined with competition, fosters betting. Shark sniff out marks. Shark looks new to the game. Shark even throws the game once or twice. Then its all “Hey, Bud, lets go, one more game.” “Bakatare, jyozujanai yo.” goes the mark. “Just one more game. Lets put some yen on it.”

Game changes, Shark now shows skills. Practiced and true. A veteran. Intense blitz positioning. Jet fighter maneuvering. Blue light weaving. Blades brought to bare on over confident knave. The expert strikes. Crimson trails feather out from delicate limbs and torso. Enemy’s digital cadaver lies in ruin.”Shinjiraranai…” the mark laments.

Back alley. Smell of broiled fish and old wet garbage. Fresh winnings lining leather jacket pockets. Shark had his full. Lights up cheap Chinese cigarette. Waits for his girl in the neon glow. Sound of drunken revelers passing in the street. She’s late, she’s always late.

This was a writing assignment called Three Word Wednesday. You visit this site and it offers three words for you to try and incorporate into a poem or a story. It’s supposed to help over come writers block. My words were angelic, foster and ruin. My inspiration was Gibson and his adoration for all things Japanese cool. I got the arcade image from here

Internet Addiction

The proliferation of Internet usage is widely evident.  Simple to use social media sites like facebook and twitter have hundreds of millions of users around the world. But is the extended amount of time people spend on-line unhealthy?  I’ll be focusing on the header and first three points of this infographic.

The opening makes a bold statement; it insinuates that the net is as powerful as a street drug. This question strikes me as inherently preposterous. Net use can stimulate serotonin levels in the brain, which can alter your mood. This can be a powerful incentive, sure, but not as powerful as an external chemical agent such as PCP or methanphetamines.

The source cited indeed says 1 in 8 Americans have problems that arise from internet over indulgence. The page doesn’t immediately link to a study, but elsewhere on the site there is a pdf file of a study that suggests the ratio is closer to 1 in 10. But at the end of the paper the author admits it’s not a rigorous enough study due to the fact it did not use a random sample of  laboratory test subjects participants.

The header also suggests that it is only Korea that has a 30% addiction rate. The source says that that number includes China and Taiwan. It looks like those two countries were omitted from the Infographic.

The article for point number 1 can be found here. Interestingly, it does not mention Internet addiction specifically as a disorder that the manual is evaluating for future inclusion. Premenstrual dysphoric disorder and schizophrenia are mentioned, not IAD. I suppose it’s possible it may be later reviewed but this article doesn’t support that.

Point number 2 is a collection of symptoms gathered from a few different sources listed at the bottom of the graphic. It is referenced here by a Dr. K Young that internet over indulgence is most similar to gambling and is basically a compulsive disorder. This is specifically mentioned in point 3. It’s an easy point to make since Internet poker is gambling. That’s doubly addicting!

Gaming is also mentioned in point 3.  Gaming garners a cult like following due to the nature of the achievement based game play. This trick seems to addict people because it prolongs the game to obscene durations. Meanwhile the game developer is charging a subscription which increases the perceived negative stigma of addiction.

Next, the infographic mentions pornography which can be addicting by itself. The immediate distribution provided by net access makes downloading preferable to the more time consuming and potentially embarassing chore of going to an adult video store.

My impression of this graphic is that it’s kind of sloppy and the sources cited don’t really support the section I looked over. Perhaps the rest of the graphic fairs better.

Warp Space

I’ve routinely been in contact with a group of extraterrestrials called Rigelians. They’re from star system Ceti Alpha Six. They chose me for trial experiments in the implantation of inter-dimensional communication devices in  human brains for when they come to conquer Earth (don’t tell anyone). At first  I was unwilling to have my brain experimented on but they changed my mind. Heh. Any how, I’ve gotten to know these visitors pretty well. They’re good people. One night they had me aboard their ship in geosynchronous orbit. They had let me  wonder around the ship after a series of painful electro attenuation calibration checks when I happened upon a transparent aluminum window. It was the first time I saw the Earth from space.

It was pretty awe inspiring. Then the alien scientists that had conducted my brain calibrations came around to see me off to the matter teleporter for the trip home. I’ll call them Ben and Carl because their telepath names are unpronouncable.

“Yes, it is nice. We love E-arth. Seven billion humon brains ripe for scientific experimentation. We Rigelians love our work, you see.” said Carl.

“Hey Ben, how fast can this ship go?” I asked .

“10^18 times the speed of light”  Ben replied telepathically.

“I like to go fast! Lets go real fast!” I said.

Ben said something about how I couldn’t because of the limits of the conscious human mind against the unbearable forces of time-space dilation and how his species had spent generations genetically engineering themselves to withstand it, or something. But I wanted to go real fast!

Later, in Warp Space…..

AAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHhhhhh h h h h h h h h h h ho o o o o o o o o o o o o . . . .

My disembodied consciousness became an unending torrent of insanity and fear. I swam through colors I had never seen before. I saw all creation in its unending cycle of death and rebirth. I reached a place of nothingness, profoundly vast emptiness, well beyond all human conceptualization.  Once the ship came out the other side of the warp dilation’s event horizon, I opened my eyes and said “. . . . o o o o h h h h AAAAAAAA!! Oh God, yeah, wow, um, you guys were right. I shouldn’t have done that.”

“But we have to take you back” Carl said, as he re-initializing the theta matrix compositor.

“No, waiiiiii i i i i i t t t t  . . . . . . . ”

This was the writing assignment “Your DigiArt Tells a Story,” to use an art application like MSPaint to make some pictures and then write a story that goes along with it. I made a neat picture in Gimp of a view of the Earth from orbit with the moon and a sunset. Then I thought I’d talk about the time I was hanging out with my Rigelian friends.

I made these images mostly through Gimp. It was time consuming. I made generous use of the elliptical tool; the earth, the heads, the moon and the window were elliptical tooled with some different colors. The computer displays were made with the rectangle tool. I hand drew the bodies and Japan with the mouse. For the sunset picture I used the gradient tool to make a kind of twilight effect. Then painted some yellow and pink in one corner and smudged it around with the smudgin tool. I did that for the clouds too, I painted some white around then smudged it up. The stars are just white airbrush spots.  For the window picture I copied it twice and change the text in it. For the warp picture I used Youpaint, which is a drawing program for kids that came pre-loaded on my desk top. I wish I had started with Youpaint from the beginning! I hand drew the picture, all except for the stars and space rain drops. Youpaint had a little stamp tool with some of that stuff so I threw it in there. I stole the spaceship out of Youpaint and put it in that one orbit shot that I made with Gimp. The Youpaint ship looked a lot better than the one I made on Gimp, is why.