September 30, 2004

Frustrating Fiction

I've heard about Interactive Fiction, but never knew what it was. After reading Moira's blog all about it, I decided to give Interactive Fiction a go.

After reading about how hooked Moira got, I considered not trying. I have a tiny problem with getting addicted to game; I can play Roller Coaster Tycoon for hours. I guess its my competive "Must Win" attitude coming out.

After giving in, I downloaded the Interactive Fiction (from here on refered to as IF) program and got started. I chose to play "Photopia", a game I knew nothing about. I didn't even know what to expect. I just thought I'd put in a few commands, go around this virtual world, and have some fun. I didn't know I would have to think!

To me IF is complicated and confusing. Certain commands only work sometimes, and often I couldn't find a way out of a situation. Also, I'm a very visual person, so imagining my character walking through this world wasn't very easy for me. I can do it when reading a book, but usually a lot more information is given.

I didn't enjoy Photopia at all. I was too many characters! The story starts off with a car accident then goes to Mars, and then to a house, back to Mars, back to the house, etc. I was a frat boy, an astronaut, a father, a bird, a girl, a mother, and a baby. I couldn't follow any of it. Why was I on Mars? Why at a house? Why did I constantly have to switch? What was the point?

I also had trouble with the commands. I would type something in and it wouldn't recognize the verb. I would go through dozens of combinations before I would find something real obvious and think, "You Idiot!". I hate that feeling.

I won't tell you how the story ends, because I don't exactly know. What I do know though is that IF is not for me.

Posted by VanessaKolberg at 07:16 PM | Comments (4)

September 23, 2004

Pundit-Blogs and Edu-Blogs

As anyone who has ever read this weblog knows, I am new to the world of blogging. I am not very informed on other weblogs that are actually informational instead of personal. Then I came across Chris's entry on pundit and edu-blogs and now know more about two types of blogs.

Pundit-blogs, as I learned, deal with politics. Knowledgable (or somewhat knowledgable) people write about the political situations all over the world and sort through information to bring readers what they really want to know about. The bloggers give an accurate and candid picture of current political situations. Pundit-blogs are gaining popularity and are emerging as a new form of journalism. Large news companies are going to prominent weblogs for current information on political news and reactions. Into the Bloggosphere offers an informative article on how blogging is effecting journalism.

Edu-blogs are used for more educational reasons. The blogs are useful in helping people find topic specific information. The blogs can also enhance learning for a class by having online exercises posted for students to complete. This allows the information to be more accessable for students and gives them a place to voice their feelings.

Personal blogs are not the only form of blogging. Pundit-blogs are changing the face of journalism while edu-blogs are keeping students connected.

Posted by VanessaKolberg at 01:16 PM | Comments (0)

September 22, 2004

Did You Ever...

Did you ever have a not-so-nice thought about a person near you and then think illogically that the person might be able to read your mind? Then you think something nice to try and make up for the other comment? Yeah, that'll really fix things.

Posted by VanessaKolberg at 10:44 AM | Comments (3)

September 20, 2004

File Sharing and Me

Today in my Writing for the Internet class, one of my classmates Leslie Rodriguez did a presentation on the ethics of file sharing. Is downloading music and movies right or wrong? A lot of the students thought that downloading is fine- musical artists charge too much for their CDs anyway. Of course, others were on the other side of the fence, saying illegal file sharing is morally wrong.

I have never downloaded anything. Not because I think it's unethical, but because my computer is simply too slow to ever download a song. One song would take about three hours- simply not worth it. Believe me though, if I could download, I would. Sometimes I just want one song, not the whole CD. I don't think it is so wrong to download. That one song I get might motivate me to listen to other songs by the same band and eventually buy their CD or go to a concert.

Artists say that downloading songs hurts them in the long run. However, one song will hardly bankrupt a singer. Besides, the bands can still make money from concerts- nothing like seeing them live, right?

I also have never downloaded because I'm afraid of getting caught. I remember reading an article about a year ago saying how record companies are finding all sorts of people, from 5 to 85, and making them pay outragous fines for one song. With my luck, the first time I would ever download a song (it wouldn't even work right probably) a record company would find out somehow and fine me thousands. I would much rather buy the CD than take that risk.

Some reading this may agree, others do not. This is a big debate right now, and I don't expect it to be resolved any time soon.

Posted by VanessaKolberg at 02:39 PM | Comments (4)

September 18, 2004

"The Weblog Handbook"

As a new blogger, I need all the help I can get. So when I discoverd a book all about weblogging, I decided to read it. After all, I could use the new information. The book that I chose to read was The Weblog Handbook: Practical Advice on Creating and Maintaining Your Blog by Rebecca Blood. The book does a wonderful job of explaining the basics of a weblog, what it is, and how to create a user-friendly one. Blood is a very credible source on blogging, since she has been an active member of the community since 1999.

The book focuses on writing for the blog, what to do and not to do. First, a weblog should convey the writer's personality. One's writing should grow and change as he or she blogs. Different voices may be used until the writer is comfortable with the one that gets the point across the easiest.

Second, the weblog should have some sort of purpose. Whether it is a personal blog for sharing funny stories or one on nuclear physics, blogs should have a main focus. Having a purpose to a blog allows the writer to focus on a specific audience.

Blood also explores weblog ettiquette in depth. Chris, a classmate, examines Blood's ettiquette and ethic rules. Basically, do not attack the readers, make sure the information is accurate and correct, and make links to the information used in a post.

For a novice like myself, The Weblog Handbook was the perfect book to help me get started. Now, I have a better idea of how to write on my blog so that more people will read and understand it. I will try and use these ideas as I continue to blog.

Posted by VanessaKolberg at 05:24 PM | Comments (0)

September 15, 2004

History of E-mail

Ever wonder how our new favorite means of communication came to be? Well wonder no more- here is a simple overview of the history of e-mail.

E-mail, meaning “electronic mail” uses the Internet to read and send messages. The earliest and crudest form of e-mail began in 1968 when a Bolt Beranek and Newman (BBN) was hired by the United States Defense Department to create something called the ARPANET (Advanced Research Projects Agency Network). The purpose of ARPANET was to create a way for the military and education centers to communicate. ARPANET eventually linked four centers in 1969 and fifteen by 1971. The linking of the centers made scientists think about sending messages to each other over a common system.

In 1971 history was made when Ray Tomlinson of ARPANET sent the world’s first electronic message. Tomlinson sent the simple message by changing an existing, internal mail program and linking it to a new network. The actual message was Tomlinson sent was only to himself stating ‘Testing 1 2 3’. After the success of the first message, in 1972 Tomlinson made the modern-day format of the email address. The format was, and still is, user or mailbox name, the @ sign, and the machine's name.

After 1972, the use of e-mail grew. However, the new electronic message was not as friendly as it is today. The mail had to be read in the order it was received and the reading and sending process used two separate programs. ARPANET knew it needed to make e-mail much similar to use and hurried to redefine the system. A listing from History of the Internet, shows the rapid development of e-mail. After formatting e-mail, it grew in popularity with the public. Several e-mail systems were created including Usernet and ‘Eudora’. The systems allowed users to send mail much easier than before. More than 400 users were linked to the Usernet system by 1982. In 1994 the more than 10,000 people used the system throughout the world.

Also, in 1995, with the so-called ‘explosion’ of the Internet, more e-mail systems were developed such as Compuserve and AOL. This allowed even more people to send information to each other.

Now, it seems that one can’t imagine life without constant e-mails. Often, we depend on e-mails to receive important information from friends, relatives, businesses, and schools. Without the invention many years ago, several of us would have no clue what’s going on.

This is just a brief description of the history of e-mail. For a much more technical look, check out the following websites:

The History of the Internet
Electronic Mail
The First E-mail

Posted by VanessaKolberg at 09:25 PM | Comments (0)

September 13, 2004

Did You Ever...?

This is my latest creation: the Did You Ever... blog. It's something dumb I've been thinking about, but a thought that doesn't desirve some long, elaborate blog entry. just short and sweet. You'll see Did You Ever...s from time to time- whenever a random thought pops into my head.

Today's entry-

Did you ever watcha TV show and then point to a character and say, "I bet he's thinking he shouldn't have done that?" or something similar? Hello? It's an actor plying a character! The only thing he's thinking about are Emmy nominations.

Posted by VanessaKolberg at 08:32 AM | Comments (0)

September 11, 2004

My Story

Well, it's September 11th again. Everyone will be blogging about it today- and I am no exception. My blog isn't about the impact of the attack on the world, the terrorists, or even about Bush though. My blog is about my story, my day, and my feelings three years ago.

September 11th will be one of those "remember where you were when you heard about it" sort of events. Our parents have tons of them- "Remember where you were when you heard Kennedy got shot?" "Remember where you were when John Lennon was killed?" Now, this is our generations remember moment.

September 11, 2001. I just walked into my sophomore second period English class. It was about 9:12 am I'd say. I was early (highly unusual for me)- the only other person in the room was my good friend Stacy. She turned and asked me, "Did you see what happened?" I was actually going to say yes, thinking there had been some good fight out in the hall and I didn't want to be left out of it. However, I said no and asked what happened. "A plane just flew into one of the Twin Towers!" Twin Towers? What was there? Where was that? I gave her a blank look and told her to elaborate. She told me the plane hit a building in New York City. Her teacher in the class actually joked that maybe Ray Charles was flying the plane.

The teacher walked in and we yelled to her to turn on the TV. She didn't know anything about it. As students started to trickle into the room, we sat transfixed at CNN. First one plane, then another, then the Pentagon. One right after the other. What was going on? Although I realized it was a terrorist attack (I mean, it would be a pretty big coincidence for three planes to go down on the same day), I didn't really grasp what that ment. I didn't understand that America was technically under attack.

As the class watched, I remember one of the boys in the front saying, "I bet its China!" He wasn't serious, I think he was trying to be funny or something. I will always remember that though. It is so insignificant but stays in my memory for some reason.

After class ended, I went to math where the teacher did not allow us to watch the news. A lot of teachers were doing that I heard- not letting students watch the television. I guess they wanted us to try and focus on the day, which was nearly impossible.

In lunch, after math, I learned about the plane that crashed not far from here, in Somerset Pennsylvania. Somerset? Why would anyone want to crash a plane at Somerset? There's just fields there! No one at school had much information on that, it was just a rumor going around. Much later I would find out about Flight 93.

I went home and watched the news all night with my parents. I think everyone watched the news that night. I didn't have any homework, so the news was the only option. Practically every station was playing the footage over and over, and the stations that weren't just had a screen up that said something like, "Due to the attacks, we are discontinuing broadcast."

The next day, I saw one of my good friends. I asked her, "So, what'd you think?" She answered, unbelievably, "I don't see what the big deal is. Everyone is making it so big and important." I just looked at her and walked away. How could she say that? People died, we were attacked- I think that's a big deal! I never asked her about it, but maybe she had a bad attitude because she was upset and didn't want to talk about it anymore. I just don't believe that she actually couldn't have cared.

So, that is my story of September 11th. Other people's stories are much more interesting than mine, I know. People who were there, people who lost someone in the attacks- they have the heart-wrenching stories. But I know mine isn't sad or amazing. It is just mine. Yet no matter how simple our memories are of that day, they are all just as important.

Posted by VanessaKolberg at 02:08 PM | Comments (5)

September 09, 2004

Driving in the Rain

I don't care much for the rain. Everything become so dreary and dark. The only time I really like it is when it rains during the night in the summer, making lovely sounds on the roof. Other than that, no.

I also don't care for driving in the rain either. Not that I like driving period, but it gets even worse in the rain. It is utterly amazing how many people drive ridiculously fast. I'm going about twenty miles an hour while everyone is doing fifty. It must be because I am a cautious driver (and scared out of my mind!).

I really am a terrrible driver. I am one of those people that you really hate to be behind, and everytime thereafter that you see my car, you turn the opposite way. I go amazingly slow, don't signal when I change lanes, break often, leave an entire car length between me and the person in front of me at a stop light, and will wait at a four way stop forever. People honk at me and ride so close to the back of my car that I'm sure they are going to hit it. Doesn't bother me though. I go even slower then. Hahaha.

Something always happens on my way to school in the morning. A squirrel will jump out into the middle of the road, I get stuck at a long light, almost get hit by a garbage truck, things like that. I have the worst luck with driving.

Why are there so many people on the road at 9:30 on a weekday? The only people that should be out are students and retired people. That's it.

Posted by VanessaKolberg at 10:15 AM | Comments (2)

September 08, 2004

Look At Me, I Have A Blog!

I have a blog now. My very own. It's like a baby- mine to mold, change, and create. Hundreds of people (or in my case, about 5) will be able to see my writings. People from other countries even. Hola! Bonjour! Guten Tag! foreign peoples!

I think I may become addicted though. I just found out how to personalize and change the colors. Now, every free moment that I have will be spent changing colors and making the blog uniquely me. Homework? Who needs homework? I have to work on my blog.

Posted by VanessaKolberg at 11:45 AM | Comments (4)