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October 2004 Archives

October 11, 2004

Wild Card/Discussion Blog 2

Wildcard Blog Entry Hey does anyone remember that crazy scientist Mr.Wizard? He was on TV like really early in the morning before I used to goto school. Like 7am and I was getting dressed in the 3rd grade and putting on my shoes and there he was. (I bet that sounded weird) I'd say he was replaced by Bill Nye the Science Guy, but he did have a good time while around.

"Mr. Wizard" (real name Don Herbert) who performed experiments using everyday household items to show kids that science was something we can all "get. The original Mr. Wizard ran on NBC for fourteen straight seasons from 1951-65, then left the air for several years.

"Old School" Nickelodeon I loved watching shows like "Pete and Pete" and "You Can't Do That On Television" "Wild and Crazy Kids" "Salute Your Shorts" and "Double Dare" with Mark Summers. It seems like now all there is on the network is cartoons. Nothing against cartoons but come on, can we see some real people for once?

Interaction Blog 2

BARBIE:Role Model For Future Street Walkers???
It has recently come to my personal attention that Barbie is becoming more and more a slut. Sure before she was a tease but now shes all out in her clubbing clothes ready to leave them on the floor of any Ken's penthouse that comes her way.
"Barbie is a girl with a Reputation: She's big-breasted, man-mad, and a bad role model. No wonder she is an unwanted guest at some birthday parties, where mothers of 4-year-olds frown at the sight of the dreaded pink box. Barbie's long been in trouble with feminists, educationists, and snooty middle-class parents. "

"If Barbie were a real human woman instead of a byword for consumerism, she would not be able to walk upright. It’s easy to see why: The weight of her pendulous breasts is simply not offset by her waspy waist and junior-high boy hips. Clearly, Barbie’s figure was not designed with gothic cathedrals and flying buttresses in mind. So Barbie wouldn’t be able to walk upright. There are worse afflictions. So, as a real woman, Barbie’s head would have to stay attached. Hey, that’s life. "

Besides, if you are an astronaut and a supermodel and a veterinarian and a chart-topping pop star singer who lives in many different sets of really cool digs and has access to the most startling and varied array of clothes, would you really need to walk upright?
I mean, who cares if you walk upright? Into each life a little rain must fall, as they say. Barbie is just differently abled than most of us. And why should she be excoriated because of that?

"Think about it. Wouldn’t you, too, walk around on all fours, wearing Manolo Blahnik heels, if it meant you could be Barbie? All those clothes, all those cars, all those high-paying, power-slugging careers? And Ken isn’t the only game in town. I hear G.I. Joe was built to last."

"It seems to me that if you want a role model for female "empowerment" and the redemptive power of consumerism, who also doubles as a poster child for the physically challenged, then I guess you want Barbie in the lives of your little girls."


Weblog Handbook: An Overview

The Weblog Handbook written by Rebecca Blood is a general guide on how to maintain a weblog. It is basically a guide to creating your own Weblog-an online journal. The Weblog Handbook explores weblog's impact on media and explains how to chose available tools, even walking the beginner through the process of creating their first weblog. There is the helpful hint of where to find free hosting as well. I skimmed over this book when I first began blogging and it helped me with chopping text and creating fun interesting blog entry titles to catch the reader's attention.

Writing for the Web: An Overview

Writing for the Web by Crawford Kilian informs the web writing novice that creating and expressing an idea online is not hard at all. It is a relatively short read and I can say that was a definite plus. A few topics that are covered in the book are: On-screen text, Web-site structure, Content organization, Writing style guidelines, Web text editing, Corporate content, Resumes, Personal pages, and Marketing. There is an in depth analysis of how readers process information online differently than they do print and this is helpful to begining writers. There are many decisions a Web writer faces and I did not realize this before reading this book. Every decision that a web writer makes regarding presentation of their content effects the audience's comprehension or lack of it.

Hot Text: An Overview

Hot Text by Johnathon Price is a very helpful book in the area of web writing. In this book you will find information on specific writing for database-driven sites; creating FAQs (Frequently asked questions), blogs and newsletters. This book will definately help you in becoming a better web writer and/or editor of web materials. The book does not only cover the technical aspects of web writing but it teaches the reader how to grab the audience's attention with powerful prose. I found this book particulary helpful in formulating an outline for my groups e-mail newsletter. One thing that I learned from this book is that web users are often very picky about the websites that they frequent. The site must be organized in a simple manner that can cater to the needs of all level users. Also, you don't need to write a million things about a topic in order to get your point across. Internet users are often impatient and want to read something, take in the information and move on to the next thing on their agendas.

Panel 1-G: Topics in Cyberfiction

I never played an IF game like Photopia but I have played games like "Oregon Trail", "Amazon Trail" and "Yukon Trail" in which you must travel across a certain landform/distance on a journey to reach a designated location. You have some control over the outcome of the story and there are several different endings.

As far as online goes. I have been a part of many BTVS (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) RP (role playing) games. I will go into different chat rooms every now and then that are designated for the show and then choose my USER NAME based on who I want to play or if I want to play a game at all. Sometimes you can just sit back and watch a story unfold and that is equally entertaining. Ususally if I want to watch/read I goes as CrazedFaith5by5 but when I want to play an RP game I designate myself a character by putting RP_Faith or who ever I want to be (RP_Vamp_Buffy) etc. They are pretty fun to play. In regard to hypertext fiction, I have read a lot of Fan Fiction.

Story driven video games are really cool and so much better than the average Tetris or Atari type games that are not at all complex. The Matrix video game and the ones like Final Fantasy and Spiderman are the best. They allow the player on the outside to feel like they are part of an elaborate story and game. Putting so much time into the story and possible (various) outcomes/resolutions is not taking away from the graphics or any other aspects of the game at all.

Panel 1-F: You Can't Do That with Text

So I can't do this with text? Well there are apparently many things that I am not supposed to do with text but they do happen. Oh well? I touched briefly upon interactive fiction games in my last entry but this one will delve more in depth into the games which we played in class such as Photopia. Where to begin with Photopia? I will now post a selection/collaborated entry that I wrote in response to Jerz's inquiry about the game in general. It should suffice.

Taken from an old entry and in use now:
Wow! Let me start by just releasing a sigh of relief that this assignment is over. Don't get me wrong it was fun but tedious. Photopia is a really confusing game that took me about an hour and a half before I gave up on it. I was amazed how in depth of a game it was. The author spent a lot of time creating a complex storyline that was entertaining. When the game began I was thining "Why am I some drunk man in a car and who is trying tell a bed time story?" It was rather hard to follow the changing of characters but I will attribute that to the fact that I have never done interactive fiction games like this before. You start out as one person and end as another. I have to admit that I admire people that are clever enough to figure out these games right away. When I was on the Red Planet which I'm assuming was MARs I finally realized that I was part of this "bedtime" story which the babysitter was telling. It was not until very later that I realized the babysitter was killed by the drunk driver. I am clueless in regard to the baby at then end. I would definately try to play this game again and beat it in my free time.

The idea of the Wikki is almost kind of stupid to me. I cannot understand why someone would put information on a site that is subject to change by the second. Sure there is the advantage that the information could possibly be updated constantly, but not everything on the internet is gospel and some people may really try to screw you over with false or invalid information. It seems like a good idea but it may be a disaster.

Panel 1-E: Current Issues in Cyberspace

My Panel Presentation: File Sharing and Ethics
How many people download music, pictures or movies from the internet? Well it is illegal and theres no simpler way to put it, but that doesn't stop most people. I think we can all remember the days of free Napster which now seems so long ago. I will rat myself out today as a downloading fiend and discuss some of the current issues surrounding File Sharing and Ethics.

Just to give an indication of how popular the file sharing market is I searched on Download.com for file sharing programs and 19 separate ones were found. The one with the highest usage was Kiwi Alpha 1.2 with a 91% user approval rating.

Movie Executives Arguement:
One reason that big whig movie executives get upset over file sharing is because when media is traded freely on the internet than they lose money. The executive perspective is that movies make the bulk of their money on DVD and home video sales and this is taken away once P2P file sharing occurs. The domino effect is that if Hollywood can't make big money, big-budget films will not be made.

An interesting point is made by Kelly Hollowell a scientist, patent attorney and adjunct law professor of bioethics that for years movies have promoted sex, violence etc...and now they call file sharing immoral yet movies probably influenced this immorality.

Its Really Not That Bad:
The argument is similar from recording artists that file sharing has caused slumping CD sales but recent studies have shown this declaration to be untrue. According to a Harvard Business School study, it takes 5,000 downloads to reduce sales of an album by one copy.

If file-sharing had a negative effect on sales, the Harvard study postulates, the motion picture, software and video game industries — whose files are also heavily traded, albeit not as much as music files — would also be suffering. But sales in those arenas have been increasing. The Motion Picture Association of America reported U.S. box offices took in $9.5 billion, the second largest total in its history. DVD sales continue to increase, and the recording industry announced that CD sales are actually up 14 percent in 2004 compared with the same period last year.

Consequences For Our Actions:
The means to download are endless but then comes the debate about the ethics of media and file sharing. Very recently recording and motion picture industries across the nation have been cracking down on the biggest group of internet pirates out there: COLLEGE STUDENTS. At the local level The University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University are taking action as well. Last September, Pitt got 44 notices that students illegally downloaded material. A full length article can be found on File Sharing Issues in PA. Beware that some companies do choose to track down internet pirates and prosecute them with legal action.

Other Sites:
File sharing continues to becomes a more popular trend each day. Some other interesting sites regarding file sharing. Link 1 & Link 2

Panel 1-D: Before Web Browsers

Comments on: History of the PC:
I have to admit that I was one of those people that thought computers emerged falling out of the sky in the 1980s. It is rather difficult to put a time frame on technology when asked to do so. I cannot imagine this day and age without my personal computer. Surely those who invented the first "super computers" for calculating large mathematical problems did not think that years later some college kid would be keeping an online weblog through one.

Not to mention that the internet is a concept that blows my mind to this day. Millions maybe even billions of individuals logging onto a single 'information super highway.' Its also funny how technology like computers and the internet and even wireless e-mail has influenced popular culture. As these technologies continue to develope they pop up in television shows, movies and magazines.

Any form of media that is viewed by the public has been influenced by technological advances. For example the movies "The Net" and "You've Got Mail" were made for this generation. Twenty five years ago they might have been seen as science fantasy/fiction.

Generally speaking in regard to technology many Science Fiction TV Shows, they often branch off and create higher level form of already existing products like computers and cell-phones/communication devices. They expand on the technology of our day and make it futuristic. Its a very interesting thing to look at our computer influenced culture.

Some Fun Facts and Links about Computer Technology
Microsoft's Computer History
Bill Gates Biography

Panel 1-C: The History of the World Wide Web

Following the events of 9-11 there was a massive surge of blogging that took place. Many families began using blogging as a way to create a shrine or memorial to the loved ones that they lost. Other groups that lost someone on that tragic day in history began using blogs to communicate with one another and share their experiences. Survivors of the massacre had stories to tell and blogging allowed them a way to get the word out.

The web browser wars are being continually waged each day as each web browser tries to out do his nearest competitor. Microsoft's Internet Explorer hates Netscape Navigator and vise versa. Then we've got the new "Firefox" web browser that is easy to use, and can be personalized. There are so many different options out there on the market that it is hard to tell which is the right one.

There was a great surge of dot.com corporations that popped up in the early 90s and they were run by quote un-quote "green haired college graduates." (Thank's Jerz for that little quote)
Even some of the most popular dot.com site that were around did not survive for long. E-Toys.com and the infamous Pets.com both ended up failing and their investors lost money. Yahoo! was one of the first internet search engines and it is still popular and in use today. Another pioneer of the internet dot.com surge is Amazon.com. They were doing things that no one else had done before. There are really two extremes to the dot.com story. Either it is wildly successful or it tanks like the movie, "You Got Served."

Database of Dot.Com Failures

Panel 1-B: Introduction to Weblogs II

Personalization and beautification of ones weblog is not as hard as I thought it would be. I'm not much into decorating my blog with fancy colors and fonts. I think that either way my message should be the focal point of the entry not some crazy background and outlandish JPEG or flashy icons.
It was neat to see how Val did her own blog. I do enjoy putting small pictures on my blog entries every now and then because it adds a little bit of visual spice to what we are discussing. Html code masters put a lot more effort into this than I could ever possibly do at this point in my internet writing career.

There are two common types of blogs out in the cyber world and they are edu-blogs and pundit blogs. An interesting definition of one who has a pundit blog like myself is: I like to blog about a specific topic of interest that I am passionate about - be it business, politics, technology, law, education, entertainment, or literature. I blog regularly and I welcome relevant discussions about my topic. I have a constant thirst for knowledge. The edu blog is used mainly for educational reasons as implied by its name.

Panel 1-A: Introduction to Weblogs

A weblog can be used to convey many different types of information to a large audience. It is a tool that can express opinions as well as personal and intimate feelings. Stormy Knight showed us an example of her very own Open Diary and also sited the LiveJournal and weblogs. These are all similar in structure and in makeup. They have a centralized purpose which is to make information available to an audience. I never had any prior experience with blogging before I took this class. In fact I used to make fun of people for using LiveJournals to express some of their deepest most intimate secrets online. Now I have a new found respect for the idea of posting, blogging, threading and responding. The purpose of the blog no longer has to be as a diary. That perception is dead. Now the blog is a window into the lives, opinions and lifestyles of people.

Blogging at Seton Hill University has really taken off and gained immense popularity. Students in Dr.Jerz's class as well as outsiders are joining in on the blogging phenomenon. Teachers in the English Department swap stories on their blogs and branch out and communicate with professors from other schools. Blogging can be used by students to post questions to their peers and recieve feedback on school assignments. Your homework for a class can soon become a topic of interest among bloggers. It is amazing how the weblog becomes an academic resource to those who use it.

Portfolio Cover Entry

Hello. My name is Leslie Rodriguez and welcome to my weblog sponsored by Movable Type. I am a freshman at Seton Hill University and as part of my Writing for The Internet class and the New Media Journalism program I write and respond blog entries on various topics.

These entries are then posted for public view on my blog. This entry acts as an introduction to my blog portfolio which includes selected entries that reflect on our classes panel presentations, the three texts which we use in class. The following topics will be examined and discussed in my blog portfolio:

1. Panel 1-A: Introduction to Weblogs
-The origin of the weblog and its many forms. History of blogging at Seton Hill.
2. Panel 1-B: Introduction to Weblogs II
-Important skills and functions that will help one better their personal weblog.
3. Panel 1-C: The History of the World Wide Web
-Blogging and 911; Web Browser Wars and Dot.com failures.
4. Panel 1-D: Before Web Browsers
-History of the PC and the background of Microsoft and Bill Gates.
5. Panel 1-E: Current Issues in Cyberspace
-File sharing and ethics examined with college students in mind.
6. Panel 1-F: You Can't Do That with Text
-Interactive fiction games explored.
7. Panel 1-G: Topics in Cyberfirction
-IF Games; Story driven video games and a personal view of RP/Fan Fiction.

The Class Texts:
-A Summaryof books; look at the different web areas explored within them.
*Hot Text: An overview
*Writing for the Web: An Overview
*The Weblog Handbook: An Overview

The Collection
-Collection of best weblog entries. Intellectual engagement and involvement.
*Coverage Blog
-Depth Blog 1
-Depth Blog 2
-Depth Blog 3

-Comment Primo
Discussion Blog 1

Wildcard Blog, Interaction Blog 2, Discussion Blog 2
Interaction Blog 3, Discussion Blog 3

About October 2004

This page contains all entries posted to Roamer's Zone in October 2004. They are listed from oldest to newest.

September 2004 is the previous archive.

November 2004 is the next archive.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.