apples and psychics

so, last week’s networked class started off like your typical normal class. you know, discussion of the readings, the lectures, the network. then it kinda got turned a bit sideways. who do we have to blame for that? i guess just me mostly. i’m a terrible influence. i was the same in high school, i liked to make classes fun but that often happened at the expense of the other students’ learning. mah bad.

so, may as well start off with the actual content of the lass discussions, before my, let’s call it immaturity, took hold. well, we were responding to the topic raised in the symposium about games and narratives and hypertext. i think the problem with discussing games in this context is that there are so many different types of games, it’s impossible to put any one label on them or place them in a specific group. all games are different, from board games like chess where the aim is to win, to simple games like Tetris where you just don’t want to lose to more complex games like (here we go again) kingdom hearts where you follow a narrative which drives the game. but i spoke about all that last week. what i thought was most interesting in our class discussion was the inclusion of a type of game that i had never considered…. sports games.

there are so many different types of sports too. are they all games? you can have a footy match, thats a game. but is a running race a game? you still want to win it, just like a footy game. is there anything other than games that we want to win? i guess competitions. but are those games? you know, like the lottery. well, i guess they could be. anything could be game if you want it to be a game. just as we were asking, “but is sport, like a running race, really a game”, someone in class brilliant mentioned what we all call “the olympic games”. i guess i’d never thought of them actually as games. but that’s what it is, one giant game with every country trying to win.

so, how can a sports game like that be a narrative? well, a sports game has a beginning, middle and end. but not sure how much further their similarities go. i guess there are just too many types of games to ever be able to definitively decide whether or not it can be a hypertext narrative. but i’m gonna go with it cant’. i mean, maybe some can, but definitely not all of them.

as for the rest of class, well, this won’t really be funny unless you were there. but we were put into new groups and this time got to choose our own niki subject. yeah, goodbye calculator inventor from the 1800’s and random guy from this century that no-one has ever heard of (i’m looking at you david gauntlett). we got to choose our own topic. well, most of the good ones had been snatched up by then (curse whoever took facebook) but there were some good options left, like apple. and someone else in my group thought medium would be interesting.

but there i stopped him. what is medium?? i mean, medium is really just a word (as apple is not only a company but a fruit, but we’ll get to that). there are lots of different meanings of the word medium and i couldn’t even be sure which one of those was intended by whoever put medium on the niki index (probably adrian). i mean, i looked up medium, and theres a blog website/forum/something-or-other called medium (which, lets be honest, is probably what adrian wanted), then there’s medium as in, something that delivers a media. you know, like a tv, or a radio, or a cinema, or a computer or phone or really anything. in this sense of the word, almost anything could be a medium!!!!!! (just so you understand, we were having a very vocal conversation about this in class with elliot. i’m pretty sure if he didn’t think i was crazy before, he does now) And then there’s the other form of medium which is…. psychics!!!! you know, like the tv show… medium!!! and so, just because i really don’t like this entire niki project, and i was so annoyed at the ambiguity of the entire “medium” option even being on that list, i somehow managed to convince my group to do our niki entry on psychics communicating with ghosts to solve crimes to do with the online network. don’t even ask. i am insane. and i know it. and now my whole class knows it too.

oh, and if you were wondering where i was going with the whole “apple” thing, i was still annoyed at this whole project and wanting to do something that they didn’t want us to do. so with apple i was completely planning on making the entry about the fruit itself (and, you know, the network of apple trees, the different types of apples, and the fruit business) instead of apple the company. i think it’s a pretty good idea. to bad i got so excited by the psychics idea that i got sidetracked. who knows, still 1 niki left to do!!!!



Is this my diary? unlecture part 2

so, i told you i was going to need a second post to cover everything that was mentioned in this weeks unlecture. this post will also probably cover some stuff from last weeks class and my most recent post about hypertext. but anyhow, onwards and upwards! (speaking of, i saw up for the first time the other day. it is brilliant.)

one of the main interesting things that was mentioned by both Elliot and Jasmine was the Korsakow program which i had neither heard of or was able to spell. but it’s a pretty cool concept nonetheless. similar to a hypertext novel, it does what a typical film can’t do by being fluid and changeable. it allows the viewer to create their own film by choosing the path that they wish to take. every time you return to something, it is completely different to what is was the first time you do it. now, this concept emphasises what was described as the “gap” between the media maker and the receiver. in any form of medium, the author can never guarantee the receiver will decipher the intended meaning of the text being created. and so hypertext and korsakow is allowing this gap to flourish so that rather than a specific meaning intended by the author that may not be received, each member of the audience can make their own personal interpretations of the text. there are an unlimited number of pathways one can take. it’s like in the brain, any one idea or thought can lead down a large variety of different neural pathways that span across the whole brain, each one leading to a different thought and each one individual.

this whole notion of hypertext leads on from the advancement of technology today. everything has had to change and adapt to fit into the new society. if a medium cannot adapt, it cannot survive. and hypertext is about joining all the little parts of the world together to make one big web of networks and connections where everything can be joined in multiple ways rather than just one linear connection. and our blogs allow us to form those connections and become a part of the wider network. this is similar to the niki’s we’ve been working on in class. each time one group presents their work to the rest, it’s a chance for everyone to gain. the group can get feedback about there work and the others can get both new knowledge and ideas about extra things they could include in their posts. the aim of the niki’s is to create a learning space for everyone in the course to be able to contribute to, in essence, to create a network that they have all worked on.

someone asked in the lecture, “do the blogs even count if no-one is reading them?”. now this was a matter i had considered, because i write as if people are listening, adrian called them our “imaginary audience”. but that doesn’t mean that the imaginary audience won’t eventually become a real audience. that’s why we make those connections, so that we can get that audience. i think it was jasmine who asked “why do you write a personal journal or diary if it’s not intended to be read by anyone?”. and that’s a brilliant point. when i was young i kept a diary. i never wanted anyone to read it, but i still wrote in a manner of telling a story to a reader, just like how i write this blog assuming people are reading it. so is this blog my diary? i guess while it hovers at a low 5 visitors a day it probably is. but hopefully i get up there soon.

and one more thing from the lecture. it doesn’t really relate to anything but i thought it was cool. in fact, i don’t even think it actually happened, i think i just heard something. but at one point adrian said “automatically” and it sounded like “automagically”. now i don’t know if he really said that or i just had a major mishear but either way, it’s an awesome word that i think really represents how our world functions today, especially if you consider it in the eyes of some of the people we are researching for our niki’s, (i’m looking at you charles babbage) who would just see everything we have today as a sort of magic. who could have imagined 100 years ago where we would be today in terms of technology. it really does seem like the world is “automagic”

charles cabbage and other class activities

ok, maybe calling Charles Babbage, “Charles Cabbage”, is a bit disrespectful. but it’s not my fault that his last name sounds like cabbage. it just flows better.

in this weeks class, after some pretty light discussions about how most people enjoyed this weeks unlecture, we were thrown headfirst into research for our niki pages. who is niki do you ask?? niki is the networked media wiki. but niki sounds better than nmwiki so lets stick with niki. as i’m sure you’ve guessed by now, i was lucky enough to pull charles babbage out of the hat, along with 4 other class members. and while others in the class were sitting happily with stuff like written “youtube” on their little slips of paper, my table just had the dumbfounded faces. “who the hell is charles babbage??”

well now, i’ll tell you who charles babbage is. mr. babbage pretty much invented the calculator. now, i’m not talking about the pocket calculator, coz you would need pretty big pockets to fit this 2 story, 50 tonne beauty into your pocket. but back in the late 1800’s, babbage didn’t like the inaccuracy of calculations and so devised a machine to eliminate human error in arithmetic.

try fitting this in your pocket

so, after each of us spent 15 minutes googling (crazy that googling is a legitimate verb nowadays!) our mysterious subject, we were tasked with coming up with some ways of creating our niki page so that it would reflect his voice. you know, like an interview. except that he’s been dead for like 100 (almost wrote 1000!) years. and here we struggled. not because it was such a hard thing to think about, because i’m sure if we set our minds to it we would come up with something constructive (and if you by chance want to see what we came up with, and it’s not much i’ll just warn you know, you can check it out here) but our problem was that our attention span is just too short. everytime one of us came up with an idea, or the start of an idea, or even brought up another fact about the interesting life of mr babbage, we would all sidestep onto some completely random topic that would go on for another 10 or so minutes. so, by the end of class, our best idea was to ressurect charles as a zombie and try to talk to him before he tried to eat our brains. as you can see, a very productive class. but at least we’re getting somewhere….kinda.