gummy bears in the future

well, i felt as though i needed one more blog post to cover this subject before it finishes forever. however, while i was sitting at my desk, trying to think of what to post, i somehow became distracted by a bag of delicious gummy bears. and then proceeded to spend the next 15 minutes trying to stack them they would stay up long enough for me to take a photo. yes, it’s that time of semester, this is what i have come to for entertainment and procrastination, stacking gummy bears.

anyhow, on to what i was actually going to talk about before those tasty bears distracted me. the future… where are we going and what are we going to do when we get there. this entire course has been about networks. but not just networks, how networks are changing. it’s given us a chance to rethink not only what we want to do with our careers but how to look at the world. the world today is completely different to what it was ten or twenty years ago and it will be just as different by the time we finish our degrees in a mere 2 years!

digital technology is the way of the future. everything will be online and everything else must adapt to suit that or face dying out. what will journalism be in 5 years without physical newspapers? what will the tv landscape look like when people don’t need tv’s with channels with set schedules anymore? what will happen to radio when people can play whatever music they want through their cars or phones? (thank god for bluetooth. i can’t stand top 40 radio). scarcity doesn’t exist anymore, the internet has relieved the world of shelf space. everything can be accessed, so why do we still need those platform which limit our range of choice?

the problem is, we want to enter this field, the field of media. but, how can we know what we want to do when we don’t even know if those jobs will still exist by the time we get around to doing them? we all need to rethink our assumptions about everything we know because not only is everything different than it was, but it will all change again very soon.

i wish each and one of you the very best in whatever job you wish to do and i hope it still exists once you get there. until then… goodnight and goodluck



so long symposium

this week was our last networked media unlecture. i have to say, i did enjoy them. they were a nice fresh change on the face of university and lectures and all the other drab. they were interesting. they were about we we wanted them to be about and they were engaging. and more often than not, they introduced me to an awesome new site, like from this weeks lecture. these cool sites were about the network, what it or we can do with it and how it works.

so.. what did we learn from this final “unlecture?”

well, it was more of a recap. it even came with slides!!! showing us how even though there hadn’t appeared to be any structure to this course at the beginning of the semester, a structure emerged (see what i did there? like with a scale free network) as we moved forward through the course. we saw how all our different readings and concepts came together. from starting off with our blogs, to hypertext, to scale free networks and centres and the long tail to databases and protocols. everything is linked together. it’s all just one big happy family. that was what i liked about this course. even though there didn’t seem to be a structure, there was. but this also gave us the chance to learn what we wanted to learn. our lecture and classes were fuelled by our questions, we got out of it what we wanted to get out of it. and the blogging allowed you to experiment with idea while contributing your own and explore our place within the growing network. and if nothing else, from this course i have learned to bog, and learned to love it!!! i am excited to be continuing to blog long past the end of the semester.


databases or narrative?

one of the questions from this weeks lecture was asking if databases are narrative. or if they are changing the nature of narrative. the basic answer we got was that databases are not narratives, they are lists. a narrative must follow a story, it is driven by cause and effect. a list is simply… well, a list.

a cool example adiran showed us in the lecture was the cowbird site. i checked it out when i got home and i have to say, it’s a very interesting site and some of the stories on it are great. but, like adrian said, it is not a narrative. maybe the stories it contains are narratives, but the site itself and the way it is presented isn’t. however, going through the site, it did kinda feel like a hypertext narrative. while it was not written by one author with a specific narrative intention, it still has those attributes of the open endedness of the hypertext narrative. there are unlimited possibilities of which story you will see next because each page links out to heaps of other pages that link out to more so that no two journeys through the site are the same. but, even if it allows us to endlessesly scroll through a bunch of mini stories, the cowbird platform is not itself a narrative, it is a database, a collection of stuff, tit bits and stories. it is a scale free network, people can constantly contribute their own content and it will be added to the network and connected to what has been shared by others.

so that got me thinking… is the internet just a giant database? i mean, it doesn’t really just seem like a list to me, it’s so much more. but it also doesn’t really tell a story, unless you look at it metaphorically or something and it can tell the sotry of the evolution of mankind over the last couple of decades. i mean, we pretty much have everything online and all that content together can show how society has changed. i guess that’s kind of not a narrative. maybe it is, society is affected by cause and effect and it all goes online. but probably not. well… i tried.

well, that’s anything of any sub par level of intelligence that i have for you tonight. however, there is another pretty cool site thats kinda like cowbird (and also nothing like cowbird)  called “stumble upon” which you give in your preferences (such as your likes and interests) and it just finds random pages from across the entire internet that it think you would like. very easy to lose hours just stumbling across the internet. have fun 😀


technology, stop trying to control my life!!!

as i sit here, trying to blog, i find myself constantly distracted by even the thought of facebook, which then somehow leads me to waste a minimum of 40 minutes on youtube before moving to play another round of scramble on my phone before finally and somewhat reluctantly finding my way back to my blog to continue this (or any other) post. i can’t help but think, is this technodeterminism? i am pretty much being ruled by the computer. however, not only would i be unable to do my work without the computer or the internet, but my computer and the internet is the very thing stopping me from doing my work. oh the paradoxes!!!! sometimes i wish it was like VCE where everything was in books. i wouldn’t get so distracted. oh, who’s kidding, of course i still would.

thats the thing with technodeterminism, it’s just there. technology is everywhere. as adrian said, there is no longer a distinct line between technology and nature, because we have changed practically everything. stupid science. technology has evolved to the point where it is an unavoidable factor of our every day lives. it is an inherent part of who we are. we think differently than we did in the period of less or no technology because it has redefined our culture. but, does this mean it is controlling us? adrian would say yes. in the lecture he discussed how everything we do or say or think is affected by our technology. you cannot do things your own way because they must remain within the constraints of the culture and of the technology. we cannot write or speak in anything other than a defined language. and a poem must follow the restraints of a poem and a movie of a certain genre must conform to the boundaries of that genre. and thus, we are controlled by the boundaries of technology.

however, i do not completely agree. yes, it can be said that what we do must fit in with the lines that are already set by technology. but we created those lines. we created the technology and the technology can only do as we have created, it can’t go beyond the bounds of what we have designed it to do. but we can extend those bounds. the english language states that i cannot type: hsif hgdos lpghs plisty, and that it will make sense. but why can’t it? why can’t t become a new language, a new technology with new contraints and restrictions? how did we even get everything we have today if we never stepped outside the restraints set by our past technologies. imagine if we had stopped at the wheel, or fire simply because it was all there was. so yes, while most of us are bound by the restraints set by our technologies, it is when we act outside these restraints that we can create new technologies and evolve our culture.

i don’t believe in technodeterminism, we control technology. we created it and we have the ability to overcome and improve it while it remains within its own boundaries.

lost in the network

so, this week, adrian decided to kick off the lecture by showing us all the site “the faces of facebook” which is a pretty incredible site. however, i do kinda wish that adrian had of shown us this at the end of the lecture because, as should be no surprise to anyone who knows how easily distracted i get, i ended up completely missing the next 15 or so minutes because i was trying to find myself on the site. as i’m sure you can imagine, with over 1 billion people on facebook, i was unable to find myself, or even anyone i know. this is just a testament  to show how incredible this network really is, over 1 billion people are on facebook!!! i can’t think of anything similar that has come anywhere near to those numbers. its insane. and right now, it seems impossible to think that facebook will ever stop being huge.

but, can facebook last indefinitely? probably not. as was discussed in the lectures, old hubs deteriorate over time, and new ones flourish. think of myspace or yahoo, very popular back when they came out but now are nowhere to be seen. will this happen to facebook, or even the seemingly untouchable google? its hard to tell now because they just seem so huge but i’m sure they will. think of all the new stuff we have now as well as facebook, there’s twitter, flickr, Instagram, vine, tumbler and so many more, how long lasting are any of these sites in the forever expanding network of the internet. they are so strong as hubs because they have so many loose ties but because these ties are so loose, the hubs can’t last. its the strong ties that last but also lead to a more disconnected network. facebook or google are all weak ties, as many ties as they possibly have to get as many links as possible to great the biggest network as possible. so it makes sense for me to get lost in the vast network of the internet and facebook because so does everything else, there is just so much of it.

what was amazing that one person made that whole faces of facebook site. i wouldn’t even know where to start with something like that and she did it just for fun! that’s dedication.

can’t think of a good name for this post

if my lack of a good title is any indication, i was not a huge fan of this weeks unlecture. not sure what it was about it, it just wasn’t as good as the previous ones. and i’ve really been enjoying our symposiums but something this week just didn’t seem to flow and thus we resulted in a lack of interesting blog post title. i feel ashamed. hopefully this won’t happen again.

onto the unlecture itself. we began with discussing the difference between a scaled network and a scale-free network. as you can assume from those two titles, a scaled network is limited while a scale free is unlimited. take the roadways of Australia and the internet for example. Australia, being an island, only has a limited number of roads and links it can have inside it, mainly because cars cannot travel on water. but the internet can keep expanding forever. it has no boundaries. the difference with these two is also that of the centre. an example from the symposium was the melbourne metro lines. if something were to happen at flinders street station (which is pretty much the centre of the train network), all trains would stop. but if a site online crashes, nothing stops, everything can just move around it because of the limitless amount of other links that exist. however, contrary to this, i personally feel that if google broke down, even for a day or a few hours, not only would the internet stop but the the whole world would stop working. but that’s not necessarily because of the structure of the internet, its just because the whole world relies on google for pretty much everything.

the other interesting point with the scale free network was the elimination of shelf space. this is where the long tail comes into play because with the digitalisation of pretty much everything, all those items of clothes, songs, movies or tv shows that get lost in the long tail can be found and bought and enjoyed, all because the retailer doesn’t have to pay for shelf space online. now, for me, this is great, because i am not a lover of most things deemed “mainstream”. i mean, i’m not into ridiculously obscure things that you could not find in a shopping centre if you tried. i’m probably jsut a little bit down th long tail, not down in the pointy end. but for me it is still much easier to find what i like online, and far more abundant too, than if i were to go into a store looking for it. this for me is more relevant with the television so called “shelf-space” where, as adrian put it, channels can only broadcast 24 hours of tv a day and thus, what they broadcast must sell (or be seen). and my shows do not fall under the category of “must watch tv”. ever wondered why there is so much reality tv competition on tv? yeah, it’s crap. but it draws in those big numbers. forget the little shows *cough* supernatural *cough*, it’s all about the ratings. and thats the beauty of stuff like youtube (or, you know, those lovely streaming sites with every episode of every show ever) which has unlimited content because it is not restricted by hours or ratings or ads. in conclusion, the digitalisation of the world has drastically reduced the problem of product scarcity. there is just more out there.

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!!!!



i’m a gamer

you know, as much as i had never thought of myself as one, i found myself proudly putting my hand up in this weeks lecture when adrian asked who in the crowd considered themselves a gamer. i guess i’m not a gamer in what most people think of the term. i don’t sit on my computer or my console playing games 24/7, i don’t shoot

other people from across the globe, or battle them in magical duels over the internet. but i do play my games (more often now than i did in high school thats for sure) and i do love them. even if it really is only one or two games that i actually play (*cough* pokemon and kingdom hearts *cough*).

first off, there are many types of video games, and all of them are different (and this doesn’t count all the games that aren’t video games) so it’s hard to be able to make an overall, wholesome statement about all video games being hypertext or not. i think it was Elliot who mentioned that when hypertext first came around, people started calling it a video game. but there’s a difference. a video game, even if it does have a word that you can explore, is still set in it’s story (if it even has one, but we’ll get to that) whereas a hypertext can have nearly limitless possibilities, the story doesn’t have to result in this one specific conclusion like a video game. BUT! as Jasmine then pointed out, when playing a game, there can always be parts of the game that you haven’t yet explored or discovered and this is like hypertext, you cannot see all the possible paths. but is this enough of a connection?so, “what relevance does this have?” i hear you ask. well, you inquisitive reader you. one of the big points discussed in this weeks lecture was whether a video game can be considered a hypertext narrative. and there were so many differing opinions coming out from the symposium too. we had a resounding “NO!” from one side of the table and a yes! from another and then kinda just landed in the middle. so let me break down the points for you

i’m not sure. adrian emphasised the necessity of story and narrative within both the hypertext and the game. well, mainly that a hypertext does have a narrative but a game doesn’t have too. i mean yes, some do, but there are other games that obviously don’t have a narrative, like pong. or tetris. so where hypertext is about new and different ways of telling a story, a game doesn’t even have to have one, so how can it be a hypertext narrative? another point that adrian brought up was that “games are about winning” and that “you can’t win a story”. but, when you read a story,

isn’t reaching a positive outcome within the story kinda like winning? i mean, you want the outcome to be good and when it it you feel as if you have won.  i guess it’s still different types of winning. but with a video game that has a narrative rather than a competitive or points system, there’s also no real definite “win”. does beating the game mean you have won or just completed it like you have completed a story? take kingdom hearts for example, you play a single character, sora, and your quest is (in simple terms) to bring peace to pretty much everywhere. yeah, there’s fighting along the way, and you can win those individual battles, but when you complete the story, is that really “winning” or have you just reached the conclusion of the narrative? and some games you never win. like tetris or temple run, the aim is just to keep going for as long as you can, so really you’re only option is lose, there is neither a “win” nor a narrative conclusion. so really, there really is no proper way to answer this question. because there are too many different types of games to classify anything. as long as we keep playing and reading, does it really matter?

just one more small note from the lecture, i really liked Adrian’s point about the meaning not living in the text (or shot, as his example was in film) but in the combination of two shots or links between the texts. on it’s own, a text is nothing (similar to the theory that context cannot survive) but it must be combined with something else to have a meaning and different combinations can have different meaning. this reminds me of something we covered last semester in cinema studies about editing, what is known as the Kuleshov Effect and pretty much is about how the meaning of a shot can be altered completely by the following shot. check out this video below from none other than alfred hitchcock for a much better explanantion.

that’s all from me now, a bit long this post was. i guess there was a lot to talk about.







so, the title of this blog post will only make sense to bec skilton but to us it’s a pretty relevant summary of our activites in class last week. i would explain it to you, but it just wouldn’t be funny. and you’d probably end up just thinking i’m crazy (or crazier than you already thought i was). but, considering that there’s probably no one actually reading this, i don’t really have to explain myself anyway.

back to the actual point of this blog post, our class discussions. for some reason, most of them tend to involve a lot of rebuttal against stuff that’s been said during that week’s lecture. and last week’s class was no different. the main point that people didn’t like was adrian’s claim that context cannot survive the text. i both agree and disagree with this (i guess what i’m really saying is, everyone made good points so i’m on the fence). every text can only be written in the specific context of that time and really can only be read in the specific context of the time in which it is being read. so in that sense, no, it does not survive. but a text being written in a different context does not mean the author doesn’t exist, or their intentions don’t exist and especially doesn’t mean that we can’t try and work out what their intentions were. as someone in class pointed out, the second we acknowledge that someone has created something, it changes our view of it. i guess the consensus was that everything that had been said at the lecture was too absolute. i guess in this day and age we are a fan of ambiguity and blurred lines (but not the song). i’ve never really been such a fan of black and white anyway.

can i control my blog?

this week was a very interesting unlecture, despite us not getting to my question :(. i guess there were just so many good things to talk about in regards to the other questions that we just ran out of time for mine.

the biggest point i took away from it was about the amount of control the author can have? and how much is that? well, right now it doesn’t seem like a lot. that’s the problem with the gap between the author and the reader, you can never know just how they’re gonna interpret  your work. so, in a sense, emphasising your lack of control can give you more control. if we write something that allows for different interpretations, we are showing that we are understanding how our audience works. actually, i don’t know. i lost myself just then. but it made sense when i started, haha. it’s also about not being able to know exactly what the author was thinking or intending, we just need to take the work as it is and attempt to make sense of it independently of the author.

another aspect of this, which was also brought up in the unlecture was the notion that context cannot and does not survive the text. so how could we know what an author was thinking when he wrote a book 150 years ago because it was a completely different time with different social norms and ideologies. we can only interpret it the way we see it today because we no longer have access to the context in which the work was created.

i know there was more important stuff that was discussed but my brain is falling out on me, it’s been a long day at work. but the last thing i want to mention (which was actually the first thing adrian mentioned so working backwards here) was that awesome animal book (i forgot it’s name!!!!) with the ten animals that you could mix and match to create almsot endless possibilities. oh, how i would love to read that book. that book is probably how they make pokemon now a-days, seeing as how they are really running out of ideas for those little pocket monsters (fairy floss pokemon??? say whaaaat??). but, being the child at heart that i am, i really wanna read that book and see what cool animals i can make. it was an interesting point to, the difference between that and the “choose your own adventure book”. although everyone was talking about that because the reading mentioned something similar, the titanic online game/book was pretty much a choose your own adventure because there were more limited outcomes (well, thats what i assume, i haven’t actually read/played it). but the endless sonnet was cool. i wonder if anyone has done all the possibilities? i guess not considering it would take, what was it?, 200 million years. ok so maybe not, but there’s no harm in trying 😀