“I’ll Be Back”.

Who would have thought Arnold Schwarzenegger would be the biggest advocate for video game regulation? The debate continues over free speech versus violence within video games in the Supreme Court.

Apparently, this is nothing new for Schwarzenegger, California Governor, who has been pushing for stronger regulation in the video game industry since 2005, when he signed a law for the ban of sales of violent video games to minors. However, the law did not uphold in court because the judge claimed there was no factual evidence that supported there was a connection between video game violence and psychological effects in minors.

The Supreme Court is hearing the court based on the high court’s recent vote to implement a law banning any game with animal cruelty. Both cases are similar circumstances that pertain to the necessity for a clearer definition of violence within the First Amendment.


Beacon is Back. Sort of.

Instant personalization, your new online overlords call it. Sounds much more friendly now, doesn’t it? The “Like” function now appear on other websites, such as IMDB and Yelp! So, when you “Like” a movie on IMDB or a restaurant on Yelp! it automatically shows up in your favorites. Whatever the exact workings are, it’s a powerful marketing tool, and there’s no debate that it “could” be used for such, but it’s what it was made to do.

Some writers have posited that Facebook is trying to establish itself as the center of the internet such that all other websites become tributaries to the river that is Facebook This new “open graph” basically allows Facebook to own information on you and what you like. But the cool thing that comes out of it is that this new tech can actually differentiate between objects and persons, apparently. And, granted, you can “opt-out” of it (Americans…).

What are your thoughts on this? Is this just another power play Facebook is making at owning you and your internet experience, or is it a legitimate and ingenious business model that in no way infringes upon your rights?

Walden; or, Life Without the Internet

My new morning routine

My p.c. crashed a few weeks ago. Died. Breathed its last. The funeral is Tuesday.

And with that, my old manner of news consumption perished too. Out went the nytimes.com, the Huffington Post, and a bizillion other news-sites; in went the Chicago Tribune, a few-too-many pilfered Wall Street Journals, and a limited selection of quality media.

Naturally, my other online activities virtually disappeared. As you might notice (and celebrate), my postings on this blog became far less frequent. So too did the writing on my other blog over at True/Slant — for which I’m actually paid to do, but still lack the sufficient motivation to drag myself to a freshman-heavy library to post.

But this experience has been far from harrowing. In fact, it’s been revelatory. Perhaps not transcendental, but still, influential.

I now read full newspaper articles, with an eye on comprehension and thoroughness. Instead of an itchy mouse-finger, I now utilize a relaxed full-arm broadsheet page-turn. Although I know less facts, per se, I am much more capable of engaging in a meaningful conversation about politics, sports, and music.

Aside from current events, my experience of literature (scholastic or leisurely) has been greatly enhanced. It’s now much easier to fully immerse myself in the worlds of Joseph Conrad, Norman Maclean, and even A. A. Milne.

Perhaps I’m an outlier — I still lack one of those “facebook” things, and generally distrust anything connected with ‘digital media.’ But I maintain that  even the most plugged-in Gen Y-er would benefit from a week’s unpaid vacation from the Interwebs.

Give it a try.

Tweet for Tracks

This is not a shameless plug (there’s shame involved, I swear).  I absolutely LOVE CASH Music.  About 95% of the music I listen to regularly is free on this Web site (about 95% of the music I listen to is made by the creator of this Web site named Kristin Hersh).

Anyway, they came up with this awesome business model– you promote us, we’ll give you free music.  If you Tweet or update your Facebook status about a song– you get it for free.  Promotion and free music.  You get what you want, and they get what they want. I think they may be onto something, I really do.  It’s like a barter system.  But online.

For the full article from Wired: Tweet for Tracks

After hearing about CASH Music’s new web apps, which allow artists or labels to give a free song to anyone who tweets or posts a Facebook update about their music, we’re wondering why nobody thought of this before. Artists are constantly encouraging their fans to spread the word about them; all that was missing was a way to make sure they were doing so, and CASH Music has solved that problem.

What do you guys think?

Looks like I’m going to jail and there will be nothing left on my computer.

Since we have been talking about copyright and intellectual property thorughout the semester, and the fact that I have spilled my guts to you guys about disregarding the law as we know it, I thought this was pretty interesting. According to Gizmodo, a technology blog, the MPAA and RIAA have submitted documents to the Office of Intellectual Property Enforcement for a plan to put spyware on everybody’s computers to retrieve infringing material.

A submission on Slashdot says, “The joint comment filed by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) requests anti-infringement software on all home computers, pervasive copyright filtering, border searches, forced US intellectual property policies on foreign nations and a joint departmental agency to combat infringement during major releases.”

I find this to be very extreme. These businesses are attempting to have Congress compromise our Constitutional Rights. What about free speech? What about right to privacy? I think (and pray) that the government has better things to do than play music/movie cops. Also, shouldn’t the MPAA and RIAA consider repricing their products at a more reasonable rate or rethink their business models because their products are so easily transferrable with digital technologies?

Is What You See Really What You Get?

Being a photographer myself, I have become more and more interested in photojournalism. As technology has become such a huge impact on communications and the media, it becomes much easier to use computers to aid in communicating, and also to bring out the bad in journalism and photojournalism. This isn’t a topic we discussed in class, but photo manipulation is becoming a greater issue than in the past. Technology makes it so much easier to smooth out a blemish, or create a new human being from an existing photo.

Many times manipulation is used to make people look better, for example Oprah’s head on Ann- Margret’s body of this 1989 TV Guide cover. Oprah probably didn’t mind too much I’m guessing.

But what about when photo manipulation is meant to defame someone. Images that have been tampered with have the potential to yield the same ramifications that libel or slander does to a reputation. It tricks the public into believing something unreal, or even to question the authenticity of all news that is read. This idea is kind of scary to me. Can we rely on the media to give us the truth 24/7?

I’m just curious on people’s opinions of when it’s okay to manipulate a photo and where should the line be drawn? To what point can photo manipulation be pushed to where the photo’s integrity is still maintained?

Star Wars Kid

So I know this is a few years old now but after looking at the graphic images from the Nuremberg files about abortion I needed a pick me up. Anyways this is a video which most of you have probably seen called star wars kid.

This high school boy filed a lawsuit against fellow classmates that posted the video on the web because it led to constant harassment from fellow students and by the public. There have even been updated videos with music and highlighting of the golf ball snatcher to look like a light saber.

This video was the first time I ever really thought about how someones privacy can be obstructed via internet when this video first came out. Star wars kid became such an internet sensation that it was on vh1, G4, and even Family Guy.

I do feel bad for the boy because his family said that it will forever have a lasting effect on his life. I wonder at what point there will be written laws specific to internet or if there ever will be.