Intro to Networked Collaboration

Mashup – Erin & Berry

Berry and I began our project with a single photo of some railroad tracks.  I cut the photo in half and spliced in another photo of a single set of railroad tracks with a railroad crossing sign.  Berry turned the photo into a movie clip with some narration that begins, “Much of the world’s freight is transported by train.”  He later added some music and some photo clips of brick walls with graffiti.  I am an audio editing fanatic, so I mashed up some railroad sounds, some other music clips, and a couple of my own vocals with Berry’s audio.  (I used my favorite audio editing program, Adobe Audition– if you do audio editing on a regular basis, I highly recommend it!)  I also love Windows Movie Maker, so I recorded Berry’s existing video clip with CamStudio (video capture software) and loaded it into WMM to do some editing.  I added a lot of effects and transitions, and spliced in some more train shots, interspersed among the shots of the graffitied wall.  Berry’s original audio track ends with this verse:

She had a mental problem
She couldn’t concentrate
She was her own delusion
She was her own mistake
She did a lot of acid
To put the voices down
And one day on her birthday
They found her hanging upside down

It sort of felt to me like these words were describing the face on the graffiti wall that Berry had uploaded, so this video sort of morphed into a piece about a girl’s life that was careening towards its end in the same way that a train careens across a trestle.  I played around with splicing images of the face with images of a train approaching.  I tacked the opening “Much of the world’s freight is transported by train” onto the end again because “freight” and “transported” seemed to have a different significance in the context of a girl ending her own life.

I’m still not able to upload video to Jumpcut– sorry!  The video seems to play the best on Facebook, but you have to be logged in to see it:  http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=54750930943

I also put it on Jaycut here: http://jaycut.com/video/304114/preview but sometimes it doesn’t load all the way to the end… not sure why!

I’m also about to attempt to convert it to a Quicktime file and put it on my own site here: http://www.erinmcintyre.com/networkedcollab.html but I’m going to publish this post first so I get it in by midnight!!!  Hopefully this last link will be up within 20 minutes and one of the three will work for you!  Thanks for a fantastic class, everyone!

Erin

December 16, 2008 Posted by | final, mashup | , , , | Leave a comment

Second Event Review

I attended the Networked Collaboration graduate student event in Second Life last week. We met at The Port and two grad students led us on a tour of Angrybeth Shortbread’s exhibit.

I continue to be amazed at the things I find in Second Life, and this exhibit was no exception! (I didn’t take any snapshots during the event and I ended up wishing that I had. I went back to revisit some of the pieces so I could take some pictures—I’ve included some here.)

We began with a piece that looked like a block of green haze. When your avatar walks through the haze, different musical notes play and a block of color is generated in your wake for each note. The effect of several avatars walking through the piece at once is something like a small, random symphony. One of the students commented that we were creating an audio/visual pattern that would be impossible to replicate.

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The “Push-a-tron” is a piece that allows your avatar to have a physical effect on the purple bar attached to the center of the circular room (see photo below). An avatar can actually push this bar, and anything the bar runs into. In other areas of Second Life, avatars don’t really have a feeling of weight. It was really interesting to feel the change in weight in this room. (It was also amusing to watch my classmates push each other around with the bar!)

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The typewriter piece was beautiful. I flew a little way away from it and watched as some of my classmates typed… the letters appeared on the enormous piece of paper feeding out of the typewriter, and also from a smokestack nearby. This piece was an interesting link between the real world and Second Life, as everything typed on the typewriter appears on Twitter.

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My favorite piece in this exhibit was outside, in space. It consisted of two “cages” with bars spaced far enough apart for an avatar to enter. Upon entering one of the cages, you discover that any bar you look at produces a tone. Standing in the center of the cage allows you to spin around in place and create musical scales as you look at each bar in succession. There was something very magical about it. I spent a good amount of time in one of these cages while my classmates were falling off a nearby ledge and trying to get back up! I was somehow lucky enough to not fall off the edge of this particular walkway!

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My voicechat wasn’t working properly and I ended up just using the local chat, which made it tough to comment spontaneously on the work that was being presented. I wished that I could have been more interactive, but at the same time, I was able to focus on the exhibit without feeling too much pressure to interact. This was an amazing experience, and I’m grateful that the grad students chose to share it with us! Thanks, guys!

December 16, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

First networked event review

The Second Life event with Rafi Santos of Global Kids’ Digital Media Initiative was the first group meeting I had been a part of in SL. I learned a few Second Life related things by being there, i.e. how to voicechat. It was great to see my classmates’ avatar choices! Your virtual lecture space is fantastic, Josephine! I’m still staggered by the fact that it’s possible to be so detailed in “real estate” design in SL!

Rafi began with a description of his organization and the ways in which it impacts the lives of young people. He described the different ways that youths can be involved with the organization (Global Kids’ Digital Media Initiative holds both online and on location activities.) He went into detail about a recent project where students followed an archaeological dig and held their own dig in SL. He directed us to a YouTube link, where we watched a video created about this project. The ability to have everyone look at a specific website during a meeting or lecture is a very valuable thing, and this is much more easily accomplished in SL than in a real life lecture. Rafi was very passionate about the organization and its mission to build leadership in young people. Several times I was listening closely to Rafi and watching his avatar, and I was dismayed to find that my avatar had fallen asleep! This brought to mind one disadvantage of holding a lecture in SL. When a presenter is speaking in front of a group in real life, he or she can judge the reactions of the audience by their body language, laughter, facial expressions, spontaneous verbal responses, etc. This is harder in SL since the appearance of an avatar may or may not be indicative of what its real life counterpart is thinking or doing.

This was a fascinating lecture and a great introduction to group meetings in Second Life!

December 13, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Exploring SL

I did some more SL exploration and figured out how to take photos!  Here are three:

The first is on Orientation Island (I love that I was able to sit next to the parrot on his perch!)  The second is in the Buddha Garden on Support for Healing Island.  What a beautiful place!  I took a look at their schedule of events and they have support groups for a variety of issues… depression, bereavement, bi-polar disorder, and more.  The third pic is from the Pot Healer Adventure, which I am loving!  I played a lot of exploration/fantasy computer games as a kid, and this Island takes me back to my childhood.   (Did anyone ever play “The Perils of Rosella?”  Good stuff.)

November 15, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | | Leave a comment

Second Life

I think I’ve found a new addiction! I’ve been super busy and decided I was really going to make an effort to catch up on some assignments tonight… I downloaded Second Life intending to take a quick look around, and I’ve been exploring for the last three hours! I’m stunned at how detailed it’s possible to be in your avatar creation. I spent a good 45 minutes designing my face. And how cool is it that you can fly?!!!!! I’m forcing myself to log off now because I do have to go to work tomorrow. In my next venture I’m going to try to get a better feel for different locations and how to find them. I’d love to hear the experiences of others who are just figuring out SL for the first time. Good night!

November 7, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Skype – Erin & Berry

Berry and I had a great Skype session this afternoon. I’ve inserted some screen shots above (they should enlarge and maybe even be readable if you click them!) Berry had made an agenda for us using Google Docs, which you can see on the left hand side of the first screen shot. I’ll touch on a few things that we talked about and Berry may want to mention some more.

We began by sharing a little about ourselves and then moved into a discussion of various online networking sites. We weighed the merits of Myspace and Facebook and agreed that Facebook is much more functional/user-friendly. We discussed Twitter and Delicious, and Berry shared an article about the U.S. government’s concern that Twitter could be used as a means for terrorists to communicate (see screen shot #2 with the article on the left hand side of the screen), which is somewhat alarming… does the government want to monitor things like Twitter?! Big Brother and 1984, here we come. I had been particularly interested in the reading “A Travel Guide to Collaboration” (Alice Dragoon) because it addresses a lot of issues that I’m dealing with at one of my jobs. (I work at a large company that is in the process of merging with another large company, and many of the two companies’ electronic files are incompatible. As much as we would like to collaborate and share resources, we are often stymied because of the sheer technological difficulties.) I shared a link to Exostar, a third party provider that offers neutral workspaces for companies that want to collaborate (mentioned in Dragoon’s article). See screen shot #3. Berry shared a link to a similar collaboration site called Basecamp (screen shot #4).

A great conversation! Thanks, Berry!

October 26, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | 2 Comments

My dog as a sensor/actuator system

I was sitting in my living room reading the “Sensors and Actuators” portion of the Distributed Being reading this afternoon. My dog was lying on the couch next to me and it struck me that he is really a living, breathing sensor/actuator system, and he follows a very specific set of rules. First, a few definitions:

  • System = Lucky the dog
  • Default Location = within five feet of Owner.
  • Owner = Erin McIntyre
  • Default Mode = light snooze.
  • Alert Mode = eyes open, ears up, awaiting further information.
  • Greet Mode = tail wagging, feet prancing, toy or shoe in mouth.
  • Excitement Mode = jumping, leaping, tail knocking items off coffee table.
  • Sulking Mode = tail between legs
  • Home Territory = Erin McIntyre’s apartment

The rules:

  • When Sensory Input = Owner moves, Response = System relocates to within five feet of Owner and returns to Default Mode.
  • When Sensory Input = footsteps in hallway outside door of Home Territory, Response = System enters Alert Mode.
    • When Sensory Input = footsteps recede to the doorway of another apartment, Response = System returns to Default Mode.
    • When Sensory Input = footsteps stop in front of Home Territory, Response = System remains in Alert Mode and waits for further information.
    • When Sensory Input = knock on door of Home Territory, Response = System barks loudly and waits for information from Owner.
      • When Sensory Input = Owner opens door, Response = System returns to Default Mode.
      • When Sensory Input = Owner does not respond to bark, Response = System barks again and repeats until Sensory Input = Owner opens door.
    • When Sensory Input = sound of keys entering lock on door of Home Territory, Response = System enters Greet Mode.
  • When Sensory Input = Owner’s boyfriend touches Owner, Response = System inserts self between Owner and Owner’s boyfriend.
  • When Sensory Input = Owner leaves Home Territory, Response = System enters Sulking Mode
  • When Sensory Input = Owner picks up leash, Response = System enters Excitement Mode.
  • When Sensory Input = System leaves Home Territory, Response = no rules apply!

So there you have the rules that govern my dog’s behavior. (Hope you all don’t mind a little humor!) There is very little anyone can do to change these rules. He cannot be hacked and he is not susceptible to software viruses.

I can’t help wondering whether viruses and hackers could pose problems for buildings that function on a Sensor/Actuator system. Much of the Distributed Being reading focused on buildings that are “fluid” or “flexible” or constantly changing in response to environmental input. Isn’t this an enormous opportunity for computer glitches to occur? Having your computer crash is one thing, but having entire sections of your house develop “communication problems” with each other is another thing altogether! I’m picturing the system doing a scan of itself and suddenly recognizing the living room as a piece of malicious software that needs to be removed. Before you know it, walls go flying and your couch ends up on the front lawn! I’m sure this is an exaggeration, but you see where I’m going with this! Aren’t we setting ourselves up for some problems when we make our buildings “intelligent”?

September 28, 2008 Posted by | culture | , , , , , | 2 Comments

On convergence and participation

In Convergence Culture, Jenkins writes, “Convergence is a word that manages to describe technological, industrial, cultural, and social changes depending on who’s speaking and what they think they are talking about.” I must say that I was relieved to read this sentence! Over the course of this week the notion of convergence has been simmering on the back burner of my mind, and I’ve been asking myself what exactly we mean when we talk about convergence. Apparently it’s quite subjective! To me, the most interesting interpretation of convergence is the merging of old and new media delivery systems as a result of (or resulting in) a change in cultural participation. For the rest of this post, this is the interpretation of convergence I’ll be using.

A huge example of convergence in our recent media history was ABC’s decision to begin airing full episodes of the network’s shows online. Critics of the move predicted that once viewers began watching full episodes online, they wouldn’t return to watching ABC programming on television. Perhaps, however, it doesn’t matter if viewers begin watching most of their television online. Could this be the beginning of a new convergence trend? Movenetworks.com reported that in May 2008, ABC viewers watched “a record 815 million minutes of full-length episodes during the month, a 53 percent increase over the previous month and an increase of nearly 110 percent over May 2007. The full report is HERE. My own experience with ABC’s online episodes was one that actually increased my television viewing. I often come home late at night after bartending and want to watch something besides infomercials. I got hooked on “Desperate Housewives,” “Brothers and Sisters,” and “Pushing Daisies” through online episodes, and soon I was making time in my schedule to watch the new episodes as they aired on TV. What a sly way to get me addicted to three ABC shows!

I came across another interesting example of media convergence today. I do some work at Sirius Satellite Radio on the Metropolitan Opera Channel. The Met Channel is a recent project with a goal of making a wide range of full-length Metropolitan Opera recordings available to the listening public. As the channel’s popularity has grown, the demand for older and more obscure operas has increased. This afternoon I was uploading a 1935 recording to the system and my supervisor remarked that this particular opera had never been broadcast. When it was recorded in 1935, the three-plus hours of music were all contained on large wax-like discs that held five minutes of music each. With the improvement of sound restoration technology, it is now possible to merge this extremely old form of media delivery with a very new form—satellite radio. Exciting!

The Hopkins reading intrigued me with its thoughts about participation (and by extension, participatory culture.) To live is to participate. We are, by default, participating. It would follow that there is no non-participatory culture, so all culture must be participatory. The question then becomes not “will I participate?” but “how will I participate?”

September 18, 2008 Posted by | convergence | , , , , , | 5 Comments

Erin’s First Week Assignment

Henry Jenkins says that convergence culture is where old and new media collide. Converging media is all around us, and has been all around us for some time. In the 1870s, telegraph technology collided with Bell’s new technology to create a new media; the telephone. Highway billboards have become large TV screens in increasing numbers, tapes have given way to digital music technology in the form of CDs and mp3s, VHS media has met its digital future in the DVD and Blu-ray disc, direct marketing has progressed from catalog mailings to telemarketing to email marketing to text message advertising, TV viewers are spending more and more time watching YouTube videos, and digital written communication is moving away from email towards online communities like MySpace and Facebook. These examples illustrate progressions from one media type to another, but perhaps convergence culture signifies something more. Convergence culture implies a situation where the collision of old and new media produces a noticeable cultural shift. One could argue that all of the above have created cultural shifts, and yet Jenkins says, “YouTube is the fullest embodiment of convergence culture”. Perhaps he is alluding to the participatory nature of YouTube (he goes on to speak about “participatory culture”). YouTube is a prime example of participatory culture. It is only successful when users participate, i.e. upload their own media content and view the content of others.

Each new wave of media that rolls into our culture corresponds to a different point in my life. Email became mainstream as I was graduating from high school. The internet became highly accessible during my freshman year in college. I saw a mobile phone for the first time during my junior year, and I bought my first cell phone three years later when I moved to Manhattan. I now rely heavily on email, Facebook, and texting. I see the genius behind i-mode’s targeting of Japan’s child/adolescent market. These technologies hit me when I was in my late teens and early twenties, and as much as I do use email, Facebook, and texting, I can imagine them being even more ingrained in my life had I been exposed to them as a child.

I find that Facebook has changed the way I interact with specific groups of people. It’s incredibly easy to let all my Vermont friends know when I’m driving up to visit my parents. When my dog had kennel cough (highly contagious!) I alerted all my dog park friends at the touch of a button. If I’m singing in something or going to see a show, I can invite my music and theatre friends through Facebook. Casting directors are beginning to form groups on Facebook to make it easier for actors and singers to submit themselves for projects. Lastly (and somewhat to my embarrassment), my roommates and I regularly leave notes for each other on Facebook instead of walking out to the kitchen and writing on the dry-erase board on the fridge! Food is optional; Facebook is not.

September 7, 2008 Posted by | collaboration, convergence, culture, social networking | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment