Author Archives: phelanro

Week 7 Blog Post

Both SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) and PIPA (Protect IP Act) fight against online piracy and to protect intellectual property. The necessity for these types of legislations has been established with the development of the web and the ability to download and share things online. SOPA and PIPA have been drafted to solve these issues and protect people’s rights. In my opinion, it is possible that programs and legislation can be created to help settle the issues. However, I think there is a better way. These legislations would shut down the whole sites and I think this is unnecessary. The people who are stealing the copyrighted work should be punished but people who have not violated copyright use the same websites as the people who do. There should be a way to pinpoint those who are actually violating copyright laws instead of generalizing to the whole site. If they are able to specifically punish those who are in violation, then it could help protect copyright laws in the future. It would also affect the development of the web because it would change how things can be shared online. People who created it would need to always receive credit from people using their work, so sharing could be more difficult.

Issues with copyright has heated up in political debates and the public eye so different ides have been though of to combat it, which is how these legislations started. Copyright and its relation to the web have developed more issues and people pay attention to them. The legislation has a lot of controversy though. There have been protests on Facebook where people changes their profile picture to show their opinion and articles, like the articles assigned for this week, have been written to express the author’s opinions.

Week 6 Blog Post: Copyright and the Web

The web has made it easier to share ideas. This helps people be more creative because they can bounce ideas off of others or find out what others think, yet, it can also create issue. Things like Blogs, Podcasts, and Wikis make it easier to share information but complicate copyright. It is now easier to see multiple ideas from people but the down side is that you might not remember where you first heard the idea, and think it is your own when it is not. It is difficult to know where ideas originally come from.

According to Larry Lessig there is a culture where people create their own art using works by others, such as pairing videos of politicians talking with music. He differentiates this from stealing others ideas, stating they re-create what others have made to say things differently. He makes the argument there are certain situations where it is fair to use others’ works. He believes there needs to be balance between works being available to use and business embracing the idea of people to using works of art. A DJ, “Girl Talk,” would agree that re-creating is not stealing ideas and that it should be allowed because he mixes up music to create new songs.

Overall, I believe the web evolves with these changes. There are organizations, like Creative Commons, where creators allow others to use their work but they need to be improved. I believe that if they continue to evolve, copyright will not be completely destroyed, but, if creators do not embrace this idea of allowing others to use their work, there is a chance it can be destroyed.

Week 5 Blog Post

Licklider’s predictions were partly true. One statement he made is that people will eventually be able to communicate more efficiently through machine than in person. As a result of the increase in electronic communications, less people talk face to face. If someone needs to get a hold of someone, it is easier to use technology to get in touch with him or her instead of visiting the person. Licklider predicts that computers will help improve the effectiveness of communication, which has happened. People can now communicate with someone instantly. They do not have to wait for snail mail to send a letter or telegraph, but can pick up a phone or send an email. One area in which Licklider was incorrect is concerning unemployment. He states unemployment would disappear forever because of the need to adapt new generations of the computer network. However, as we can see from current information, unemployment is still around and is still an issue.

Sherry Turkle talks about how technology has affected people psychologically. She would agree that computers would increase the effectiveness of communication, but that this is not necessarily good. Turkle brings up how fathers used to talk to their children during commercials while watching Sunday football but now are on their phone during breaks, and how nursing mothers will also be texting at the same time. People look to technology as a way to keep them connected to others almost 24/7. While communication has become more effective, people are interacting in the real world less and less as a result of the technology improvements, negatively impacting our social interactions with each other.

Week 4 Blog Post

Sid Meier’s Colonization game puts the player back in times when Europeans and Americans were colonizing Natives. In order to win the game, players must maintain relationships between colonial powers and Natives, including making trades between them. Many of the trades the Natives want to make, however, are for horses and guns, but if the players makes this trade, the Natives will be able to upgrade their military unites, which could be negative for the players. On the other hand, the players can make these trades with allied Natives to help them. This game is also fairly correct historically. In 1680 during the Pueblo Revolt, the Spaniards were forced to leave horses behind, which came into contact with Natives and helped shape the Native culture, which is evident in the game. However, the exchange of germs between Colony powers and Natives is absent. The author mentions that if it was to be included, the game would become more complicated and it would worsen the experience of the players. Another part of the game is the converting of Natives to be like Colonists and wear European clothing. This happens when the Native graduate from a school in the settlement. There is no option to stop this from happening and there is no Euro-American equivalent.

The author demonstrates cultural importance because the whole game involves both the culture of the Natives and the colonial powers. The part where the Natives become “converted” shows the clash of the cultures and the colonial power cultures overpowering the Native culture and assimilating Natives into colonial powers. The game also generates debate over controversy parts. First, there is the controversy of not including the exchange of germs. By not including this part, the game is less accurate since it does not include a part of history. There is also the culture assimilation of the Natives because there is no Euro-American option. There is also the fact that the game was creating with the belief that players would only play the game as a colonial power and not a Native, so they were created unequally. The article does not have any comments made by readers, but does raise important points about the game.

The article titled “Past-Time: Re-Encountering the Everquest” focused on the evolution of the game Everquest. The very first Everquest game came out twelve years ago and has had many expansion packages. Each package expands the world, creating more opportunities for the players to do. However, the downside to the expansion is that the new players are left in areas that are unpopulated, creating a “ghost town” feeling because all the other players are experienced and clustered at higher levels and areas. Sony released a progressive server that allows players to go back to how the game was originally. Yet, this “re-wind” back to the original, is not exactly like the original. Updates made with graphics were still in effect, as was other changes made to help enhance the player’s experience. The players did have the opportunity to vote certain parts back in or out though. One change mentioned by the article was the “corpse run” where players had to run out to their corpses to collect items left on the body. This was taken out in later packages, but some players thought it was a worthy part of the game. The author concludes the article by stating that although this server was created to help players re-live the past, they are in not actually reliving the past. The players themselves are playing the game with a different mindset than they did the first time around, causing them to experience a different game.

This article focuses on a mix of social and cultural aspect of players. The game is played online and players interact with each other. By changing the game itself, it affects the social part of the game, because it gives the players different experiences to talk about. The changes also affect the cultural aspect of the players because it changes the world the game is set in and what they can do in the world. The players want to re-live the original game and interact with others the way it was before, however this is not possible because they are not re-living it exactly the way it was so their behavior in the game changes.  There were some posts commenting on the author’s ideas of how they are not exactly re-living the past, but nothing controversial was raised.

Week 3 Blog: Future of Video Games

Improvements in video games have been impressive. They have gone from simple outlines of rooms where players type in commands, to the complex graphics we have today where the player uses arrows on the keyboard or buttons on a controller for commands. If video games continue to develop as they have in the past, there is a great amount of improvements that can be achieved.

The future of video games is open for development. The graphics in the games, I believe, will continue to develop. Even the video games that have come out in the last year or two are a great improvement over the graphics in video games that have come out five years ago. The graphics can continue to develop and become more realistic.

Another area where video games can develop is the controls. The first video games had text controls meaning the players type in commands to control the characters. That developed into buttons that players use to control the game. The commands have gotten easier and easier. The X-Box even has the Kinect, where the player moves their body to move the character, an improvement from the buttons. This can continue to develop so controlling characters is even easier. This could mean the movements in the Kinect and other similar game consoles are developed further so the players can control more fine motor movement, or another, easier way of controlling will be developed. But communicating commands to the characters can become easier. A lot has already been done with video games, but there is still a lot more than can be improved on.

Week 2: From Big to Small

Computer machines in the beginning were for government and businesses to use. There were not personal computers because there was no purpose. They were for things like code breaking and computing that no individual needed to do. As a result, since there was no market for them, companies did not manufacture them.

Technology evolved over time allowing for smaller computers. Vacuum tubes, used to amplify the electrical signals, were very large and prevented machines from being smaller because the parts going into the machine could not be made smaller, so the end result would not either. Transistors replaced vacuum tubes and they were much smaller. This allowed for the whole machines to be smaller because the smaller parts went into it. The creation of the Integrated Circuit reduced the size of the circuits in computers, also adding to smaller computers. The Integrated Circuit is a material, like silicon, with all the parts of a circuit on it and a thin piece of metal on top connecting everything. This took up less space, decreasing computer size. After this was the development of the microprocessor where the Integrated Circuit contained all the necessary parts of a computer.

Advances in technology prompted the culture changes as well. As personal computers were being built, the public was becoming more informed and developing a fondness for them, expanding the market. First, computers were kits sold to those with the knowledge and ability to build and use it. More people became accepting of the personal computer and the market grew. The Apple II, TRS-80, and the Commodore PET were manufactured, and the cycle continued. Technology improved and public opinion evolved with those improvements.

Week 1: Ada Lovelace

Ada Lovelace greatly impacted the development of computing and she is known as the world’s first programmer. She translated a manuscript on the Analytical Engine from Italian to English which allowed more people to read about how to operate the machine, even though it was never built. Lovelace worked a lot with Babbage on his Analytical Engine. She also wrote a large appendix which included methods for calculating a sequence of Bernouli numbers for the Analytical Engine. Lovelace also created a procedure, which manipulated the card-reader to jump to another card in the sequence if a certain condition was satisfied, called the conditional jump. This change allowed computers to go from just computing to almost making decisions about the information being processed because the card-reader could jump to any other card in the sequence.

Ada Lovelace was a British aristocrat so she had many advantages open to her that allowed her to be successful. She had access to the best tutors that helped her with her math and other studies while growing up, the best equipment in a laboratory for her to work with, and she also had access to the latest books to keep up on the research. These allowed her to have access to the most up-to-date information and research. She also had great mathematical talent. At a young age, she could recognize Babbage had made a digital calculator as opposed to an analog calculator. These conditions together allowed her to have a great impact and be successful.