gamification_vjgusThere is a new fad going on in our culture. It’s a good bet you have participated in it, unaware of its existence. The fad is called gamification. It takes mundane routine tasks and turns them into game activities. The concept is used to motivate and engage persons to do things not typically considered fun. Corny as it may sound, gamification is actually working and can be seen in all walks of life. Kids play way more math and reading games in school these days to help them learn. Winn-Dixie gives out fuel reward points for shopping at their store. There is even a silly virtual zombie game application that fabricate zombies chasing after you to motivate you to run for exercise. Of course critics say gamification is stupid and not everyone wants some cheap or phony incentive for doing things that need to be done anyway. For others gamification is a fun and harmless way to spice up their already tedious life. Therein lies its greatest value. Gamification has the ability to influence change in many harmful behavioral habits such as smoking, speeding, or unhealthly eating just to name a few. For this reason alone gamification is a wonderful idea that should be around for generations to come.

Barco-cine-digitalChapter 6 is Lev manovich’s last chapter of his book The Language of New Media. Titled What is Cinema? it follows the same rhetoric of the first five chapters. Last but certainly not least it is cinema that Manovich defines by touching on its key concepts and tracing its origins back in history. Cinemas identity has always been its ability to record reality. The computer age however, has redefined cinema. Computers are capable of creating photorealistic scenes without actually filming anything. Manovich’s examination of the changes digital computers have made in filmmaking is as always engaging and worth a closer look. Cinema from the beginning of it conception was known as the art of motion. it quickly became the most successful techniques for creating and displaying moving images. Similar to the techniques that came before it, cinema originally were images created and animated by man. It wasn’t until a machine was created to automatically generate and project images that the cinema we know today was born. Historically Lev Manovich references Thomas Edison’s kinetoscope as the first modern cinematic machine. In it’s early stages the moving image comes to be defined by two styles, animation and cinema. Manovich says that animation embraced its artificial characters and graphics were used as its visual language where as cinema acted as if it was reality they recorded on film denying the fact that their images had been constructed. The opposing styles lasted until the 1990’s that’s when a shift to computer media saw a rise in computer generated special effects. It is digital technology that would redefine the logic of making films. Live action footage is now animated, combined with 3-d computer generated scenes, and painted over. Manovich can now answer the question what is cinema? Cinema is a particular case of animation that uses live-action footage as one of its many elements.

database-design-developmentIn chapter 5 Lev manovich enlightens us about the two popular forms of new media. He appropriately titles the chapter The forms. The two forms he speaks on are the database and virtual interactive 3-d space. The database is a collection of data. It can be used to store any kind of data. Virtual space is what you see while playing computer games and using other typical human computer interaction. Manovich says the two are not just computer forms but have become cultural forms used to represent human experience and the world. He notes that what used to be two separate forms, one for work(database) and the other for play(virtual space) has now become one interface. To help us understand why computer culture uses database and virtual space he deeply examines how the two forms are used. The goal of the database is to provide an interface to data, making accessing information fun and efficient. All websites are databases. The job of virtual space is to psychologically engage you in an imaginary universe. That’s what computer games do. The narrative was once the most popular form of expression. The linear format of beginning, middle, and end was the common way to present everything. Well in today’s computer age the database presents a new way of thinking. New media does not tell stories, instead it is a collection of data. In a way it is symbolic of our world today manovich points out, an endless and unstructured  collection of images, text and other data records. Currently there is a competition between the database and the narrative, two competing imaginations as manovich sees it. Ironically they both encompass some aspects of each other. For example, encyclopedias the purest form of the database uses the narrative. Like wise many novels are written in an encyclopedia format. Despite the inevitable blend between the two it is the digital computer and its databases that are dominating our culture

water-drip

Image  —  Posted: April 3, 2014 in assembling for digital media

dreamsbirthLev Manovich dedicates chapter 4 of his book The Language of new media to illusions. The false impression of reality is the most fascinating aspect of media, with the ability to awe and keep anyone’s attention. Gamers sit for hours upon hours playing the same game under the illusion that they are in some other world. Today real-time,  interactive, 3-D, and special effects create extraordinary experiences for kids and adults. Manovich shares that historically early painters created works so good that even birds believed the art was real. To compete with these paintings a graphic machine was created to make viewing images more realistic. Today that job belongs solely to digital computers. Staying true to form Manovich touches on a few of the historical theories of illusionism and pits the traditional lens based images up against today’s computer imaging technologies. Illusions are all based on appearance. Today’s images Manovich tells us take on two identities. They satisfy human communication while also capable Amazing-Optical-Illusion-Of-Transparent-Screen-002-550x412of computer based production and distribution. Essentially today’s imaging has the style and substance of traditional photos with the logic of a computer. Manovich calls today’s images cinematograph images. In comparing the two Manovich says that illusionism in art and media will always revolve around the simulation of how things look. New media however is not only concerned with the visual aspect. Computer simulation goal is to model how objects and humans act, think, and feel. Thus the viewer becomes an active user with an image effectively creating the difference between old and new imaging. Manovich touches on several different issues in relation to illusionism and computer imaging technologies. His insight is in-depth as usual, but his thoughts on “realism” is what sticks out the most. The goal of new media, in particular film, television, and computer graphics is to portray realistic images. “Realism” is the concept behind that goal and Manovich discusses the idea and historical theories of “realism” in cinema. André Bazin is the name Manovich mentions first as it relates to realism in movies. Bazin’s two essays developed two important 9782866422059theories about realism. First Bazin says that the idea of realism in films is nothing new, but rather the development of film technology. Secondly Bazin says that motion picture realism is all about visual perception. Jean Louis Comolli offers a different opinion on the history of realism in cinema. He says realism and style has become what it is today based on the simple logics of addition, substitution/subtraction. Comolli points out that every time we add a new technical advancement it makes older works look unrealistic and this process will continue on forever. He also states that the realistic effects don’t change very often just how they are used. For example, adding more shading and color allows you to subtract visual perspective. Bazin and Comolli theories are ever-present in all of today’s media not just film. Manovich does a brilliant job in chapter 4 of showing how the use of cinema-style illusions contribute to the modern human computer interface.

Swing Time

Posted: April 2, 2014 in assembling for digital media
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A Beautiful day at the Beachwood neighborhood park a disinterested child swings as his imaginary friend swings next to him.

imagesCALSXOTRMedia credibility is always an issue for me. I indulge in any media activity with a suspicion about what I’m being presented. Our countries capitalistic approach raises even more doubt in my mind, as media outlets are willing to show, write, or broadcast anything to make a dollar. Couple that with today’s digital media, which allows for anyone to present information and you have a marriage with serious credibility issues. At least with old media forums, credibility was clear-cut. The evening news and daily newspapers were trustworthy sources of information while news shows and papers such as Hard Copy and the National Enquirer were a little outlandish. Today the quickest and most popular way to obtain any information is through the internet, but its ethics are to be questioned. In the article Online Credibility and Digital Ethos editors Moe Folk and Shawn Apostel reiterate my point. “there exists incredible opportunities for learning, social connection, and individual enhancement via the vast information resources made available by networked digital media. However, information’s origin, quality, and veracity are in many cases less clear than ever before.”Point being you simply don’t know if what you are reading or seeing is true. Good, quality, honest work however, always manages to distinguish itself from the garbage. This holds true in many areas of life and can be applied to online credibility. Websites ending in “.gov”, “.org”, and “.edu” are widely known to provide reliable information. Just as Publix for example, has instant credibility with consumers because it has long provided fresh groceries and excellent customer service. Credibility is a character trait that must be established. It doesn’t happen overnight and takes time and patience to build. When surfing the web it is important to remember these qualities. Automatically trusting the first website you click on for information is not smart. Instead you should research. Go to several different websites to validate the information you have just read. This way when you argue,  your point can be backed with credible and plausible resources.

Whether the critics come from outside or locally the city of Jacksonville,FL. gets a bad rap. Labels ranging from boring, dangerous, country, to racist all have been associated with Jacksonville. I agree the city is in desperate need of more than a few changes, but that’s true about most if not all major cities in the United States. Beneath its flawed surface I uncover a Jacksonville that is actually a great place to live. My Jacksonville is the perfect blend. The largest city in the United States by area, it still maintains its country roots. It is both urban and rural a mix of all cultures. My Jacksonville will never offer the lifestyle choices of a Miami or New york but that’s not our goal. My Jacksonville is aimed at providing the opportunities of a big city with a down home country atmosphere.

Image  —  Posted: March 11, 2014 in assembling for digital media

thCAATIZ1LIn Chapter 3 Lev Manovich continues his tour through the language of new media. This time Manovich takes a stop to look at software programs, in particular the operations associated with them. Manovich believes these operations symbolize the way we think and work currently in today’s society. Operations according to Manovich are the typical techniques of working with computer media,these techniques are selection, compositing, and teleaction. Teleaction is the most intriguing of the three. Teleaction a term coined by Manovich is basically the ability to communicate over a physical distance in real-time. You may recognize the prefix “tele” as it is common in many areas of our life. Television, telephone, telethon, just to name a few. “Tele” is greek and means at a distance or far off.While teleaction is the word manovich gives to the operations of software programs, it is our telepresence that makes teleaction possible and the word that needs to be examined. Manovich, as he had done with each of his lessons puts teleaction in historical context showing how we have reached today’s computer based “tele” operations. Manovich explains that modern media technologies developed from two distinct paths. One is representational technologies which is film, audio, video magnetic tape, and digital storage formats. The second is real-time communication technologies which include all the “tele” operations. Telepresence has always existed. Maps, architectural drawing, x-rays are all examples of the viewer manipulating reality through representations. The internet however, has allowed everyone to be telepresence, instead of just a few trained professionals. Just think, each time you switch to a new webpage you are telepresence somewhere else. Media designer and theorist Brenda Laurel defines telepresence as “a medium that allows you to take your body with you into some other environment….” She says that environment could be with a camera, computer, or both. To get the reader to fully understand telepresence and its capabilities Manovich compares it to virtual reality. At first thought telepresence and virtual reality may seem like the same thing and they are except for one powerful difference. Virtual reality gives the viewer the illusion that they are present in a another world. The viewer also has the ability to change that world. In the end though nothing is really being changed except the computer. Telepresence on the other hand is real. It allows for someone to not only control the computer aspect but actually affect the real world. This difference effectively coins Manovich’s term teleaction because not only is the viewer present but also able to perform real action in real-time.

Mystory

Posted: March 7, 2014 in writing for digital media

meThis is my-story it offers a mere glimpse into who I’am and what I believe. My-story is not some self centered blog aimed at telling you who I’am. It is just me talking, venting about a few particular subjects that came to mind in the midst of me writing.If you want to know who a person really is you shouldn’t ask them questions about themselves because they will respond with answers that make themselves look good. Instead you should observe them let them speak of subject matter on their own and eventually they will tell on themselves. So this is me, my-stories and my viewpoint enjoy.