Sunday, September 30, 2007

Dude looks like a lady

So this week in Second Life we were given the assignment to switch genders, and interact with people that way. Let me just state now that this is a very interesting process, and I am looking forward to interacting on Second Life as a female to gain some interesting perspectives. And perhaps get some cute outfits.

First off, upon switching from "Male" to "Female," I noticed that once my body changed shaped I looked a lot like Keri Russell from "Felicity" when she cut her hair off. Or a very man-like woman. Which isn't a bad thing. I just wanted to be a little bit more feminine.

That's me starring as Felicity on the hit WB show "Felicity"

So I spent a lot of time just kind of toying with the settings and softening my face and features up to be more womanly, while trying to hold on to the color and basic appearance of my avator as a man. Then I threw on a little eyeliner, lipstick, and blush.

After that I spent a lot of time trying to get some good hair going. I'm still not very pleased with it - but it will do for now.

I then put on some City Chic - female clothing for now, and did one last alteration on some minor manly features - I had forgotten to shrink my feet a little bit. And I'm good to go - Jeff Bagley is now a Second Life female.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Computer Mediated Communication....

According to both texts, it appears as though computer mediated communication is another way to communicate, beyond the verbal and written word - an interactive form of communication that is done over the medium of the computer. Used in day to day life through AIM, iChat, Facebook, e-mail - all of these are forms of computer mediated communication.

According to Oldenburg:

- they are neutral ground;
- they are a leveler;
- conversation is the main activity;
- they are accessible;
- as a home away from home, they have 'regulars'; and
- the mood is playful.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Observation Practice Revisited...

Unfortunately, as I observed a place that was off campus - I couldn't go back to look in the Albany bus station again - so I went to the pub to observe some students silently and try to draw conclusions.

At 10pm on a Sunday night, the "Pub" was relatively quiet. There was a table in the center with a four students, or so I assume, in sweatpants and relaxed clothing, hanging out with their laptops and notebooks out. They seemed to be in deep discussion - the books and laptops were ignored.

I automatically assumed they were ignoring their work and talking about something casual - like the weekend's events and whatnot. Upon further observation, however, I concluded they may be discussing the actual homework - perhaps they were working on a group project or assignment. I assumed they were dressed down because of the weekend, hangover clothes - but I could just be passing judgments and making stereotypes. Their other clothes may be in the wash - Sunday is laundry day, after all.

Other than that small group were a few random students situated by themselves around the outskirts of the pub, all with laptops (mostly macbooks) staring intently and typing. Probably doing work.

PS I assumed they were doing work, but as I was leaving, I passed one girl and managed to peek at her screen. She was typing very intently on AIM and facebook. Guess you can't just make judgments.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Once again...

So my second excursion into Second Life today was a bit more interesting than the last. More confident with my avator and feeling a little bold, I decided to not always just sit back and observe but interact a bit.

I don't want to be lame.

Starting out again in the Hanja Welcome Area, I began talking to an interesting man named "Soy Burger" about Second Life and his time here. I noticed that there was a toilet near us, and inquired about it. He responded that there is no use for toilets in Second Life...unless you're into Fetishes or you're a Realist.

I didn't know they had those on Second Life.

After listening to an increasingly ridiculous conversation, I decided to search around for a Live Concert Venue, and teleported to the Gold Label Live Concert Island Venue. Apparently, however, there was no one around, but it looked like a cool Beach Side area that I'll have to check out again.

I began wandering around and used my mini-map to locate other users, and it brought me to a large building called Pinkies. It was a Lesbian Club. I was politely asked to leave, because I was not female. I didn't ask any questions and just left.

I'm still getting the hang of this all, but hopefully, Second Life will get a little easier.

Second Life musings..

Today on Second Life I decided to go on a bit of an adventure.

Granted, I'm still trying to figure out how to work things (mainly, altering my appearance and add-ons and whatnot, I'll get the hang of it.) I started out on my home teleport - which I'm not entirely clear on what it is...just the place where avators go before they set their own "home" spot on Second Life.

My first goal was to interact with other avators and people in this area - which looks like a beautiful kind of Italian terrace with a lot of long lawns and shrubs - however, because of my label (IC Student) I don't know if people were put off or not, but I didn't really get anywhere with anyone except casual "hello's." Maybe I just don't know proper Second Life etiquette. So I teleported out when I found a location one could go sky-diving. Cool, right?

It was called the TransAm Underwater Adventure. Really cool world, kind of a complex building built on top of water with lots of things to look at. Unfortunately, nobody else was there! I wandered around for a while, before teleporting off to a beach where I think I was propositioned for sex. I'm not entirely sure how comfortable I am with sex on Second Life yet.

My next adventure will hopefully help me interact with other people, without sexual undertones, and I'd like to check out some live concerts or something. That sounds really cool. More updates later!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Observation Exercise

Seeing as I wasn't on campus this weekend, and therefore could not sit in the pub or library, I decided to practice my looking observation skills on the road - coming back from a trip home, I sat in the train station in Albany, NY, and situated myself in a small cafe and observed the people around me to the best of my ability.

To make sure I wasn't overly conspicuous and focused on my sight, and not sound, I kept my iPod volume on high and merely watched.

To my left were two women, seated at a small table. One had shoulder length dark hair, a fashionable power suit, and an uncomfortable looking pair of heels. The other looked a little more matronly, in a pair of jeans, sweater, and floral light jacket over. Her hair was dirty blonde, and neatly tied back. Both were very much in conversation, intent and seemed unaware of their very public surroundings (aka, I could watch without looking overtly creepy).

The woman with darker hair spoke with her hands, and from her furrowed brow and very wide hand gestures appeared to me as though she was angry, but not at her companion. The blonde woman sat and maintained eye contact with the woman, her hands neatly folded on the table, pausing every now and then to take a sip of her coffeee and nod or shake her head. The two women sat in this manner until their train was called, and both hastily got up and exited the area.

I moved my attention to the right, where three elderly people sat a table. One was an overweight and balding older gentleman, in a polo shirt and slacks, while the other two were women, one with shortly cropped white hair in jeans and a blouse, the other shoulder length blonde hair, curled and in a sweater and slacks. All three were enjoying sandwiches and soup, and their conversation appeared to be much more lighthearted. It appeared as though the three were laughing and speaking animatedly with one another.

At this point, my train was called and I had to vacate the area. All of the observants, in conclusion, seemed to ignore the public surroundings when accompanied and carry on with no concern, while those alone were hyper aware of the crowds and seemed more self-conscious about it.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Second Life musings..

All the articles depict Second Life as a full and scoping world with just about anything you'd expect to find or do in the real world - except virtually. There seems to be a majority of places to explore and people to interact with, and you're able to do things in the Second Life you cannot dream of doing here.

It's unclear who's using Second Life - it has a large draw, probably for adults more than kids, because it's a reality filled with whatever one wants from it - one can create anything it seems - the articles mention sex clubs, strippers, even buying genetalia for your Avator. It's also interesting to observe from the articles how many corporations and businesses are spending millions of dollars to get in Second Life, to get recruits and endorse their product virtually. Despite how effective this may or may not be, it's fascinating that so many different kinds of people have found themselves on this social-networking second reality.

It seems to me that Second Life is a break from the every day bore of our reality - The idea that Second Life is the creation of its residents is probably this virtual world's biggest draw. As many of the articles have said, "Though Second Life has established codes of behavior, and does enforce them, restrictions are minimal" ( For example, two articles talked about a woman from Germany who is a school teacher in real life, but a moneymaking land owner in control of a great portion of the land in Second Life. The idea that someone could gain that much clout through a virtual world is fascinating - and kind of tantalizing.

I believe that Second Life will be a wonderful tool during class - it is, ultimately, a social networking program and, seeing as we're doing the field or research we are, I think Second Life will be a quick and effective way to interact with a variety of people without having to go hunting - it's like an entire pool of research subjects at one's fingertips.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Games? sdslghdlkshgsdj

This keeps getting more and more complex.

At this point in the class, I know a game has to have some sort of goal and objective - some people argue it can be user or creator defined.

I feel like it has to include at least some definable set of rules, or at least a set of regulations one must follow in order to achieve that above mentioned goal.

I also personally think that a game has to incite enough interest to keep the player or user motivated to keep on playing. Of course, this comes down to personal opinion and interest, which is why there are so many bad games.

But taste is beside the point.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Research Assignment #2

After spending some time playing the variety of games posted on the class wiki, it is becoming increasingly harder to examine them and coin certain ones games and others not. Each of the links shows a graphic and animated "game" used for entertainment purposes - some more complex than others - but each is justifiably in some way a "game."

Samarost, in my opinion, is the least game-like of the lot. There are graphic and imagery, but I had trouble finding a goal and a specific win/lose scenerio - it seemed more just like click around and see what happens instead of a storyline.

The Goat in the Gray Fedora I found to be very much a game - with graphic, characters, and a specific goal in mind. It was possibly the most complex and innovative out of the options.

Collapse was very much a game, but as the previous articles stated, a game in a different way than "Gray Fedora." The goals were much less complex, and much less engaging.

Mr. Picassohead was less of a game, in my opinion, and more so a way to just kill time and have fun. Although the graphics and concept were enjoyable and clever, it's more of a dress up exercise than a game with a goal and rules to follow. There is no storyline.

Finally, FunkyTruck4wd was also a game, with rules, directions, and goals. Although not as complex as "Gray Fedora" and more on par with "Collapse," it follows the conventions of those types of games than with "Picassohead" and especially "Samarost."

After playing these games, I turn back to my already unsure answer on what is a video game, and continue to try and explore that. All of these games, in some form, meet standards that would be considered "video game," although some of them are clearly not very game-ish. Samarost made no sense to me - but it was somewhat user-controlled and had graphics to technically it is a video-game, but not at the same complexity level and as up the gamer as "Grey Fedora" or "Collapse."

My answer still remains the same, I suppose - video games are anything that can be played through some sort of console that use a video card and have some set of game-like rules and story - even if it's a loose story.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Finding Academic Articles...

When exploring the EBSCO Research Database, and signaling down the search to "videogame" in Academic Articles, I found a total of 92 academic articles. I narrowed the search to "VIDEO game" and came up with 36, including the article by Ian Bogost called "Videogames and Idealogical Frames."

When searching through "Qualitative Research," a whopping 372 academic articles appeared. Narrowing the results by subject to "QUALITATIVE research," there were a total of 183 articles.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Related But Different


None of these words can really be associated with one another without given a specific context.

For example, under the assumption that we're looking at each from the perspective of gaming...a game can be a puzzle of some kind. Many consider games to be toy, and therefore, a source of fun, and others consider it to also be a significant amount of work. Books are also sometimes a part or a guide to accompany to the game.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Discussion Notes

According to Adri Labuschagne, in his essay "Qualitative Research - Airy Fairy or Fundamental" ( Qualitative Research focuses more on of the human experience instead of accountability and statistics.

We, as qualitative researches, are focusing in on the richness of an indivudual experience without being burdened down with percentages and completely controlled experiments and evaluations. As the name states, we're not looking at qantity, just quality for answers. As Labuschagne writes, qualitative appears to reach an understanding from an artistic perspective, instead of quantative, which examines a scientific perspective.

C. George Boeree continues this discussion in his essay "Qualitative Methods: Part One" ( Boeree goes on to even suggest that it is borderline unethical to reduce the richness of the human exprience to numbers and controlled variables in order to gain an understanding - as far as he's concerned, it seems, one is ignore the complexity of human life and understanding it.

Qualitative Research appears to really look at personal experience and draw conclusions from that itself, resulting in perhaps less solid or black and white answers, but more realistic ones. Both authors spend a great deal of time exploring why qualitative may be a more complex, but ultimately more reliable and satisfying method of researching.