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Zombies make anything better. February 3, 2009

Posted by jmoran21 in Humor, Hypertext.
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There are more than a few gaps in my exposure to the so-called “essentials” of human creativity, and my efforts in high school (or lack there-of) probably has something to do with this. In any case, I’ve never cracked the spine of a Jane Austin novel, and indeed the closest I’ve gotten is the theatrical trailers for films inspired by her novels. I may have to rectify this situation, if a new novel turns out to be anywhere near as amusing as its premise: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Based on the classic of the same-ish name, the text is a mash-up of the original, along with “all-new scenes of bone-crunching zombie action.”

Disclaimer: I haven’t yet read this collaboration between Jane Austin and Mr. Seth Grahame-Smith, nor have I attempted to find and critical descriptions, so for all I know it’s a peice of crap. It is mainly the idea which excites me; despite being a print media work, the idea feels very new media. Bizarre juxtapositions are not a new concept (The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen jumps to mind), so I don’t overcredit the author of Zombies. When I first read about the novel, though, it made me think on the potential this idea has for hypertext. Using well known literature classics, one could integrate links to borderline incongrous subplots. Example: The USS Enterprise is involved in a time-traveling accident that sends it back to 17th century Massachusetts, showing that it was in fact James Kirk who fathered Pearl Prynne. Plenty of other genres and characters could be matched up through this format, as long as the author of the mash-up has the skill to integrate his own text with the original in a sensible, appealing way. Maybe I’ll give it a shot.

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Mashups January 31, 2009

Posted by jmoran21 in Big Brother, Humor, Law, Perception, Tech.
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Tuesday was the first meet of New Media 2, and a sizable chunk of time was devoted to Twitter. My opinions haven’t changed much since my first exposure (useless to me, but a potential goldmine). Apparently others feel the same, if its estimated worth is any indication.

On its own, Twitter is just another Stalk-Lite tool of Web 2.0. It’s appealing as a broad ranging, persistent text message, appealing for all the same reasons. Text lets us put in more thought and personality, better conveying our chosen web personae. Lots of Twitter mashups exist that attempt to make some sense of the chaos- Tweet News and twittermap jump to mind.

My ideas for the killer twitter app:

Twitterbell: a flash animated Tinkerbell on an accumulator. The accumulator tracks the number of unique tweets that say “I don’t believe in fairies.” and “Clap!” If the “don’t”s ever outpace the claps by more than, lets say, 500, Tinkerbell dies a gruesome cartoon death.

Twittercraft: a pan-realm twitter client integrated with Blizzard’s World of Warcraft. It would be filterable based on realm, allegiance, clan, and topic, but carry over the foreign language barriers of the main game. The key stone would be a filter for “role-playing” tweets. Imagine, a torrent of harvestable info on the races of Azeroth. Finally, a way for the major corporations of today to make major inroads into the tricky “Male Orcs Age 18-24” demographic!

ETRS (Emergency Twitter Response Service): It’s only a matter of time before common practice grants toddlers a cell phone with texting priveledges before they master vocal communication. Before long, typing onto a mini qwerty keyboard will be our primary, fastest means of communication, and to better prepare for that day, its important we get the groundwork laid now. ETRS will monitor tweets from people in distress and will then promptly dispatch the proper authorities.

America’s Most Twittered: Similar idea, in reverse. Enlist the Twitter public in helping track down fugitives, stolen goods, and missing children. How simple would it be to at least add Twitter to the Amber Alert system?

Twittered and Found: Organize all tweets regarding lost and found items, goods, and even pets. If you see a stray, just tweet the word out with a description and its whereabouts.

Plenty more ideas where those came from, although to be honest some of those ideas might already exist and I’m just too nearsighted to find them.

Masq – not a game, but is it New Media? September 10, 2007

Posted by jmoran21 in Comics, Games, Humor.
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I’ve been addicted to the first-person interactive graphic novel known as Masq for a few months now. The “game” is flash based, a free download for 20 lives, additional lives will cost you. The game is described as being a totally interactive drama, with hundreds of possible experiences based on the choices you make. It’s a fun little diversion, and it goes into seedy territory that a lot of real games shy away from in this day and age of the frat-boy FPS. Definitely NSFW.

Is it a game? To me, the word game means that there is some degree of at least one of these elements: chance, skill, or strategy. Masq can be played with a strategy, yes, but enough plot twists occur in the story that are a direct result of your actions and yet are totally unforeseeable that strategy is useless on your first read through. This is therefore not a game, just interactive art.

Is it New Media? It is digital. It’s modular, because each scene has multiple resolutions and can occur in different orders. It’s automatic, responding to user input. It’s obviously variable, and it transcodes the pulp fiction magazine with the information age in an attempt to revitalize an old genre. This is prime cut, USDA Grade A New Media, and I can’t wait to see what genre Alteraction tackles next.

Rescuing Lost Pilots August 28, 2007

Posted by jmoran21 in Humor, TV, YouTube.
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Locating a bootleg VHS copy of the Star Wars Holiday Special after years of scouring tag sales remains to this day a delicious triumph of my youth. In spite of this, or perhaps because of it, I have mixed emotions about how easy the internet makes rediscovering lost media that was better left forgotten. I do believe, however, that never-aired TV pilots deserve to be dragged out into the light, hissing like a wet cat. YouTube is the de facto home of many of these relics, copyrights or no. Found via 4cr, behold Heat Vision and Jack, staring Jack Black and Owen Wilson.

Where do these things come from? Are they sitting in some supply closet on some sort of ancient nineties storage device, just waiting for the loose cannon intern with enough free time on their hands to come along and recklessly release it to the hungry web masses? Or is it from someone creatively involved in the series who just wants the satisfaction of somebody seeing the fruits of their labor? I’m sure whoever is originally responsible for posting videos like these, and whatever their intentions, they must be making somebody mad. Who owns the copyright for failed TV pilots? Is it the network that commissioned them (if that is indeed how this process works?) or is it the studio that filmed it? While I have a hard time believing that these “one man’s trash” type films have been given freely to the masses, I don’t see why they shouldn’t be. Aquaman isn’t doing anyone any good just sitting in TV limbo, why shouldn’t I watch the amusingly campy pilot for free?