My interactive research paper

Here is the link for my interactive research paper:

For the original paper and citations, please go here:


Week 14 questions

1. Couldn’t the argument be made for the other case: that Google is making us smarter?

2. How will the Internet shape the human race?

3. Is the quality of lengthy writing decreasing, or is there just so much of it that we have trouble finding the good stuff?

AR app review

Because of the topic of my research paper, I am reviewing the AR game that came out for Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.  The first thing I noticed was that it takes an inordinate amount of time to load.  First it makes you download an ActiveX Plugin and install it.  Apart from that, it did not tell the user anything else to do.  I consider myself a power user; and it took me a few moments to realize that once I downloaded the plugin, it did not start installing automatically.  The install window was hidden behind my browser.  When I finally installed the plugin, the site had to then download a polygonal image for the app.  When it was done, I saw a dropdown menu that was asking what kind of camera I wanted to use.  It had already detected my onboard camera on my laptop; so I didn’t think I had to do anything more.  Below this, meanwhile, the screen showed a progress bar that seemed to be stuck on 25% for about five minutes.  I thought the website was just loading something else; but it wasn’t.  I finally decided the click a button at the top that said, “Detect Camera.”  The progress bar immediately went away and the app finally started.

The app tracks your face in 3D space and inserts Optimus Prime’s head for yours.  It worked until I was about six inches away from the camera and I was not able to break it from as far away as five feet from the camera.  I put my hand in front of my face to test the facial recognition and it broke the app, as expected.  When I put my hand down, the app took about a half second to bring the Prime head up again.  The polygonal model was fairly high-quality and was see-through in certain parts, making it look like your head was really inside the Prime one.

There were two other aspects to this app.  The first one was simply a sound board you could play with that had ten soundbites from Optimus Prime in the movie.  They were very good quality.  The other aspect was somewhat of a disappointment because it doesn’t work anymore.  You could click a button that said, “Robotocize your voice.”  Presumably, you could say anything and the app would filter it to sound like Optimus Prime.  The movie came out in 2008; but I see no reason why they would have removed only this part of the app.  It definitely was not my computer.  The aforementioned button was simply grayed out, as if it is not a choice anymore, not allowing you to click on it.

As far as theory goes, let’s look at this using uses and gratifications theory.  The theory talks about how people not only seek out things in the media to fill a certain need; they want those things to enhance knowledge, social interactions, and diversion (  So, the need for someone to look up and try this app is because they are interested in the movie, “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.”  I’m not sure this app succeeds even on this first step.  It’s more of a glorified toy than something with real information.  Does the app enhance knowledge?  No.  I know nothing more about the movie than I already knew from seeing the Optimus Prime character on the movie poster.  I still just know that he’s in the movie.  Does it enhance social interactions?  No, but I don’t think it was really trying to.  Does it enhance diversion?  No, but again I don’t think that was a goal here.

The goal of this app was clearly to market the film.  In that respect, it did not succeed.  There really was not any promotional material in it.  There was nothing about the film’s plot or characters.  There was not a link to relating to that, either.  It is a cool special effect; but it’s something that I’ve seen before.  The wow factor is just not there.  Maybe in 2008, this would have been more amazing to me.  But in 2011, it is behind the times.  AR games need to actually be games, not just a screen that sticks something over your head.

Week 11 answers and 2nd reading responses

1.  I understand the concepts of conceptual blending and the both/and idea presented here; but how does this relate to learning something from a game like WOW that one can’t learn in real life?  This is one of the same arguments I give to McGonigal.

I suppose the issue is not that people can’t learn these skills in real life.  It’s that some people either don’t have the learning opportunity available to them or they are too “something” (scared, lazy, etc.) to go out and get the experiences to learn these skills.

2. Is the article trying to suggest that MMOGs, or games like it, will have a real presence in education and the workplace in the future?

I think is not only suggesting that; it’s stating is as fact.  I don’t know how commonplace it will be in the future for companies to use games to train employees or accomplish company tasks.  But I could definitely see some companies employing this for company promotions.  They could make some sort of ARG in which the tasks performed can help company productivity.  The highest-scoring employee could then get some incentive (bonus, time off, etc.)

As for the other articles, I think we went over the scenarios for the first on in class.  The second one has some ideas we haven’t talked about yet, though.  Retail theater is an interesting concept.  It seems like something that would maybe appeal more to women than to men.  Men generally don’t like shopping with one other guy or girl, much less shopping with a bunch of people giving input.  I also think it only works in the context such that real-world products are presented (like the wedding dress example).  The idea of the metaverse is interesting just because it’s here now.  For years, literature and Hollywood have predicted virtual worlds happening and people being trapped in them.  What’s crazy is that, although the virtual worlds aren’t yet trapping our bodies a la The Matrix, they are definitely trapping peoples’ minds.  There are some people that are seriously addicted.  The last thing I will talk about is IWOOT.  I think that if people are obsessed enough with a game to spend money on virtual products, companies should absolutely take advantage of it.  In short, like in real life: if people want to pay for it, let them.

week 11 questions

1.  I understand the concepts of conceptual blending and the both/and idea presented here; but how does this relate to learning something from a game like WOW that one can’t learn in real life?  This is one of the same arguments I give to McGonigal.

2. Is the article trying to suggest that MMOGs, or games like it, will have a real presence in education and the workplace in the future?

answers and discussion

1. This goes with a reading we had a couple of weeks ago about what makes someone a journalist.  Should there be some legality that recognizes citizen journalists and gives them the same protection as members of the professional press?

I’m not really sure.  I have a feeling that if this happened, there would be a lot of people recognized as journalists who don’t really follow the ethics of it.  Furthermore, you would have a lot of trouble enforcing normal press laws when “news” is posted by random people on the Internet

2. The Internet is one of the most unpredictable, open entities in the world.  Could a politician win an election these days without using the Internet at all?

This is actually really hard to answer.  I feel like politicians can get their message across in a lot of ways.  I think the Internet is used as a crutch by a lot of people these days, similar to how the movie industry uses CGI as a crutch.  Yes, the Internet is the easiest way to get a message to a large amount of people.  But it isn’t always the best.  I think that even McGonigal would rather have people rally in real life and socialize than do everything online in elections.  In short, people tell me a lot more than a website or social media do.

I think the Internet has actually been somewhat of a negative thing in terms how it affects politics.  Bi-partisan bickering has never been more rampant, with message boards and article comment sections becoming more flame bait than anything else.  Maybe if I do some research, I can find studies correlating election results to the online presence of a campaign.  But I don’t know how they would be able to prove that.

answers and comments on privacy

1. Should there be a law protecting against wrongful action taken against someone based on a social-networking post?

I think there should be in certain circumstances.  To me, it seems like taking away some of our civil liberties to penalize someone for things they post on a social networking site.  It’s the same issue as not hiring someone based on race.  You shouldn’t be allowed to discriminate because of posts or pictures that may have been taken out of context.

2. What is facebook’s benefit to keeping privacy settings the way they are?

I found out this week just how much facebook sells and who they sell it to.  Clearly their advantage is advertising revenue.

3. Why can’t a social network like facebook allow a user to go by a pseudonym as long as they have the user’s real name in their records for legal purposes in case the real name is needed?

I don’t see a reason why this can’t happen.  And as long as law enforcement and the legal system are getting warrants to ascertain your information, then it seems reasonable that social networks give them your information.

To comment on the guest speaker we had the other day, I think one of the most interesting things is that anyone thought facebook was private in the first place, or any other social network for that matter.  I have always been super careful to not post anything online that I wouldn’t want most anyone to see.  This goes for ultra-religious stuff, political stuff, controversial opinions I may have, etc.  It also includes photos, of which I’ve never taken any or had any taken of objectionable things.  I’m also really careful about what others post about me.  I know you can never be carefull enough.  But it seems like the best form of privacy settings start with yourself.