Archive for the ‘Views’ Category

This article from Modern Mechanix, an August 1935 publication, seems to be describing one of the functionalities of Twitter or other similar Web 2.0 applications.



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I was checking out a few articles from the Popular Science Magazine of February 1920. Here are two articles that amused me probably because they look like some of the ‘sold/not sold’ items on Jay Leno’s show.




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I thought I would use Wordle to represent my carrier at a glance. I just took my research statement from 2004 and ran it through Wordle. And this is the result


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When YouTube started, it was obvious to many of us that lowering the barrier for publishing video will benefit anyone who wants to stream content. What is less obvious is that the video content that is being gathered at an astronomical pace will probably be the raw data for future generations of historians, archeologists, social scientists and so forth. And we cannot of course ignore the emergence of video mashups, many of which are made with humorous intent. I am wondering if such clips would not make the lives of researchers say 4000 years from now a little more complicated.


“A video mashup is the combination of multiple sources of video—which usually have no relevance with each other—into a derivative work often lampooning its component sources, or another text. They are one of the latest genre of mashups, and are gaining popularity.”

I am not sure the following videos would qualify exactly as video mashups as the only thing added to them are text overlays, but they were quite entertaining. There are many more out there, just presenting the ones with the less foul language.

Hitler explains Second Life (Thanks to Gwyneth Llewelyn for pointing it out to us)

The downfall of HD-DVD

Hitler gets banned from Xbox Live

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Available here

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I thought i would ramble a little about this as this thought cropped as I was reading Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash. Funny how I am going to read it after having experienced metaverses. What came first Gibson’s cyberspace or the internet :)? It is taking me a while to get in synch with the rythm of the writing which appears a little jerky at times. Writing style aside, I am interested in deconstructing the  scenes he paints in the book. I find it interesting how he picks little examples of future everyday objects, devices and so forth and take the time explain how they would work, and then weaves a story around those. What I find beautiful is that each of these future common devices are really simple linear extensions of daily common devices. The neat thing is that to the uninitiated, or the unexposed to information technologies, the book will certainly appear seismic. I am inclined to believe that all magnum opuses are really woven pieces of linear extensions.

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Avatar evolutions

It is perhaps interesting to think about how our notion of avatars have evolved. On a personal level, and having been exposed to hinduism since birth, this word is familiar and refers to god’s human representation or ‘human’ manifestation on Earth. Many science fiction writers have been fond of using words, names and so on from Indian myths, fables etc… e.g. Arthur C Clarke (Rendezvous with Rama) and more recently Neal Stephenson(the use of avatar in Snowcrash). If i remember correctly, this word rather unexpectedly became visible to me with albeit a slight shift in meaning as multi-player games exploded on the gaming scene. I also found the term ‘avatar’ being used quite regularly in published computer science papers (at so-called serious venues) discussing 3D virtual environments inhabited by role players. The word avatar at least to virtual community users have come to mean representation of users in a shared virtual environment. According to this definition, one could draw a ‘map’ or the evolution of avatars:

Avatar evolution

1. Some early multiuser games on Unix machines represented playes are ASCII letters;

2. Pong computer game represented a player/bat as a short line of pixels (To debate: where does reprentation of tools end and representation of avatars begin?) The actor-tool ‘paradox’ has and will rear its head in such discourses;

3. ‘Blokies’ simple geometric objects to represent users in early 3d virtual environments;

4. Cursors to present user hands/ users/ user locations  in shared drawing applications;

5. 3d human models with correct kinematic behaviors typically found in current 3d multiplayer video games but without facial expressions.

These are the main 5 steps of the avatar evolution i can think of at the moment. It is clear that there is a strong shift in the representation of users from that of tools to that of actors. The realism of actor representations will of course increase and is easy to predict in the near term.

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