Category Archives: Uncategorized

Gaming in The Home

In days past gaming was almost exclusive to arcades where youth would stand around each other and watch as someone tries to beat the highscore on the newest arcade cabinet. Many things have changed since the introduction of the personal computers and home gaming. The atmosphere of a cramped arcade is now the comfort of a living room, the highscore roll on a cabinet is now a global network of people’s achievements in every game, taking turns on a cabinet has become competitive online competitions with servers and little to no face to face interactions.

Bringing It Home

Bringing gaming into the home with console and home pc gaming has really helped bring gaming as a media into the mainstream market. ‘Gamers’ no longer need to go out of their way for a gaming experience, one can simply buy a platform and have it readily available whenever you want. This boost in the popularity of gaming has spurred the expansion of genres of games as it’s new found accessibility allows many new people to enter the world of gaming. Unfortunately, confining gaming to homes has perpetuated the stereotype that gaming is somewhat anti-social even though sharing games and gaming experiences is one of the most social past times of the current age.

Putting in on The Web

The combination of the internet and gaming has exploded gaming as a culture. As I mentioned previously gaming is a very social experience, with the internet connecting gamers from one room to another to somewhere on the other side of the world, huddling with your friends around a small screen has become a ‘party’ of screens where everyone is invited. No other medium has this same sense of simultaneous experience between users, people can watch the same movie online but it’s not considered watching the movie ‘together’ whereas two people playing the same game is considered playing together. Gaming isn’t very passive as a medium either, users engage with games quite deeply especially compared to other mediums such as film, television and music. Through engaging with the medium users are engaging with each other, a kind of social interaction that isn’t face to face but more than just talking through a phone. The anonymity of the internet often inspires sour behaviour in groups and individuals and this is very clear in gaming as seen here,

The idea of a ‘gamer’ has really developed into a well known stereotype and this would not have as easily been the case if it weren’t for the development of gaming in the home and the rise of gaming on personal computers.

Week 9 Work And Social Media

An important characteristic of the internet is it’s accessibility, that is to say anyone can access the internet at any time but sometimes it’s inappropriate. An issue emerging around social media is it’s use and roles in a workplace environment. Most companies now have a social media policy that not only covers whether or not social media is accessible at work but the expected behaviour of it’s employees on social media, even during their off hours.

Companies That Say No

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A study by Mindflash and Column Five, shown in the infographic above, shows that in 2011 70.7% of workplaces actively restricted access to social media at work but 72.6% of workplaces claimed to not monitor employee social media use. In the last few years Companies have gotten stricter and smarter about their social media policies, 43.4% agreed social media misuse in the workplace is an issue that needed attention in 2011. On the surface it seems like a reasonable idea to simply stop employees using social media around work at all, but this has the risk of influencing employees to respond by; becoming docile and accepting the restrictions, Trying to cheat the system by finding ways around the restrictions or loopholes in the policy, or become paranoid and stressed about always being monitored.

Companies That Say Ok

Larger companies are finding it more effective to not just block social media but to offer training and set guidelines on appropriate social media use for its employees (Smaller companies can afford not afford the training). When simply blocking access to social media, companies run the risk of employees disregarding rules and misusing social media as a result.

This advertisement for employee social media training highlights the importance of education over the set and forget approach of outright blocking social media access.

The Companies Themselves Use Social Media

Considering the widespread use of social media, companies are more and more being drawn to marketing and public relation on social media. A good example of a business using social media to it’s potential is Biltwell Inc. for their facebook page. On their page they feature competitions, handouts, communicate with customers and generally advertise the brand in a positive, effective way. As Sonny Ganguly identifies about social media marketing, “Social networks are a good option for advertisers because of the advanced targeting options, reliable conversion tracking, and prevalence on mobile devices” (Ganguly, 2015).

Disclaimer: I do not own this cover image, cover image can be found ‘here’

Is Hacking like Modern Spying?

For a long time espionage has been an important element of waging wars, whether it be between nations or companies or two neighbours, spying and breaking into things happens quite often. Spying has long been frowned upon as dishonourable and as an arguable contemporary equivalent so is hacking. Hacking means to gain access to data that you normally aren’t allowed to access. It’s important to note that while in pop culture hacking is often depicted as very computer intensive with lots of coding involved when most often hacking involves tricking someone into giving away a password or physically stealing some kind of key. So, if hacking involves getting virtually into something you shouldn’t can be considered modern espionage?

The Formal Business

On November 24 2014, it was made clear that Sony Pictures Entertainment had been hacked by a group referring to themselves as “Guardians of Peace”. The hackers obtained roughly 100 terabytes of data including private and secure data pertaining to Sony’s business. Within days films from Sony that were currently in theatres and some that were yet to reach theatres had been uploaded to file sharing sites and downloaded, some files up to one million times. A couple of days after the initial attack speculations arose that North Korea was behind the attacks in response to a film in development that criticised North Korea’s leader. Following this, many theatres chose not to show that film.

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Suppose North Korea is behind the attacks despite it’s denial, what we have here is a case of a nation and a corporation engaging in cyber based spying. Property was stolen and virtual spaces were entered illegally. In this case, hacking appears to be a more effective, more relevant, more ‘contemporary’ kind of espionage.

For The Lulz

As an alternative to the corporate level espionage conducted through hacking there are organisations such as ‘lulzsec’ who hack regularly “for the lulz”. A seemingly not for profit group of largely anonymous people working under the unified title ‘lulzsec’ often target other groups or individuals for anything from comments the target made that members of the group do not agree with to policies that violate members of the groups ideals, ultimately the group appears to not be after any one goal of stealing something or specifically accessing something they shouldn’t for personal gain. I stress that luzsec only “appears” to be or do anything because the group is anonymous in nature and so not strictly organised and some would argue that they aren’t truly ‘unified’ either.

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All In All

In her article “The internet has changed everything- and nothing” Deborah Orr says,

“Maybe technology allows human beings to know much, much more about their fellow human beings than is wise. Our vanities, our prejudices, our foibles, our failures of understanding, our anger, our hatreds – the internet seethes with it all. Does all that in itself shake our faith in our idea of humans as developed, refined and civilised? What is civilisation, after all, but the collective and settled expression of our ability to move away from savagery?” (Orr, 2014)

In her article, Orr is talking about the behaviour of individuals online but I think her point is relevant to groups, corporations and nations as well. The internet truly is a place to hide all and to a greater degree bare all. On the surface a nation attacking a company through hacking and threats seems like serious acts of aggression but when broken down how is it any better than an anonymous, barely organised group of individuals attacking anyone they disagree with? Or even more, how is it any better than little johnny starting a fight in the playground with little Benjie for calling him dumb? perhaps disregard for law and privacy just comes hand in hand with the aggression we’re all born with and subject to, regardless of context.

Selfie: Self Marketing?

A dictionary of Journalism defines selfie as “A photograph taken by the person featured in the picture who then makes it publicly available via social media such as Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook” (Harcup, 2014). The important thing to note here is that a selfie is made “publicly available”, when we look at other pictures that are released publicly we can get a possible insight into the reasoning and implications of the selfie.

Marketing The Self

Almost every moment of every day we are under a constant barrage of marketing, targeting the senses, especially images.

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In his article on reasons why images should be included in marketing, Jeff Bullas identifies that social media is becoming increasingly photocentric, supporting image sharing on massive scale. Bullas states, “…It then showcases in my follower’s streams and updates and invites them to engage with me by commenting, liking or sharing.”, leading to the idea that a large part of image sharing is audience engagement. In applying that to the concept of a selfie we see that people are taking photos of themselves and sharing them to public spaces such as social media (Twitter, Facebook, etc) and engaging with other people’s selfies by sharing, liking or retweeting.

Steve Migs wrote a blog post on gender differences and by mimicking the ‘stereotypical girl selfie’ he received numerous comments about how attractive he was.

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It seems, in an abstract sense, that the production and subsequent ‘posting’ of selfies is a kind of self marketing and trade, where the product is your image (but not necessarily you) that you are capturing within a photo in exchange for positive social interaction.

The Reasoning?

Now I want to ask, is the process of uploading selfies and socially engaging with them something we do ‘semi-consciously’ or is it now so prominent in youth culture that it’s ‘just the thing to do’? An article in The Telegraph by Radhika Sanghani, suggests it might be a bit of both. Sanghani looks at how selfies are a way of showing others an image that we want to affiliate with ourselves but also a way we define ourselves and be part of a culture.

Space: The Final Frontier

This week I was asked to come up with some game concepts and break it down into a process of beginning, progressing and ending. In response to this I came up with two games.

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The First Game

The first game (not shown in the above image) involves players picking one other player secretly, then, at once all players reveal who they picked. If two players have picked each other then they do not receive a point this round. Everyone else receives a point. . After 15 rounds the player with the most points wins.This game has no physical space, the interactivity exists within each players mind as they try and anticipate other players strategy.

The Second Game

The second game, again, does not have a physical play space but instead exists as dialogue and mental strategy. The game starts with a number of players agreeing on a topic, such as movies or tv shows or even songs or books. At the beginning of each round, the leader (which rotates every round) picks something from the agreed topic. For example the topic could be movies so the leader could pick The Usual Suspects. If the player has seen the movie then there goal is to let the leader know by describing it in one word. If the player has not seen the movie, their goal is to mislead everyone into thinking they have seen it by choosing a word that might describe the movie.

Become Liquid, Move With The Flow of Information

Prior to today’s information age, power resided in the people who provided and owned physical labour but in this societies network paradigm there has been a shift from production based on physical labour to one based on information, as Mitew put it, “When production is based on information, information is power”. In response to this I became interested in the information that liquid labour handles and why liquid labour must be the way it is to handle information production.

Taking It Home

As of June 2013, 14.24 million Australians had internet access within their homes but more importantly, 7.5 million Australians accessed the internet via their mobile devices. This is important because it stresses the point that internet access and information production is becoming increasingly more dynamic, time and physical location are becoming less of a boundary. Liquid labour has a characteristic of being similarly dynamic in order to match this flow of information. For example, by the same June of 2013 5.64 million Australian workers used the internet to work away from the office.

Effectively Not Central

With knowledge and information being such an enormous product to manage, liquid labour relies on a decentralised control structure in order to process information effectively. This contrasts with the standard hierarchal control structure used to handle large scale production in physical labour based business. A decentralised control structure allows the individual workers to be more active in the decision making process, “A manager often can make a decision without having to wait for it to go up a chain of command, allowing the organization to react quickly to situations” (Joseph, C). In the information processing business, the ability to keep up with information flows is imperative

Bleeding Our Locations

As effective and practical as liquid labour appears to be, especially towards today’s information age, it’s workers tend to suffer social issues such as presence bleed. “Presence bleed explains the familiar experience whereby the location and time of work become secondary considerations faced with a ‘to do’ list that seems forever out of control” (Gregg, M). As Gregg describes presence bleed is when work permeates (or invades) personal life due to the blurring of  ‘where’ work is appropriate as liquid labour transcends any office space. As the world transitions away from physical labour based industries to focus on information processing and the handling of immaterial product which was unseen till recently we are finding a need to adapt and learn how to manage work around dynamic information flows. As the industry develops it is important that we not lose sight of basic principles such as a distinction between work time and down time and the importance of accurately processing online knowledge.

Your Funny vs My Funny

It’s Funny Because I Get It

How many comedy series from outside of your own country do you watch?

Personally, I’m Australian and watch some Japanese, British and American comedy shows but I hardly find them as funny as some of my local shows such as ‘Summer Heights High’, ‘Hey Hey It’s Saturday’ and ‘The Paul Hogan Show’, Australian shows.
Susan Purdie identifies comedy as the breaking of rules involving behaviours and language, although these rules are often subject to cultural barriers. Much like the advertising fail, “where the bloody hell are you?” one cultures joke may be another culture’s insult.

Getting Angry at ‘Angry Boys’

Chris Lilley’s ‘Angry Boys’ was met with some criticism in the US, specifically the character of S’mouse, an African American Rapper and a parody of the mainstream hip hop industry. Looking at this cultural content from different nationalities perspectives can cause different responses.

Comedy is said to be characterised to a locality, meaning Australian comedy is different to American comedy because of location specific references. Other elements that should be taken into consideration include political views and popular demographic. America is infamous for an inability to laugh at themselves where as a lot of Australian comedy is based on mocking our own stereotypes.

There are cases where comedy can breach borders because of a similar ‘cultural DNA’. This means that two cultures that share similarities can sympathise and understand each others comedy. For example, Australia being almost like an evolution from UK culture, people from a UK culture can understand some of the irony behind Australia’s stereotyping comedy.

As we can see in this video, Irish comedian Dylan Moran at the Melbourne comedy festival combining his comedy from the UK and Ireland with Australian comedy for an Australian audience with relative ease. Another thing to note is the abundance of his jokes that ‘mock’ Australia, Australians and Australian ‘things’.

How To Go Global

Comedy is lost in translation when certain specific are just not understood by a culture. This can be overcome be sharing the shows format but localising the script.
With this shows such as ‘The Office’ can be successfully translated, in this case from a dark UK version to a much brighter US version.