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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Things Learned from Having my Internet Connection Restored

As momentous an event as losing internet access can be for a person who relies on it for day-to-day living, the (I suppose) trauma of suddenly regaining it can be just as impacting.  The internet plays a very large role in my life, both as a good and a bad influence.  

Being a little introspective about the effects of access to the Internet and deprivation from it reveals some interesting facts.
  • I get far less work done when I have an internet connection.
  • I spend more money when I have an internet connection.
  • Paradoxically, despite getting less general work done, I get more homework done when I have an internet connection.
  • I spend less time fixating on how my homework would be easier if I had an internet connection when I have an internet connection.
  • I appear more intelligent than I really am when I have an internet connection.
  • This makes me more cocky and therefore more of a douche.
  • I spend less time goofing off when I should be doing homework when I was goofing off earlier due to my internet connection.
  • I watch more television when I have an internet connection (thank you, Hulu and ABC.com)
  • I consume more advertising and am more informed current-events-wise when I have an internet connection.
  • I am more social and spend more time communicating with other people when I have an internet connection.
  • I actually leave the house more often when I have an internet connection; my communications with other people cause me to be more active and motivated to get out and about. I read an email from a friend asking what I'm up to, I decide "really nothing" and get out and move. I read about a project somebody's working on and it inspires me to get out and get what I need to work on my own projects.
  • My life is far less insular when connected to the internet as casual contact with the ideas, activities and lives of other people result in change in myself.
What may we conclude from this?  
  • An internet connection is a fixture of modern life: like running water makes living easier, running information makes thinking easier.
  • Entertainment is easier to consume when it is fed directly to your lazy ass.
  • Productivity decreases due to the easy access to entertainment, but potential productivity is increased by the easy access to the collected knowledge of humanity.
  • The addictive nature of easy access to media makes futures like those predicted by Gibson and Stephenson far more likely; there people who live not like junkies for media, but more like fetishists who fixate on their virtual world as much or more than their real world. The virtual world has more impact on their internal life than the strictly physical concerns which keep them in contact with their source of information.
  • Constant access to the diversity of the internet, even within narrow interest groups, results in cultural and attitude shifts on the individual, and emergently, societal scale.
Predictions based on these conclusions:
  • In the future, as the Internet becomes a larger fixture in our lives and younger generations become the new "old people," people will be, on average, lazier about the seeking of knowledge, but overall more knowledgable due to the ease of accessing it.
  • People may be more creative but less original.
  • People may be less risk-averse, but more lethargic.
  • People will be very good at the few things they are good at, but mediocre at best at most skills.
  • The scope of a person's talents will act as the defining limits of their range of expertise and their skill at locating information; they will only know where to find information if it is at least tangentially related to their primary areas of expertise, but they will be exceedingly fast at finding that information.
  • World culture, though homogenizing to a large degree, will evolve at a much faster rate due to the deluge of information and creativity produced worldwide.  Fast and convenient access to this information and the influence of aggregators will factionalize, but also serve to homogenize, these new influences.
  • Fusions of genres of creative endeavor will eventually destroy genre, or at least dilute it to an extent where it becomes closer to metaphor than to the formative and limiting factor it currently is.
Hmm, that's enough hokum for the moment.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Things Learned From Having No Internet Connection for Over a Week

  • I read really goddamned fast, going through 6 books in that 2 week period.
  • This is annoying when you're too sick to go out and find books you haven't already read and only have 4 books you haven't read sitting around.
  • Being sick and having no internet connection is like being stupid and having no Jerry Springer.
  • I cannot read anything written by Terry Brooks without skimming completely past the content of 2 out of 3 paragraphs.
  • I really like trashy D&D novels for some reason.
  • The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat: And Other Clinical Tales is fucking fascinating.
  • I own far too many games that I have not played through, and yet inexplicably, when deciding to engage myself with video games when ill, I tend to choose to play shit I've already finished mostly.
  • Mercenaries 2 is the new Jesus.
  • Dan's copy of Soul Calibur IV brings me joy
  • World of Goo is fucking brilliant but painfully difficult at times.
  • Mega Man 9 is ten kinds of awesome in concept, but I can't even beat a single stage. I may be too old to play NES games?
  • Oblivion still gives me happy pants. No idea why I enjoy it so much. Looking forward to Fallout 3 with an increasing enthusiasm the closer the release date approaches because of this infatuation.
  • I don't remember Far Cry being as hard as it really is. Maybe I beat it on Easy before? Although I seem to remember having to cheat to finish the game, which I'm not doing this time so far and I'm playing it on Normal difficulty.
  • I can get through the entirety of Portal in about 1 hour now, stopping to deface cameras.
  • I realize all of the above makes me a huge nerd.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Lessons Learned from LittleBigPlanet Beta

  • Sackboys are awesome.
    • They can fall any distance without taking damage.
    • They can drag an object many times their own weight
    • They run really damned fast.
    • They have an unbreakable grip.
  • The editor is awesome on toast.
  • Stay away from building on the edges of the level - it looks tacky.
  • You could probably build a steam engine analog in LBP without difficulty.
  • Build from the foreground back into the screen - otherwise you stand a real chance of your players jumping down from somewhere you never intended them to.
  • I really have to figure out how to do those cardboard billboard style things - thin layers of cardboard. They're so useful.
  • When building an LBP level, you should think of it as if you're creating an amusement park - think facades, tethers and mimicry rather than genuine engineering. It'll save you time and sanity.