This is a very interesting piece on lookism, what is basically racism but rather solely by the way you look. More attractive people get more attention, time, help, etc. while those who aren’t get less of everything. The truth is we are taught to appreciate and accept things for surface value, going by the way it looks and feels instead of what it actually might be. They even did a study on babies and they seemed to respond to the same thing; “staring longer and more intently” on a beautiful face. Could the web be the answer to all this? We can not necessarily change our everyday appearance whenever we want to, unless of course you decide to get plastic surgery or maybe a fresh new wardrobe, and are stuck with the way we look like.  It is possible to change your physique naturally through maybe a diet and working out, but that takes time and effort that a lot of people seemingly do not care to take or simply choose not to do at all. But on the internet, you do not have to work as hard in order to achieve the same goals. Your presentation of yourself is up to you and how much you do/don’t put on there. No one will know what you completely look like if you put a half picture of yourself, or you could even pose as another person if you really wanted to. On the internet, looks generally mean next to nothing. there are a lot of sexy and attractive pictures of people and whatever else you’re into on the web, but for the user to access these or to surf the web, their personal appearance doesn’t matter. You can shop online all you want without someone offering you more/less help depending on the way you look; You can make friends and meet people in a chat room with never once having to share a photo of yourself unless asked or done so on your own, even then you can choose something that may be an actual representation of yourself or one that you would prefer yourself to be more like. Even if you don’t want to be yourself, you can be one of millions of avatars throughout one of the many online games that are out today.

But does that really make anything better? In real life we are taught to prefer and accept the “beautiful” while we shun those people or things that do not meet our expectations. It is not as intense for every person as i may make it out to seem, but if you really think about it, society teaches us to value the beautiful and good-looking. Check out the change of what a movie star is now to when film first started; You have Channing Tatum instead of Humphrey Bogart; You have Megan Fox instead of Audrey Hepburn. These people are definitely beautiful, I can not agree with that, but they lack a substance and realness of actors and actresses of decades before them. but they are just as popular, if not more so at points. 

I would like to make the claim that animated movies are eventually going to win out over traditional, live-action films. While acting is still a legitimate art form, the movie industry doesn’t always necessarily produce “art” for us to enjoy. Even now, majority of the most popular movies feature overextended scenes of sexual promiscuity, violence, or some misguided form of masculinity for men and boys to cling onto. And they are almost all done in CGI. With lookism still being a prevalent issue within our society, i feel as if pretty soon that we will no longer need anymore legitimate acting. Everything will be shrunk down to voice-acting. As much fun as it is to watch a live-action movie, they are would not be nearly as captivating and epic as they are today without the technology they use to do their effects. They all ready do a lot of filming of stars in front of green screens to catch the shots that they need to, but wouldn’t it be more cost effective to simply use someones voice than to pay them a ridiculous sum of money for simply standing on a stage and reacting to imaginary situations? The movie industry is a business run by corporate executives who are trying to make profit. That may sound overgeneralized, but that is pretty much what happens to any industry that becomes big enough at any given point and decides to push/ask for more. The less money they have to shell out, the more money they can make back. Actors are paid a pretty ridiculous amount of money for what they do, but that is mere chump change to what the industry makes on top of that person. Why not try to get a little more out of them if you can? I’m pretty sure no one will have a problem with it as long as they’re getting paid, but in the end looks will not even matter anymore. Unless of course we are actually around people, which we still are today, but will it always be that way?

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Nearing the end of the video, the director makes a statement that covers a lot of what we’ve gone over in class:

“When we get there, i don’t think that we will every actually know that we have stepped across the barrier”

He makes a very good point with this. Just like how the guy got sucked into the world of Tron, one day we might find ourselves within a totally digitized environment and not sure as to how we really got there, or even why. The need for perfection is flawed, just as stunning actress from the movie Olivia Wilde states, and that the drive for perfection may lead us to a similar society that Tron details. How do we even know that we’re headed in that direction? The director said it himself, kids with cellphones now a days have more computing power in their one phone than they had for all of the original Tron movie some 30 odd years ago. As we are able to carry these devices of great power with us everyday, we also abuse a lot of the right that we have to do so. Spiderman’s dying uncle Ben made a very powerful statement in the first movie of the series, “With great power, comes great responsibility” so why don’t we hold ourselves accountable for the power that we hold within our hands every day? 

With the internet being firmly rooted as a necessity in majority of peoples lives, it is hard for them to imagine it as a “power” or “gift”. It is just a tool to most of us. But if you really think about it, consider what comes with having access to the internet. You can talk to people from all over the planet from one spot; You can learn about almost anything you want, as long as you’re willing to find it among the vast sea of information flow; If you can’t figure something out, then the internet can do it for you. These are very cheesy examples of the power of the web, but think back only 10 or more years ago, a lot of the innovations and accomplishments that have come on the internet and with technology were unfathomable before, or at least improbable. No one knew that facebook would become the ultimate social networking site; no one knew that the iPod would become the iPad then. There is a lot of new and exciting things that we have been exposed to over a relatively short time, everything becoming more advanced or obsolete within only a few months of each other, that I believe we still have not fully come to understand yet. I mean, we know what it does and what some parts of it intended purposes are for, but the laymen will never fully understand the depth of really what it means to have that much computing power within their hands. Before, people used to have to work very hard for every little bit of information that they had access to. Now, it is just as easy as the click of a button. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7s8IvvqQfnM

 

First off, this song is really repetitive, kind of annoying, but does make an interesting analysis about women being ignored by men and their iPhones. This can be more than just a relationship between a man and a women, as anyone can have a iPhone now a days. iPhone addiction sounds kind of like a silly thing at first, but if you really think about it, there are a good amount of people who probably are. I know for myself having an iPhone i feel tempted to look at it every so often, not even to check the time or anything but just to see if i have any messages or what not. I carry it with me everywhere i go in my house, and just about everywhere that go to when i leave my house, except for when I go surfing. but even now you can bring you iPhone with you to do that! 

That is the lifeproof case for iPhones that have come out pretty recently that allows you to take your phone with you out into the water, working up to at least 6 ft deep i believe. iPhones are becoming geared with better service, better technology, and as well as better protection for them against their owners and other forces of nature we might come across. Why do you really need to take your phone with you when you’re on some outdoor ventures? I mean, its cool to be able to take pictures and videos and what not, but having that piece of machinery takes away from being able to enjoy things that would normally be fine without it. And that is a good sign of addiction. Food doesn’t look so good if you aren’t able to instagram it; these pictures would make a nice collage if you use picstich; I just thought of something funny, let me instantly upload it to one of my social media networks and see how many people think I am funny as well. It is so subtle sometimes that we would never believe our selves to be addicted to something that is generally a necessity. If you really stop to think about how much usage, time and money spent on iPhones and everything that comes with it, you might be shocked as to how often you are using it. It is a tool of convenience that many of us have taken for granted but still utilize every day.

The easiest way to see if you are addicted? switch your smartphone with a regular phone that can only talk and text. It sounds rather simple, but from personal experience, I would say it is rather difficult to adjust to. You can not always check the things you need to on the go with a regular phone, or connect with people the way you originally were able to just by having an iPhone. And as iPhones become more readily available for everyone and anyone, those people just might forget this as well. but just like any addiction, there are a lot of people who are pretty well at handling their shit and everyday lives whilst still succumbing to their addictions. The guy may be spending too much time on his iPhone, but his girlfriend is still around enough to complain about it so he can’t be doing everything wrong. Moderation and limitation is key to dealing with some addictions. or completely cutting it out of your life would work as well. but can you do it? I know i can’t.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_5QYc1WdwRs&feature=related

I don’t really know much about this game or what you can really do in it, but the title of the video and the small clip give you a little gist of what the game is like. It’s interesting to see that they are actually producing online dating games now for people to play and become a part of, allowing for people to have a quasi-dating experience, but is this really what we need? In the clip, there is a virtual girl walking around in a Bikini all the time… who’s to say that it is not a guy handling that character? By making things virtual, you have the ability to hide behind your virtual alter ego as if they’re your true identity. This isn’t true for all cases that involve the web and such, but if you think about MySpace, FaceBook, chat rooms, whatever, there are so many people posing to be someone else or even the other sex. If online dating games becomes more popular than the actual process of online dating, why would we want to leave our house? What are the benefits of actually going to see people when you can “see” them online?

While the importance of social interaction seems to be on the wane with technology and social media advancing the way it is, there needs to be a movement to take a stand against that. I’m not saying boycott every piece of machinery and website that we can think of to start an all out Luddite type war on society, I’m saying call your important someone instead of hitting them up on facebook; I’m saying swing by and say hi for a few minutes instead of relying on text messages to do that for you; I’m saying go on a blind date like people used to instead of trusting the sometimes tricky and not-so-honest internet. As each new generation is born under all these advances and sophisticated technology that have become commonplace in their every day lives, there has to be a moving force that drives people to actually care about seeing each other. If we let our desires and temptations make us settle for some virtual experience, what about the chances of having a meaningful, actual one? I’m not saying its wrong to date or meet people over the internet. I’m saying that you need to actually go and see these people so that you can experience them in real life instead of just through a computer screen. Dating is actually one hell of social interaction that some people have luck with, and I feel a lot of us might not at times, but just because it is becoming more easy and convenient to meet and talk to people through a virtual medium doesn’t necessarily mean it will work out the way either of you have planned. It is easy to sit and ruminate about a person and their own behavior and what you should/should not do to keep them attracted and/or interested in you, but to actually go out and do it is another thing.

Living in the United States, I feel as if a lot of people living here have forgotten all of the obstacles and advances we have made or overcome to get to where we are today. According to popular rhetoric, in the caveman days men used to club their desired female over the head and take her to his cave. Now, women are a lot more capable and verbose about taking care of themselves and understanding their own self worth to allow such a barbaric form of male/female courtship to continue, which actually makes dating pretty difficult. Talking with someone, getting to know them, what their interests and goals are, etc. isn’t necessarily easy if you do not have the social skills to do so. But that is the problem, people are starting to lack those social skills. If we don’t make a reformation as to how we act and interact with people, we just might let ourselves become complacent with having a “digi” boyfriend or girlfriend. I’m not sure about the rest of you, but I do enjoy the actual company of a person and also the physical/emotional relationship that you might share with somebody. Would that still be just as real if both of us meet every night on a computer screen and every bit of our “interaction” is virtualized?

http://www.littlebigplanet.com/

 

Little Big Planet is a very revolutionary idea when its comes to video gaming. Instead of following the preset levels that are normally laid out for people to play, you have the ability to create your own worlds, stages, bosses, puzzles, enemies, what seems like every aspect of a video game you have the ability to manipulate and design to your hearts content. If we think back to only 5 or so years ago, this kind of game was merely a concept then. But now it is readily available for anyone who can pay the cover cost to own the game. What does this do to gaming? If we think back to simple 2d platform games, you could only do so much as the game allowed you do; Run across the level either going forward or backwards only, maybe jumping on some weird mushroom creature thing, and uppercut a box with a question mark on it. Little Big Planet allows you to make something similar but definitely a lot more advanced. For die hard gamers who dream of becoming game developers themselves one day, this can be very novel and inspiring. After learning all the little intricacies and nuances of the game, you have full reign to sculpt and design levels in whatever way you want. Is this the new kind of gaming that we should expect within the near future? Playing a game can only be so much fun at times, especially when it comes to games that do not require a lot of playing time to finish. Many gamers, as well as myself, have always come against the problem of a game not being long enough or being interesting enough to keep our attention for more than 8 or so hours. But if you allow someone to actively change and participate in a game in ways that were previously unimaginable, it can become almost infinitely entertaining. “I didn’t like the last boss, so i revamped him with more missiles, bombs, and hot babes.” If this just so happens to become the norm, what will happen to the previous video game genres of old? they will still be somewhat entertaining we can assume, but as with each younger generation being born along with these new technologies, who’s to say it won’t become the norm? Just as every programmer has had that “Hello World” moment with their first bit of coding, anyone playing video games that give you complete control might feel the same thing. And what if it doesn’t stop there? Will we eventually be given complete programming control of other aspects in our life? If we don’t like the way were living, would we somehow be able to reconstruct our lives in a way that we want to? I don’t see us totally being able to physically change our world, but we sure can virtually. Who’s to say that we won’t be able to construct a world with the people who choose to be in it, with a routine we design, as well as the lifestyle we choose to live. Think of the Sims but more realistic and your stuck inside the house as well. As our modes of entertainment advance with technology, our previous settlements of entertainment will not be enough. We may begin to want more control and personal input… but will that truely be what we have or an illusion of it? only time will tell..

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/26/magazine/26FOB-2DLove-t.html?pagewanted=all

 

for most of us, the concept of love is a very difficult thing to explain. The experiences of love vary from person to person depending on what their interests are and past history. In the article, it states that Nisan had a girlfriend who left him before he found his new “girlfriend”. I’m sure most of us can imagine a time in our life when we have had substantial feelings toward another person that didn’t work out in the way we had hoped for. For some, its insignificant and in the past. Others are affected deeply and can’t let go. Now what happens when you have the option to be with someone that is never going to leave you? Most of us don’t imagine that being a pillow with an anime character on it, but its an idea that can be very appealing to many who have been scorned by love or who have never experienced it… Not only is every aspect of our life becoming digitized, but love seems to be headed in that direction as well. This article is over 2 years old, and as we all know technology has the surprising ability to improve vastly within a short time. Who’s to say that there will not be a virtual girlfriend to come about? Theres an app for that all ready ironically, but as more time goes by, the ability to recreate a potential partner is only getting better and better and soon enough I can only imagine that they come out with a eerily close version of a human female to be produced, packaged, and sold to all of those who are looking for “love”. This idea is rather strange and foreign to most of us today, but within 10-15 years time, this might become normal. Children will become attached to virtual people and many just might pursue a relationship with them. The realness, the interaction, the emotions, if all of those can be replicated and produced digitally, who’s to say that their “love” is or isn’t real? Social interaction is being more and more minimized and simplified with every social media and network that people use religiously, so we can only assume that this will be a possibility eventually. It might not be during our time of youth, but it may happen to the next generation or the one after that. And as we’ve seen with the popularity increase of social networking sites like facebook and myspace, what will we do when there is an online website geared toward specifically providing online boyfriend or girlfriends for people? As more and more things become digitized, we lose sight of what is actual and what is virtual. Will love become virtual as well, or do we keep it between two real people? What is “love” anyway? Only time will tell..

http://www.xanga.com/explore

 

Blog sites have been around for quite a few years now. As technology has improved, so has the ability to write out and blog about your ideas, albeit they be important or not. Its becomes your own area of personal expression if you choose it to be, giving you some basic sort of control that you become more and more accustomed to as time goes one. Xanga was one of the preliminary blog sites that was popular a few years after the turn of the 21st century. This was the blog site i was particularly attached to because this was the first one i had ever really used. The freedom of being able to write about, decorate, and present in whatever fashion i chose was very novel. My friends and I all had Xangas when we were in middle school, it was our little way of connecting and talking to each other. It doesn’t look as nearly as pretty as it is today, but at the time it was very novel for us. Even just using the most basic of HTML codes added that much more to your “originality” and what separates your page from that of your friends page. It became an avenue for self expression. Every generation has dealt with that problem and the ways to do so have changed an umpteen amount of times, but it wasn’t until the 2000’s and the rise of websites like MySpace, Facebook, Xanga, etc. that we have felt the need to express ourselves on the internet. My generation slowly got onto the bandwagon and ran with it, believing ourselves to be at the head of trends and whatever else nonsensical materialistic items we hold so important in our lives. With every year that passed, the more our need to do so grew. We hold these mediums to be the ultimate source of self-expression, or rather maybe the only source to do so. We can all think of our own contemporary examples, whether it be ourselves or who we are friends with on these social networking, blogging, forums, all these virtual places that give us the ability to present ourselves in the way we want to. And anything we don’t like about ourselves? We keep that to ourselves but express only the parts that we want to. These areas of self-expression are slowing becoming way too normalized and a part of our every day lives that they are actually taking away from our self-expression, but we choose to believe otherwise. What we believe to make us individuals is actually bringing us that much closer to complete conformity. If we place everything that makes us what we are onto the internet, how does that make us unique? We find and connect with the same people who talk, shit, eat, and believe a lot of the same things that we do, and that is not necessarily a bad thing. but if the generation after us grows up with these sort of things… then how will they be any different from each other? We all understand that need to fit in as we go through our younger years, and now that feeling is even more intense as they have whats “cool” and current being thrown at them almost every second they’re on the internet. So do they become individuals or conformists? only time will tell..

If you had the opportunity to live out your life in a robot version of you that was younger looking, attractive, perfectly groomed always, without succumbing to the frailties of our human existence, would you? 

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0986263/

Bruce Willis did. and in this movie, you see a world where this is the norm and anyone can be anyone they choose to be when they step out into the world, but who they are at home is a truly different matter. This was pretty much what it was like when the internet first came about. Think about it, your in a dark room all by yourself and you have access to this environment of complete freedom and anonymity, would you want to present yourself as the same person you are in real life? Some would, but there is many that would choose otherwise, preferring to create some embellishments about their life or maybe even take on a whole new persona as well. Men could pose as women, women could pose as men, you can be anybody you want to craft yourself to be like online if you only tell people what you want them to know. Like the old saying that you can’t believe everything you hear on television, you can not always readily accept everything that you read or see on the internet. But what happens when it gets out of the virtual and steps out to reality? Social interaction in the future will become us showing off our real life avatars, or surrogates if you wish, and doing it all from the comfort our dark, decrepit, ill lit living room or bedroom with our week old bag of cheetos and a pyramid of soda cans surrounding our work space. But no one would know that as you step out of your house in the mind of a young, attractive surrogate body going about your daily routine and rituals. So again lies the question, would you do it? By the time we have this kind of technology and it is fully implemented, it would be promoted as the ultimate source of luxury, if you could afford it. This would be the peak of our civilization. but does that make us civilized?

https://live.xbox.com/en-US/Profile?gamertag=insane%20lumpia

this…is my Avatar. It is for my xbox live account, of which I have had for going on 5-6 years now. You can see the games I’ve recently played, who i recently played with, the clothes that my avatar is wearing, my friends, and if I really wanted to, some of my demographic information as well. It even has my “gamer score” which is a point system depending on how many points you’ve achieved through unlocking various achievements from playing certain games. To my knowledge, almost every game you can play on your xbox now a days has achievements and what not you can unlock. This sounds rather tedious and unimportant, but whats the importance? Well, just like me, millions upon millions of gamers have something similar to this avatar and profile of mine. We have our little achievements and history of what we’ve done/saw/played etc. through gaming and it is like a little virtual notebook that keeps track and shows you what you’ve done so far. The problem with this is that we are basically supporting the system by doing so. So and so amount of people played this game for a certain amount of time longer than other ones, so that means that this game must be pretty legit. And then comes the copycats of that game, other companies trying to compete and include themselves within that genre of video games so as they can make some profit for themselves. That isn’t the nature of every game designer and company in the business, but it sure does play a huge part of it. Whether we like to believe it or not, our country is run and held together by money. We are a capitalist country and we don’t like anyone else telling us different. Many complain about it and express contempt for the system but we all contribute to it in some little way. Video games is one of them. They’re meant for a personal escape, way to pass time, way to relieve stress, whatever reasoning or purpose that we may have for playing them, we involuntarily maintain our capitalist system by doing so. And how do they make the system better and better? with algorithms, extremely complex equations that use our basic info to better create something that is more suited and presentable for the consumer. Every game I play, the amount of time on it, and what I do in it is recorded and sent back the company who made the game. This information might seem useless to us, but after that info is gathered, it is then correlated with about a million or so others to try and find a new idea, or improve on an older one, of which we might be willing to buy and spend the next couple of weeks or months dedicated to. All of the hard earned money we make by slaving for the man every night and day eventually goes back to him. We fit into these equations geared specifically for our demographic and we fall for it. Not only in video games, but in many aspects of our lives. So brings the question, how much of what we do is being recorded and used right back on us? We fall victim to our materialistic needs, especially within a country as so “advanced” as the United States, because everything we do is being taken and used against us. And for what? To spend money. Each dollar spent just adds onto the longevity and prolonging of the institutions that control our lives today, whether we want to believe it or not. Many challenge and don’t support the system vocally, but do so absent mindly by the purchasing of our Halo’s and Starcraft-esque games. So how do we beat the system? By not beating, or playing the game. But no one wants to do that, not while my WoW character is only level 84 and my gamer score is under 20,000. When we stop putting our e-peens in front of society, we might actually make a difference

http://www.friendster.com/

A lot of you probably have no idea what this site is. To be honest, I don’t know a lot about it either. But the first “friendster” that came about didn’t look anything like this one right here does. 

http://news.cnet.com/8301-13577_3-20057544-36.html

Originally, Friendster was like facebook. it was one of the preliminary sites to start letting you connect your friends, but due to competition it was changed from a social networking site to an online gaming website. This is just like what happens within the corporate world of business, those companies who are doing better in “profits”, or members added in this case. Even myspace has taken a huge hit and is nowhere near as common as it used to be for people. Why is facebook so much better than all the other social networking sites? It’s because of the digitization of everything and how seemingly smooth and easy facebook makes it for us to do so. Uploading pictures, status updates of whatever you’re thinking, feeling, pondering, etc., all of these are things that we have done within our lives before without the use of a computer. Status update? think about stuff you’d talk to one of your really good friends about. isn’t that a status update? or how about pictures. The easiness of uploading, liking, and commenting of pictures is similar to the family photo album. Its busted out on special occasions because of all the memories that are stored within.. but now facebook has taken that and made it public. it has made EVERYTHING of our lives public. We all have friends who post their entire lives on social networking sites for whatever reason they personally decide to go with, but in doing so, have we lost our sense of privacy? You can be or present yourself whoever you want on the internet, and your facebook is like your avatar. It is so integrated in everything on the web that they’re are a large multitude of sites that require you to log into it with you FB account… so every site you log into doing so, can have access to all of your personal and cherished moments that you decided to share with the web. Not to discredit facebook in any way, it does do a lot for connecting people and makes it very convenient to do so. But are we becoming a society that isn’t afraid to show any part of its life to everyone who wants to see it? In 1984, the thought police could watch all your movements and actions through video camera surveillance. What if that was sponsored by facebook?  We do what we want and post what we want, but not many think of the larger consequences of doing so. we are slowly losing a lot of person to person interaction through the use of the Internet and sites like facebook, but wouldn’t you say it is desensitizing us in the private area of our lives? Its no longer private if your friends can like it and comment it from any computer with internet access. Nor is it a private thing for the government to have any stipulations about perusing and maybe finding out more about you. Big brother is coming, and facebook is the doorman. does that mean we resist or see how long we can go before it happens? only time will tell..