Future Projects and Research
In my computer mediated communications class, we have been assigned the task of creating a final project/reading paper bout whichever topic we want that is related to CMC. For mine, I’ve chosen to dive into the topic of online video games and their relation to social interaction amongst its players. Here is the abstract for my ideas on the project:
For this project, I will be investigating the impact that playing multiplayer online video games has on one’s ability to interact socially during face to face meetings, and particularly the possible skills learned from these games and how they can transfer to the real world. There have been articles about players of massively multiplayer online role playing games (MMORPG) being hired for jobs based on the skills they have obtained while working with others in the environment of the game (such as effective leadership, planning and managing group activities, etc).
The effect that playing online games has on one’s social skill and abilities is an interesting and important point to understand. As our culture continues to move to an online age, more and more players are spending countless hours interacting through these online portals and less time having face to face interactions. Understanding whether or not interpersonal and management skills can transfer from the online environment to real life is an important concept to discover as we continue to replace parts of our lives with online counterparts.
To study this, I use various studies and articles about the topic, and compile information from them. A search for resources has provided an adequate amount of material covering this topic that I should be able to gather information and conclude general and specific ideas about this matter. I will compile my results into a paper to be presented to my class of peers, providing charts and graphs where appropriate.
The article that sparked my interest in this topic can be found here. Can Warcraft skills transfer to real life? We’ll find out, maybe those sweet dance moves in Warcraft can pay off too.
Last Minute Mother’s Day
Yesterday, as I am sure you are all aware of, was Mother’s day. I’m not a huge fan of the holiday (I’m close to my mother but I don’t think I need I day to remind me that I should appreciate her, I can do that on my own), but of course I had to get my mom a card. I don’t personally think cards are that important, but it’s a little thing that I can do to make her happy (which is what the day is about), so every year I suck it up and get a card.
This year, I waited longer than normal to buy one, too many things just got in the way and I ran out of time, so I had to find a card on the day of the event. This was a bad idea, I knew it was a bad idea, but I thought I would still be able to find a decent card. The first stop for me was the safeway next to my work. I found a total of 6 cards there, all of them were terrible or mediocre and ridiculously expensive. I thought about just buying a cheap crappy one, but I actually like my mom, so I figure I could at least try another store. I next headed to the hallmark store about 10 minutes away. Or at least it used to be, as I found out when I got there that it had closed down. Great, maybe I should have just sent an ecard? At this point I thought about making my own card, but then remembered that the last card I made looked like it had been put together by a drunken dolphin, and that style stopped being cute when I turned 11. Now, it’s impressive for a dolphin, but rather sad for me.
Luckily the safeway a few blocks from that had some decent cards left. I ended up with an okay card that cost me 6 bucks and an hour of my time. It was worth it to make my mom happy, but I’m pretty sure it will wind up in the trash in a few days anyways. Next time I’ll just get the dolphin to make it for me.
This guy makes a better card than I can.
WCG Discounted Items ~ Eat at your own risk
With the bi news coming out yesterday, I guess I should be talking about the death of a terrorist and the big media sensation, but it’s not something I really want to talk about, everyone else has covered it well enough and I don’t think I can add much to the conversation.
Instead, I shall talk about my experience with the discounted item box at West Coast Grocery (UWT’s convenience store). The discounts can be tempting, expired products at a really cheap price, but be warned, sometimes the expiration date matter, and sometimes it doesn’t. Take today for instance, I bought a carmello bar (shown below) that expired in November, I knew it was a risk, but it paid off, it still tasted great (caramel is amazing) and so far I have not died of food poisoning (keep your fingers crossed!). But it doesn’t always turn out this way. Last year I bought a cookie there for 50 cents not looking at the expiration date. I took it to class and took a bite, and I have to say it was the worst cookie I’ve ever tasted, it tasted like it was years old and was made with dirt and the damn souls of the departed (not tasty). The cookie turned out to be 8 months old. Luckily I only paid a small price (but I tasted it for the rest of the night), but I learned the lesson: beware of what you buy there, some things should just never be sold.
The Return of Doctor Who!
Saturday night was the premiere of the new season of Doctor Who on the BBC(in the UK) and BBC America here in the states. This marks the first time the premiere has been broadcast on the same day in the two countries. The reason they moves to get the simultaneous broadcast this was was because the show had become so popular in the States that fans were pirating or streaming the episodes online before they would become available in the US, leading the somewhat lower views than expect for such a popular show. Well, that problem’s been fixed (unless of course you don’t get BBC America, then you’ll just have to find a way to watch it online, of which plenty options are available).
I watched the day of the premiere and was not disappointed. Good action, plenty of clever humor, and a lot of surprises that will keep you want to see more. The season opener left off on a cliff hanger and I can’t wait for next week’s episode. If you haven’t check out the new Doctor Who series (starting with the reboot in 2005, I have yet to watch any of the old old episodes), then I highly suggest you watch the series if you are a fan of clever humor, cool Sci Fi, or just good TV. Matt Smith is the current Doctor (see below) and is doing a great job taking over for David Tennant (whose tenure as the Doctor should not be missed).
Check out the official website ( or here for the BBC America version)for more details on the series. Past episode are available on netflix or from a quick search on the internet.
Teaching Students Computer Science (and Calculus)
It’s about the time in my life where I need to start figuring out what exactly I want to do in life and how i want to go about doing it. This is a big question that everyone faces at one time or another in their life. The big roads to choose from are the working world as a software developer or to continue down the path of academia. I’m at the point where I just haven’t had enough experience to truly decide (though I am strongly leaning towards continuing with school), so I’ve set out to get the experience I need to at least have some chance of making a rational decision. This decision has led me to some interesting research that’s I’d like to share.
Through working with a professor, I have been given some very interesting papers that have lead me down an unsuspected path, studying computer science education and how students best learn. I’ve been given a few articles to read that serve as a basis for the type of research I will hopefully be doing in the next few months. The professor was particularly excited about this one from Professor Uri Treisman about teaching calculus to minority students, siting it as an inspiration for the workshops on our campus. I’ve only read about half way into the paper, but am already fascinated by the study and the work done by Treisman (pictured below). I plan to delve deeper into his study as well as explore other articles like it.
For anyone interested, here is an article on Treisman and his work.
I’ll update this blog and my twitter with more interesting research as I find it.
This is my first blog post ever. I’ve had an account for awhile, but have never felt that I have had anything significantly interesting enough to blog about that wasn’t covered somewhere else. Hopefully this little experiment will turn out fun. At the very least it should get my creative juices flowing, at the very least it will be a way for me to share some of my favorite things.
Today, it will be my favorite movie: Seven Samurai. This movie is what got me into Japanese and black and white cinema. Akira Kurosawa is an amazing director and this is probably is best known work (along with Rashomon, another great movie to check out). The cinematography, pace, story, and acting are all top notch. Toshirō Mifune especially does a nice job as Kikuchiyo, balancing the oafish style with a certain sincerity and charm. If you enjoy his and Kurosawa’s work, then check out Yojimbo (the basis for the Clint Eastwood’s Fistful of Dollars).
Set aside 4 hours (its a long movie) and watch it, trust me you will not be disappointed (be ready to read subtitles though). It’s worth every minute and keeps your interest through out. I feel its still very much a relevant piece of cinema despite its age (definitely a classic) and tells a compelling story of the people of a village and those who take on the task of protecting them. Don’t believe me?, read this (it’s got Roger Ebert’s review from years ago). Now watch it and have fun!
Until next time (in which I will post a little something about my life and my future, I thought it might all be too much to just tack onto my first post), see you around