Sunday, December 14, 2008

Random Blog - Facebook Applications and the mock Spider Catch App.

I recently created a fake Facebook Application using Flash, above is a jpeg of that flash creation, and below is a description of Facebook Applications and Spider Catch. Facebook Applications are used for more of an interaction and fun time while social networking. Facebook applications allow the users to interact with their friends, in various forms of play. Such Applications include Jetman, Pirates vs. Ninjas and Chess. They exist to give Facebook more of an edge, and add more to the site, not just the usual “Hello” comments going on, now the people interacting can kick it up a notch.

How can being afraid of spiders all my life and absolutely loving baseball be connected? Well I created Spider Catch, a fun application you can get right on Facebook. With Spider Catch I can examine and “torment” the 8 legged freak digitally and make him play catch with baseballs to rank up points against my facebook friends. Arachnophobia mixed with baseball sounds like a crazy idea, but what's wrong with a game that has the great American pastime and one of the most famous and common phobias? It’s great. On the left side of the screen, a cannon shoots baseballs into the air, and the user uses his arrows or mouse to control the Spider. After each successful catch the user gains points, after unsuccessful attempts, the user loses points. The purpose of the application would be entertainment, competition, hand-eye coordination, personal social networking and gaming. As for entertainment, the spider is goofy and obviously not a baseball player. Competition between facebook friends is harmless fun, and a way to impress others with your skills. Hand-eye coordination is in progress when the user aims up the spider’s baseball glove with the flying baseball. The game gets harder as the user gets better, more baseballs, more speed of the baseballs and less control of the spider with the loss of stamina and energy in each use.

With Spider Catch, the user has a live scoreboard on the screen while playing, it is to see where he ranked compared to his friends (this can be found at the top of the screen). Also, after downloading the Spider Catch application, the user picks one of his photos, out of his Facebook Album, to use as an ID for the game (this can be found at the top of the screen, next to the Spider Catch title). Plus, when playing the user can communicate and network to the other users on Spider Catch with a Wall-Post Messenger (this can be found on the bottom left of the screen). On the left of the screen is the basic menu plus a list of other applications the user may pick and a “All-Of Facebook Ranking” therefore you see the scores of people who aren’t necessarily your friends – this may give you a push to better yourself and score better.

Spider Catch is a game that can add to the facebook experience, but is not needed. If you want to have a little more fun and social network at the same time then you should download the Spider Catch application right away. Always look to play your friends and create new ones as you better your hand-eye coordination while having a good time. Spider Catch is rated E for everyone.

Watch Out, the Spider Mite-Bite!

If this can count as an extra blog that would be fine.

Choice 3 - Vivaty? What about SL?

Recently I updated my AOL Instant Messenger and realized that it now offers plugins for it. I found one that seemed exactly like SecondLife, therefore I downloaded it and realized it pretty much is SecondLife. The plugin is called Vivaty and I created an Avatar that looks like my roommate, and put him to work in this odd virtual dance “scene”. You can access it through AIM and even Facebook. Vivaty is a “way to meet up and share your web stuff in personal or social virtual scenes in the browser”. Vivaty allows you to hang out in different “social scenes” by using their “launchpad” and jump to a scene, dress up your avatar, chat or leave notes for friends, show off your Flickr and Facebook photos, play with your pet dog, invite friends to watch your collection of Youtube videos. I actually find it aggravating how similar it is to SL, and possibly how it might even be better than SL. In Vivaty you can “make new friends, try on the latest fashions, show off your moves on the dance floor and get cool gifts from pals!". Vivaty wants you to explore the different scenes and meet new people. Exploration of new hangouts and clubs, decorating your virtual home with Facebook photos is what Vivaty wants you to do. There are virtual games, movies and post opportunities. Vivaty created Vivaty Points. You get these points for “adding friends, sending gifts and …petting your neighbor’s dog”. These points can be spent at stores where they offer “new clothes, furniture and special abilities”.

To me, Vivaty, took a step down and appeals to young teenagers with statements including “Send gifts to your friends, like cute little dogs, surfboards, or even a jukebox that plays your favorite music!”. In a recent article for, Eric Eldon of the Digital Media section writes that Vivaty “wants to be the first to offer sophisticated features – including 3D life such as you’d find in SecondLife, but also chat, and the ability to post video and link with rooms elsewhere on the web – all within a browser”. Eldon mentions it offers “the Immersive Web” and lets you chat in a 3D-style room”. In this room you can choose “the virtual furnishings for the room” and you can chat with people coming to your room. “You can throw up an image or a video…using a URL”.

VentureBeat -
Vivaty -
Vivaty Blog -

Choice 2 - Prof.Torsten Burns - "WHAT-IF?"

Last Year I had Torsten Burns for my Shooting and Editing Digital Video class, he had a big impact on my train of thought on what art is and what it means to do something that makes you happy. We did learn about many different artists including my now favorites, Matthew Barney and Maya Deren. Recently I contacted Torsten and wanted to know what he is up to since he is not teaching at Purchase this semester. I found out that he is in the middle of editing a project called "WHAT-IF?" with his collaborator Darrin Martin. Torsten explained to me that his project “is an experimental video & installation unfolding a role-playing workshop where participants reenact a fictional polyamorous romance”. Torsten’s mentioned that the role-playing created ideas from the participants, which lead to a group wedding and honeymoon “between characters based upon two obscure Marvel superheroes and two internationally renowned art personalities”.

The participants created the character Stelarc, Orlan, Scarlet Witch, and the Vision. Stelarc is “an artist whose cybernetic mission in life is to render the body obsolete”. Torsten says that Orlan is “an artist whose actual redefinition of her own body via plastic surgery confronts representations of woman throughout art history”. He mentions that Scarlet Witch is “a mutant superhero who has unlimited powers over probability”. And the last character, the Vision, is described as a “synthezoid” whose mechanically fabricated body contains a human soul”. Torsten said his video project “unfolds the entangled story that brought this romantic foursome together spanning the gulf between genders and representations; the body and technology”.

In his project, his work consists of digital stills, appropriated images from his teaching experience in South Korea and the online super hero and art sites. What primarily interested me into this project was the footage I had found and how it reminded me of Second Life. I asked Torsten if he used SL for his project, he said “No, we used a software program called ‘DanceForms’”. I researched the software and found that it was “created to assist choreographers with their work” and with the program one is able to create a virtual stage and add "dancers" or in Torsten’s case, add fictional personalities and avatars. Torsten also mentioned that he added “texture map digital still costumes and backgrounds on our 3D humanoid shapes.....then you can create "choreography" movements / gestures that play out in a virtual green screen from there we rescanned with HD off the monitors and also saved as quicktimes”. Torsten said his final product of "WHAT-IF?" will “merge the avatar dances and the characters with real human performances”.

Torsten’s project is definitely unique and definitely interesting. His connections with the identity of the avatars and of the participants, how the participants ideas unfolded into what at the characters did at the wedding and honeymoon will be fun to see in the final product. The unique art he works on makes him happy, and I enjoyed being apart of it last year in our class’ alien adventure, and am eager to see his final product of "WHAT-IF?".

DanceForms -

Mark Hosler - Negativland @ the Stood.

In November, Mark Hosler presented the great art, music, appropriation and stories about his unique music/art group Negativland. The posters I saw the week beforehand, for the presentation, didn’t grab my attention and did not feel like going. My friend Nina actually persuaded me to go, and I sure am glad she did. The presentation blew me away; it was weird how I, Jay Hamme, enjoyed a “lecture”. I guess the presentation brought comedy, arguments, anger and questionable ideas of what some people actually do for a living.

Mark Hosler of Negativland presented about how his group gained success on their 1987 album "Escape From Noise", but still didn’t have enough money to support their tour. Mark talked about how in 1988, a 16 year old boy killed his entire family with an Axe, and the fight started over the music he was listening to. Negativland decided to take advantage of this music situation and prank the media. One of his bandmates wrote a fake press release stating “the band would be placed in house arrest until investigations concluded as to whether the track “Christianity Is Stupid” was implicated in (the) murders”. The song sampled phrases from “a 1967 sermon by Rev. Estus Pirkle …(that) included a (real or imagined) visit to a totalitarian nation where public loudspeakers constantly proclaimed ‘Christianity is stupid! Communism is good! Give up!’”. Mark talked about how this actually worked and started a media frenzy with free publicity for the band. Coverage on their connection to the murders were found on the Channel 5 – San Francisco TV News, in BAM Magazine, and multiple other media sources. To hear about how journalists and many of the news outlets in our society neglect to fact-check and how they can give fake news to their audience. When this was happening, Mark said he was “interested in how information went around the country and how people believed their music lead to the quadruple murders”. He also said it was “B.S. to see the news lie to its viewers” and he stated that you can “never watch the news the same way again”.

As time went on, technology changed and Negativland did to. They started using local radio shows to get their music out their and made songs off of the advertisements they would hear on the radio as well. They had the “Over the Edge” Radio Show which featured Live on the Air Mixing. The used callings for mixes, including one that exploited the Truth in Advertising and featured callers named Bob and Chuck asking the radio host for help. The reason they needed help was because they “don’t’ understand commercials” and get “lost in advertising”. With an enormous collection of media, Negativland uses and creates with what they have. The Radio show is “a laboratory” where Negativland experiments with their collection. Mark stated his group “stumbled upon the best things” and the “best stuff is on accident”.

Mark showed us his group’s video called Guns. He said it was first just a record called Gun, but when the technology made it easier to add it with visual art. Mark mentioned that technology can be used “as an umbrella to work in every possible medium”. He felt better about his music mixed with visual work. Mark stated “I like the audio better when video was added to it”. In Guns, tons of different footage was used ranging from news reports to westerns, to cartoons and even commercials. In Guns, footage of Kennedy’s Assassination and photos of the shooting of Lee Harvey Oswald by Jack Ruby were put to Negativland’s music. Also in Guns were countless clips of Toy Gun commercials and Westerns, many including Clint Eastwood.

Negativland had many projects and Mark did talk about a number of them, as you obviously will find on other blogs, Negativland had a huge lawsuit against U2 and their record label that resulted in the destruction of Negativland’s records named U-2. They had a huge hit with Casey Kasem’s radio bloopers and telephone recordings from many angry lawyers. Negativland primarily uses Final Cut Pro and Premier for their new work and had created the project “The Mashin of the Christ” and it was based off of Mel Gibson’s “Passion”. Mark continued to talk about his thoughts on intellectual property, privatization and how it is a “different world therefore there are different tools” for expressing yourself and your art. Along with many other things Mark mentioned his group’s music was stolen by Marky Mark of the Funky Bunch and used for 10 seconds in the beginning of the song “Music for the People”. Also he expressed the thought that there should be a “musical middle class”, Wikipedia is “a collective archive of our memory” and that technology is the driving force in our society.

Mark presented so much information that night that I continue to still visit their site and blog for updates. He recommended the site for public knowledge of digital rights. I recently researched them more and found that their name Negativland comes from a song by the band Neu!, which was a band formed off of Kraftwerk. Imagine that, a connection to my first ever blog, oh how I love computer love.

Sharon Bridgforth @ Purchase

In October, Sharon Bridgforth lectured at SUNY Purchase. She is a poet, writer community activist, and a workshop facilitator, along with other works, Sharon presented and talked about her published performance novels The Bull-Jean Stories and Love Conjure/Blues. The Bull-Jean Stories are a collection of poems that are written to be received like lyrics and performed. The stories are about the hardships in and around love, primarily a lost love. Love Conjure/Blues is another performance novel, primarily blues poetry meant to be read out loud therefore you can feel the passion and way the poetry flows.

Sharon also showed and talked to us about Delta Dandi show she is currently touring with. Delta Dandi is “a living cacophony of monologues, chants, choral tellings, blood memories dance and song”. Sharon showed us video of her performances and I was intrigued about how she used pre-recorded video on a projector, and had live performers in and around the audience. The videos were beautifully created and showed everything from women singing and dancing, to a nature shot of a stream running. Every part of the performance space helped add atmosphere and feel to the show. Sharon brought the audience into the show and made it more personal for them. She involved them by having them get up from their seat and dance, chant, sing, read, and dance again. Involving the audience in the show helps them more understand the passion and the power of the word that the audience member hears.

Sharon’s overall collaboration with poetry, dance, video, nature, motion, sound and the audience creates a feeling in the reader, viewer, listener and performer; this means her message was received. Performance is not a good enough word for her art, at first she gives a performance but really that performance is just a stepping stone for being able to feel her powerful message.

Love Conjure/Blues -
The Bull-Jean Stories -

Burak Arikan @ the Neuberger

On November 5th, I listened to Burak Arikan, an artist and researcher, focus “on creating networked systems that evolve with the interactions of people and machines”. He was the featured lecturer for the New Media Lecture Series at the Neuberger and he spoke about his work that “confronts issues ranging from cultural sustainability to finance to politics and labor in networked environments”. He showed “the instances of these systems online and onsite through diverse media including prints, animation, software, electronics, and physical materials.” I found him to be very intriguing and creative, especially after learning about his project collaboration with DJ Richie Hawtin, Meta-Market and MyPocket Projects.

Arikan’s Meta-Market is an “online stock market for trading shares of socially networked creative products”. YouTube videos, Delicious bookmarks, blogs, or social network profiles are some of the creative products that can be traded. Arikan recently stated that “In Meta-Markets people trade shares of bookmarks, profiles, videos, or blogs. Just like companies, socially networked products have ever growing values. When product owners issue their shares in Meta-Markets, they raise capital – today play capital, but tomorrow real capital. With Meta-Markets we aim to help people to retain the value of their immaterial labor in social web services”. Arikan used his first name, Burak, for the title of the currency in Meta-Markets. The currency is to show the value of the creative product being traded. It is like Second-Life’s Linden Dollars, but does not have a real world conversion.

Arikan’s other project is MyPocket, and it is a collection of Arikan’s spending history over the course of two years to three years. It is shown through a topographic type image, and “thickness of connecting lines shows the total spending amount” of related purchases. Arikan’s spending history is put into his custom made software and it predicts where Arikan’s money will be spent in the future. It shows Arikan’s “financial records to the world by exploring and revealing essential patterns in the daily transactions of his bank account”. Arikan’s spending is divided up and showed through his Transactions Graph. The graphs show the “intensive network of transaction items existing in time”. On one day the Transactions Graph showed Arikan spent 100 dollars for rent, spent around 23 dollars in groceries and purchased a book for around 90 dollars. MyPocket “shows the unprocessed model of dynamic relationships between transaction items and their effects changing overtime”. Arikan’s predictions for the future are proved with his marked receipts that are “physical manifestations of the predictions”. MyPocket is “a system in which both the software and the artist adapt to one another…MyPocket presents a hybrid interface to a living physical/digital process”.

Burak Arikan -
MyPocket -
Meta-Market -

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Choice Blog 1 - WWW

Recently in my Creating Web Documents Class with Prof. Robert Spahr, I learned about the Beginning of the World Wide Web and with my interest in history, I decided to do a report on the man that actually started it, the task to do the report was never assigned. Here is the report on the man that changed our world forever.

Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web, was born in June of 1955 in London, England. He was born to parents who were mathematicians and involved in the programming of the world’s first computer sold commercially. Berners-Lee attended Emanuel School before college. He was taught and encouraged to use the skills of mathematics taught by his parents everywhere. Berners-Lee’s childhood hobby was electronics therefore he enrolled and majored in Physics at Queen’s College at Oxford University in 1972, wanting to use the talents he already had a grip on.

At Oxford, Berners-Lee built his first computer with a soldering iron out of spare parts that included a television set. Also he was banned from the university’s computer after being caught hacking into it with a friend.

In 1976, Berners-Lee graduated with a degree in Physics and a future first wife named Jane, whom he met at school. After graduation and marrying Jane, Berners-Lee, worked on various programming projects. At this time as a programmer, he wrote typesetting software and wrote an operating system in Poole with his wife.

In 1980, a few years after graduation and working on his various projects, Berners-Lee became a consultant/software engineer at Conseil Europeen pour la Recherche Nucleaire, better known as CERN, the European Particle Physics Laboratory. CERN consists of many facilities located in a beautiful area in Geneva, Switzerland. WWW started, of all places, in the Swiss Alps, at the Jura Mountains, which are on the border between France and Switzerland.

While an independent contractor at CERN in 1980, Berners-Lee wrote his first program while off-duty for his private use. It was planned on the concept of hypertext and used for storing, sharing and updating information. He was trying to find a way to organize his many notes, which were certainly all over. He wanted a program that dealt with information like a brain. The computer code he came up with let scientists easily share research findings across a computer network. CERN was so large and complex, with thousands of researchers and hundreds of systems, which Berners-Lee needed a way to keep track of who worked on which project, what software was associated with which program, and which software ran on which computers.
He named it “Enquire” after the Victorian-era encyclopedia he remembered discovering in his parents’ house as a child called Enquire Within Upon Everything. The encyclopedia gave tips and advice on an assortment of household questions. It captivated the young Berners-Lee as it seemed to magically have the answer to any problem in the world. He says his program, Enquire, kept “track of all the random associations one comes across in real life and brains are supposed to be so good at remembering but sometimes mine wouldn’t.” The program would help keep track of the web of projects and researchers. Berners-Lee called Enquire a “memory substitute,” for his personal use of remembering various people and projects he was connected to at the lab.

Enquire helped connect the very large CERN locally and world-wide to the very many researchers around the world. It included links between general items and was very useful. Enquire “formed the conceptual basis for the future development of the World Wide Web.”

For a few years, Berners-Lee left CERN to be a Technical Designer on graphics and communications software. Away from CERN he gained experience to help him in the future. When he returned to CERN with more experience in 1984, he worked full-time, and almost immediately proposed a global hypertext database where “every package of data would have a distinct “Universal Document Identifier” (UDI), which any network user could use to retrieve that data.” He began to “envision a global information space where computers around the world would be linked together, allowing researchers to surf from one body of data to another, gathering information related to their own work, while effortlessly sharing their insights and suggestions with other researchers.” This system would allow the review and discussion of all types of research by researchers all over the world. He would name the project the “World Wide Web”.

Then in 1989 he completed his project proposal for a system to communicate information among researchers in the CERN High Energy Physics department. He would allow “various computer platforms, in various languages, without all the bureaucratic restrictions and delays. Therefore it could “help those having problems sharing information across a wide range of different networks, computers, and countries”. The projects main goals were open design and network distribution.

In open design, the “hypertext system should have an open architecture, and be able to run on any computer being used at CERN.” With network distribution goal is for the system to be “distributed over a communications network.” Berners-Lee vision was to “create a comprehensive collection of information in word, sound and image, each discretely identified by UDI’s and interconnected by hypertext links, and to use the Internet to provide universal access to that collection of information.”

To help Berners-Lee get the web off the ground, Robert Cailliau helped out by rewriting “the project proposal and lobbied management for funding and rounded up programmers, collaborated with Berners-Lee on papers and presentations. Berners-Lee and Cailliau used “similar ideas to those underlying the Enquire system to create the World Wide Web.” His system would have “no central manager, no central database, and no scaling problems.” Berners-Lee also designed and built the first web browser, editor and Web server called httpd (HyperText Transfer Protocol daemon).

At this time he took the chance to join hypertext with the internet. He says, “I just had to take the hypertext idea and connect it to the TCP and DNS ideas and – ta da! – the World Wide Web.” And in 1991 the World Wide Web debuted, “instantly bringing order and clarity to the chaos that was cyberspace.”

Berners- Lee and his WWW did not lead to riches because of the way he “stayed committed to making the web universally accessible, without patents…”. In 1994 he formed the World Wide Web Consortium and helps “mediate the aims and conflicts of companies involved in the development of the Web”. Also the 3WC helps “establish and promote standards and protocols that work for both web designers and for web browsers.”


1. "Creation of the Web." LivingInternet.

2. "Tim Berners-Lee - Internet Pioneers." Ibiblio.

3. Quittner, Joshua. "Time 100 - Tim Berners- Lee." Time.