Category Archives: Technology

“Meet Meta” [or, MOOC-ing a character, Part 1]

Meet Meta.

A septuagenarian culture blender. She was once described as a flâneuse.
Those who did understood little, or knew nothing, of her uncommon ability.

Her entry is viewable as an interactive PDF through the image below.


Meet Meta


Meta is a character I created in 2 days as a Task (assignment) under iversity.org’s The Future of Storytelling course in which I am enrolled.

Now on its 3rd week, The Future of Storytelling is conducted by faculty members of Fachhochschule Potsdam (the University of Applied Sciences Potsdam) or FHP, together with resource persons from the film, television and transmedia industries.

The lectures are done via videos and the Course divided per Chapter. Each video averages from 5-10 minutes. I thought I wouldn’t be able to handle “going back to school” but since I spend pretty much my time online replying to emails, researching, and the occasional Tweets and blog updates, I thought as well spending some of it doing something more interactive with others, something more focused and with a definite goal.

I was intimidated at first but the past 3 weeks have been with some nice surprises, a lot of interesting reads and, overall, amazingly fun learning.

BACKGROUND
The “Future of Storytelling” is one of 10 awarded (from 250 submitted) proposals received by iversity.org when it conducted a MOOC contest between March 11 to April 30 2013. It currently has the most number of enrollees at around 50,000.

Berlin-based iversity.org launched in October 15, 2013 with estimated 115,000 enrollees from around the globe. This number makes iversity.org Europe’s youngest and biggest MOOC provider. It is Europe’s answer to the U.S.-based Coursera.

iversity.org conducts its courses in English and German.

This year’s iversity.org MOOC programs and the higher learning institutions handling them are as follows (DATE/CATEGORY)
List is only the English courses:

■ “The Future Of Storytelling” (Ongoing)
Prof. Winfried Gerling, Prof. Constanze Langer, Christina Maria Schollerer, and Julian van Dieken
25 OCT. 2013 /  INTERDISCIPLINARY

■ “Dark Matter in Galaxies: The Last Mystery (Ongoing)
15 OCT. 2013 /PHYSICS
SISSA di Trieste

■ Contemporary Architecture (Ongoing)
15 OCT. 2013
Prof. Dr. Ivan Shumkov / iversity.org

■ “Political Philosophy: An Introduction” (Ongoing)
27 OCT. 2013 / PHILOSOPHY
Universitá degli Studi di Firenze

■ “Design 101” (Ongoing)
 28 Oct. 2013 / ART STUDIES
(Accademia di Belle Arti, Catania)

■ “Public Privacy: Cyber Security and Human Rights”
02 DEC. 2013 / POLITICAL SCIENCES
Universiteit Utrecht

2014

■ “Monte Carlo Methods in Finance”
20 JAN. 2014 /  ECONOMICS
Universidad Autónoma de Madrid

■ “Modelling and Simulation using MATLAB®”
01 APR. 2014 / INTERDISCIPLINARY
RheinMain University of Applied Sciences

■ “DNA – From Structure to Therapy”
05 APR. 2014 / BIOLOGY
Jacobs University

■ “The Fascination of Crystals and Symmetry”
15 APR. 2014 / CHEMISTRY
Universität Hamburg

■ “The DO School Start-Up Lab”
15 APR. 2014 /  INTERDISCIPLINARY
The DO School

■ “The European Union in Global Governance”
20 APR. 2014 / INTERDISCIPLINARY
KU Leuven / European University Institute / Universität Passau

■ “Vehicle Dynamics I: Accelerating and Braking” / ENGINEERING / 15 APR. 2014
■ 
“Vehicle Dynamics II: Cornering” / ENGINEERING / SPRING 2014
■ 
“Vehicle Dynamics III: Vertical oscillations” / ENGINEERING / FALL 2014
Helmut-Schmidt-Universität der Bundeswehr Hamburg

Go ahead. Check them out.


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Proof of life

"The truth finally dawned" - via Hillary Allison, Internetsentinel.com

“The truth finally dawned” – via Hillary Allison, Internetsentinel.com

http://www.internetevolution.com/author.asp?doc_id=268309

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your brain on Google

Neuroscientist, Gary Small, tells CBS News’ Daniel Sieberg how technology may be making us smarter.

(2008)

Read the video in context from The End of Cyberspace here or Newsweek’s The Daily Beast where it was first featured here.

View other videos of Dr. Gary Small on his website here.

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Filed under Brains, Google, internet, internet activity, Technology, The Web, Video, YouTube

addiction II: Yes, Pac-man is 30 (with the goodies)

It’s the original Pac-man I’m writing about (not a boxer’s monicker) which Google merited an anniversary GoogleDoodle in animated .png format. What a nice morning surprise!

Next to Tetris, I still have a couple of Pac-man versions installed in my computer which I call upon every now and then to officially divert me from ‘work’, a carry-over from the PC days. I hope I’m not alone in this, what with the vast selection of available games for today’s hardware.

Pac-Man 30 Years logo

Particularly interesting is the story about how its creator, Toru Iwatani, targeted females for this game after establishing the main character’s “look” inspired by an order of pizza minus one slice:

Now that he had the look, he needed that special something to attract his target audience. After listening to girls talk to one another, Iwatani determined that food and eating would be the way to get the fairer sex interested in arcade games. (REF: Top 100 Game Creators)

Google never ceases to surprise its visitors, and with today’s animated, PLAYABLE doodle, it sure does know how to make each user go back to when computing and computer use was basic and fun. The doodle goes live for 48 hours, after which I hope they archive it like they do their easter eggs and all other commemorative doodles.

An insanely fun Friday!

Early marketing flyer with original name "Puck-man", later changed to "Pac-man" in 1980

Toru Iwatani, creator

Wired.com has a Q&A article on Toru Iwatani, Pac-man’s creator, in which, besides confirming the game’s intended target, also gives an insight into Japanese culture:

…Japanese youngsters really wanted “ghost” type characters — not necessarily modeled on creatures, but things that don’t really exist in this world. Even within animation, they want characters that are the products of the writer’s imaginations. In North America at the time, the games were about car races or warfare. They wanted games that simulated the real world, whereas Japan wanted otogibanashi (fairy tales).

Also, when you look at Japanese games, the characters may be deformed in such a way that their heads are half of their total height. This was not popular in the U.S., as you know, they wanted real proportional humans. In Japan, dolls like Hello Kitty are deformed into a different shape, into an animal that doesn’t really exist. The dolls in the U.S. would be a real cat… (REF: Q&A: Pac-Man Creator Reflects on 30 Years of Dot-Eating, Wired.com)

Toru Iwatani

Toru Iwatani, Pac-man creator (image from Wired.com)

And if Google’s commemorative, playable doodle isn’t enough of a gift, Pac-man’s Japanese site offers a lot of Pac-man goodies, too. My favorites are :

[1] The Pac-man Hallmark birthday card
Product Name: Birthday Card Publisher: HALLMARK CARD, INC (U.S.)
Release Date: July Price 2008: US $ 4.99 (U.S.)
Location: USA, Canada only Size: W15.5, H14 (cm)

Birthday card featuring a full-screen Pac-Man game. Melody flows and open Pac-Man game. In honor of Pac-Man in

[2] The Pac-man Wine Glass set with Cork coaster (Made in France)

Product details: Two wine glasses / cork coaster 2 Publisher: Namco Bandai Price: 5,250 yen Glass Specifications: Diameter 52 mm × 180 mm vertical / horizontal 72 mm / 250ml Made in France Coaster specification: diameter 80 mm × thickness 05 mm Origin: Portugal / Processing: Japanese production methods time-to-order book your reservation: April 27, 2010 (Tue) ~ 30 May 2010 (Sun) Expected Delivery: Shipping will begin in late July 2010

[3] The Pac-Man Limited Collection Leather Wallet (I like the red one)

Color: 4 kinds (black, blue, or sky) Price: 14,800 yen Specifications: Leather Wallet (Wallet) Production Method: Book orders in limited quantities Booking period: 30 March 2010 (Tue) ~ Expected Delivery: Shipping will begin in late May 2010

[4] The Pac-Man T Glass Beads and Prism by Kohei Nawa

Glued glass beads, prism sheet, polyurethane foam material Publisher: UNIQLO Co. Price: 1500 yen Release Years: 2009/5/18 URL: Http://Store.uniqlo.com/Jp/Store/Feature/Ut/Pacman/ Contact: Your contact Uniqlo hours TEL :0120-090-296-17 9:00: 00 (7 days a week) cKOHEI NAWA PAC-MAN: cNBGI (As of May 2009) ※ Some products are sold may have been discontinued. Please note.

[5] The Pac-Man T by Kentaro Kobuke

Publisher: UNIQLO Co. Price: 1500 yen Release Years: 2009/5/18 URL: Http://Store.uniqlo.com/Jp/Store/Feature/Ut/Pacman/

See the commemorative collection here. And this is just the 30th year.

And lastly, about the animated, interactive Google Pac-man doodle

The doodle was designed by Marcin Wichary, Google’s senior UX designer and developer, and Ryan Germick, full time Google Doodler. Over at the Google blogs, Marcin wrote:

“…Today, on PAC-MAN’s 30th birthday, you can rediscover some of your 8-bit memories—or meet PAC-MAN for the first time—through our first-ever playable Google doodle. To play the game, go to google.com during the next 48 hours (because it’s too cool to keep for just one day) and either press the “Insert Coin” button or just wait for a few seconds.

Google doodler Ryan Germick and I made sure to include PAC-MAN’s original game logic, graphics and sounds, bring back ghosts’ individual personalities, and even recreate original bugs from this 1980’s masterpiece…”

(Source: Googleblog|Celebrating Pac-man’s 30th Birthday)

He adds (emphasis mine):

“We also added a little easter egg: if you throw in another coin, Ms. PAC-MAN joins the party and you can play together with someone else (PAC-MAN is controlled with arrow keys or by clicking on the maze, Ms. PAC-MAN using the WASD keys).”

The doodle is a couple of layers of a .png file (see below) powered by javascript, HTML and CSS. Not only is it cool, it’s a lot of work to perfect it.

Great job!

The interactive Pac-Man game deconstructed

Now if they only did the same when Google commemorated Tetris.


More Pac-man:

Play Pac-man online

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superpower: we are the people of the internet

*would have been nicer if the ‘spirit’ morphed into several people (i.e. races) even in some parts of her solo.

[cross-posted]

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Old World-New World concepts: Stevenf’s blog on technology

Reading (for continuation offline) Stevenf’s entry “I need to talk to you about computers…“. (http://stevenf.tumblr.com/post/359224392/i-need-to-talk-to-you-about-computers-ive-been)

It is insightful. It is funny. And it is true.

And funny how the old world/new world, old world vs. new world concepts were just discussed by Nicky Perlas at the tete-a-tete last night (28 January 2010).

[cross-posted]

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The Internet at 40: Scanning, reading, sharing, knowing…learning

1969-k

The Guardian.co.uk’s landmark compilation of stories of 40 years of the Internet — and by those who make up the Internet: people like you and I — presents the most attractive Internet timeline just yet.

The Guardian Internet Timeline page

Scanning through online aggregator’s snippets, specifically of favorite, minimalist popurls.com‘s site, led me to the 40-year tapestry of stories in short but very engaging prose. The linear web of accounts outlines the most important and updated milestones in the ‘Net’s continuing story that I simply feel compelled to share it here, especially to the generation that may not understand the exhilaration associated with (nor recognize the sound of) a digital modem handshake: the generation reared in broadband speed and e-games or playing “house” for hours in their chairs clicking away on their keyboards, or being highly dependent on online search engines — if not their cellphone keypads — for their homework.

 


…the first message (only the “L-O” of the word “L-O-G-I-N” travelled from UCLA to SRI before the first ‘Net crash…

 

 


 

Vint Cerf proposal

Vinton Cerf et al. published a proposal to link up Arpa-like networks. (It) is notable for containing the first published use of the word "internet"

The year 1969 is notable for many significant events.

In the Philippines, Ferdinand Marcos was reelected for another 4-year term; The Asian Institute of Management (AIM) in Makati (then, a municipality of Rizal Province, now, a city of Metropolitan Manila) had its campus groundbreaking and admitted its first batch of students[1].

In the Middle East, Moammar Khaddafy staged a coup and ousted Libya’s King Idris. In Asia, “the United States, governments of South and North Vietnam, and the Viet Cong met for the first plenary session of peace talks in Paris, France” [2|”American Assistance to the South”], yet Cambodia was at the receiving end of the USA’s B-52 bombs[3] as exposed in the New York Times by William Beecher the same year.  Meanwhile, Andy Warhol and Gerald Malanga co-founded Interview Magazine[4], The Boeing 747, which we grew up to know as the “Jumbo Jet”, took off ground for the first time [5] (as did France’s Concorde in its test flight). Dorothy Fisher became the first female heart transplant recipient under Dr. Christian Barnaard [6], and the first manned spaceflight lands on the moon [7].

Oh, that generation’s version of homeschooling, Sesame Street, premiered in the US the same year, too, and many Filipinos of the 70s, including myself, learned English grammar and alphabet from people interacting with puppets. In the flesh and beauty arena, dusky 18-year old Gloria Diaz made headlines for winning the Philipines’ first Miss Universe crown.

(if video above does not load, watch it here)

In the same year, Seiko unveiled the first quartz watch [8], the microprocessor chip was born [9], and UNIX was developed by Bell Labs [10].

This post is populated by information made possible in one sitting without getting off my chair, as I, like many from today’s generation who I mean to address, and from the generation ahead of mine, am a beneficiary of all the events mentioned above; but, more profoundly, by this much less significant event in 1969 that is now capable of calling back the past at one’s behest.

The Guardian.co.uk calls it’s project A People’s History of the Internet and starts with the ARPANET research project that was borne out of the Cold War.

These days, many attribute the Internet as this generation’s “great leveler”. It is  just 40 years old, yet, like many of the darkened areas of the world maps back in those days, the internet — as technology and way of life — has still to touch the world’s majority population.

I wonder what people’s history will be like, how the ‘Net will play out in the next 40 years, if we only look back to any of the these significant events, and learn, particularly from those that deal with conflict, crises and territoriality, to build a better world for others from here.

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Filed under 1969, 2009, ARPANET, Asia, Broadband connection, Dial-up, Gloria Diaz, Handshake, Historical highlights, internet, internet activity, Invention, Philippines, Technology, The Guardian, The Web