New Media Theory: Social Media In Context

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“The Media” is a multi-faceted entity that manifests itself in nearly every aspect of daily life. It influences (and is conversely influenced by) a wide variety of factors, including technology, the economy, social issues, politics, and widespread culture in general. This is especially true when we consider the contemporary culture of The Information Age, where the Internet is accessible on an incredible range of platforms and devices. The emergence and rising popularity of social media is a testament to the effectiveness of convergence culture in conveying information to an audience.

This newfound global reliance on social media raises interesting questions about the relationships between technology, the media, and society. Many media theorists have offered perspectives on this topic in the past — McLuhan, Enzensberger, Baudrillard, Bolter and Grusin, to name a few. Applying their theories to contemporary media may offer insights into both current trends and the future of new media.

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New Media Theory: Remediation

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Remediation: Understanding New Media by J. David Bolter and Richard A. Grusin is a remarkably in-depth account of New Media’s rapid evolution to its position at the turn of the millennium. The book functions as a snapshot in time, defining remediation from the context of the year 2000. This book also spends time recounting the history of New Media and projecting Bolter’s and Grusin’s hypotheses into the future. It offers an extensive look into the nature of media as it evolves throughout time, and how new media concepts such as immediacy, hypermediacy and mediation were represented in the year 2000.

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Slack Rave

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slack

(This post is going to consist of me raving about how great Slack is.)

Slack is a team communication platform that is easily my favorite recently-discovered app. Slack is like if old school AIM chatrooms, Facebook, and Google Drive all hooked up and had a beautiful code-baby together. I began using it at my job (Leadnomics), and over the summer I got my senior project team using it.

Now, when getting a group of people to switch over from a familiar program (Facebook) to something completely unknown (Slack) for something they do every day (communication), it stands to reason that there would be some reluctance during the switch. People like using what they’re used to, right? Don’t we all fear the unknown?

Nope, not with Slack. It’s gotten to the point where my teammates actively PREFER contacting me / each other through Slack, instead of texting or using Facebook chat. It’s just that good.

So, what makes Slack so cool? Oh, let me count the ways…

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Asset Management for Team Animations

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As a senior project manager, two of my biggest concerns are asset management and project setup. My team is ready to begin animation next week, so setting up our project hierarchy is what I’m dedicating most of my brain-space to at the moment.

I’m trying to decide if I should create one giant project folder that includes every asset in our animation (organized into subfolders, of course), or if I should break it down into individual, self-contained projects for each scene.

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Workflow: Pseudo-agile & Kanban

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Kanban board for At the Mountains of Madness

Kanban board for At the Mountains of Madness

Last Wednesday after my public speaking class, I talked with my classmate Britt Gilbert in the rain for about a half hour. Britt is the leader of another Drexel DIGM senior project team — I’m producing At the Mountains of Madness, and she is working on a game with her team, http://identitycrisisgames.wordpress.com/.

Britt is an awesome producer. Even though we only talked briefly, our conversation prompted me to reevaluate how I manage my team. Britt is super into agile development (a management paradigm focused on iterative design), and even though agile is way more applicable to gaming projects I still fell in love with the idea of scrum boards. To better suit our schedule and team structuring, I decided to try out a Kanban board, which can be viewed here:

https://trello.com/b/mdlRYbwG/spookyspookytasklist

Recipe: Saurbraten & Kartoffelklöße

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I’m really excited about this one — my Oma recently mailed me her recipe for Saurbraten and Kartoffelklöße.

…Jeeze, how German was that sentence?

Anyway, just because in case I lose the handwritten notes she mailed me, here it is!


SAURBRATEN

  • 1 bag Ginger Snaps
  • 3 lbs rump or round roast
  • 2 cups vinegar (wine)
  • 2 onions
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 small jar pickling spice
  • 2 cups water
  • 1sp ginger (ground
  • 1 large bowl
  1. Put all ingredients in a bowl and refrigerate 2-3 days.
  2. After time, remove meat and dry. Keep marinade.
  3. Brown meat on all sides.
  4. Add marinade and cook until fork tender.
  5. Strain marinade and reserve.
  6. Add more water.
  7. Add vinegar if desired.
  8. Add crushed ginger snaps (the amount of ginger snaps you add will determine the thickness of the gravy.)

KARTOFELLGLASE

  • 5lbs potatoes
  • 2 toasted slices of bread
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups flour
  1. Cook potatoes and mash. Cool until cold.
  2. Add eggs to the mashed potatoes, one egg at a time.
  3. Add a little bit of flour at a time until a dough forms. Make sure it’s not too sticky!
  4. Toast 2 slices of bread (I usually butter it and cut into cubes)
  5. Flatten 1 TBLs dough and pat a crouton in the middle. Roll into a ball.
  6. Make all of them! (You might want to put some flour ion a plate to put the dumpling on.)
  7. Boil salted water, put 4 in at a time. Cook until they rise to the top.
  8. Use a slotted spook to lift them out, drain in a colander. Cool & enjoy.

 

KUGEL

  • 1 bag broad egg noodle
  • 1 lb cottage cheese
  • 1 large onion, sliced thin
  • 1 stick of butter
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 2 large eggs
  1. Saute the onion in melted butter until soft.
  2. Boil noodles according to directions. Drain.
  3. Add the cooked onions and butter, let cool.
  4. Add beaten eggs & cottage cheese.
  5. Mix together; add salt & pepper.
  6. Pack firmly into a 2qt buttered casserole dish.
  7. Bake at 300 degrees for 1 hour, or until brown crust forms.

 

Instancing: Crystals & Teeny Tiny Turtles!

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This week I spent some time playing with Maya’s instancer. I’ve instanced geometry in the past, but this was my first time particles to randomly scatter instances across a surface. I also experimented with writing expressions to randomize and control the positions of my instanced values.

1. Cave Crystals

anim411_crystals

For this render, I created a few variations of sharp, rectangular crystal shapes and grouped them together with some rock clusters.

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SPROJ: Project Rationale

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"Elder Thing" by David Maguire

“Elder Thing” by David Maguire

(via http://mountainsofmadness.net/rationale/ )

At the Mountains of Madness is a loss of innocence story about two explorers named Dyer and Danforth. When a member of their expedition discovers a strange creature frozen beneath an uncharted mountain range deep in Antarctica, Dyer and Danforth rush to meet him and learn more. They arrive to find the camp destroyed, most of the crew dead, and their friend missing. Looking for answers and hoping to find their friend alive, they search for him in the mountains only to uncover a massive, ancient, and seemingly dead city. As they search through the sprawling tomb, they come face-to-face with an ancient horror that challenges their very perceptions of reality. At The Mountains of Madness asks the viewer “Do we really matter?” and then answers with a resounding “No.’’

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