Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Social Networking... Is Okay

The all-knowing Wikipedia suggests that the first ever modern social networking site was in 1997. I tried looking that up, but all I got was this:

Every time someone tells me to join a social networking site I resist. First it was MySpace. Didn't want to do it. I guess I thought it was stupid. Then I started to miss out on important social things, and my favourite bands were releasing 'MySpace only' songs. I begrudgingly joined and I've more-or-less hated it ever since. It's a real pain in the arse to use, it's ugly and who thought it was a good idea to give people with no web design skills the ability to infinitely customise their pages?

I don't use MySpace anymore. I'm totally over it.

It took me a long time to be convinced of the merits of Facebook, but eventually I got there. Facebook actually fixes all the problems I've got with MySpace, so I like it much better. Pages are pretty standard across the board, but you can add personal applications.

Allow me a moment of self-indulgence as I show you my flair board:

Thankyou. I do love it so.

Social networks are handy, because it saves room in my mobile phone. If I want to keep in contact with someone but don't particularly need to talk to the all the time then I can maintain the contact online. Also if I were to lose my mobile, my social network can act as a really handy backup.

The problem is that if everyone moves to a new social network (like they did with MySpace to Facebook) I'll have to move and remake all those old contacts again.

Another issue is privacy. Who is my 'friend' exactly? That girl from the grade above me who always flirted really innapropriately - to everybody. Do I want her knowing my email address? NO! Did she try and add me as a friend? Yes. Unfortunately.

Okay, so that example was a bit obvious, but what about your workmate from that job you had at the supermarket? Do you want him to know your mobile number? Or that friend-of-a-friend that you often see at parties?

Additionally, Facebook relies on people using their real names. If I'm trying to keep my real name a secret this can pose a problem, especially when I add friends I've made over the internet and I show up on stranger's "people you might know" lists.

Sometimes I resent being pestered by notifications that that guy from highschool has posted more party photos, but ultimately I feel like it's worth it. I've rediscovered some really good friends from as far back as Primary School. Also when I need to leave someone a note a social network is a better place than most to do it.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The Internet in 10 Years

When people ask each other what the internet is going to look like in 10 years you actually get pretty same-y sorts of answers. It's all immersive virtual reality environments that heavily resemble 1980s Cyberpunk. Certainly with the recent popularity of MMORPGs like WoW this isn't an unreasonable prediction to make, but I think it's missing the point entirely.

I think it helps if you look at the question, "Where will the internet be in five years" or even "Where will it be in two years". It also helps to ask "How far has the internet come in the past five years/two years?" These questions are much, much easier to answer, and from those answers we can draw conclusions about the far flung future of the internet and how we use it.

Five years ago it was 2003. In 2003 I had not yet started blogging and social media hadn't become the curiosity it now definitely is. I wasn't exactly on the cutting edge in 2003 - the internet was primarily a research tool and that's all. It wasn't reactive. I couldn't talk back. I mean, I'm a bit biased, but I think it's true. Back in 2003 we were never threatened with failure if we cited Wikipedia in an essay - I'm not even sure if I knew it existed!

Today the internet is an interactive experience. Commenting on other people's work has become an expected feature, as has easy distribution methods like embedding. It has also become freer - Creative Commons licenses and open source software have become common. Also it has become much more mobile. Currently in developing countries the primary mode of access to the internet is the mobile phone. It's getting that way in the West as well - internet enabled phones are gradually getting cheaper.

If these trends continue we can expect the internet to be incorporated into our daily lives. Seeing as we'll always have access via our mobiles, short-form communication tools like Twitter will become more important that long-form modes like Blogger because people will be checking and updating more often.

People always talk about the internet-enabled fridge, but I'm not sure I believe them. Instead I think our TVs and sound systems will morph into home media centres where you can access online video as well as digital television (assuming they ever make the switch).

Finally, the net will be faster - so the files we send will get bigger. High quality video anyone?

I look forward to the day I could be writing this entry from the bus on my phone. Because, you know, none of us will have cars in five years time. Who will be able to afford petrol?

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

It's been a long time...

Apologies for all the terrible jokes in this post. It's how I get when it's 1:16am.

Gracious me it's been a long time. But never fear! I've been diligently saving up my blog topics to do all at the last minute like the outstanding student I am. HDs please.

But for now, tonight - or should I say this morning - I'm just going to do a bit of an update on what I've been doing in the subject, and what I plan to do for my final assignment.

That's my BenRobot assignment. I got 80% for that one. I was very very pleased. It was a big, big slog to do though. It worries me for this upcoming monstrosity due in three weeks' time.

What genius do I plan to unleash on the internets this time around you ask? Well considering it needs to be "more-or-less ten pages" I was thinking I should pull the vanity site card. I don't have one you see, and because I'm incredibly full of myself I feel like I need one. It's like, the law.

Vanity sites suck. They really, really suck. They're full of pictures of cats and out-of-date stories about what these people do for a living. It's genuinely depressing. Fortunately for you, I don't own a cat and I don't have a job. Smiles all 'round.

Instead my vanity site will be awesome. I'll be making a gallery of the pictures I draw. I also used to take artsy-type photos. I've still got some kicking around from last year, but I don't have any recent work. Still, it all needs to get put on the internet somewhere or else my ego will srivel and die like a leech in a salt-shaker.

I also make videos for the internet and I have another blog that I write in. I'd like to integrate that blog and those videos (dynamically) into my site if I could - although I've got no idea how. Imagine that - Rohan with his own url. People would literally flock there in their dozens.

In terms of style, it would be red, or more accurately maroon. It's the colour that most of my online presences present themselves in, mostly because it's more exciting than blue. Also the site would be heavily populated with chickens and ducks. It's a bit of an in-joke of mine. I covered the chicken and the duck in a previous post back when I was musing on the abortive Assignment #2 GIF image.

I'm envisioning a gallery for comics (with a number of pages), a gallery for photos (with a number of pages), a bio page, a page to host the blog in (if that can work?) and a page to act as a gateway to my other artworks (the Google Mosaic and BenRobot). I have no idea how I could incorporate my YouTube videos without manually cutting and pasting the HTML code each time I make a new one.

I don't want to do that. That's a sure-fire way to make sure I never, ever, update it. Ever.

In other words - if it doesn't dynamically update, I don't want to know about it.

And... the end.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


It's been too long! Rest assured I've been working my busy mind at the task of Assignment #2. My GIF image will be a room, and in that room there will be a television and a couch and a door and some other things too.

I'm thinking of having a lightbulb hanging in the middle of the room, and to have that lightbulb flicker on and off. Each time it flickers, something in the room changes. I'm predicting that this will be relatively easy to accomplish with the layers function in Photoshop, so I should be able to make a relatively complex GIF image (fingers crossed!)

Now! On to Jason's challenge from the last lecture.

It's terribly outdated, but I'm not really here to critique the site. (It is really really outdated though)

I can honestly say, after reading through all sorts of stuff about how you should be considerate of users with 8bit displays (ha!), that I had never properly considered the text I put in my titles. The style guide says:
Always consider what your page title will look like in a long list of bookmarks. Will the title remind the reader of what he or she found interesting about your pages?
I'll be keeping that in mind, for sure. I never really thought about bookmarks, but in actual fact a great number of a website's users find the site via a bookmark (except for those users who just use Google each and every time).

And so that's what I learned!

Thursday, April 10, 2008


Imagine if YouTube looked like this:

If You Have a Soul - Kill Me

Other things kept me from starting sooner: lame I know. But this is my progress so far.

The purple represents white. I'm doing a find->replace after I'm done.

I am not going to bed until this logo is done. It's doable. Totally doable. But really, really fiddly.

I'm hoping a series of Google-owned logos will emerge tomorrow.

EDIT: Hour and a half later

Well it looks pretty good so far. What sucks about doing it the CSS way (I couldn't resize the cells in a table) is that you can't just up and move the 'Google' bit to another part of the page. If you wanted to move it you'd have to start all over again. Not fun.

Thus I'm thinking I might just make this a really, really big mosaic of logos owned by Google. They'll be scattered here and there across the screen. It looks like I can make one of these in just under two hours, so I might be able to do... four more? Five?

I'm wondering if white is the best background to have this against. You can't see all the hard work I've put into the many white squares in the logo. Then again if it stays white it looks closer to the Google homepage. I might experiment near the end.

But for now; bed! Good grief!

Monday, April 7, 2008

Next Artwork - GIFstyle!

Confession: I've been avoiding this blog. Animated GIFs, for some reason do not inspire me at all. I took notes in that class and everything and the best I could come up with was drawing my own cartoons in Photoshop.

I sometimes draw my own cartoons in Photoshop, did you know that? Well I do. They are pretty good even if I do say so myself, but to animate them would take oodles of hours worth. I think I could only do one, and the thought of it being unimpressive after all the work that would go into it makes me feel slightly uneasy.

Although... the thought of Random Chicken and Black Duck having a faceoff warms my little heart. Just, like, a little bit.

Although drawing in their wings and angry faces is a daunting prospect. Perhaps I'll animate something else - like the giant green ant?

The possibilities are endless, limited only by my technical incompetence.

I'll figure something out surely. Maybe I'll just animate a whole little scene of a flashing TV sitting in a livingroom which makes the room change colour with every flash? Is that enough work for a good enough mark? I guess it depends on the time involved.

Yes. I'll work something out.