Decoding Code

SimCityBox
This photo depicts the game, SimCity, created by Will Wright, which allows users to create different cities to their liking.

Most likely, if you live in a country where you are privileged enough to have internet access, you have probably played some sort of online game at least once in your lifetime. I remember when I was a little kid, I would spend hours on the Disney Channel website playing all sorts of show related games! Have you ever thought about the behind the scenes part of those games though?

In a blog post by Mark Sample, he analyzes the various meanings certain codes can contain. When playing a game, chances are, you’re focused on the tangible, what you can see, but Sample points out that “a player’s success in a simulation hinges upon discovering the algorithm underlying the game”, such as in the game SimCity. With this game, players construct their own cities. If the user wishes to lessen the crime in their cities, however, the only way to do so is to add more police stations into their city, even though, in real life, increasing policing hardly ever reduces the amount of crime in area.

This made me think about the implicit ideas being ingrained into our minds as we expose ourselves to different things, such as online games.

As technology advances, people are being exposed to online games as young three years old, if not, even younger.

Hopefully the games that these youngsters are playing are strictly educational, but even certain educational tools can hold implicit biases. When analyzing code, one may notice that a game meant to teach children emotions may always have the minority characters appear angry or sad, while the Caucasian characters are designed to always appear happy or excited. A detail like that may go completely unnoticed to the designers and even to certain users of the game, but a minute detail such as that has the power to influence that child’s self-esteem and how they interact with others in the future.

You might think that only programmers can decode or translate code, but, anyone can as long as they are patient enough. You might not understand everything going on within the code, but doing this can help you understand the creators purpose for doing certain things within the code and may even help you to question whether or not you want to continue supporting the game based on certain coding decisions the creator made.

Just some food for thought,

Stir Fry

What is “Good” Music?

This chart displays the differences in raw analog audio signals between different mediums for audio.

What are the odds that I would be listening to a newly thrifted vinyl record right before reading Jonathan Sterne’s “The mp3 as Cultural Artifact”?

After reading the article, I began thinking about music quality. I was a bit surprised that the article appeared to neglect adding vinyl into the conversation. I personally enjoy vinyl records simply for the novelty of listening to something that my grandparents probably listened to almost a century ago! When I walk into any music shop, however, the “professionals” love to strike up a conversation on how the music quality is way better on vinyl than anything else you will listen to today. I nod my head in clear agreement, but I never really took the time out to understand why music quality appeared to be better on vinyl and what “better’ even meant.

The graph above gives the visual representation of sound quality through different mediums. In the article linked to the photo, it claims that “a vinyl record has a groove carved into it that mirrors the original sound’s waveform…[so] the waveforms from a vinyl recording can be much more accurate, and that can be heard in the richness of the sound”.

With CDs, the recording is being converted into an analog signal, which is simply translating electric pulses of varying amplitude or copying the sounds heard. By lowering quality slightly more, DVDs can hold more music than CDs, which brings to question whether you want to listen to a lot of music or a smaller amount of better sounding music. No judgement no matter your decision, but it is…

Just some food for thought,

Stir Fry

Counter GIFs

 

Cinemagraph GIFs:

WE tv sad rain emo emotions GIF
Cinemagraph GIF

Counter:


Analysis:

A typical cinemagraph GIF is utilized for aesthetic purposes as opposed to for humorous or entertainment purposes. In the first GIF, it portrays a man in the rain. The man is not moving, but the rain is, creating a somber tone, yet beautiful scene. In the GIF that I created, it is Joni Ernst repeatedly blinking her eyes. Cinemagraph GIFs typically contain one single moving element in the backward, as well, but this GIF contains a single moving element on the actual subject. The GIF has little aesthetic qualities and appears to have little meaning, making for an awful cinemagraph GIF.

 

Sport GIFs:

 

 sports vintage basketball nba history GIF
A typical sports GIF

Counter:

Analysis:

Sports GIFs are usually used to portray glorious moments in sports’ history. They showcase exciting moments that can create feelings of joy and/ or sorrow for fans. In the first GIF, Julius Erving is seen making an aesthetically pleasing (and possibly tear-jerking) basket. In the GIF that I created, however, the GIF is short in length and glory. There’s nothing special going on, just some dribbling of the ball, which, in comparison, elicits little to no emotion from the audience and would contain no purpose in being shared.

Reaction GIFs:

Andrea reaction trippy wow omg GIF
Reaction GIF

Counter:

Analysis:

Reaction GIFs are self-explanatory. They are GIFs that depict a lot of emotion and can be seen all over the web. They are used in text based conversations to portray emotions that may not be conveyed if only words were being used. In the first GIF, there is a child in complete awe/ wonder, looking around frantically. Context and intention are key with reaction GIFs. This particular GIF can be used to convey feelings of actual wonder or it can be used for irony, to portray a person looking for all the “cares” that they have. The reaction GIF that I created is a counter because it lacks emotion and though “no emotion” is also an emotion, I cropped it enough so that the man’s mouth would be slightly moving, as well. This makes it seem as if he is speaking and should therefore have some sort of emotion, yet his facial expressions are very anti-climactic and, therefore, the lack of purpose would probably not make this a very popular GIF used.