Ubiquitous Academicians

Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

The Return

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Before I go about writing the particular thoughts that come to me at this time, I’d like to offer an apology to all our readers for my recent lack of activity on the blog. Although I’m somewhat tempted to cobble together an excuse for my inactiveness, the simple truth is that I’ve been downright lazy. It’s not that I don’t wish to continue contributing to the blog, for I think of many ideas for it each day, but that I have a severe problem with procrastination. Let us continue on, though, with no further ado.

I would like to show you to a clear and insightful article written by Stephen King. This column, which King wrote for Entertainment Weekly, clearly demonstrates my thoughts on the predicament of video game violence, ratings, and the constant disputes centered around them. The column manages to address my foremost point of frustration with the argument to ban violent video games or make them illegal for minors: it is a double-standard. Brutal, disgustingly violent movies such as Hotel and Saw predominate in today’s film industry, and they are NOT illegal for minors to view. These films trump, in there vehemence, anything that even the most violent video games have to offer.

Secondly, the column looks at the continuous conflicts over video games in the context of the grand scheme of things. King rightfully points out that politicians love to use violent entertainment as a scapegoat to pin the fundamental problems of the modern world on. He also reminds us that many entertainment mediums have undergone similar scrutiny (comics, rock music, etc.).

Stephen King manages to debunk the ludicrousness of the anti-video game debate with great succinctness and eloquence, making this an excellent read for anyone remotely interested in the topical debate.

Lastly, if the subject of video game politics interests you even remotely, I’d recommend you pay a visit to Game Politics, a monumental resource on the topic of video games in relation to politics.

Your writer,

An afterthought: Thank you, Ethan, for managing, unlike myself, to keep up with this project of ours.

Written by Nicholas

April 12, 2008 at 6:15 pm

Another Day, Another Post

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I just took a look at our blog statistics. Boy, what a good way to make myself depressed. Yesterday, we garnered a whopping 7 views – pathetic, compared to the 53 we earned on our debut. Granted, we debuted talking politics, at a time when politics were the absolute hot topic – and we posted about Wisconsin first.
We were also new, interesting and both writing.

Only one of these remains applicable.

Still, I will carry on. I’ll make a big deal about it, moping and whining in a manner unbefitting of an academician. But I’ll do it.

So, on to the actual subject matter of this post. I have resolved not to worm out of being interesting, like I did yesterday. Therefor, my subject is something pathetic. Indeed, today I am writing about when free stuff is good – and when it is not.

Funnily enough, I just listed all sorts of free software I’ve been downloading for my new laptop. Obviously, I am a fan of free stuff. (I’m keeping this to free software/media, not free anything.) Just today, I’ve downloaded even more – Pidgin, FoxLingo, and the most intellectual of all games: Line Rider. I also started OpenOffice, but when my horrible dial-up (I know, I know. I need to upgrade.) informed me that it would take 30+ hours, I put it on hold.
Lots of free software comes from the Mozilla Project (http://www.mozilla.org/), which I cannot praise highly enough. Projects such as this contribute more to innovation than most highly paid professionals.
All of this having been said, sometimes free stuff is not so good. An obvious example is software that comes corrupted with Spyware or viruses – trojans, miners, all sorts of creepy little things that haunt the dreams of my computer and wallet. These are not positive things, for anyone. The sad thing is, pretty much all of them come with free software; what kind of idiot would try to sell someone a virus?
There are other downers.
Not all free software is as good as “comparable” programs that you must purchase. In fact, this is often the case. Lots of free things are free simply because they aren’t good enough to be marketed.

There are many other pros and cons, but this post has gone on long enough. Please let me know what you think – and recommend our blog to your friends! The more readers, the happier we are; the happier we are, the better our writing.

This topic came to me courtesy of Chris Brogan (http://www.chrisbrogan.com/) who maintains a handy list for bloggers just like me – who are caught in a slump.

Written by Ethan

April 4, 2008 at 4:41 pm

The Academician Lives!

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Well, one of us at least.

Don’t let me fool you – Nick is still alive and kicking; he merely has followed his all-too-normal procedure for blogging: Don’t. Oh well. At least I’m still here, even though I’ve been absent.

A few news items on my “home front:” I purchased a new laptop! Toshiba Satellite A215 – very nice. I’m extremely pleased, not only because I can surf the web anywhere I want, but because I can write almost constantly, whether it is here or in my word processor, with a goal of publishing something.
Anyways, I’ve been customizing it over the past couple of days, and downloading useful tools.
Let it be said here and now: When it comes to computers, I’m no minimalist. Here’s a short list of things I’ve added so far. It’s short, but with time it will grow.

StumbleUpon (http://www.stumbleupon.com/) – It’s a great little toolbar that allows you to – in addition to being a social network of sorts – list some interests, and then see what others with similar likes and dislikes have found, and rated. All with the click of a button.
I’m very pleased, and have already discovered several interesting new websites and blogs.

Mozilla Firefox (http://www.mozilla.org/) Duh! Only the best browser out there! Not much else to say, except that it brings me lots of other useful gadgets, such as:

Mozilla ScribeFire (http://www.mozilla.org/) Which is what I’m using now. Basically, it is a blogging tool that stores your blog(s) information, and, with the click of a button, has you typing away at your next post. This post, in fact, is my main test. Synopsis: Very nice.

That’s all for now, other than my IM systems. I’m off to check out Skype – but I’ll write again soon!

Faithfully to my readers,

Written by Ethan

April 2, 2008 at 12:26 pm