Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Movies and Television. The effect of Integrated Media

With all the technological advancements in the past decades, the film and television industries have lost all limitations. It is possible to create almost anything on camera. With incredible special effects, nearly unbelievable computer generated characters and a touch of suspense; viewers are instantly drawn to the screen.

We like cliffhangers, not knowing what is going to happen next, any little thing that leaves us guessing and wanting more; and technology these days makes that easier to happen.

JJ Abrams is a young producer and director who uses all these ingredients in his films and television series. He knows how to keep the viewer interested every second of the story, visually and intellectually.

In his “TED” conference he tells us how he achieves that and what inspired him.

Jeffrey Jacob "J. J." Abrams (born June 27, 1966) is an American film and television producer, screenwriter, director, actor, composer, and founder of Bad Robot Productions. An Emmy and Golden Globe-winner, he is known as the creator or co-creator of the television series Felicity, Alias, Lost and Fringe, and as a director of films including Mission: Impossible III and the 2009 feature Star Trek. Source: “wikipedia.org”

First of all I am a huge fan of “Lost” so Abrams immediately intrigued me, and second of all, the whole concept of the mystery box is so true, and the way he cherished his box, I thought it was beautiful.

We, the viewer, love to be surprised, it is what keeps us glued to the monitor, whether it’s a TV show, a movie, or real life situations, we are drawn to suspense, not knowing what will come next.

Now days, we have incredible digital media to help us do this, we can create great explosions, character generated monsters, fictitious characters, or polar bears living in a jungle (from LOST), and this creates even more mystery in a story because when we least expect it…BOOM! A plane crashes right before our eyes, or a 50-foot dinosaur is running through the city streets.

But its is not only special effects, it’s the way you use technology, as Abrams explains, while shooting Mission Impossible, he was caught on a scene were Tom Cruise has to be injected in the nose, something that bothered him, because the other actor was being a little too rough. His solution was to use Cruise’s own hand to inject himself, so it wouldn’t hurt anymore, and shoot it in an angle were the viewer couldn’t notice this; so there are lot’s of tricks that you can do, its only a matter of imagination and using digital media to your advantage.

Febuary 2nd 2010… “Lost” the final season premiere. I know I’m only one of thousands who are counting down the days…


Trend vs. function. Social Networking

It’s really hard to define social networking either as a trend or a function. I strongly believe that it has part of both.

In it’s most basic form, Social Networking is a group of people connected through a web page; where members can explore and share things that interest them; whether it’s music, movies, political interests, religion; basically anything you want.

Today there are thousands of different social networking sites on the web, from Bebo, to Twitter and on to the most used one: Facebook.


“Facebook is a free-access social networking website that is operated and privately owned by Facebook, Inc.Users can join networks organized by city, workplace, school, and region to connect and interact with other people. People can also add friends and send them messages, and update their personal profiles to notify friends about themselves. The website's name refers to the paper face books depicting members of acampus community that some US colleges and Preparatory schools give to incoming students, faculty, and staff as a way to get to know other people on campus”. “Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia”

Mark Zuckerberg founded facebook while he was attending Harvard University. At first this site was limited to Harvard students, then it expanded all around Boston and later became what it is today, with more than 350,000,000 users world wide, it is the most used Social Network ever.

Truthfully it is highly addictive, there are times when I have spent more than an hour just looking through other peoples profiles, Their pictures, their information, their friends. And starting with one person, it leads you to another, then another and before you know it you’ve looked at ten different people’s profile, ad the thing is you probably don’t even know these people; you just get glued to it.

If you learn to control yourself, and you MUST, facebook, and other social networks can be very useful. It helps you keep in touch with people, even if they are close by. For example, with school projects, you can easily create a group for people who you are working on a project with, and this helps everyone stay organized and follow the path that their project is taking, you can update information, ask questions, and keep everything on track.

The main reason I use facebook is to keep in touch with my mother and my friends. I used to live in Mexico, and since I’ve been here, Facebook has really helped us to stay up to date on our lives. You don’t have to spend any money on phone calls, you could instantly let them know if something is happening in your life or if you need anything, and you can show them everything about yourself, through pictures, videos, wall posts, and more recently instant messaging.

Because of this, I believe that social networking is a great tool, I wouldn’t define it only as a trend; it’s more of a trend evolved into a function; and the thing is it’s only going to get bigger and bigger, so I recommend taking advantage of them and all technological advances in that case, because it’s not something that is going to come to an end. I think its better to embrace all these new tools we have and use it in a way that will help us evolve socially, intellectually and technologically in a positive way.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Kevin Kelly on how Technology evolves.

He starts his lecture with a question. What is technology? How does it affect and/or influence your life? Would you give up technology?

When you really come to think of it, this is a really hard question. We are so attached to technology, it surrounds our every day lives. Would I give it up? I don’t know if I really could; there are days were I don’t use my computer, the Internet, no cell phone, and it could be surprisingly relaxing; but that’s just a temporary feeling, because sooner or later it seems like you NEED those things in order to function the way we are used to.

Technology is constantly evolving, we find ourselves discovering new things that one-day will provide us with even newer things. Kelly compares it to the evolution of organisms; technology goes through the same process of Ubiquity, diversity, specialization, complexity, and socialization.

It is infinite; Kelly says that we take part in the infinite game, a game that is played to be kept playing; Meaning that there always has been, and always will be technology. It never dies.

He shows some examples of pieces from a steam car that are still being produced. Also an 1895 Montgomery Awards catalogue with appliances that are also still being produced.

He says it’s even hard to get rid of technology; it can be delayed, but not terminated. It is an accumulation of ideas, and these ideas are also evolving. It is also said that technology is accelerating evolution, the way in which we search for ideas.

Technology is about better ways to evolve, that’s way he calls it the infinite game, we will always be playing it. His theory is that technology appeared with the Big Bang; the whole universe was compressed, there was no difference between anything. Once it expanded there was a potential for difference. Technology brings us this difference: Choices, possibilities, freedoms. It gives us room to make differences, and that is what we all want, more opportunities to make even more opportunities.

At the end he leaves us with an interesting assignment. Spend your life discovering what your assignment is; explore possibilities and opportunities. That is the infinite game, and if we play it well we involve more people and it becomes like a chain reaction. He urges us to embrace technology, claiming it is the medium in which we play this infinite game.

It’s the essential part of our journey to finding out who we are.