Tuesday, April 20, 2010

overlap of things 17 & 18

Since the first go-round of the 23 (now 28) Things, I've become more familiar with wikis. I've also been using Google Docs, a cloud-based word processing app, for several months, using it not just as an exercise but writing real documents together with real people for real-world purposes. Yes, together. Unlike word processors that reside on a hard drive, documents in the cloud can be shared; anyone with permission can log on from any computer and make additions and other changes, sort of like a wiki. A lot like a wiki. A wiki by any other name ...

Then there's Google Wave, released in beta last year, which was supposed to be even more wiki-ish, but which has faded into the background. Maybe people were embarrassed by the idea that their typing, and therefore typos, could be seen in real time. Maybe the problem was just that the limited, by-invitation-only release didn't provide enough of a quorum for such a specifically social medium. In my corner of the Wave world, we just sent a few messages back and forth saying things along the lines of, "Hey, cool." -- "Uh, yeah. So what do we do with it?" -- "Write something." -- "O.k. What?" -- until we got bored and returned to texting, Facebook, and e-mail. The person with whom I was already collaborating on a document didn't see the need to subscribe to yet another service with another login and password just to do what we were already.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

wikis revisited

I'm finding that wiki editing (or should I say, getting my head wrapped around the idea of wikis) went more smoothly on this go-round.

Being somewhat bored with the available topics, which all have to do with (yawn) reality, I started a new page, "Late at Night in the Library," a story which one and all are welcome to continue. The dragons are waiting for your input.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

off-topic but too long for twitter -- "hidden" fast food

Tried a couple of the fast-food off-menu items trending on teh interwebs.

Burger King Rodeo Cheeseburger (cheeseburger with bbq sauce): Tastes good, but unimpressive in these days of super-whoppers with fried potatoes, bacon, etc.

McDonalds Land, Sea, and Air Burger (burger, fish, and chicken, with cheese, fish sandwich sauce, and ketchap): The tastes tend to cancel each other out. If anything, it all has a slightly fishy taste. And a fried taste, of course. (But then, the main reason we frequent these places is for a fried taste.)

I encountered no resistance, in Tulsa, toward either. The BK cashier knew what it was and rang it up without comment. The McD cashier had vaguely heard of it somewhere, and put it together, without argument, from a description of a picture I'd seen on the internet.

What I noticed most about both of these was how small they were compared to some of the more recent burger inventions. (This growth of the average burger has been mentioned before in books about nutritional trends.)

(Disclosure: My idea of size may be skewed; my usual order, on those rare occasions I crave junk food, tends to be two of the biggest, sloppiest sandwiches, and an order of fries or onion rings.)

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

reflections on video games

What makes a cartoonish game palatable to adults? Recently I had an insight into why, in spite of my general preference for computer games set in dark, brooding, realistic worlds, or else consisting of abstract patterns, I like Sonic and Mario. It's because, by now, they have lost some of their kindergarteny image. They have become cultural icons. It's the same reason adults who generally would be embarrassed to watch cartoons have no problem with Mickey Mouse (can I mention his trademarked name without paying royalties?) or Bugs Bunny.

For teens and adults young enough to have played these games in their childhood, of course, there is an added dimension. Whether there is a glow of nostalgia or an avoidance because the game seems all the more personally childish is an idiosyncratic reaction which is unpredictable from person to person.

How does this tie in at all with libraries? More and more libraries now have added game-playing to their offerings. This is something to consider when looking for games that might appeal to multiple age groups.