Second Life Experience

What must it be like to live a second life in a virtual world where you can be whoever and whatever you want to be? For my Self & Society in Virtual Contexts class, I was able to find out.

What is Second Life?Second Life Avatar

Second life is a popular computer program that allows you to create an avatar that looks however you want
it to look, and even be whatever you want it to be. You have the choice to make yourself completely opposite of who you may be in real life or to keep your appearance similar to yourself. In Second Life, your avatar can fly, shop, meet new people, travel to “new worlds”, attend events, and even create relationships with other avatars.

For my avatar, I chose to make it look similar to the way I look in real life.    I gave her long dark hair, with a similar body type and facial structure to my own. I think i chose to do this because I am still new to Second Life and I wanted to just keep my appearance simple.

Learning the Ins & Outs

Upon first setting up my account, I tried to figure out the way the “world” works. It took me some time to get the hang of how to truly modify your avatar to make it more personalized. I didn’t realize how many capabilities you actually have in regards to your avatar. It took me about 2 sessions over the course of two days to really figure out the basics of the program. They make it possible to change every single facial feature possible if you so choose. I then tried to figure out how exactly to navigate throughout the land. I found it easy to walk, run and move around but in order to go places where there are other people, I was able to teleport to different destinations. In the beginning I found myself in areas of Second Life that didn’t have many people at all.

I found it strange how people communicate in Second Life. Some people are really friendly while others don’t even answer your messages. To be honest, I don’t blame the people who don’t answer. There are a lot of strange people in Second Life and it is so easy to be “catfished” being that there are no real pictures of people. However, I found my friends Charlie & Amy in the Winter Festival event.

The Future of Second Life

After experiencing Second Life first hand, I honestly don’t know how long of a lifespan it will have. Personally, it isn’t really something that I could see myself continuing to use. However, people who are really into gaming, meeting other people online, and those who enjoy spending time on the computer for these purposes really love Second Life. The Second Life community seems to take the program very seriously. Some people even made careers out of creating stores on second life and converting the “Linden” (Second Life dollar) into american money.

With social media and online platforms becoming more and more popular, it could be that Second Life stays very relevant and continues to thrive among people online. Be that as it may, I still prefer to use Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Weighing My Personal Pros & Cons Second Life Event

When looking at my Second Life experience, there were things that I thought were pretty cool. I think that the fact that your capabilities are almost endless in the game is a really interesting feature. In my opinion, this is the reason why people get so caught up in it. The fact that it is as limitless as it can be for an online game, I feel that people put so much of their time and energy into this “second life” of theirs online. Being that they are able to construct themselves to be
whatever and whoever they want to be allows people to feel a sense of excitement in their daily lives that they may feel they are lacking.

For me unfortunately, I didn’t feel this way. I tend to be very cautious when it comes to online games and even social media. I don’t like to really talk with people I don’t know and interact online with people I’ve never met before. If I was introduced to it earlier on in life, I might feel differently but now being that there are so many social media sites and apps that are so regularly used amongst so many people, I don’t feel like Second Life is a necessity to me.

Don’t Knock It ‘Till You Try It

Although my Second Life experience wasn’t really as thrilling as I imagined it would be, I still encourage others to try it out. I can imagine that everyone has a different type of experience in Second Life because there are so many different destinations and people to talk with. Just because I haven’t found it to be “for me”, I still plan on attempting to try and learn more about it.

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Fashion Has Turned 3 Dimensional

With Paris Fashion Week behind us, fashion icons and designers have begun to introduce new styles and products to the runway. 3D fashions have become a very new and innovative way to design and wear clothes. Shapeways 3D Printing Service based in NYC is a platform for designers, experienced and inexperienced to bring their ideas and designs to life. 3D printed fashions have been featured on Project Runway and the Victorias Secret Fashion Show. Nervous SysteNervous System Studios 3D Printed Dressm Studios also created a fully functioning dress using Shapeways 3D printing factory.

What is Additive Manufacturing Anyway?

Additive manufacturing, otherwise known as 3D printing, are known as technologies that create and actually build 3D objects by adding layer upon layer of material to build products. Once the file has been produced using the 3D modeling software, the 3D printer reads the data and creates the objects and turns the designs into reality (Shapeways.com). While 3D printers can create a multitude of different types of products such as home decor, figurines and games, the newest trend we are seeing are wearables. Products created by additive manufacturing can be made using plastics, ceramics and metals as well.

Bringing YOUR Designs To Life

Shapeways is a marketplace for designers to upload their designs and ideas as well as sell their 3D creations. Anyone can buy the finished products and anyone, even you, can upload designs. Shapeways encourages people who experience as well as people who are inexperienced in 3D designs to give it a whirl! The process is pretty simple, go to www.shapeways.com, click on “MAKE” and simply upload your design. Next, Shapeways will create your design and then sell it in their online marketplace. You will then get product feedback and share it with the world! Shapeways is a really great platform to innovate and try something new.

3D Printed Fashions Coming to a Store Near You? 

Although 3D dresses seem like a trend only to be worn on the runway, you too can try to wear this a
wesome new style! Shapeways features items such as clutches, cell phone cases, belt buckles and even jewelry on their site! You can wear a 3D necklace, (like the one pictured here), with jeans and a plain t-shirt or even dress it up with a nice cocktail dress and heels! The ways to wear 3D fashions are endless. These creative and beautiful new creations are futuristic and are definitely foreshadowing whats to come in the fashion world.

Only Stupid People Get “Catfished”… Right?

According to the article, “Online Identity and the Movie “Catfish”, 12-15 year olds have not personally met 25% of the friends that they make on social media outlets. This statistic averages out to about 72 strangers per child. As bizarre as these numbers may sound, many of us fall guilty of friending people online that we may never have met or have known of every day. Why is it though, that after all of the media attention the movie and TV show “Catfish” has received, people all over the world still fall into the trap of someone who is pretending to be someone they are not online?

He had me at ‘Hello’

Since the early days of MySpace and texting, people in our generation have grown accustomed to using their fingers to tap on buttons in order to generate “real conversation”. When people started using MySpace, it was very easy, and still is to befriend people who we have never interacted with other than an online setting before. This seemed to be the quickest way to “meet new people” and it really might have been the beginning to online dating. MEME CATFISH 1

Who is to say that the extremely attractive male model who messaged you complimenting your photo, isn’t some older woman who is bored at home looking for some entertainment? Who are the types of people that Catfish and why do they do it? Couldn’t it be that people who feel lonely and insecure with their lives find it easy to create a new life online? The truth of the matter is, we don’t really know who we are talking to when we first receive a message from someone that is unknown to us. People who are master manipulators are also smooth talkers. They might say everything right on Facebook, but as soon as it gets close to them meeting in a very real setting, many times, it falls through.

Why Do We Buy It?

Even though we see things on the news and watch television shows of people who get totally blind sighted by these so called, “Catfish”, it still happens every day. Like in many other walks of life, people fall under the third-person category. People tend to live under the mantra, “it won’t happen to me” in belief that it actually won’t. This makes it easy for people to mentally go through with what they believe is the truth even if they feel a sense of doubt. All too often we see normal people who are trying to make connections online get fooled after weeks, months and even sometimes years of pursuing an online relationship. It is so easy for people to construct false identities in this day in age that it would almost be impossible to detect the real from the fake.

The real issue is that the younger generations have grown so accustomed to social media, texting and chat rooms that it’s almost inevitable that many of these people will be conversing with complete strangers who are lying about who they really are. It could be very possible that the people who are so well versed in using social media and different computer programs are more prone to being catfished as well as catfishing someone else.

We all have to be more intuitive in regards to the behaviors we practice in the online world. By assuming that these types of instances will never happen to us is the very way it does.  The third person effect CAN happen to anyone.

Travelling bar kit

NEED THIS !

Travelling bar built from a basic camera case Travelling bar built from a basic camera case

Evenings with friends now include mixed drinks before eating, and I like to try new recipes and methods with them, as well as classic recipes. As I find I am transporting more equipment each time, I needed a dedicated method of making sure I had everything with me in an easily portable format.

Bartender bags & cases are not a new invention, and top mixologist Jim Meehan has designed perhaps the ultimate utility bag, supplied by top-end leatherworkers, Moore & Giles. However, at around $1,000, this beautiful object is a little too expensive for my current needs.

My solution was a £25 camera case from the UK electronics supplier, Maplin. The case is designed for carrying delicate photo or electronic equipment, and has a foam insert that is pre-cut in a grid format to allow one to arrange the…

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Jumping on the Political Bandwagon

socialmedia1

Only in recent years have politicians joined the hype of the social media movement. But, what does this mean for the outcome of future elections?

Getting the Whipper Snappers Interested

I have never been someone who was extremely interested in politics. I honestly have never really actively kept up with candidates, what they stand for, or even how it affects my life in any way, shape or form. That is, until, Barack Obama ran for president, especially in running for his second term. Without social media, Barack Obama’s campaign might have been ineffective. Why? Reason being that Obama knew who to target. Here we have a younger candidate for a change, using technology, and targeting a younger market.

Doing What’s Cool

Keeping up with trends and doing what’s cool is a part of the make up of a young adult. Obama made his campaign “cool”. He used Twitter, Facebook, and even Youtube to gain the attention of fresh, new voters. I distinctly remember going to the voters booth early on in the election process when Obama was in the running against many other candidates with my father. At the time, my dad was unsure who he wanted to vote for. My response to him was, and I quote, “Just vote for Obama… everyone’s doing it!” New voters who are still unsure about the candidates and what all of the clutter and political jargon means often feel the need to gravitate to what seems familiar. At the time of this very popular election, Obama’s name and face was everywhere. Even if you didn’t know a thing about Obama’s beliefs or plans for the United States, his image online was a charming one.

So, What’s Next?

After watching the success of Obama unfold before our very eyes, politicians may begin to consider making social media the central medium for their campaigns. Times are changing and so are voters. Younger people are becoming more and more interested in politics and how their outcomes can and will affect their lives. In order for candidates to stay relevant, it is crucial that politicians adapt. Many politicians in the past like John McCain and Mitt Romney have not been aggressive through social media. However, with each election taking place every four years it is important that candidates keep up with the rapidly evolving times.

Why Your Child Knows Everything.

Why parents should think more actively about censoring their child’s access to the media around them.

Kids nowadays seem to know much more than ever before. They are very aware of innuendos, sarcasm, and mature conversation. But, what happens when we begin to recognize that we are taking away the innocence of a child at such young ages. Children are like sponges, they soak up all the information they can and then spill it back to us at the most unexpected moments.

Once Upon a Time…

Back in the 1950’s when TV and movies were just beginning to become a normal household item, it was completely taboo to reveal anything “indecent”. For example, in the TV show I Love Lucy, TV-Land would not show a married couple sharing a bed. In these times, it would have been considered indecent and obscene. According to an article listed on Exploring US History, “Indecent programming was defined as ‘patently offensive as measured by contemporary community standards for the broadcast medium and describes sexual or excretory activities and organs.'” Children were not exposed to racy material that was way beyond their years because for the most part, there wasn’t any content of that nature to be viewed.

As the Times Change, Parents Do To

All kids are curious. I remember the times when I wanted to see movies and watch shows far beyond my years, however, my parents and those of my friends were very particular in the content we were being exposed to. If something was rated PG-13, and I was 10, most likely, I was not seeing the movie. Unfortunately, times have changed. It seems as though parents tend to lack control of the material their child is watching, playing, or reading all too often. Kids in our times are living and thinking way beyond their years. Take for example, the video games kids are playing. Grand Theft Auto, SIMS, and various others all have a rating of M for Mature. However, when we think of video games, we don’t usually correlate sexual material to the rating. Unfortunately, many parents tend to overlook the label and allow their child to play it anyway. These games are exposing children to situations that they are too immature to handle.

Kids are Impressionable

Children in most cases, are gullible and vulnerable. Even when they don’t understand the meaning behind what they may be hearing or seeing, they repeat what they heard like a parrot. It has become more and more common in recent years for children’s shows to contain subdued adult content. Take Spongebob for example, in many episodes, adult humor is added in a very subtle way. While we may think these small innuendos fly right over a child’s head, when they repeat things that they heard, we wonder where it came from.

How to Get a Grip

In many homes, parents are uncomfortable letting their child watch something that is even deemed appropriate for television. Nowadays, we have ratings for shows we can easily access through Cabelvision. As one parent expressed in the article, Families Becoming Own Censors, “I am not comfortable with letting professional sensors who spend half their lives watching violent and semi-pornographic movies to decide what is acceptable for my children. I reached the point where I had been burned one too many times by the ratings system to place my confidence in it, so I decided that I’d never allow my kids to watch any movie I hadn’t at least viewed myself.” While our rating system in movies seems to become less sensitive to small details, parents need to take matters into their own hands. View the content your child is preparing to watch and read the specific details on why something is rated the way it is. If for any reason, your child is exposed to raw material, be sure to explain what they heard and why it is not appropriate to repeat. Parents need to be more aware of containing their children’s innocence while it lasts.

10 Reasons Everyone Needs A Friend Who’s A Bartender

So much truth to this post!

Thought Catalog

Coyote UglyCoyote Ugly

1. When you complain about your desk job, they will (rightfully) remind you that they work just as hard as you do mentally, but they’re also on their feet all day. It’s a nice reminder to be grateful for the perks you do have.

2. They will teach you to be a good customer. You now know not to wave your bartender down like an idiot, not to order a ridiculous drink, and to tip well. And your service has improved because of it.

3. They will teach you to be tough. A bartender learns very early on that they can’t put up with anyone’s crap. If you have a tendency to be a people-pleaser or a pushover, you’ll learn from watching them that you can and should put your foot down.

4. They know everyone. There must be a secret bartender club they all hang out in…

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Out With the Old, In With the New

The Good Ole’ Days

Photo from Google Image

For centuries, printed word was the easiest way to get information, read books and stories, and entertain oneself. However, the times are rapidly changing and it’s time that everyone, including you book lovers out there, get with the times! Aren’t we all a little sick and tired of schlepping around giant texts and wordy novels that don’t contain any resources other than the written material itself that’s in them? Now, don’t get me wrong… I am in no means trying to put down any of the great classic works of any of the intellectuals and authors that we read about throughout our schooling. BUT, wouldn’t it be nice to be able to just highlight a single word such as “avaunt” or “thou” used by Shakespeare and have the definition appear right on the page? Well, now we can.

Technologically Advanced Books

I know, I know, “paperbacks are classic“,”there’s nothing like the smell of a new book”, “I like to hold a book when I read” are all thoughts that are popping into many of your heads while reading this. However, lets take these few points away for a minute. Using a Nook, or Kindle has many different advantages that we just don’t have with regular paperback novels and texts. Looking up definitions, saving highlighted quotes, and having instant access to the sequel of a novel you just finished are all right at your fingertips. Is this technology not something to consider? As far as I’m concerned, this generation is willing and able to do most everything through their phones or tablets anyway… why not read something on it as well.

What About Magazines?

The beauty of most magazine companies out there is that all of their content that you pay to read when you buy one on the line of the grocery store, is sitting on their websites for free. All of the articles, pictures, and interviews that we pay Cosmopolitan $7.99 for is all transferred to their mobile website at no charge whatsoever. Is this a form of trying to phase out print copies? Will we eventually pay for online content to these magazine companies? Most likely, however, we should be taking advantage of it now while it is free!

The Future

With all of the new advances in technology, it almost seems that it will be no time before absolutely everything and anything can be found primarily online. The time will come when newspapers will become scarce, libraries may have to close their doors or change their ways, and future generations may never even hold a paperback book. While these changes may seem a bit frightening, why not embrace it and try to learn and grow with the times? As intimidating as technology is and will become in the future, the only way to live around it is to adapt to it the best we can. It is important to remember that literary works are not going away, they are just changing their style.