Monday, April 9, 2018

Does T-Mobile Redline Newark, NJ?

This class was interesting because we discussed an unfamiliar concept: redlining. Redlining is the practice of marking an area to call it out, usually as a place to avoid. The concept was introduced with a discussion of undesirable neighborhoods, and we were shown a redlined map of Newark, NJ from 1939. I was interested to learn that even in 1939, areas in Newark were considered undesirable places to live, and I would love to understand why in more depth. From what I know of this area, Newark has always been mainly immigrant neighborhoods and, from what history indicates, immigrants have often been on the outskirts of society. This led me to wonder which groups were causing issues in 1939.

Redlining can be tricky because it can be hard to tell why it is done. For example, I live in a great neighborhood in a city that has a bad reputation. My neighborhood is perfectly safe, but for a while Amazon Prime would not leave packages for fear that they would be stolen. Although this practice has been rescinded, it was quite annoying and totally unnecessary, as I do not remember the last time something was stolen off of our doorstep. However, I understand why this was done in my city-- Elizabeth has a dangerous reputation, and the dangerous parts are quite bad. If redlining is done for general safety and security, is it a problem? I suppose I don't know enough to say.


I chose to look at T-Mobile cell phone towers in Newark, NJ, and T-Mobile does not shy away from Newark:

As I mentioned in my write-up, I have learned in the past (actually, from New Media Studies with Dr. Zamora) that T-Mobile was formed to be a lower cost option in urban areas, which is the opposite redlining! The map proves that this is still the case, with tons of towers in the urban area. I think it is really cool that such an excellent company purposefully targeted underprivileged areas, and is now one of the biggest cell phone providers.


I really think that I have learned a lot about Audacity this semester, which is so exciting! I was dreading the sound editing assignments the most, but I finally feel comfortable enough to edit audio, I guess practice really is the key! I think that with more work, I could be decent at audio editing. This is something to add to my skills :)

I chose to talk about a game created by a student named Merna, in Professor Maha Bali's class in Cairo, Egypt. Merna's game is about single motherhood in Arab societies, and how single mothers are often treated poorly by their peers. Merna dedicated her game to her own mother, who raised Merna and her sibling as a single woman. I appreciated how personal this issue is to her.

The background sound in my audio clip is a mixture of two sounds, light piano music and people talking. I wanted a cafe vibe, because I wanted the final piece to sound like a casual conversation. I'm very disappointed that Merna did not answer my questions, but I did my best to draw conclusions. I'm quite proud of the final result, I didn't think I could possibly piece together a valid-sounding podcast clip, but I think it came together well!

Monday, April 2, 2018

Playin' Games (and making sounds)

I really enjoyed class this week, after all, who doesn't like playing games? I have a great deal of respect for people who analyze video games for their merits, as well as for the skills required to play them. Although the Internet Archive website was a cool idea, I had absolutely no luck playing the old games. As I've said before, I'm not a gamer (I have no patience and no attention span), so it was hard to figure out the controls-- most of which didn't work. However, if you put an old pinball machine in front of me, I'd be on cloud 9! 
I had so, so much fun playing Board Game Online with Hailey, Alan, Kelli, Vanessa, and Justin, I wish we could play it again! It's fun to play a game with a bunch of people, and I see why people enjoy it on a bigger scale. Board Game Online was such a weird experience, and I want to share it with all my friends, because words simply cannot explain it. 

Audacity Project Preview:

To show that I'm working on the Audacity project, here is my work so far! I've found ambient noise and music to be the backdrop of my sound clips, and I've downloaded the questions that I have for Merna, the student in Egypt that I will be interviewing for this project. Merna's project is an empathy game about the condition of single mothers in Arab countries. 

I have some DDAs to catch up on so....:

This one stumped me! I couldn't figure out what the firelit room wanted from me! I'd love for someone to explain to me how this simulator is supposed to work because it seems interesting but I couldn't get anywhere....

I remember this DDA from last year! I enjoyed it then and I enjoyed it just as much now. Book titles are fun to manipulate.

I hated living through this the first time....

I stand by this opinion. Hemingway is painful and this is a controversial opinion that everyone, including my fiance, can fight me on. 


After trying multiple games to no avail, I looked again at the Software Library and miraculously found one of my FAVORITE early computer games, Digger! I did not see this the other day, if I had, I'd still be playing it right now...and maybe I am.

I actually really enjoyed playing this game because it was familiar and I could figure out the controllers. When I say that I tried several games before this, I'm not kidding. I tried Tamagotchi, The Oregon Trail, Sonic the Hedgehog, and Mortal Kombat and had no luck figuring out the controls. Pac-Man was a success, but I wanted something that interested me a bit more.

According to the video we watched, I believe that this game is a practice game, because it's the sort of game that you need to play over and over to get it right. Also, there is not one correct answer, so different ways of practicing the game will lead to different ends. 

As for a story.........

Once upon a time there was an alien named Digger. Digger was a small truck, and all he wanted to do was his job, which was mining for sparkly jewels. However, Digger was constantly followed by bad aliens who wanted to steal the jewels that he collected. They ran after him day after day, and Digger was tired of running. So, one day, he decided to set a trap. He took a bunch of large stones and tied them up in a big bag with a dollar sign marked on it. He knew that the greedy aliens would not be able to resist the "money." Then, he went off to work.

Sure enough, the aliens began to follow him, but Digger was prepared. He went about his day collecting jewels, and slowly approaching one of his "money" traps. He spotted a greedy alien behind him, approached the bag, and cut it free of its tied. He watched as it fell down toward the unsuspecting alien, pinning it to the ground.

Digger knew this brief victory wasn't enough, and that he must plan his next attack. The bug-like aliens were milling around their fallen comrad, and Digger had to load the cannons for the next attack. He collected all of his money traps and sent them down the chute one after another. He listened and there was silence. He peeked over the chute....all was still. He won, he finally did it!!! Then....suddenly...what's that? Bright flashing lights strobed across the sky.....

Game Over....Game Over.....Game Over