Networked Murder Mystery: Documentation


Reading: Make Every Word Count

Making Every Word Count: Tips for Polishing and Tightening Copy by Steve Buttry

There is an importance on writing tight, keeping a reader’s attention and keeping the story moving. As with design, we also have to consider our audience, what information is useful or what the audience would be interested in. Organizing and conveying information can help clarify ideas. Is it better to link to external information, provide short side notes, or include it into the story? Also, writing down the key ideas (as you report) helps develop the focus earlier. Getting to the point is important and sometimes it’s better to write without notes, so that it flows better. Then edit and keep editing to help remove words that are unnecessary (write with active verbs to strengthen and shorten statements).

Good points that apply to all aspects of writing. There is a big difference in writing and I have been told that I do not write active enough. I need to get back to writing for my own sake, not for school. Hopefully with more time, I will be able to get back to creative writing and journaling.

Reading: On Getting Paid

Response to On Getting Paid by Jessica Hische

Going freelance is a difficult leap for many. The worry of not being able to make steady income or having to work with clients. What I find the most difficult is pricing. Like a contractor, you have to figure out the hours and how much you’re going to be paid. On my first freelance job, I definitely got paid 5 dollar an hour. Getting paid for licensing and rights-management and having a licensing limit makes so much sense.

Pricing should be based on the company you’re working for. If it’s a new start up company, maybe make a compremise for now & then later.

EDITORIAL ILLUSTRATION work (magazines and newspapers), you know that the rates are pretty standard across the board: $250-$500 for a spot illustration, $500-$750 for a half page, $1000-$1500 for a full page, $2000-$3000 for a full spread, $1500-$3500 for a cover.

Her advice that talent has value, no matter how up and coming you are never work for less than your value. No matter how cool. Keep the pricing standard. I used to make things for free as a practice, but no more.

I’ve been looking for a summer job, but many are unpaid internships with a possible chance of a job after the 4 months. The argument of experience vs. exposure comes to mind. To get new experience in a different field and not get isn’t very appealing, but there aren’t many paid internships.

I realized working with clients can be difficult and building relationships to get jobs is important, but guidelines need to be set in a contract, so that clients don’t come back with you every 5 min. for a change. I do also make logos and need to figure out how much to charge.

Getting Freelance Jobs for Designers:

Befriend other designers, so that they can refer jobs to designers. Having a portfolio website helps to get jobs as it can be a showcase of your abilities. Doing work for friends is a great place to start and then they start referring people to you.

I agree with everything she says, but the only problem is competing with others. There are so many graphic designers out there that you never know what to ask them for, so that they don’t just go to someone else.

Reading: 10 Steps to Better Blogging

10 Steps to Better Blogging by Dan Frommer

1. Don’t make up stuff, truth & evidence. (Similar to Googling before tweeting)

2. Write the site you want to read

3. Question everything!

4. Give credit, where credit is due

5. Give some context

6. Don’t be unfair

7. Check writing

8. Follow web design principles

9. Be unique, share other stories that you like

10. Try new things! Mix it up, blogs don’t just have to be text or essays

His short and simple blog is an example of a good post. Easy to understand and useful for him. Similar to a restaurant, it needs to have a niche idea (or in the case ideas), but be efficient and function (I’ve been watching too many episodes of Kitchen Nightmare). I do enjoy blogging more as it is more informal, but running a blog is quite a lot of work. My focus is on school and work. Planning blog posts and writing them requires work. I am doing a 365 project and taking a photo a day is already proving to be difficult.

Networked Murder Mystery: Coding

My team continued to work on completing the case files. I focused on the coding. Had to research to find typing abilities in Processing. I decided to use the ControlP5  library to create user interface.

It seemed rather difficult, the textarea only accepted string and nothing else. I was trying to think of how to display a bunch of lines from the networked chat. Originally, I thought array list would be best and then somehow convert to string, but it didn’t work. In the end, I just added new lines of string to an existing string, which worked out great. I was concerned that it would crash, but we had made sure that if there was any “null” information that the server would skip it. This actually caused it to avoid crashing.

Then I used a ‘for’ loop to display files in a certain folder in a ListBox. It would grab the file path and display the file name, DirectoryList. It took me a while to get it to open, when pressed. Linda told me about open(), which makes processing open a path with the default application on the computer. It was perfect to work with, since there is no way of displaying pdf inside the sketch itself. I also had thought about using html, but I also found out that it couldn’t be displayed inside a sketch.

It seems to work well, hopefully it’ll be good for tomorrow.

Networked Murder Mystery: Skype

We tried having a Skype conference Saturday night, but I was away from home. I had Skype running on my phone and we opted for text. So happy that I have a full physical keyboard on my phone. The data on my phone was slow and I was texting Kim before the meeting.

Earlier in the day, I found A website that had cases and files that people could solve (they had to pay for the answers). It was great for the team to have a reference of the language and files that could help solve the case.

I contributed a little and then my phone died. I made sure to check our Google Doc, when I got home. I don’t think we got anything done. Currently, only 3 out of the 5 seem to be contributing.

Online-based Project: Presentation Day!

Vision by Proxy

My group was ready. We had tested out our creation and it worked. Of course, I had no idea I’d be the one behind the computer giving instructions. It was a last minute thing, everybody else was busy, and the thing is I’m absolutely horrible with instructions and directions, always have been. Which, I guess, made this even more amusing for other people.

It was difficult to see everything as the screen was cropped and split. Judging distance through a webcam is almost a joke and nobody listened to my instructions anyways. David Green was the first tester and he had seen where all the objects were placed. We probably should have moved the tables around each turn. He walked to the objects without needing instructions and kept going right, when I said left. It was amusing from my side and he kept repeating that I gave awful instructions.

Then Oscar went next and this time he hadn’t seen where the objects were placed. He’s tall, so attempting to look down at the table made it very difficult. I was still trying to get use to giving instructions. He listened quite well, but has a fear of the dark, so it had made him more nervous. People also moved the objects around on him, I could see and was telling him.

Jessica was more rushed than Oscar and attempted to get all the objects, almost walking into walls and desks. I ended up just warning her and giving a general direction of where the objects were.

I was able to get Bo to give the instructions and she had Linda, who had seen the experience and listened to instructions. It was a more efficient and positive outcome, which can be seen from the documentation video.

Online-based Project: Vision by Proxy

We were told that we were suppose to present today, but it wasn’t true. I got to class a little late and Chris had been sent home to get the helmet. Jenny and I sat at the computer, making sure to finalize everything. Updating the to do list in our google doc and making sure that we had all the objects need for the experience.

We tested the iPhone 3Gs, reserved them for next week, and tried to figure out orientation lock.

Since we were ahead of other groups and were ready to present for next week, we decided to name our experience. After some brainstorming, we came up with Vision by Proxy. To me it sounds a bit like the name of a perfume, like the name should be said in a soft female voice with a soft glow effect on an ad.

Vision by Proxy, a Remote Viewing Game
“Using ooVoo’s video conference calling, the controller on the desktop can see all 3 cameras that are mounted onto the head of a blindfolded person in another room with objects and some obstacles. The task given to them is to find objects and to place it on the coloured corresponding paper to provide a fun experience for both participants. The work illustrates how easy miscommunication can occur between people through visual/audio technology.”

Online-based Project: Testing

We met up today at 5. We were a bit too late to borrow iPhones. Luckily, Jessica had an Gen 4 iPod touch and a Motorola Atrix, which was supported by ooVoo. We went into the classroom and setup the tables, deciding we would create a maze with them. I brought our objects from the dollarstore: a yellow duck watering can, a hot pink dog, and a red heart.


Chris showed up with the most creative use of simple objects to hold iPhones. He thought to use a very pretty gold hardhat with adjustable extremely strong suctions and hot glued to the inside with vinyl watch straps.

I forgot to bring a blindfold, so opted to cover my eyes and volunteered to be the guinea pig. Plugging in a microphone headset into the iPhone 4 on the front of the camera, and making sure to mute the rest of the phones as feedback was a problem.

We got to test out the difficulty of the task and was able to finalize what we wanted to do. We found out about orientation problems because when the head was tilted the side cameras would flip upside down.

Reading: Blogject

Why Things Matter by Julian Bleecker (2007)

This rather long reading that describes the Internet of Things: objects that are connected to the Internet bringing together the physical world and the virtual. He coins the term “blogject” – objects that blog, participating in social networks and have a sense of agency. Bleecker claims that they are predecessors to Bruce Sterling’s sci-fi idea, “Spime”: things that are searchable, track their location, usage histories and discourse with the other things around them. He goes on a bit of an egotistical rant of being an engineer and researcher that would allow him to produce blogjects and eventually “Spimey” things. I am trying to keep in mind that this article is from 2007.

His examples of blogjects, such as The Pigeon that Blogs by Beatriz da Costa, do not present a sense of agency to me. He says that bloggers have a personality, a niche, and in the future blogjects will participate in social web like humans do. Unfortunately, adding a GPS to pigeons to does not make them first-class citizen status. It gives one-sided communication like getting statistical numbers from a computer or getting spam from a bot.

I did enjoy his luggage example. As a traveller, I fully understanding the annoyance of watching your luggage go to another location and having to re-route or wait for it. The objects inside the luggage become an extension of yourself as it contains your possessions, such as clothing, makeup, etc. I don’t blame the luggage for going the wrong way, but the airline that handles the luggage.

Blogjects/Tweetjects have become a very common trend, mostly to make our lives more convenient. Plants that tweet to remind us to water them. We now have the easy ability to control objects such as lamps through apps and on the web. Some of Bleecker’s idea have been done and people are embracing physical objects that are connected to the virtual.

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