Tuesday, April 17, 2007

I love "L-O-V-E" !

Despite its laggy connection, I start to love singshot :) Hahaha.. Anyway, I entered this song to "Best performance" contest on singshot. So, do vote this song if you have time. Thanks! :)

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Over the Rainbow - trial version

This is my first attempt... so, yeah... :P

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Bonus Mission #2: Second Life, The Sims, World of Warcraft.

Second Life: Let's Get Started!

Second Life (SL) is an Internet-based virtual world which came to international attention via mainstream news media in late 2006 and early 2007 ("Second Life", 2007). It is a 3D world which allows its users (its residents) to build their own house, properties, and even land. To build those kind of things, residents must have certain amount of money, named Linden dollars. Linden dollars can be obtained by converting your "real money" using your credit cards or PayPal account, or you can work in SL and start your own business. However, even if you don't have lindens, you still can get free stuffs that Linden Lab has offered, or even from other residents.

To get started, user has to choose an avatar. In cyber world (not only in SL), one can decide to be pseudonym by choosing avatar that does not represent one's true self. In the creation process, users can designed their avatars specifically, from the body shapes, eye color, make-ups, and the clothings.

Since SL is an online-based, users can communicate with others who are available (online) at that time. This feature enhances people to form online social networks through SL.

But why does Linden Lab explain SL as “virtual world”, rather than call it a game? To answer the question, we might want to compare SL to similar kind of “thing”, such as The Sims and World of Warcraft (WoW).

The Sims = Game; The Sims >< SL; Therefore, SL >< Game!

If you noticed, you will find that SL has quite much similarities as compared to The Sims. It also allows the players to create avatars and design it as how they want it. However, The Sims is not an online-based like SL (It is available in PC or Play Station). Thus, no actual interaction occurred in the game. You can talk to others by selecting phrases that are pre-designed as a 'template'.

In The Sims, one is given missions according to the aspiration that one chose at the beginning part, in order to complete the game. Aspirations that available in the Sims are knowledge, popularity, creative, and wealth. For example, when you choose knowledge as your aspiration, through the whole game you will be assigned to tasks such as working as scientist, reading books, and even exploring aliens.

Different from The Sims, SL does not have mission to be completed(not even the one in tutorial island!). It is just a virtual world to be explored (and there are a lot more you can do in SL! Keep reading and you will find out). In addition, The Sims is just a typical kind of 'game' where players can ONLY enjoy the world that Maxis (The Sims game developer) has created. In SL, you can even build your own world!

A Little about World of Warcraft (WoW)

WoW seems to be more similar to SL rather than The Sims because it is also an online-based. Since the popularity of WoW is on a rise, allow me to talk about it a bit more.

How to Play
In order to start playing, one has to get a blizzard account. One can get it directly via purchasing online, buying the game package, or getting a guest pass from friends. Online purchase is relatively cheaper compared to package purchase. Entering the game via guest pass requires a friend that already has an account. Once one receive a guest pass, he will be able to play for 10 days but won’t reach anywhere beyond level 20.
Expansion pack is an optional package. It cost S$ 45.00 to be purchased in the store or US$ 19.90 to upgrade online. Either way, the player needs to have a blizzard account and an installed World of Warcraft game. Expansion pack includes “ticket” to the all new world in Outland, flying mounts, and new races.

The Game
World of Warcraft is arguably the most popular online game currently in the planet. In a news release shortly before the announcement of their brand new expansion pack The Burning Crusade early this year, the game developer Blizzard announced that they have served a total of 8 million players over the years. With the new expansion pack selling fast, it is not a wonder if currently there are roughly 10 million people in the world who is or ever played the game.

Starting a game, one has to choose a server and a realm. Basically there are only two main servers. One is located in USA while the other is in Europe. There is no way for the player to interact between these two servers. Inside each server there are numerous realms. To describe the concept of realm, take this example. Player A which is currently standing inside City A in realm A will not be able to see or communicate with Player B which is also inside City A but playing in realm B. All realms are categorized based on the playing characteristic. One can choose to play in PvP realm (allows combat between players), PvE realm (disallows combat between players), or hybrid (disallows combat between players as a default setting but offer an option to enable that function).

After choosing the realm, one has to create a character. One account can contains more than one character. To create a character, one has to choose either playing as Horde or Alliance. This will affect their starting point and allegiance. Each of them has 4 default races and 1 expansion race. For the Horde, the default races are Orc, Tauren, Troll, and Undead while the expansion race is the Blood Elf. For Alliance, the default races are Human, Gnome, Dwarf, and Night Elf with Draenei as an option for those who have the expansion package.

Every race has a number of possible classes. Warrior, Paladin, Mage, Warlock, Druid, Hunter, and Shaman are among the classes that can be chosen. However, there is no single race that can play all this classes. Some races are good in magic using, some in melee attack and some in agile movement. Knowing the advantage and racial ability of each race could be pivotal in determining the class to be taken.

Upon creating a character, one will be able to start playing immediately. The game will start with an opening prologue telling about the races chosen. The aim of the game is determined by the player. It is similar to many other MMORPG games where there is no clear ending to the game. But the main activity of the players is leveling up. This can be achieved by either killing monster randomly (called “grinding”) or doing quest by either killing certain monster or collecting some items or even delivering items to a certain NPC (non-playable character).

Players can go form a group for a difficult quest or a raid for an even more difficult one, entering PvP arena to fight other player (it’s always Alliance Vs Horde), challenge others in duel, auctioning their loot, learning a profession etc.

World of Warcraft Economy
The numerous players playing the game inadvertently created opportunities for some people to make real money out of the game. There are some side activities that involving real money and some of them are actually forbidden by the EULA (End-User License Agreement). Some activities are not actually forbidden but can be subjected to fraud. This involves gold selling, item selling, and character selling. Whilst the one that actually violate EULA involves power leveling or job leveling. These activities involves sharing account which is basically not allowed by blizzard and if caught can cause an account to be banned permanently.

WoW ??? Game; SL ??? WoW; Therefore ???

After reading a brief explanation about WoW, I guess we can answer the question whether WoW is a game, or it is not. When you play a game, there should be someone who wins, and other who loses. I am sure that you can find this in playing WoW (despite the fact that you can still live after you got killed, but you will have to find your dead body). Thus, we can say that WoW is game. But is WoW just barely a game?

Levy (2006) told us why WoW is not ONLY a game. Just like SL, players can interact with others and form online social networks. For example, Ross Mayfield confessed that he closed a deal with a company he met through WoW. The social networking through WoW also occurred when one of guild members died (in real life, not Azeroth) and his grieving friends decided to hold a funeral for him inside the game. However, the solemn affair was disrupted when a rival guild burst upon the unarmed mourners and slaughtered them mercilessly. In this case, WoW does not only serve people as an entertainment, but it also gives people the sense of respect and anger. This is the reason why WoW is not only a game.

Anything Else About SL?

What makes SL different from others is its economy system. SL residents are allowed to make business out of goods and services that they create. Using PayPal or major credit cards account, one can buy Linden dollars in order to start a business, from creating clothes, to building a real estate. Who are the customers? Other SL residents, for sure.

Very Brief Conclusion

SL are connected to the real world by its economy system and real communication among residents. So, do you still think that it is a game? Well, I don't think so.


Levy, S. (2006). World of Warcraft: It It a Game?. MSNBC.com Newsweek, Retrieved April 5, 2007, from http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/14757769/site/newsweek/page/3/print/1/displaymode/1098/

Second Life. (2007). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved April 5, 2007, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Second_Life&oldid=120268909

WoW Game Info. (2007). In World of Warcraft. Retrieved April 5, 200
7, from http://www.worldofwarcraft.com/info/

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

QotW10: Cheilla Forcella reporting from Cyberspace.

Hi, I'm Cheilla Forcella. I was born in Second Life (SL) on March 27, 2007. So, currently I'm 1-week-old. I was named after my creator's name, Cheilla. She thought "Forcella" would be a nice surname for me, because it sounded quite similar with the first name when you say it.

My creator actually tried to make me look exactly like her. Unfortunately, all the things that make us alike were not free. And I don't think that she was willing to spend her "real money" just to dressed me up. So, here I am, with all free stuffs on my body.

I might say that I was born premature. My "grand-creator", Kevin SuiSei, wanted me and my friends to be born in this week time, but I was created one week earlier. However, I guess that was an advantage for me! I am now independent in the world that Linden Research, Inc. has created. I own more free things than my newborn friends, and I have travel to so more beautiful places as compared to them as the newbies.

And now, I shall bring you to the most gorgeous place I've ever visited in SL world.

*sound effect* BEEP... BEEP... *teleporting to destination*

"Check mic.."
"Good morning. I'm Cheilla Forcella reporting from Star Trek Museum of Science. The time now is 7.23 AM according to SL time. This museum is located in the Star Trek space shuttle as you can see the shining stars and planets on my left. There's no significant activities currently, but I predict that the place will be more crowded later in the afternoon. So, let's explore this place before it's full of visitors."

*transporting object*......*loading*.......*transport succeed!*

"I am located in the Star Trek Collection Cinema. For Star Trek fans, this place will be an awesome movie treat. There are 10 Star Trek movies displayed, from the first shown to the last one. Just click on the "Now Showing" movie poster, and you can watch the movie that you selected. But remember, you have to get the Quicktime media player to view the movie."

*HEY! I am having my movie treat now! Can you switch to other channel while I'm having my treat?!*

"Hi. Welcome back here at Star Trek Museum of Science, with me Cheilla Forcella. If you've been wondering how it is like to be out in cyberspace, you can feel it here in the Institute. Since I always wanted to be an astronaut, so I should try it for myself, too."

"Before I end the show, let me show you one last spot in the museum . I called it 'Ponder wall'. There's a question on the wall that makes you ponder about "How has Star Trek changed your life". Do you really want to know? Type in the word "Museum" in the search panel, and you'll find Star Trek Museum of Science on the lists."

"That's the end of the show. Thank's for reading. Good morning."

p.s. For inquiries, add Cheilla Forcella as your SL friend :)

Friday, March 30, 2007

QotW9: Citizen Journalists = HEROES!

Knowledge is the only way to explore the world without having to go to every places in it. That is the reason why news exists, to give people information of what is actually happening within their own societies and even across the countries.

But after awhile, people get bored with the top-down model of information sharing through the news, where they are always being told, and not getting the chance of sharing information to others. They started to realize that they need conversation more than pronouncement given by the news (Gillmor, 2004). Moreover, people think that the media has not distributes full-transparent-news to people. Therefore, people want to contribute and participate in giving news which is not covered yet by the traditional media – the top-down information distribution.

The Birth of Citizen Journalism

In the late 90s, the Internet fulfilled people's needs by giving the easiness of contributing news to others. As the audience, citizens start to be actively participate in the creation and dissemination of news, with or without the help of mainstream news media. Therefore, the citizen journalism has born into the world of news sharing. Citizen journalism is described as the act of citizens playing an active role in the process of collecting, reporting, analyzing and disseminating news and information ("Citizen Journalism", 2007). By engaging in citizen journalism, ordinary people, just like us, can be heroes by reporting news which has not been captured by the “real” journalists. The good thing about citizen journalism is that we are not limited by the newsroom horizon. Therefore, news reporters are everywhere in the society.

The advance of technology has supported citizen journalism, especially in the last two years. Citizens are now equipped with easy-to-use Web publishing tools, always on connections (wireless connections), and increasingly powerful digital and mobile devices. These things allow citizens as grassroots reporter to capture moments not only in-text, but with photos, audio-video, commentary and analysis, fact checking and watchdogging, and filtering and editing the ever-growing mass of information online (Bowman, 2005).

Pecquerie (2005) mentioned four categories of citizen journalism, such as:
- The citizen journalist who owns a digital camera or a camera phone and sends shootings to a news organisation during a major event (tsunami, London bombing…) or a local car accident
- The citizen journalist who wants to cover its local or virtual community and produce targeted content
- The citizen journalist who is a militant and campaigns for political reasons. How Eason Jordan was fired from CNN by infuriated bloggers in January 2005, was a good example of biased citizen journalism
- The citizen journalist who is eager to participate to a « conversation » with professional journalists and bloggers. « News is just the beginning » says Jeff Jarvis and, in some cases, it is true.

However, by the existence of these four categories, traditional news media have to deal with these new citizen journalists. Therefore, they use citizen journalists to gain information that they could not capture, and edit the information before it appears in the news column.
Pecquerie (2005) argued that by letting traditional news media edited the news, it means that citizen journalism is only part of the news reporting, but the true essence of citizen journalism is dead.

What about STOMP?

I explored www.stomp.sg yesterday, and I really think that this is the forum where people can talk about anything, from news to fun stuff. I don't see much politics talk in the forum, because I think that is quite a vulnerable topic to be talked about. But other than that, I like the truth that stomp.sg is a free-editing forum, so people can share their true thoughts. I found an interesting forum called “Camwhores”. This is the forum where people can post their photo snap (panveillance, i might say) and share funny and interesting story of the pictures. Other interesting forum that makes stomp.sg different from other forums are the forum where people can make confessions. In the past, who on earth will make a confession through a media where millions of people can actually read it? But on stomp.sg, people really “confess” their feelings through the forum. Two thumbs up for making people speak more!

Another thing is that stomp.sg is designed perfectly in “Singapore manner”. We can barely see that singlish is everywhere on the website. It's great that they make it so local, that every Singaporean would feel “at home” when they visit this website. Despite the fact that stomp.sg use singlish, you might want to explore the website more to find that “Speak Good English Movement” is on the list of “Friends of STOMP”. What do you think?

Bowman, S., Willis, C. (2005). Nieman Reports: The Future Is Here, But Do News Media Companies See It?. Retrieved March 29, 2007, from Hypergene Media Blog Web site: http://www.hypergene.net/blog/comments.php?id=327_0_1_0_C

“Citizen Journalism” (March 28, 2006) From Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, Retrieved March 28, 2007, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Citizen_journalism

Gillmor, D. “We the Media: Grassroots Journalism by the People, for the People” (July, 2004). Retrieved March 28, 2007 from http://download.nowis.com/index.cfm?phile=WeTheMedia.html&tip

Pecquerie, B. (2005). From citizen journalism myth to citizen journalism realities. Retrieved March 29, 2007, from The Editors Weblog Web site: http://www.editorsweblog.org/analysis/2005/12/from_citizen_journalism_myth_to_citizen.php

STOMP (2006) From Singapore Press Holdings, Retrieved March 28, 2007 from

Friday, March 16, 2007

QotW7: Twit... Twit... Twittero!

Online community is described as a group of people that may or may not primarily or initially communicate or interact via the Internet (“Virtual Community”, 2007). It is a place where people can do as much actions they can do in the real world by using words on screen. You can share your thoughts through blogs, personal web page, or even through chat rooms. Conducting commerce is always possible in the Internet, eBay, for example. People can find friends from different part of the world, play games together, exchange information, or even fall in love with each other! The best question to picture an online community is: “Is there anything impossible in online community?”, rather than, “Is there anything else possible in online community?” Everything can be done through the Internet! It's just that in online community, you minus the physical presence in the interaction.

But is physical presence a big deal? I don't think so. Fernback (1995) wrote that people start to experience their life through dehumanizing technology rather than through human contact and intimacy. Therefore, the absence of physical presence is ignorable. If you re-read the last 3 weeks' readings from Kollock (1995), he stated that there are three main reasons why people engaged in online community: anticipated reciprocity, increased recognition, and sense of efficacy. As we can see, people are not looking for ANOTHER physical presence in online community. Why do you think they will look for something that has occurred in the real life? They are looking for something new in online community, something that is not exist in their real life. If physical appearance (in the real life) can somehow create judgment without even knowing the person well, they can simply omit this relationship myth and express their true self without any worries in online community. Smith (1992) said in his writing that communion, a sense of community, is also a motivation for people to engage in online community.

According to the definition of online community, I consider Twitter as one of them. Even though it does not really give you the picture of a second life (We will discuss about it in the next paragraph), but you can still share and communicate, create a community through twitter. Now that we can see our “COM 125 students' community” on twitter. It connects you with each other in the community (in this case, a friend list) even though you are apart. For example, that day during COM 300 class at computer lab, we could communicate each other in an extremely silent classroom, and Kevin could also join the interaction even though he was in the teacher's room :)

As I have mentioned before, Twitter is a bit different from other online community. Unlike friendster where you can put your details in the “about me” section, you cannot find the details of the person you are talking to in twitter. All you can see is the comment posted by people in your friend list. In twitter, the comments do not come all at once. You might get a very quick response if you are on MSN chat, but you will have to wait slightly longer for a new comment to be posted on Twitter. Somehow you will have to refresh the page to see new comments. One thing that I don't really like about twitter is the “rhetoric” question above the comment bar, asking “What are you doing?” I did not really answer the question when I posted my comment (Instead, I would love to call it a “message”). Try to imagine if people just barely answer the question. They would not get the conversation going on! One people might say, “I'm doing my blog assignment”, another one would say, “I am watching TV”, and others would say, “I'm doing this and that....” How are they going to start talking to each other if everyone only tell what are they doing right now? Thank God none of us do that, and we have a good flow of conversation going on Twitter. Mobile phone services can be used to receive updates from Twitter, but I guess none of us in Singapore use this service, because it costs a lot. Overall, Twitter is a new way of having FUN in online community. I really think that I will keep twittering after I have done the assignment.

Apart from the assignment question about Twitter, do we really need an online community? If we are engaging in online community, what about our real life? I will put Sparks '(2004) theory displacement hypotheses as my argument, that the more time you spent on your second life, the less time you spent on your real life. So, are you willing to “trade” your real life with your second life?

I will use my own life as an example. I spent A LOT (probably too much) of my time in my second life. You name it, MSN, Yahoo messenger, Friendster, Multiply, IMVU, Blogger, and (not forgetting) Twitter. Sometimes I feel like I am lack of the real interaction with people! Everyday I go to school, have my real life goes on during the school hours, then I spend the rest of my time online. Is it “healthy”? I would say, yes it is. For me, I am still normal as long as I still have my real life goes on, so do people out there who spend their time more in online community rather than in their real life. However, I still go out with my “visible” friends every weekend! In my opinion, it's not about choosing one option at a time, it's about balancing both sides well. Don't you think it's even more fascinating if you have two lives, rather than just one? Therefore, a question by The Manicheans (Wellman,1996) whether the Internet will create wonderful new forms of community or will destroy community altogether is perfectly answered. Online community DOES create a really WONDERFUL new forms of community. Do I hear a good amen for that? :)


Fernback,J. & Thompson,B. (1995) Virtual Communities: Abort, Retry, Failure? Retrieved on March 16, 2007, from http://www.rheingold.com/texts/techpolitix/VCcivil.html

Smith, M. (1992). Voices from the WELL: The Logic of the Virtual Commons. UCLA Department of Sociology.

Sparks, G.G. (2004). Media Effects Research. Canada: Thomson Wadsworth.

Wellman,B. & Gulia,M. (1996). Net Surfers Don't Ride Alone:
Virtual Communities as Communities
. Retrieved on March 16, 2007, from http://www.acm.org/~ccp/references/wellman/wellman.html

Wikipedia (2007). “Virtual Community”. Retrieved on March 16, 2007, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Online_communities

Friday, March 9, 2007

QotW6: Bonus Mission #1

I love when people get caught in the act for something that they should not do. That's why I often use my phone camera to capture people's embarrassing acts.

Above is one of the embarrassing acts that I and my friend caught in my dad's office. This poor guy is one of my dad's employee, and he was asleep during the office hour! He even snored very loud... :) I know that this guy will be in trouble if i show this video to my dad. That's why I just keep it as my own documentation (and thank God that my dad doesn't even know that youtube.com exists!)

A friend of mine caught another silly action when we were on the train.

In his study, Sullivan (2006) defined privacy as "to be left alone". In the era where phones are attached with built-in camera, people can no longer be "left alone". Now you can feel the danger of doing whatever things you feel like doing in front of public. There are people out there (including me :) ) who would love to caught our silly and stupid actions on their camera. In addition, there is a medium called youtube.com (I'm sure all people in the world know about this, except my dad :p) where you can upload the video to be seen by all the users!

However, this technology advance of built-in camera might also bring benefit to certain circumstances. Our classmate, Yepp, has posted a video as his bonus mission, showing two guys who did not park their vehicles at the right place, and another guy caught their face and their vehicles' number on the video. In this case, I can say that people can use the technology advance as a surveillance. Somehow it might be useful in case you see any crime act going on when you're on your way to school, or anything else that is useful to be caught.

But for the videos that I posted, it's just for fun. :)


Sullivan, B. (2006) “Privacy lost: does anybody care? MSNBC Interactive. Retrieved on 9 March 2007 from,