Archive for December, 2011

Final Project: The First Email Message

Sunday, December 11th, 2011

When I was looking for a final project idea, I saw the post on the timeline titled “First Email Message received at Mary Washington.” The post included the original text and time stamp from the email, then an idea struck me. A documentary could show how the addition of internet and email affected a college campus, and I could use UMW as the case study. I used superfluous film gained during a prior interview with Dr. Ackermann, discussions with Sean O’Brien of the CIO Office, and information gathered through some research on the current email load ont he UMW servers. I edited the video into a 2 minute 40 second video. I rearranged the interview to actually tell the story, and I added affects, transitions, titles, and some information to be used as comparisons. Once I finished the film, I uploaded it to youtube( Link here), and I embedded the film into the post on the timeline that describes the first email message.


Link to timeline post here

New Documentary

Saturday, December 10th, 2011

For my Final Project, I wanted to flesh out one of the stories of UMW. How did the campus get connected to the internet and what was the first email? I had several conversations with Dr. Ackermann of the Computer Science department, Deborah Boutchyard of Network and Communications Services, and Sean O’Brien of the CIO Office for information pertaining to my project. To create the documentary, I used film gathered in an interview with Dr. Ackermann, and I used the information gathered in other discussions to provide further comparison and analysis to the story. Dr. Ackermann received the first ever email message at UMW (At the time, the school was MWC…) I learned some interesting facts about the early days of the schools internet.

At first, the connection was a 56K transmission rate. At my home in King George, VA, I have a 56K internet connection through dial-up. I can recognize the speed difference immediately, but how would I express that to students of the modern era or future viewers of the documentary? To accomplish this, I did a little math, failed miserably, and then I found a wonderful resource to accomplish the task much easier. I first calculated the file size of John Mayer’s last album, then I put that number into this webpage ( I found out that at the original UMW internet speed, it would have taken over 3 hours to download the album. Now, the album takes less than 10 minutes to download.

Interesting facts like this will hopefully allow any viewers of the documentary to understand the changes of the information age, and how the connection of the campus to the internet exhibits these changes.

Should the Geneva Conventions Be Applied to Video Games?

Friday, December 2nd, 2011

A recent article with the same title as this post appeared on The question was of whether or not should the conventions be applied to video games was not posed by Mashable or its writers, but by members of the International Committee of the Red Cross. The committee now believes the realistic war video games should adhere to guideliens set by the Geneva and Hague conventions. The Mashable article author explained, “The Geneva Conventions are a series of treaties and protocols created after World War II to establish international law around the humanitarian treatment of victims of war. The conventions prevent, among other things, the use of torture, inhumane treatment, hostage-taking, and excessive violence.” The International committee believes that video games should state or only allow actions allowed by the many conventions governing wartime actions. Some games, such as Modern Warfare 3 have begun to not allow the killing of civillians, but should the conventions be applied to Video Games?

By applying the convention rules to video games and not performing the same actions in works movies, TV shows, books, or comics, the International Committee of the Red Cross comes across as hypocritical. The level of engagement with video games may be greater than the engagement with movies or books, but the concepts are identical. Video games represent the same forms or niches of entertainment as action films or murder mystery novels. Restrictions on video game creators means restrictions on the entire digital medium.