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November 24, 2010 / zachfarley

Lessons From Enron – “Smartest Guys In The Room” Documentary

Quick money is dangerous.
GM building

Things that feel great in the short term, usually don’t lead to long term prosperity. When you have short term vision and partake in poor habits you will not win long term.

Bad Eating, lack of Exercise = Poor health
No Budget, lack of planning = Poor Finances
Not listening, lack of caring = Poor relationships
All of these things are easier than the alternative!

Sacrifice is painful, but often its the only way you know your doing it right.
Trust me, nobody enjoys sacrifice. Giving up fast food and not buying the latest gadgets isn’t fun for anyone. However, if you seek long term success and have it pictured in your mind, you can get through the pain and into the gain!

Please don’t get rich quick, please dont get rich quick.

November 15, 2010 / zachfarley

5 Leading Factors in Minecraft’s Explosion!

Minecraft is an indie computer game created by a Swedish developer named “Notch” .  It gained huge popularity and has now sold over (update 12/3) 700k copies and registered2.27 million users!  Think about Microsoft and their marketing campaign for Kinect. They took over Times Square, brought in Burger King and even gave units away on Oprah. Minecraft didn’t have any of these luxuries, but has still spread like wildfire throughout the internet. Castle

Here is how Minecraft became huge!

1. Youtube – How did I even find out about this game? Youtube! Users have been creating content and worlds within minecraft and many have gone viral. If you like (update, star trek not star wars! Props to Eulogy1337 on twitter for noticing this gaffe!)  If you like Bioshock, someone created content for you. If you like Roller Coaster Tycoon, someone created content for you. All these spinoffs have huge installed user bases and once you see the world of minecraft, you think, wait, what game is that?

2. Freemium – Minecraft has a free version which you can play in browser for nothing. It is an addicting game and you get to try it out! While the full version (still in alpha) only costs 10 euro, its always nice to see if the game will work on your computer and you understand it before diving in. This has led to 30+% of people buying the game who play it, that is an extremely high conversion rate. Notch did an amazing job giving people just enough and offering them more for a small cost!

3. Passionate Community – The minecraft forums are an amazing place. You can learn, read, talk with other fans about the game. Every world is so customizable in minecraft that its a great place for everyone to show off their work. The people who bought the game and posted content about it are truly the games biggest marketers. People are excited to be on the front end of something remarkable and love to tell friends they found it. The community is also very helpful, so if you are just starting out they will answer any questions you have! Users also have created big multiplayer servers and its great to hop on and interact!

4. Creativity – Gaming has become so scripted and cinematic in recent years that it is nice to play in an open world. Even sandbox games have become stale in recent years with similar missions and the need to travel across the map. In minecraft you really have nothing to do other than survive. Some people may not like that you are free and say, “Well whats the point?” However, as soon as you get your hands on it and create a little world, you will understand the beauty.

5. Developer who listens – Notch has done an amazing job of being responsive to his community. They recommend items and he legitimately decides if they are good for the game.  He is now working full time on the game and even has a small support team in place to help him out. He doesn’t force you to download a license to play and lockdown his game. His attitude has no hint of arrogance, just an honest want to make the game better. Now that he has the time and resources to develop full time, it will be amazing to see what other additions are added to such a young game in development terms.

All of these factors have  made Minecraft the quickest exploding indie game of all time. Notch didn’t care about profit or squeezing money out of his customers, only creating the best game possible. Once he put that product on the market and gamers understood what it was all about, they chose to support an amazing effort. In the end, minecraft is all about creativity and I believe notch has also created a new way for indie games to explode!

November 10, 2010 / zachfarley

25 of the Best “Wire” Quotes to Reinforce Blogging Principles.

The Wire is an all time great show, the contrast between the police and dealers, good and evil, rich and poor is amazing. It creates a “believable” world that portrays the struggle of urban communities.

Here are 25 quotes that have correlation to blogging and starting a business online!

1. “Why are you wearing that suit? Its 85 degrees out here and your trying to look like Pat Riley”.

“Look the part, be the part” – Prop Joe

Proposition Joe is an amazing support charecter. He is rarely given focus on the show, but seems to always pop his head in during big moments.  Joe always looking to make “deals” and really has the perfect nickname.

They are simply talking about a basketball game here, but this quote reminds me of when I first started to believe in my business. If you are looking to be respected and taken seriously, you must “be the part”. If you want to be a web entrepreneur, it involves creating content, marketing yourself and staying up to date with the latest tools and trends. You need to market yourself to be the part you want to be, if not nobody will take you seriously!

2. “A man must have a code” – No doubt – Bunk and Omar

These two characters contrast each other perfectly. One is a well respected and hard working detective. The other is a lazy criminal who only robs drug dealers.

These man personify different traits but both understand “the code”.

What is your site about, what do you stand for, do you believe in authenticy? My site is about helping people become better and working hard to achieve that goal. If we suddenly switched up our code to try and sell every person rather than help them, we would be breaking our code. Changing what we stand for could turn our members against us and we worked so hard to earn their trust.

3. “If I hear the music, I’m gonna dance”. – Detective Greggs

Many people are using the web as an opportunity to work for themselves, while some still think it isn’t an option. They are so conditined to believe they must work 9-5 positions for the man and work the corporate ladder. They hear the buzz of web 2.0 and have side passions but ignore the sounds because of the fear.
These people are hearing the music but are afraid to dance, they don’t have to abandon anything yet and can simply start working on side projects. They need to start dancing though and convince themselves its not weird, even if people look at you like your are crazy.

4. “The Sunday truce is as old as the game itself, you can do some crazy stuff but NEVER on no Sunday”. – Avon Barksdale

Avon is my favorite charecter on the show, after one of his own members makes a mistake by starting a shootout on a Sunday (on the way to church!) he realizes his crew has broken its code.

You must make time for yourself to be away. It doesn’t have to be on Sunday, but if your wife asks you to put your phone away, be respectful. It is very easy to lose track of time and be tweeting while you should be watching your kids soccer game. Carve out some time to have a truce from your business and spend it with people close to you. Always try and disconnect, I constantly find myself laying in bed, hearing a tweet and then rolling over. Let it go, it will be there in the morning!

5. “I’ll take any persons money if he giving it away” – Clay Davis

This quote is from a corrupt politician on the show. These actions may make you prosper in the short term, however Senator Davis doesn’t do so well in the long term. Taking advantage of people is never a good option. When you actually help someone and deliver value, you end up with a long term relationship that is good for both parties. There is no reason to take money just because, always make sure you provide something in return.

6. “I thought I might legalize drugs” – Sgt. Bunny Colvin (Colvin in elevator with high ranking peers who chuckle)

While this story line was the most far fetched, when SGT. created “New Amsterdam” it certainly was a unique strategy. He was attempting something that had never been tried before rather than just maintaing the status quo. What is already being done in your industry and how can you innovate on that? How can you be different from the competition?
Colvin ended up getting removed from his duties, however his strategy did produce results. Some were negative (created a scary place after dark) Some were positive, (quieter corners in non-designated zone, health clinics)
It is just a tv show at the end of the day, but Colvin did think outside the box and implement something he thought could possibly help.

7.”I’ll do what I can do to help Y’all, but it is either play or get played” – Omar

You can have a mentor and take time thinking of great ideas, but the bottom line is you have to get started. Every day people are creating great content and not worrying about what their twitter handle should be. You need to get writing and creating rather than sitting around and thinking of the next big idea. Web 2.0 is taking off and even if you don’t have the skills yet, start to jump in and learn it. You WILL be able to pick it up as you go along. Start playing the game!

8. “Either do it or don’t, but I got some place to be”. – Marlo Stanfield.

Marlo is one of the softest talking charecters on the show, but he is all business. This quote represents how much time we spend talking about things rather than doing what we should. I love talking about the next steps my company plans on taking, rather than doing the day to day little things to make sure they occur. Tomorrow will come whether you work for it or not, so either do it or don’t.

9.  “Your gonna help, your gonna look out for me? Randy

Poor little Randy gets caught “snitching” and only after he is beaten up does someone offer to help. It shows how, someone can get you started and help but in the end you are responsible for yourself. If you count on others to take care of you, you will get caught in some tough situations. Learning about your site and niche all fall back on you and unfortunately it can be hard to trust people to follow through.

10. “Worrying about you is like wondering if the sun is going to come up” – Omar

Omar has a rival who he knows will be coming after him much like businesses have competitors. If you spend your time looking over your shoulder at your competitors and what they are doing, you lose focus on your own company. Your competition is going to keep coming at you and you have to stay focused and not react to them, you need to keep innovationg on your own and being authentic in your own way!

11. “Did he have hands? Did he have a face? Then it wasn’t us” – Russian

Every business puts their own touch on things. Each site has its own identity and calling card known as branding. When you brand something, make sure its something you want to be known for and be very delibirate about it. The more authentic and unique the item is, the more value it will bring in the marketplace.

12. “This is my corner, I ain’t going nowhere” – Bodie (Eerily similar to newspapers not going to online format)

During Bodie’s last stand, he tries to defend the corner he spent so long earning. If you are sticking by an idea or opportunity that is dying, why not get out? Bodie ends up dying for what? Perhaps you are the last person on myspace because you originally got started there, why stay on a dying platform? Always be innovating and don’t be stubborn to change.

13. “You juke the stats enough and Majors become Colonels”. – Prez

Stats are an important way of measuring your progress as a site and business. ROI in social media is a common cry from more business minded people who think tweeting is useless. However, there are easy ways to gain big amouts followers and none of them are better than the sheer act of interacting which is very hard to scale. Yes, you can juke the stats to earn 3,000 followers on twitter, but if they aren’t real people who care and respect your brand, what good is it?

14. “What do you do for a living Mr Little?” “I rob drug dealers” – Omar

People may laugh at Omar’s non traditional profession, however he is making quite a bit of money doing it. When people ask you about your work and you respond with blogger, do they also chuckle? Do they laugh when you tell them you are doing what you love? Something that challenges you daily and you have a passion for unlike your 9-5? Do they laugh at your freedom to work from anywhere?

15. “The game is the game, period”.  “Same as it ever was”. Avon and Stringer

Whether back in the 1800’s or right now in the age of technology, business concepts still apply. If you are a butcher now or  back then, you still rely on word of mouth marketing and interacting with customers. Yes, the tools you use may have evolved over time, but the straight business behind the sale has been the same forever.

16. “Boring ain’t it? Man I do what y’all do every day and now all I wanna do is get high” – Bubbles

Bubbles is the addict on the show. He follows the police as an informant for just one day and has already had enough. The police illustrate how long it takes to set up a wire and how monotonous it can be. Same with blogging and running a business. Not every post is a homerun or makes it to the top of Digg. There are days that it is a grind, but you have to hustle through. Those looking for quick wins or who don’t have the ethic, like bubbles, wont last.

17. “I love the first day of school, everyone is all friendly and stuff”

When your first starting out, you have the ability to ask questions and get legitimate feedback. People are always willing to help newcomers to the scene. It can seem like other companies and sites are miles ahead of you, but remember the all started there and you can find a mentor who will guide you along.

18. Look, any man standing at the end of a round, you can’t call him soft. Thats a rule. – Cutty

Business is hard and even if one venture or site fails, you must keep moving. Nobody can put you down if you give it an honest effort and keep trying. You aren’t going to win every round and as long as you stay on your feet, people will respect you for getting in the ring.

19. “Meaning no disrespect, but I a’int cut out to be no CEO”. – Slim Charles

Small Businesses are very unique because their are so many roles people must take on even if they aren’t cut out for it. Some days you might have to be the CEO, other days the secretary and some days even take out the trash. Try not to put labels on the job and just focus on getting the task done. You have the entrepreneurial mindset for a reason and should always look to expand your skill set no matter what the job requires.

20. “I think you play in the dirt, you get dirty.” McNulty

Be careful what other companies and sites you associate yourself with. If you get lumped in promoting or working with a untrustworthy site, people will think of you as one. Always think about your brand and what your members needs are, rather than a quick opportunity to make some money.

21. “The Crown ain’t worth much, if the person wearing it is always getting his stuff took” Marlo

If you are number one for a second and stop to proclaim it, someone will take it from you. You can’t stop to admire the view from the top and must continue doing what got you there. How do you think the Seth Godin’s and Chris Brogan’s got to where they are? By doing work and not admiring the crown.

22. “Business or pleasure for you? Business, always business.” The Greek

Do you look for opportunities within every day conversations to create more business? How can you leverage your current network and contacts to create more opportunity? Always keep your eyes open during your daily routine for ways to get more business.

23. You don’t ever want to be the last man to a party, you feel me? -Monk

It is very dangerous to be the last man. If you are coming in trying to capatilze on the market, than you are already steps behind. Look what happened to the last people in on the housing market? Bubble popped and many lost it all. You want to be innovating and creating the party rather than showing up late and looking for scraps.

24. “My name is not my name, and you, to them you are only the greek… And of course, I’m not even greek!”

You can brand yourself however you wish. As long as you present yourself as an expert in the field and prove to be authentic through hustle, people won’t know the difference. Perhaps you don’t want to use your real name to start, that is okay. Create a new online name but make sure that you back it up with a consistent and authentic voice to start building your brand.

25. “If anyone ask you if you in this game, you tell them you in it for life. Alright? You play it hard, you play it tight and you make sure they know you are gonna stand by your people”. D’angelo to Wallace!

The number one reason online blogs fail is because people abandon them. If you can commit to your site and make an honest effort, you will succeed. It can be hard to get traction and readership, however, once you have created an identity and voice it will be easier to attract readers. Many people don’t subscribe to new blogs because they are afraid you will abandon them. People are afraid to buy online because they are worried if the product and seller are legitimate. However, if you are being authentic and working hard on your business, people will respect that and you will earn their trust. When people know you are going to stand by your blog and whatever product you sell, you have earned the first step to suceeding in the game. Trust is earned through hard work and doing the right thing, hope you are in it for life!

-Thanks for reading!

November 2, 2010 / zachfarley

“So Many People Are Already Doing That”

Whats your excuse? You there, yes you!
Crowd

I am constantly talking with new college graduates who are unhappy with their 9-5 or not sure what they want to do with their career. I always move the conversation towards their passion, what do you do when your not working? What would you see yourself doing everyday if nobody paid you, do that!  However, too many times, I hear it’s not an option because… “too many people are already doing it”

Here are some reasons that is totally incorrect!

1. They are NOT doing “it” like you would be!

Say you have a deep interest in fashion, but can’t visualize the gap between your current dead end job and ordering models around the runway as they wear your clothes. It’s okay, neither can most people. The most important thing is getting started talking and listening about fashion EVERY DAY! You write about it, talk about it, dream about it.

Your initial effort and brand will be small and initially feel no traction. You will spend time interacting on the established sites and be in awe of their member base and readership. However, as you build up, you will recognize your unique voice in the fashion market and your type of member will emerge. You don’t need to get people to switch over, there is room for YOU. Be yourself.

2.  When you hang out online (blogs, forums, twitter etc), you only see the people who are “doing it”

Think about the last time you were at the gym, how many of those people are on twitter or thinking about fashion all day? Not Many. When you hang out in your industry’s big online community, you are in a very specialized magnified field and you feel like a small fish. But, how about when your at a dinner gathering and you start talking about fashion with your friends? You are the top dog and all the time you spend reading and listening to experts in your field really comes out. When you leave a blog or forum, you think “wow they know so much!” However, when you leave a dinner party after passionately talking about fashion, your offline friends feel the same way!

There is room for you, and if you are good enough and truly passionate about it, people will be able to tell. Remember, your not looking to fit in, your looking to create!

3. What are you doing now?

You want to be in fashion, instead you are in insurance. You know the basics, but in your mind, its just a quick stop to pay off some loans because your friends father owns the company.

How many people are doing insurance? TONS.
If you aren’t innovating in any industry, which is nearly impossible if you genuinely don’t LOVE something, you will fail. Just because insurance seems comfortable at the moment, doesn’t mean it isn’t as cutthroat as fashion. New insurance companies are forming online  and local businesses are utilizing new media tools to stay entrenched. You can make similar money as a low level employee in both fields, however in one you have an interest and that leads to unlimited growth opportunity. People are doing big things in EVERY field and they all look crowded at the bottom. However its tough to get on the elevator to the top floor if you don’t care about pushing your way on to it and asking for the top floor, knowing its where you are meant to be. Trust me, the person pressing the button will know if you really mean it by the sound of your voice. You can hear passion and confidence and see the way someone stands up straight. TOP FLOOR!

If you build it, they will come!

Also replace all the bold “fashion” with your passion and read again! Then get to work!

October 27, 2010 / zachfarley

How Twitter Can Use Video Gaming to Improve Retention Rate!

Video Gaming is a unique experience where interaction with the surronding world is required.  After coming out of a long gaming session, you have to re-enter the surrounding reality and say woah, how long did I just play? (Minecraft anyone?)

The reason is because the gaming companies develop their games this way.

My design for Twitter's "over capacity" screen

Each game starts with a tutorial to get you acquainted with the controls and how to use them to manipulate your surroundings and become fully immersed in the world. You then start as a weak player with only low level abilities and items. However, you are facing opponents on the same level and advance quickly, which keeps your mouth watering for more. If you started out with nothing and had to fight the hardest boss in the game, you wouldn’t keep playing for too long would you?

Twitter Orphan Accounts –

On Twitter, over 60% of accounts are abandon within the first month. Maybe a user just signed up to get a coupon and never started engaging people. Perhaps they decided this platform wasn’t for them and would rather spend their time on other mediums.

When I see a twitter link on a website, I always click just to check out HOW they are using the service. Are they simply auto posting links, are they engaging in conversation or have they abandoned it completely?
I would rather not see a  link to a page at all, then click it and find 2 followers, 6 followed, 3 tweets – which were automated from 3 months ago. If you don’t understand the platform, that is okay, but why broadcast it as a feature on the site? Keep it underground for a bit and see if it’s for you. There is almost no wrong way to use twitter, (other than spamming) but neglecting it is as useless, if not worse, than not having an account.

Friends on Twitter –
When friends from home or your parents make an account because they hear you talk about it all the time, how many stick with it? You have to guide them along slowly, leveling them up much like leveling up a video game character. Perhaps you introduce them via @ to some of your followers. Give them a little tutorial on direct messages vs @ messages and what an RT is. They start out slowly with 0 friends, 0 followers and a empty page or world. If they level up too slow and see other people with 1,000’s of followers they become discouraged and think I will never get there. If they don’t see some instant gain and start engaging, they are likely to become part of the 60%!

My Solution: Have Twitter offer a starter pack! If you signed up via the Patriots website, your feed would come preloaded with the top 10 bloggers in the category. Mike Reiss, Ian Rapaport and Albert Breer would be automatically loaded into your feed. You would have a tutorial related to following game events and learn how to search for “Patriots” to see what people are saying in real time!
If you selected a “Gaming” profile, you would be loaded with IGN, Gamespot and a few of the underground sites that really engage on the platform. Instead of following games, you could get reviews and learn how to search your favorite game to hear what people are talking about. You are so much more likey to jump in when people are talking about something you have a passion for and you can say either ME TOO, Or wait a second, that game doesn’t stink, its awesome!

Why This Is Big:

One reason I love twitter is the following of sports events and information, it is tremendous to paint pictures of a game and engage in live conversations. When Lebron made his legendary decision to “take his talents to South Beach” my feed exploded! Whether you are watching the game or just following from afar, this is a great tool. Then you would have people checking there twitter constantly, maybe not engaging, not yet, BUT it would keep them logged in and learning until they are ready to speak in the 140 character language known as a tweet.

Remember, Gaming has shown the model to keeping gamers interested and engaged by leveling them up quickly and keeping their focus on the platform. Twitter takes too long to build up a following and make it feel like it has any value. Reducing the 60% abandon rate is essential to the success of twitter and implementing a faster way to “level up” would help more users stick around!

Did someone guide your twitter use? Did you almost give up? When did you know you would stick with Twitter?

July 15, 2009 / zachfarley

Welcome to the Offical Blog for Zach Farley

Here on this blog, I look forward to sharing tips and lessons about becoming one with your target market.  The internet has absolutely changed the way business will be done from this point forward. Web 2.0 is here now and already building upon this amazing foundation.

The consumer of tomorrow is educated and knowledgeable about the products and tools they will be surrounding themselves with. At their fingertips at any moment seems like thousands of possible products and lessons. We can be on top of that list!

I believe in selling experiences and feelings rather than products made of cheap plastic from overseas. There is something about talking with someone about food, travel, or sport that cultivates an amazing attitude of passion inside them. This creates a unique buyer/seller experience that leads to amazing brand development.

When I speak with young companies, I can consistently hear the passion and honesty which sits inside of them. After listening intently, I go to work creating a comprehensive game plan to put their intellect and craving to help people in gear. This is why we are here!

I look forward to sharing some experiences with people out there about what makes marketing the best job in the world…

Cheers,

Zach Farley

If you have any questions or comments please contact me JZFarley(at)gmail.com

May 5, 2009 / zachfarley

New Media Final Essay

New Media: Entertaining Interactivity
By: Zach Farley
Bond University
Serene Computer Lab at Seward Montessori School

Since most people adopt new media technologies and use them for entertainment/info-tainment purposes (i.e. mobile gaming, the internet, etc…) a technological determinist would argue the spread of new communication media (generally) in society has caused a demand for entertaining education (lectures, readings, classrooms that are entertaining as well as informative). Argue for or against this proposition.


New media technologies are diffusing into mass society at a rapid pace. They are being used in different areas of life by many different people. People are using these technologies in new ways then ever before. As long as there is an audience, people are creating content that enhances current non mediated experiences. One thing that has always been boring is learning, however since the advent of new technologies in the classroom, students and teachers have combined their efforts to change the way we learn. Therefore, new communication technologies are the impetus behind the new found entertaining education movement because both students and teachers can understand this medium and work together to change the way we learn and interact with the material.

Computers were originally developed for military and scientific purposes in the 1960’s. This means that it took computers about 30 years to develop into their current state. 30 years is the average life cycle it takes for of a new media product to penetrate into the mainstream. Using the theory of technological determinism which deals with technology being a factor of change, it is easy to see how computers affected what is being done with education currently. Tools such as PowerPoint and iLearn directly affect the way that information is presented in this day and age. These examples show that technology, such as the computer, changed the way that we present our information. The result of entertainment and interaction in education came only after we had the technology to do so. Opposing the view of the technological determinist is a socio culturist who believes that technologies evolve change in a social context. There is also an extreme view point against technological determinism that individuals choose to use appropriate technologies. However if the technological determinism was incorrect in saying that technology is a factor of change, then computers would simply be used in schools, but they wouldn’t necessarily have been able to directly factor the change of learning from non interactive to interactive and to entertaining. For a socio culturist to be correct new media would have had to stay the same besides the interface, but thanks to computers it has been completely changed forever.

Computers are being used in schools by students not only for education use, but students are also helping to set them up and keep them running. According to a study by the National School Boards Foundation, 61% of students in large school districts are providing tech support for their school (2006). This study shows that almost a critical mass of students not only have experience in using computers, but in knowing how they work and how to fix them. This number is very important because it illustrates that computers have fully diffused into schools.

Diffusion of Innovation is a theory which discusses how and why a technology gets introduced into mainstream society and then how it begins to work its way into everyday life. There are five different groups of people who adopt new technologies at different stages. According to Clarke, first you have the early adopters in this case innovators such as creators and venture people who first take control of the medium. These people are in control of tweaking the content and forging the path for where it will be used in society. In the field of computers and schools, these groups would be the superintendents of the schools and companies like Microsoft and Apple who packaged these for sales to schools. However, you need a second group that would want to buy the technology also. Early Adopters are important in this role, they are people such as principals and curriculum setters that realize how and why a technology like computers can make learning more entertaining. They share their knowledge because they are opinion leaders who have the ability to influence students. The students and teachers are influenced and most become the early majority. They take to this idea that it will help their progress and ability to learn, therefore, once the first group catches on and the word starts to spread about how fun computers are, more students continue to join. The late majority is next, these are students who aren’t trend setters but still like to be in the know. At first they weren’t quite sure whether or not this would catch on but since it has and teachers started to create content for it they are ready to jump in. Lastly, even technophobes and people who aren’t big advocators start joining in the laggard stage, these are the people who may use the internet rarely for email or can’t get access on a regular basis (1998). In the I-pod generation, these people don’t quite have one yet, but it’s wrapped under the tree this year, three years after everyone else already had one. Like it or not, good or bad, computers are in society to stay because they have are a medium that has fully diffused.

Computers are a very unique medium because they encourage interactivity. This gives the user a choice in customizing their experiences which leads to that entertainment that the user craves. This is important in learning because the more intense and vivid something is, the better chance you have to remember it. Steuer’s classification graph on media technologies has vividness on an axis and interactivity on the other axis. It illustrates how something can be vivid like high definition television or an Imax movie, but lack interactivity. It also has highly interactive examples on the other axis like a cb radio and a fax machine because you can adjust options. However, until these options came together in such concepts as videogames, the user was less likely to remember them. The ultimate example that has both interactivity and vividness is the holodeck from Star Trek. Not only can the user manipulate and adjust content with it but, it is also highly stimulating as images appear before the user (1995). The holodeck sure would be a great way to learn! According to Flew, there are still concerns about “learning from a box (website)” (p.171). That is why it is important to keep the face to face interaction. This idea combines well with media richness because school has some very intense concepts and face to face communication combines well with computer as a secondary learning function.

According to a journal in behavior and information technology in 1998, there are four factors on the media richness scale. These factors are things that the medium must allow in order to be well understood. First, a medium must allow feedback if they have questions about something. Computers do this well with email, aim and voice over internet protocols. It is important in making education fun because users will be able to ask questions, communicate with other users and overall be less frustrated. Next, users must be able to add meaning to what they say. In class we talked about how a user can add certain keystrokes that have meaning to give extra expressions to their language. This allows users to give customization and interactivity which is imperative to a good experience. Then, users must be able to use flexible language. This is an excellent thing with computers because the user has time to think of a message before sending it and can create good dialect before sending a message. The time that a user has to draft a message gives them ability to edit and think better than in real time communication. Lastly, a medium must be able illustrate how a user feels and show there feelings. This is important in communicating ideas with a teacher, and new tools like web cams even allow users to see others (D’ambra, Rice, & O’Connor). If you were communicating with someone unknown or in a different culture you could learn about them without having to take a field trip. This is important because users get to interact with other students far away with out ever having to leave school. This is important for school because it still allows virtual field trips without worrying about budgets and children’s safety. As technology advances, these four things continue to expand thus enriching new media and expanding the possibilities of entertainment and education making new media a viable option inside the classroom.

Think back to your favorite elementary school teacher and what they did that made your experience so memorable. Growing up teachers always tried to make learning fun. Those who succeeded in making lessons fun, interactive and informative not only got the best results from students, but increased students interest in learning. Marshall Mcluhan’s statement of the medium is the message relates to internet communication technologies (ICT’s) very closely. Mcluhan saw every medium as an expansion of some human ability, with the media of communication adding to a particular sense or extension.(Wimbley, 2000). “McLuhan would go on to say that television and computers is our facility to communicate. He would say that it is not what comes on TV but the TV itself” (Wimbley, p.1). Using this theory, we see tools like iLearn as an extension of a classroom. Therefore, using this theory we realize that the message has always been the same, but with the new medium it allows us to display it in a new way. Just as radio changed the way we listened to media, and television let us see it, new media allows us to interact. Not only does this make learning more entertaining but it allows the user to control and interact with content. We know that its not specifically what message comes out of a medium, but that its goal is to facilitate learning, which has always attempted to be as fun as it can be.

For example, even at university professors still try and make learning fun, in my interactive experiences class, we got to play a game show as our final rather than take a written test. This idea worked tremendously well because it made sure everyone could get involved and have fun. Although we were learning old content, new media helped us with tools like PowerPoint to see the questions and iLearn to communicate with group members. The game show seemed to work well not only because everyone wanted to win like they do with a test, but because it was an active audience that new media encourages rather than a passive audience with a test. Users felt engaged in the action and had the ability to pick certain questions and get immediate feedback, rather than stare at a piece of paper, fill in some bubbles and get results back weeks later after they forgot what they wrote. According to Kinney and Dennis, “Feedback is important to the speed and effectiveness of communication because it enables the sender to recognize the extent to which the receiver understands the message and to adjust the message presentation accordingly”( p256-274). Inside the gameshow when giving an answer, users could see the professors eyes perk up or down and feel a sense of hot or cold as they attempted to mutter out an answer. This example of immediate feedback helped the user to adjust his message presentation during mid sentence. Whoever adjusted there statement best and quickest ended up winning the game. This idea illustrates one way that the medium of ICT’s allow the user to create interaction allowing for an entertaining way to get an education and a helpful way to use a new medium to get results and feedback fast and effectively.

With new communication technologies allowing more entertaining ways to learn, the possibilities are endless as to what teachers and students can create. As long as technology keeps expanding to give users a high level of interaction with the content then new communication technologies will remain the impetus behind the new found entertaining education movement. Since both students and teachers can understand this medium they must continue to work together to change the way we learn and interact with boring material and make it fun!

 


References

Clarke, Roger. (1998). A Primer in Diffusion of Innovations Theory. Retrieved on 11- 29-06 from http://www.anu.edu.au/people/Roger.Clarke/SOS/InnDiff.html

 

Flew Terry. (2002) New Media: an Introduction. Online Media and the Future of Higher Education. Ch.9 p171.

D’ambra, John., Rice, Ronald., & O’Conner, Marcus. (1998). Computer-mediated communication and media preference: an investigation of the dimensionality of perceived task equivocality and media richness. Behaviour & Information Technology 05-01-1998, Vol 17 (3), p164. retrieved on 11-26-06 from http://search.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.bond.edu.au/login.aspx?direct=true&db=eoa h&AN=T4DNTH059A43D1PVFUEQ&site=ehost-live

Dennis, Alan., & Kinney, Susan. (1998). Testing Media Richness Theory in the New Media: The Effects of Cues, Feedback, and Task Equivocality. Sep98, Vol. 9 Issue 3, p256-274, 19p. Retrieved 11-27-06 from http://search.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.bond.edu.au/login.aspx?direct=true&db=buh &AN=1249952&site=ehost-live

National Schools Boards Foundation. (2006). Are we there yet? Research and guidelines on schools’ use of the Internet. Retrieved on11-29-06 from http://www.nsbf.org/thereyet/fulltext.htm

Steuer, Jonathon. (1995). Classification of various media technologies using the dimensions of vividness and interactivity. Retrieved on 11-29-06 from http://www.thethoughtshop.com/research/atextr/dpthesis/download/dp_illus/f14st eue.jpg

Wimbley, Jason. (2000). McLuhan’s Medium is the Message. McLuhan Hypothesis. Retrieved11-28-06from http://www.colostate.edu/Depts/Speech/rccs/theory31.htm

 

 

June 23, 2008 / zachfarley

Giants Superbowl 42 Madden Remake

Here is a video of the Giants Final Drive in Super Bowl 42, using Madden 08 on Xbox!

Go Gmen

June 18, 2008 / zachfarley

A Great Year In My Sports Life

Alright, So the Boston Celtics just had the biggest turnaround in league history and won the NBA Title. It was an amazing season to watch with the additions of KG, Ray, Posey, House and maybe even Sam-I-Am.

Anyway over the last 10 or so months, I have seen an entire lifetime worth of incredible moments in sports. They all have been jam packed into this period and mostly everything I could want to see has happened.

It all started around 10-11 months ago when the Celtics began shuffling for that lottery position. I sat in my basement watching them lose and and was secretly delighted. Engaging in debates about who to select with that pick we were absolutely getting. Because I counted all my chickens before they hatched I pretty much took a dump in my pants when they received the number 5 draw in the lottery. The C’s had once again been screwed by the ping pong balls, just like in 1997 when we lost out on Mr. Duncan and his potential 4 championships.

So sports radio became abuzz with chatter about all the potential scenarios and kept me locked in to what would happen. Then we traded for Ray on draft night and the potential for more was there. Next it was said that KG didn’t want to play here or wasn’t interested. Boston is a racist city and all that good stuff. He seemed pretty happy last night and we have some good fans. Anyway we gave away alot of players, potential and scrubs to get him. AL Jeff, Gerald green, Ryan Gomes(would love to have him around), Sebastian Telfair (Peace), and we dumped Wally and Delonte to Seattle for Ray with our 5 and (Jeff Green.)

So the Celtics had a whole new look and hype. But, we would have to wait and see because the Red Sox were closing out another solid season and looking for a second title in 87 years.

Flash Forward, at a Boston College opening Football game in Sept, vs Wake (BC eventually ranked as high as 2 during the season) after the game the Sox were on and Clay Bucholz was making history. He threw a no-hitter that night and just added to the overall awesomeness of this year. Just being legally able to drink, in boston, and excited were all good things that were happening.
The Sox kept rolling that Sept and into October where they demolished the angels in the first round. (similar to 04) This of course leads to one of my favorite Manny ramblings, “when you cant hit the ball good but then you hit the ball you bad man” or something similar.

We moved onto Cleveland and watched the Sox do something that was impressive but we had seen from them before in an Alcs. They fell behind 3-1 to the Indians. There were some close games at the end that we just blew, (Gagne) but when we had to win we would. 7 more in a row. Not as good as 8 like in 04 but it was enough. Beckett was huge along with Papelbon. The offense got hot and we disposed of the rockies in another sweep. We destroyed them, go back and take a look, they had won about 21 of their last 22 BUT they were manhandled in the series. Maybe to much rest, maybe the sox are just nasty, anyway the Red Sox were world champions again.

So freshman year in college we beat the Yankees down 0-3 by the way, and ended the curse and went nuts around campus. Senior year we won again and went nuts around campus, we let the freshman take charge of the gathering and they took us down all around campus in a frenzy. This was a great beginning and end to college.

So that was my first “ship” of the year and it felt pretty good. 04 was better because i was more wide eyed but still one I would not forget. Who knew it wouldn’t be my favorite of the year?

Because ladies and gentlemen back in Foxborough, the New England Patriots were on a 16-0 pace for the perfect season. This would be an unprecedented mark and just the thing that my sports season needed to add to the list. So as the Pats finished up the season undefeated in New York, a game at which I attended, valiant effort by the Giant I must say, but not enough to stop the best team of all time. I saw Moss and Brady set the all time TD record in person and an undefeated NFL Season. So then the pats roll through the post season and win it all and that was another great scene for me.
FALSE
The NEW YORK  GIANTS, my favorite team in all the land decide they aren’t going to let it happen. They stop my most hated team of all time from becoming the greatest team of all time. Living in Boston I can’t tell you how sweet it is. I heard more crap from people about how good they were, how bad we were going to lose, how the first game was a fluke, (38-35 Pats)

Here were things that I didn’t hear, How big the ego of  Bellichek is, How much heart the the patriots players lacked and how they feel entitled that they were going to win the championship, how sick the pats fans are that watched the game, how badly the Giants D OWNED the pats offense/5 sacks. How good this felt to hear all types of chatter and then watch them not deliver because of one team and one goal. THE G-MEN

The Patriots 16-0 game was a great experience.  Sitting at the game, when the Giants were winning and I knew it was to good to be true, we got up to early and the Pats do have some tremendous firepower. Anyway it was a great effort that showed them what they were capable of. The playoff run was great, We rolled the Bucs and shut ronde barber up, he and his twin brother are probably at home with their feet in there mouth right now.
Then we went to Dallas who had beaten us twice and played a great game. Amani Toomer cemented his Giants legacy with big plays and we got to see Terrel Owens cry. (Double Win) This kept the Giants moving onto the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field, the crown jewel of the National Football League.
It was the coldest game I’ve ever watched but the giants were pretty hot, everyone except Tynes actually. We had some big plays and made a couple bad ones. However, when it matter we picked the gunslinger, and tynes ran out and finally kicked one. We were going back to play the greatest team ever and the superbowl 42 champs, the pats. oh wait they hadn’t actually won yet they were just crowned by the media.

The talk leading up to the game was insane, everyone talking and talking but they didn’t back it up. I went back to home to watch the game as to not be with my annoying roomates.
Then the Giants did the unthinkable, they manhandled the patriots and sacked Tom Brady all day. Pressure all day, all they could eat baby. Although the Giants O wasn’t playing stellar it would get its chance to take the game. Our Golden Boy, Eli Manning who we had spent many picks on, who Accorsi loved, our guy we traded for, our franchise, would have the opportunity to lead us down the field for a victory and that is all you can ask for. Eli took us all the way. With some of the most amazing plays of all time, including an amazing escape and even better catch by David Tyree. Then a great strike to Plax led to us defeating the Patriots, the trademark 19-0 and the spirit of everyone in New England. I couldnt have been happier. Maybe someday when I have children or something but this was amazing.
Suddenly it was only silence from all my haters. Bliss

So then it moved onto the C’s 66-16 season.
Even the bruins were in the playoffs, and we had a free 200 dollar bar tab to watch their game 7 defeat after a great rally came up short.
At college, we won a dodgeball championship by going a perfect 19-0. I’m not lying. This was my first intramural championship and earned me the elusive t-shirt.
Oh Yeah, John Lester threw a no hitter on the last day of school.
Oh Yeah, BC Hockey won a national title, and the beanpot.
NCAA Lax titles were at Foxborough, 3 great games, including Syracuse taking it home.
Graduated college, at 21, then watched the Celtics complete this magical run.
So my sports year has been completed and it has been quite possibly the best of all time for anyone.
I needed to document it because alot of people don’t get to see championships like this. Do you realize how crazy this is. 3 Titles, some great events, all in a great year. Magic
My Teams might not win again for a long time, but it doesn’t matter because I have seen all the titles I could dream for this year.
Although I sure hope my fortune stays GOLDEN. and Green and Red, and Big Blue

April 1, 2008 / zachfarley

Corporation Dodgeball Completes Perfect Season

Corporation Dodgeabll Completes Undefeated Season

History was made on Wednesday night when the Corporation completed the first ever undefeated dodgeball season in the history of Westfield State College (19-0.) After completing an undefeated regular season, the Corporation made the playoff bracket seem like a mere formality as they earned the right to celebrate their second straight championship.

In the first round of the playoffs, the Corporation defeated the play-in game winner easily. Moving on to the second round the Corporation beat 2 thru 7 in a quick match 4-1.

With reigning league MVP Ed Annino, and the off-season additions of Marcus Henry, Zach Farley, and Noah Wade the Corporation was expected to repeat as champions.

“We saw the patriots and how they were able to win during their run this year, but when they chocked we knew we could learn from their mistakes and become the first and only true dodgeball dynasty in Westfield history.” said hard throwing senior Steve Gibbons.

The Corporation stressed good fundamentals and ball control during the season. They were able to put numerous line-ups on the court and win regardless of who could show up to the game.

“Their was a clear consensus among dodgeball fans that this was going to be the team to beat all year, but nobody thought that they would be this good.” said junior Rob Wayne, “I was really “jonesing” to see them win it all.”

In the semi-finals the Corporation played the Brew Crew who had a solid record and some hard throwing talent. The Corporation went up early and finished them off 4-2.

“We were able to key in on their one or two good players and take them out of their game.” said senior Jared Walsh who made big catches all year.

In the finals, the Corporation was hoping to meet the second seed Ballz Deep who had given them their hardest game during the regular season, but they were shockingly upset by the A-Team in the second round.

“We knew the A-Team would come into the finals hot but we remained focused and took care of business.” said senior Pete Rizzo.

The Corporation was able to complete the perfect season with a 4-1 victory in the finals and complete the dream season for its completely senior squad.

“All year everyone thought we were a little bit too cocky, whether it was bringing sparkling cider on ice to the final four games, flexing mid game, or challenging other players to throwoffs, that was all just a way to bother other team while we stayed focused and played our game which was winning dodgeball championships.” said Corporation superstar Ed Annino. “That T-shirt is going to feel extra soft knowing it’s a 19-0 shirt.”