Final Questions and Answers

Here are my questions and answers for the final.

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My Final Project

For my final project, I made a website about my mission trip to rural Appalachia and the differences in media access and usage there compared to an urban environment like St. Louis.

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We need education & instrastructure to close the digital divide

I am fortunate not to experience the digital divide myself, since I have Internet access right in my bedroom, on campus, at work and at the library. However, when I went on a mission trip to rural Appalachia, specifically West Virginia, I witnessed the digital divide. The only Internet access in the town Kermit, which has a little over 200 inhabitants, comes from the Catholic charity that operates there. They have a small room with about ten old, slow computers with Internet access. Fortunately, there are bills being passed to bring broadband to Appalachia.

I agree that access to digital information is very important. For example, the people in Kermit have limited access to information because they don’t have a library, and they have to travel a long way through the mountains to reach one. With the Internet, they would have unlimited access to information right in their homes or in a local location.

However, I also agree that the Internet can do harm in that people need media literacy to use it effectively and some of the addictive qualities (games, etc.) could be detrimental to kids or even adults.

I think the most important way to bridge the digital divide is 1) education in media literacy and the benefits and dangers of the Internet and 2) appropriate and sufficient infrastructure to buy and maintain computers with Internet access.

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Customizable Entertainment is the Future for TV and Cinema

In the Cisco blog post about the future of TV, the author Scott Puopolo describes future TV as a sensory experience that involves smell, taste and even touch. Program plot lines will change based on viewer input; customized streaming will replace channels; TV sets will be replaced with touch pad screens that can go and be anywhere.

I can most definitely image a world with all of the aforementioned phenomena because it’s already here. Maybe we don’t have all of the future TV characteristics in one device, but all of those characteristics exist in different places, so to put them all together shouldn’t be too difficult. For example, Puopolo describes new TV sets as “multipurpose screens.”

Multipurpose screens = iPad

Sensory viewing experience = 3D theaters (some have scent, movement, etc. to enhance the experience like in amusement parks)

Interactive programming = American Idol and the like

Customized streaming = Playlists for YouTube or iTunes, etc.

Put it all together and you have this mega-futuristic, but also realistic-TV. Let’s just hope it’s not too complicated to use.

In the Tribeca post about the future of film in movie theaters, Chris Dorr describes his idea that movie theaters should “think like Netflix” and sell yearly subscriptions to the theater. This way, movie-goers could pay a monthly fee and go to the movies whenever they wish. In the months that they don’t go to the theater, the theater gets money anyway. The benefit to the consumer is that theaters build a profile of their customers and are thus able to recommend films and learn about customer interests.

This idea is also realistic, though I think it would be more difficult to implement because it completely changes the way the movie theater business works. The future TV idea is easier to implement because it’s more like a new product to be sold, and the Netflix-oriented movie theater idea is changing a previously-established system.

However, movie theaters used to be proprietary to the movie studios like Warner Bros, Fox, etc. That system has changed, so there is quite the likelihood that we’ll be able to buy a movie theater subscription in the near future.

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The Maltese Falcon – Classic Movie

The American Film Institute classified it as the 31st best classic movie of the last 100 years. It was filmed in 1941 and stars Humphrey Bogart, Mary Astor, Peter Lorre among other classic actors. It’s The Maltese Falcon, a film about the fallacy of human greed and materialism.

I watched The Maltese Falcon for the first time on Saturday, 3/31. In the film, Humphrey Bogart’s character Sam Spade is a detective whose partner is mysteriously shot. A series of murders and a love affair wrap Spade into a quest to find the valuable Maltese Falcon, originally a gift to the King of Spain. However, in the end the Falcon is not found and Spade’s new-found love ends up in jail for murder.

Overall, the film was enticing to watch. It definitely reflected the human vice of greed and materialism. So many people were willing to throw others’ lives away just to have the jewel-encrusted Falcon. The love affair in the film showed that greed can even overcome love, as was the case with Spade’s girlfriend. Despite the rampant materialism and murderous greed, at least some justice was served at the end of the film when Spade’s girlfriend was taken in by the police. However, other thieves and murderers were not apprehended by the police and left to pursue the Falcon. Along with reflecting the negative effects of greed and materialism, the film was also a reflection of the justice system, which works in certain cases, but not in all.

I’m not entirely certain why this movie is a classic, since Casablanca and other classic movies I’ve seen are in my opinion more engaging to watch. The love story in The Maltese Falcon doesn’t make a lot of sense. The two characters don’t seem to have any reason to love each other, but that the producers threw in a love story to entice the audience.

In terms of what we talked about in class, I was surprised to see at the beginning of The Maltese Falcon that there was fading/overlapping in between different shots of scenery. Since we talked about how film editing was so difficult in the early days of film, I was surprised to see different scenes fading out and overlapping each other, which is common in movies today.

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The hodge-podge soundtrack of my life

These songs are all important to me in some way. I have listed them as I’ve thought of them, so they are not listed by level of importance.

1. Somos Mar y Arena by Maná: Basically, I love every song by the Mexican rock band Maná, but Somos Mar y Arena (We are Sea and Sand) is especially enjoyable to listen to. Maná actually helped me learn Spanish, since I listened to them frequently throughout all of my years learning Spanish.

2. Can’t Stop by Red Hot Chili Peppers: Again, I love almost every track the Chili Peppers have put out (especially their early stuff). This song is special to me because I always have to listen to it at least 2 times in a row ‘cuz I just can’t stop… (lame pun, I know)

3. Good Times Boys by Red Hot Chili Peppers: This song is just too good. It represents the era of the Chili Peppers that I especially love (i.e. circa 1987 – 1997). By the way, one story my mom loves to tell about me is how I would dance around to RHCP non-stop when I was 2… it’s 18 years later and I still love RHCP.

4. Any and every song by blink-182: I’m sitting here trying to think of my favorite one, and I can’t. This band was literally my life blood during my entire adolescence. Their attitude, lyrics and music spoke to me during my angsty teenage years, and their songs are still on my playlists.

5.  Rosa Pastel by Belanova: Belanova is another Mexican band that helped me learn Spanish. This is a great break-up song for those who can understand it. It definitely helped me through my last break-up to know that there was a song existing on this planet that described my feelings exactly.

6. Te Mando Flores by Fonseca: This is probably the most romantic song I’ve ever heard. Whenever I’m feeling warm and fuzzy, I usually listen to this song. (Everything sounds more romantic in Spanish, by the way)

7. Bendita Tu Luz by Maná: I would listen to this song so frequently living at home in high school that my sister knows the lyrics (still). She doesn’t speak Spanish nor has she ever taken a Spanish class in her life.

8. Cliff Diving by +44: +44 is a side band of Mark Hoppus, the bassist from blink-182 and Travis Barker, the drummer from blink-182. I like this band’s music, since I feel like it stayed truer to blink’s original sound than even blink’s newest album. This song has been played in my car every summer since the album first came out. It’s a perfect wind-in-your-hair-driving-down-the-highway song.

Overall, I think I’m more attached to certain bands rather than certain songs, but these songs all reflect some aspect of my life.

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Midterm Q&As

Here are my questions and answers for the midterm.

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