Last week, I went to Washington D.C for Spring Break. Along with visiting family and looking at GW as a prospective school, I also just wanted to be in D.C, which I’ve always loved as a city. I thoroughly enjoy walking amongst the classical architecture and greek-revival style buildings that line the Washington Mall and mark the best museums that the city has to offer. But while walking through the city, I had this strange feeling of deja vu. It could have been from the fact that I have been to D.C many times, but I found myself trying to place myself in the city from a different perspective: “So, if I’m here, how to I get to Galaxy News Radio?” To anyone who doesn’t get the reference, I found myself constantly looking at the city from the perspective of my character in Fallout 3, the 2008 post-apocalyptic video game that takes place in a nuclear wasteland version of Washington D.C and the surrounding Maryland/Virginia countryside in 2277. Now, having a sense of nostalgia for the nuclear-war obliterated version of Washington is probably enough to get me on some sort of FBI watch list, but let’s be honest: like I wasn’t before? And while it is sort of laughable to be reminiscing about the city in its destroyed, super mutant-infested state, I don’t think it’s a totally invalid point. It speaks to the increasing quality of video game technology and art direction. Game developers can now push graphics and level design to a point of near realism. Games like Fallout 3 don’t use the irradiated crater of DC for sheer shock value but rather to offer breath taking vistas of popular and well-known buildings and monuments to give a sense of familiarity in the game world. When working my way up the steps of the Capital Building, dodging fire from machine guns and plasma bolts, a crystallizing moment came to me where I remembered: “Wow, this used to be the very heart of our national government.” Being in the city during its decline, becoming familiar with it as a place of danger and of salvation, a place of adventure and burdened task, has allowed me to feel a sense of relationship to the DC metro area in a way that I hadn’t before. Continue Reading
The past few weeks have been a frustration for me on Facebook – crashes, poor GUI glitches, and endless spam are destroying the site from the inside out. It’s become more and more prevalent as the weeks have passed. Facebook has always been a site with glitches, but things are coming to a head now.
Where did it start though? The Facebook population would argue that Facebook changes the system too often. There was HUGE backlash at the Facebook 2.0 update of 2008, where the entire site was rebuilt. I liked the new design with the tabbed interface and concentration on the feeds instead of just walls. Then they changed the Home page in early 2009 to simplify the aggregation of data from all your friends. It simplified the design but also made stalking far easier… and you often learn things you just didn’t want to know. Then they added the “Fan” system where you can become a fan of companies, musicians, actors, websites etc. And that seemed like a great system for a while. The recent change to the Home feed broke things down between Live Feed and News Feed. Even I didn’t enjoy the recent change as the two feeds seem redundant and limit automatic updates.