The Rise of "Synthespians"

“Mr. Serkis is the human actor behind the computer-generated (CG) character Gollum, a wizened Hobbit who’s part manlike, part evil beast. More than just giving voice to the character, Serkis provided all its movements and facial expressions, which were later ‘painted over’ by animators.” Gregory M. Lamb –The Rise of “Synthespians”CS Monitor) Gollum is a Hobbit? Tolkien hints at the possibility, but in the book it remains only a hint.…

Usability Testing: Quick Tips for Designing Tests

I’ve worked hard on this document; can you help me meet my deadline? Please tell me what you like about it — I’ll feel so affirmed and flattered. If you get stuck, or hesitate, I will tell you what to do, so we can get through this testing faster. If you start making any serious suggestions, my face will cloud over with a look of pain, since I don’t want…

How important is the look 'n' feel of your website?

“The look ‘n’ feel of your website is important. However, it is less important than your text-based content. In most commercial websites, the role of the traditional graphic designer is relatively minor. The role of the information architect is central. The role of the editor and author is critical.” Gerry McGovern –How important is the look ‘n’ feel of your website?GerryMcGovern.com) Note that McGovern is not claiming that design is…

The Virtual Skinner Box

“EverQuest has a decidedly constructive and cooperative tone to it. There is no blood in the game. No disemboweled intestines splatter on your screen. Instead, players often find themselves chatting while waiting for a mob to spawn. The ranger may be fletching as he recounts a particularly close battle. The warrior chugs some Dwarven Ale. There may be some emotes with playful, sexual overtones. In contrast with Quake or Diablo,…

No pilgrims, just fury and frustration in the deserted town of Bethlehem

“There were no pilgrims this chill, rainy Christmas in the little West Bank town where Jesus Christ was born, no decorated tree, no foreign choirs carolling in Manger Square.” Eric Silver –No pilgrims, just fury and frustration in the deserted town of BethlehemIndependent) An extremely sad quote from a Bethlehem merchant: “The only people we make a living from these days are the journalists.”

Battle of the Bones

Anthropologists have long looted the gravesites of native peoples in the name of science — and profit. But the recent trend to return those remains for reburial is not always welcomed by the cultures involved. “Far from being led by Native communities, the trend towards repatriation is driven by intellectuals on the cultural left, and endorsed by the key cultural and political institutions in mainstream Western society. It is a…