Signals and Noise


The sheer amount of publications, information sources, and people that I follow has become too much to read, and too much to mean anything. Continual anxiety means I’m struggling to focus on anything useful, like uni work or project planning. But trying to escape or get ideas by reading non-uni media isn’t helping at all.

Between my Twitter feed, Medium recommendations and Pocket list, there’s almost 1000 items of “do this to be happy”, “do this to be better”,”here’s how everyone else is succeeding”, and “you need to care about this”.
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New Intro Screen


Today’s challenge; a new general intro screen for clan videos.

When I was planning this out, I first thought of a spinning cog or gear to indicated the type of video, over a minimal background. We have 4 main types of video at the moment:

Play; most or all members play through a game together, with minimal editing.
Do; one or two members play through a game with moderate editing.
Fail; any amount of members, heavily edited. Focuses on funny mistakes, accidents or glitches.
Guide; one person presents a walkthrough of a small segment of a game.
???; videos that don’t fit into any of the existing categories.
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How Not to Play Mass Effect 3 (or, the joys of truly co-operative multiplayer) :P


Note: This post works better with its associated video here or opened in another tab so you can see both video and text at once. If that’s not possible, there are time tags for every rule, to keep things on track.

As you can tell from the title, the subject today is Mass Effect 3 multiplayer. Which is probably my favourite and most-played video-game-related-thing ever. It’s not the most original game in the world, but it is very well done- there’s something incredibly compelling about the multiplayer even two years and 650 games in.

Part of the reason for this is the sheer variety of characters and powers. However, just having loads of characters isn’t enough to make a game good:  ME3 multiplayer got it right because every character can be of use in a team. It’s replayability is mainly a function of the incredible amounts of team synergy that can be created. That’s something you don’t see in a lot of shooters- even when it says co-operative multiplayer, many are basically competitive multiplayer instead, just with a few less people shooting at you, rather than modifying the fundamentals of how you play the game.

While I’m planning to put some videos of good runs up, with my typical team. I’m putting up this one basically as a “what not to do” video, and a view of  why maybe some people don’t find this game as long-term interesting as we do.

So, how not to play ME3 :P

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A New Research Culture?


Last week, I posted about ways that websites could get implied, indirect, or direct consent from visitors, to ensure they had a consenting user base for user experience (UX) or technological experiments. The ways I posted were quite simple, being mostly based on straightforward modifications to existing strategies, and without changing much in the way the websites themselves treat research and data collection.

However, after finishing that post I started thinking about what websites would be like if their approach to research changed in a more fundamental way. This is probably (unfortunately) unrealistic at the moment, but its an approach that I would love to see realised.
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What is informed consent?


Following on from last week’s post about the Facebook experiment, it seemed sensible to look at what methods can be used to gain fair consent in internet-based research.

Implied Consent
The simplest method, and one most commonly used in surveys and questionnaires, is Implied consent. This method means the requirement of a signed consent document is waived, and the consent is instead embedded in taking part. In a survey, this could be done by only showing the questions to people who click an “I agree to take part” button at the very beginning, and redirecting people who ticked “I do not agree to take part” away from the survey. This would be embedded or implied consent, as people would have to say they wanted to take part in order to see the questions.

For simple studies with little to no personally identifiable information, and little to no risk of harm, this method of gaining consent is good enough. However, if this method is done on studied where participant information isn’t stored, then participants have no way of requesting their own data to be withdrawn. Studies using this method can often be a flash in the pan- performed and then forgotten, with often no record of their methods, participants, or findings.

Therefore, for large-scale, complex, or important studies, implied consent isn’t the way to go.
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A rarer offshoot of a learning disability today, and one that can almost be called a superability: my topic today is hyperlexia. There isn’t too much media-wise about hyperlexia, but what I have found is interesting.

Silberberg and Silberberg (1967) were some of the first people to define hyperlexia, and they called it “the precocious ability to read without prior training, before the age of 5”.

(Side note: I didn’t actually know until then that 5 was the average age. Being an only child for most of my life meant the first I knew that reading at 2.5 was unexpected was when other people found my surprise that my younger sister wasn’t reading at 3 odd).
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