Lauren Silberman

December 13, 2007

Privacy and Control Issues: Cell Phone Jamming

I've been following the debate around cell phone jamming since I read Matt Richtel's Nov. 5 New York Times piece on the debate over cell phone jamming and this recent Slate piece about the controversy.

A cell phone jammer is an instrument used to prevent cell phones from receiving or transmitting signals to base stations. Basically, when this device is switched on, cell phones nearby become useless. Jammers are commonly used in places where a phone call would be disruptive because silence is expected (Think schools, libraries, or your next board meeting.).

The devices signal the frustration of some people with the technologies they are constantly surrounded by. People feel the need to be in charge in a technologically controlled world. Let's call this a social defense strategy. Instead of asking others to turn off the electronic device, they take action, employing the jamming device as weaponry. These devices and other "social defense technologies" signal that people are going to take more radical measures to gain control in public spaces.

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November 15, 2007

A Precursor to FoE2: NBC's Heroes: Jesse Alexander and Mark Warshaw Speak to MIT Community (1 of 2)

First, here is the official information on the event:

The fragmenting audiences and proliferating channels of contemporary television are changing how programs are made and how they appeal to viewers and advertisers. Some media and advertising spokesmen are arguing that smaller, more engaged audiences are more valuable than the passive viewers of the Broadcast Era. They focus on the number of viewers who engage with the program and its extensions -- web sites, podcasts, digital comics, games, and so forth. What steps are networks taking to prolong and enlarge the viewer's experience of a weekly series? How are networks and production companies adapting to and deploying digital technologies and the Internet? And what challenges are involved in creating a series in which individual episodes are only part of an imagined world that can be accessed on a range of devices and that appeals to gamers, fans of comics, lovers of message boards or threaded discussions, digital surfers of all sorts? In this forum, producers from the NBC series Heroes discussed their hit show as well as the nature of network programming, the ways in which audiences are measured, the extension of television content across multiple media channels, and the value that producers place on the most active segments of their audiences.

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October 8, 2007

I Want Serial with My $130 Milk

This is not a rant, although it could easily be mistaken as one. This post points out a small but nagging problem I'm having: being broke. No, this has nothing to do with my salary; I'm totally loaded being paid as a Research Assistant at the Convergence Culture Consortium.

This is about me being broke because of the savvy marketing/PR people working year after year to market games that are just updated versions of a past successful title with a few new features (on maybe a new system) for more of my money.

A year ago today, Sam Ford wrote a piece about the emerging storytelling more "serialized" narratives that were being seen in games. These episodic titles, being shorter in length, would be lower-priced.

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September 30, 2007

A Guide to Social Networking Sites

Social networking sites are changing the way we interact with our peers. The National School Board Association and Grunwald Associates LLC released a recent study about how "teens and tweens are creating content and connections online." They reported that 96% of students with Internet access use social networking technologies.

While it may seem that Social Networking Sites (SNS) seem to be vulnerable to the next new site, we can't deny that MySpace and are here to stay.

What are the characteristics of a good SNS? What are some of the key differences between them? How are the good sites holding the interest of its users?

I thought the best way to answer these questions was to create profiles for three popular sites, Friendster, Facebook and MySpace. I wrote a mock user profile from the position that I was the actual site I was writing the profile for.

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September 19, 2007

Take the DS Out to the Ballgame

A future look at an innovative marketing approach for fans is being tested this year at Seattle's Safeco Field.

The Nintendo DS is going to change the way we attend sporting events and participate as a fan.

The deal was struck as part of Nintendo of America's majority ownership of the Seattle Mariners, but it shows the ways in which technologies can be used for a variety of purposes, in this case using a Nintendo device not just for video games, but as an audience participant of live sporting games as well.

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