Skip to main content

Alternate Reality


The Princeton dictionary defines reality as "the quality possessed by something that is real". Real is defined as "being or occurring in fact or actuality". Then you start to define fact and actually, and it does not take long before you have reached the circular definition dilemma of our languages and dictionaries.

How can we truly define reality, when we can not define truth? Okay, let us not get that deep... Is reality then just being awake? Or perhaps, reality is being in a realm where you are are able to imagine. Because our dreams sure feel real while we are in them. Movies and books feel real when we are engrossed by them. We cry in some movies. I don't cry, although I have gotten "misty" eyed. The Ancient Greek, Aristotle, took it further and believed in catharsis, that this emotional connection in the reality of plays was therapeutic. For all we know, reality, can just be the perfect mix of synapses in our brain firing off, a view supported in The Matrix.

Recently there have been advances to alternate realities. When these realities come through computers, they are called virtual realities. The most famous and successful virtual reality is the World of Warcraft (WoW) game. I have played WoW on and off since it debuted in 2005. I play the game in cycles because the game is time consuming, it threatens to take over as my primary reality. WoW has taken over the primary reality for many people. For players, time not spent in WoW is lost experience or gold for their character (i.e., their beloved gnome warlock). Some people spend an unhealthy amount of hours a day playing WoW, these people ignore their school, job or spouse. The consequences can be broken bonds with our loved ones, lost jobs and failed classes. And why? It is just for a game.

Well, no. As mentioned, WoW, is another reality. A reality where your character progresses and is rewarded by a standard unlike real life.* A delicate balance of time spent in the game and skill level reward players more fairly than the real world. There is no equivalent in WoW to this realities' aristocracy and poor who have been poor for generations. Frequent expansions to the game reset the playing field. And contrary to outsider's belief of the game, WoW is vastly socially interactive.

WoW also possess the perfect balance of difficulty. In life, if something is too hard, we tend to give up. If something is too easy, we tend to lose interest. This perfect balance of difficulty found in WoW serves to only add to the addictive nature of the game.

As a friend, Claude, once said the only thing preventing some people from losing themselves in today's virtual realties, like WoW, is the fact that if they play too long they will lose their jobs and thus can not afford to pay their bills (including the game's monthly fee). Let us hope in-game economies do not spill over to the real world. If anybody has played games like WoW, you might have already seen the beginnings of this. Players have been selling WoW gold for real US dollars in spite of the forbidden nature of this act. Further raising concerns, is the more "life-like" virtual realities that are coming within the next few decades. We must always be careful to keep ourselves grounded in the real reality, however fair-stimulating-enticing these alternate realities all.


*Thank you Jeremy for the idea.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Outdated! Charter Cable Box UI

When I was living with my old roommates, we used Direct TV and Time Warner Cable to satisfy our TV cravings. While I hated, hate, and will always hate Direct TV for their barbaric two year contracts, I give them credit for having a neat looking user interface (UI). But because of their two year contract and lies, we cancelled. We paid about $400 dollars to get Direct TV's grubby paws out of our living room. At that point, it wasn't about the money, it was about principles. And so a happier relationship was started with Time Warner Cable. Though a lot of things were better with Time Warner Cable, I couldn't help but notice their cable boxes' UI was "fugly". Little did I know...

Recently, I've moved away from the parents old roommates. The new area I'm in is serviced by Charter Cable. I was shocked by the UI of the Charter cable boxes.  See picture below:


The UI of the Charter cable box made Time Warner Cable's UI look like it was from the year 2020.…

Next Big Thing: Galaxy Note II

So while the suits in Motorola are chewing bubble gum, checking for updates on their Facebook page, and holding meetings, Samsung is preparing to host a big event on October 24, 2012. The Samsung event will be about their upcoming Galaxy Note II phone. Samsung is going to do what Motorola cannot do, they are going to give their formally announced product a release date.

The Samsung Galaxy Note II will be another monstrous phone much like the original Galaxy Note. The original Galaxy Note has a 5.5 inch display, the Galaxy Note II has a 5.55 inch display. For reference, all iPhones (except the iPhone 5) have a 3.5 inch display and most Android phones have between 4 to 4.8 inch display. Bottom line, the Galaxy Note line of phones is gigantic. The tech blogs refer to these phones as "phablets". The offspring of a phone and a tablet.

Yesterday, while at Costco on an errand to pick up some garlic french bread, my wife wandered over to the jewelry section. At the speed of light…

3-D Printing is Here

Several months ago, my sole daily reader, co-worker, and friend- Matthew- showed me a small green plastic airplane. The green plastic airplane was no bigger than three inches from nose to rudder. He told me that the airplane was created from a 3-D printer. At first, I did not believe him. But then I used some logic, if humans have fission energy, made it to the moon, and created iPhones, then why not 3-D printers? Never doubt the ingenuity of humans. If we can imagine something, it will be a possibility one day.
After my internal monologue, which happened in less than three seconds, I must have responded to Matthew with a calm, "Cool". And indeed the 3-D airplane was cool. Some weeks passed by, then Matthew brings me a 3-D printed barrel, pictured above. I begin to ask more questions about this printer. Apparently, the printer is custom made. The limitations of this printer are a length and width of a few inches, the height being more flexible. This particular printer only …