Wednesday, 16 March 2016

What Going to Catholic School Taught Me...

The thing that got me in my 16 years at a catholic school is that most Christians seem to be so ridiculously hypocritical. If I really believed in the bible and what Jesus taught then there is no way I could live my life the way most Christians do. Everyone knows what the rich man has to do to get into heaven and you all think your going to get in with your normal jobs and living normal lives? Maybe you take the time out to help people when you can but seriously your not making any real sacrifices compared to what Jesus spoke of. Compared to him you look like a bunch of awful people preaching a high standard of altruism when you live the same selfish lives we all do, with some actively preaching hate against gays because the bible says it's wrong but any form of that hate is clearly against what Jesus said. He helped the people that were outcasted not joined in. If you really want to show the world that you truly believe then stop wasting your time doing all the stuff you say we shouldn't and maybe go out and make a difference rather than living the comfortable lives you live now. I'm judging you compared to the bibles standards not my own so I'm happy to go on with my life not donating all my time to helping others and so are the most people. Anyone who says they don't live like that is ignorant. If I really believed in a god I'm certain 99% of catholics would still burn in hell.

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Who are The Yogscast?

When it comes to making a successful web series that entertains millions of people on a weekly basis, which isn’t porn related, sometimes you really have to step back and think what are these people doing right and how on earth did they become so popular? If for some reason you haven’t been on YouTube in the last year and seen their videos, which have been quite consistently in the most viewed section, The Yogscast are a variety gaming channel that entertains people with their humorous takes on modern games and general banter.

Before I get into the depths of The Yogscast, writing an informed piece on them does seem quite a daunting task since a vast majority of their fans seem like a pack of wolves feasting on a freshly killed deer ready to pounce on anyone who dares to go near. Hopefully I won’t regret poking this deer that has been rotting for so long some swarms of fans have started to form nests.

The Yogscast started their online media empire by uploading how to kill boss videos in the game World of Warcraft in 2008. What set them apart was the funny stunts they were pulling off which became mildly famous among the Warcraft audience. They then moved on to their podcast The YogPod, starting in early 2009, which can be best described as two people talking about a huge range of topics with no real structure or format (unless that in itself is a format which I guess it is). They range from playing dungeons and dragons to doing fake interviews with enough memorable quotes and funny lines to keep people entertained and coming back for more. If you go to iTunes now you may notice that a lot of their older podcasts have quite a low popularity compared to the most recent one. Popularity on iTunes is worked out relatively to the other content uploaded so it shows how many people are listening in comparison to their other podcasts. The fact that the latest upload does have full popularity shows how much more traffic they are getting since their success.

After dabbling in a few other games such as Star Trek Online and Final Fantasy 14, but mainly staying around Warcraft related content, their first big hit was a video about how to survive your first night in Minecraft in late 2010 to which they applied their well rehearsed style. They then went on to create more and more Minecraft videos alongside their famous web series "The Shadow of Israphel". As a result of their success I believe it was around this point they would have been contacted by Marker Studios, who if you’re not aware of are a huge YouTube network that are built up of Ray William Johnson, Shay Carl, Kassem G and a few other very well known YouTube channels. This would gain them YouTube partnership which would then allow them to benefit from all the usual extra perks and actually make them some money. Since then they have now grown into one of the most successful channels worldwide and as of writing are the most subscribed channel in the UK.

Even though the full Yogscast team is now huge and to produce all their content takes dedication and effort from a lot of different people there are still four main people at the heart of it all. In definite order of significance Lewis Brindley is the Managing Director who appears in the vast majority of videos usually as the one filming the content; Simon Lane is the trusty politically incorrect lovable friend who is to thank for a lot of the great jokes and plays a vital role in providing a light heartedness to all the fun; Hannah Rutherford who as well as producing her own videos for the channel supports a huge amount of the social media while also officially being their Operations Manager and Dave !Yognaut who helps aid them in almost all their videos and content.

Why are the Yogscast so Successful?

This seems to be quite a difficult question to answer because surely there are too many hands at work to pin it down to one person or method but from how I’ve seen them develop and grow I think the answer is quite simple. The main point of sharing content online is it allows more interaction from the viewers and by letting people upload and use The Yogscast image to create content it puts them in a very comfortable position. Last year I interviewed Danial Yount who is currently the composer for the music you hear in their hit series “The Shadow of Israphel”. When I asked him how he got the job at the Yogscast he responded:

“I noticed they were lacking music which is not something that you want to forget when doing any kind of video production. The next day I emailed them some links to my music and much to my surprise about a week later I got a reply from Lewis himself saying how much he liked my stuff and how he would try to incorporate my music into the series”
Logic Haze – Read the full Interview here

After watching their videos you tend to notice there is a lot of user generated content and there are a lot of people wanting to become a part of their organisation. Their main Minecraft server they film on is maintained by a certain amount of people who are volunteers that work on their projects because they want to. The Yogscast utilise their community very well and by letting people take part other parties, like Daniel, benefit. They have recently donated huge amounts of money to charity through their community and a lot of their successes I believe is down to making themselves seem approachable and amateur. In no way do I think that the Yogscast are amateur any more based on the scale of the people they currently control but by keeping their roots and by allowing certain quality people to take part they can keep on producing higher standard content without the need for more staff. This again isn’t to say they rip off the people that help them and I’m almost certain they compensate the people who create the content based on how much income the Yogscast receive from certain projects or may just people people for their contributions.

Overall the general success of the Yogscast has to be down to those four main people who work on it and through their great content and the utilisation of their community they have become one of the major players in the entertainment industry on YouTube. All we need now is some more British greats...

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

A Dream I had…

I don't really write deep stories with underlying meanings because I'm not a deep person however being an Atheist I found this dream weird enough it was worth documenting...

I believe I was visiting Egypt sat down by a pool surrounded by friends and people I knew. The air was warm, sun high in the sky and my parents were silently sat beside me. My mother was sitting upright wearing sunglasses however she was very still and not acknowledging anyone. A young innocent looking girl ran beside me, who I didn’t recognise, and said we should go and climb the nearby mountain overlooking the ocean…

Dinner was served. I was sat next to my friend that I had seen recently over the weekend. Then instantly we were stood up at the other side of the room. An older gentleman, taller than the rest of us, started talking to him. “Why don’t you go and sort out your acne ridden face you stupid boy?” he criticised. I felt upset and stood up for my friend by arguing back. We sat back down…

The girl and I got to the top of the mountain just as the sun was setting over the ocean. From where we stood I couldn’t see the beach and the only thing at the top was an ancient looking temple. The girl told me about God and how he had her trust and respect. This made me angry. I started shouting and telling her how none of it is real and she shouldn’t believe in it. The young girl started to cry. I went up to her, knelt down and took her in my arms. At that point her eyes gazed into mine and she touched my face with her hand. The instant she did it felt like there was only good in the world and I was happy. I remembered how important my friends are and how it’s important that they are happy to. I felt at peace, like I was on a natural buzz, just happy to float through the world…

I sat back down next to my parents where they were discussing whether it would be worth buying a calendar which you could get made at the front of the room. The white backdrop was set up just where I argued with the old gentleman before who was now no longer to be seen. “May as well.” I said. It seemed worth it for the price of £16. They got up and left.

The sky had now gone dark and all my friends were floating in the distance as I rose towards them. Blackness and stars surrounded me. A space station gleamed in the distance and I noticed its tiny flashing lights glowing red and white. I saw my friends talking to me as I floated towards them but I could not here them. I was in my own world. The first person I went up to looked like someone I fancied from the past weekend. I moved closer and one by one I looked into their eyes and touched their faces like that small girl did to me. When I did so they saw the same that I did. All was at peace and it was like I had been given this gift to make people feel at ease. We started to slowly floated back to earth together. I woke up.

Thursday, 20 January 2011

What Does the Internet Do to Your Brain?

The Internet is constantly messing with your head and is turning you into a mindless zombie that can't spell and needs help going to the toilet. Every second I spend typing this article I am losing on average 100 brain cells due to the Internet's sheer presence as well as my Wi-Fi point probably nurturing a tumour inside my brain. Physical deformities aside, what is the actual research being done to see how people's behaviours are changing due to the internet and how is your reading ability being impaired thanks to this article?

Current research suggests that the Internet is reforming the structure of our brains and changing the way we think. The thing that seems to be forcing some people into finding the nearest bridge and chucking their computer off is that, unfortunately, it could be slowly destroying our short-term memory. For example when I am writing this article, and flicking between my valuable sources of information, I don't actually have to remember any of it. On days I get very lazy I can even paste the info just below me so I don't even have to do that. Who needs short-term memory when I can get any of the information I need just as quick? I can let my brain worry about more complex things like wondering why I'm not doing proper work.

It's not all bad news. In a study done by the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behaviour at UCLA (boring name), they recently found out that out of the few old people that use the internet it can reduce the chances of them getting Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. By keeping your brain active online writing articles, making pictures, watching videos and chatting to your friends it may help keep your brain in a decent condition when everything else deteriorates. The brain is a muscle, which needs constant attention. Spending all day in front of your computer however won't help your obese face, and according to other studies the fact you are reading this article online means there is a high chance you are obese.

When it comes to Wi-Fi they are pretty certain it doesn't cause brain tumours or give you cancer. I am not a scientist but scientists think this so their opinion is more valuable than mine. Radiation is constantly passing through our bodies from space as well as radio waves and television waves. There have been no sharp increases in cancer or tumours during their introduction so there is no reason to panic in the short term. Long term it is probably the same but we shall see.

What does the Internet do to the sexual side of your brain? Porn addiction can happen but I think most men have been programmed to want to watch porn. The only difference is now we can watch it whenever we want. If men could watch porn all the time would they? Even though it's probably watched more this clearly isn't the case. Maybe watching porn is making men more sexually satisfied than ever or too much of it is making some of it boring? After doing a bit of research I found there are no conclusive studies on whether porn turns you into a homebound serial masturbator. I did find this article written by a student about porn addiction and the comments are quite interesting. They attempt to comprehend it better than I can. Here's a quote from a porn addict:

"hello, im 18 and have been addicted 2 porn for almost 5 years. I would like to make it perfectly clear to anybody intrested in pornography, thinking about it, curious, already doing it, that its not just some passing phase we all come across as we live life. Its not a fun little side job we do just to ease stress. Its not. And please, please, please, nobody think other wise. Pornography is evil. It destroys lives, loves, will, happiness. It robs it user of the true beauty of life we were all destined to live. Women become no longer the beautiful, caring, mothering, creatures they all truly are. Only sex. Only toys. To every women ever hurt by the poisen of pornography, I'm so sorry. When i first started, it seemed like a fun, new exciting adventure. I was so young but during each session and climax. I had experienced such unexplainable euphoria that i just couldent let it go. I was very lucky though. My habit was pretty calm and i would only do it a couple times a month if even that. "watch out for this"!!! when porn seems like something you need to know more about, turn off your fucking computer and do something else. Eventually the guilt started creeping into the cracks of my mind but for some reason i just ignored it. But as the months went by along with typical high school bs, my habit grew larger. I sought pornography to experience what i dident even realize was being taking away from me. After losing all faith and respect for myself, and dealing with terrible depression, im at a point were any normal sexual intrests i once had are becoming morphed into sick, twisted, ideas i wish would just go away. I do it about once a day but sometimes 2 or 3. Its the same thing every time. Excitement, fantasy, euphoria, immediate shame. I feel lik i belong in a prison. Im scared. A few weeks ago i tried to make contact with one of my old friends who i hadent seem in a really long time, just to catch up. We met up and talked for hours, it was fantastic, but than i realized how hot she looked. Before i knew what had happend, my old friend who i just wanted to talk to was now another hook up. I felt absolutly terrible. Since that night, she has not returned any of my calls or txts. I know what i did hurt her and it destroys me how much i destoryed such a great potential for another friend. I know thats why she doesnt talk to me. i almost cry just thinking about it ...but my point of this pathetic rant, is for anyone just getting into this whole thing, even if you think your better than it, even if you think you can control it, for the respect and empathy of the lives ruined by this monster, please dont do it."

As well as keeping your brain active in old age. it can help your multi-tasking skills since most people don't do one thing at a time on their computer. You will become super efficient at watching porn and writing articles at the same time, however it can't all be good. Long exposure to video sites that show short videos and articles will crush your attention span into a pulp. Facebook and Twitter help by forcing people to sum up their lives in short sentences. This can make reading anything more than a few lines at once, on the Internet, seem very boring.

The Internet does force a person to read more, which is good, but this is a different type of reading. Reading short articles, for your brain, is like walking on a treadmill. It will help you a bit but won't do much. Books on the other hand are an intense workout for the brain, such as sprinting on a treadmill with weights strapped to your legs and a mildly overweight middle-aged man on your back. If you want to get better at reading or writing don't spend all your time on the Internet. Reading books will help you much more!

Does the Internet make you more stupid? Well the real answer is probably not. If there was a quiz between the smartest person in the world and me on my laptop, with the Internet, I could probably compete pretty well if not win. The Internet is a fountain of knowledge where everyone in the world can put all his or her ideas into one big document to share. There may be a lot of bullshit online but the fact you can cross reference data with other sources so easily makes it simple to see if content is right.

The Internet will make you smarter, lazier and keeps your brain active. Only time will tell what all this porn, content and social networking will do to us. We can only hope for the best and that we don't turn into drooling, brain dead, tumour ridden porn addicts.

Thursday, 6 January 2011

Chapter 1 - Why I Don't Understand Literature.

First person stories have always scared me. When you are looking at a world through one person's eyes you have to take into account that you are never going to get the full picture. Even if the person believes they are being completely honest, they may have deluded themselves into a state where they can't tell the difference between the truth and the not so true. Regardless, I have decided to tell  my story in first person due to the fact that no one else could have seen what I've seen, heard what I've heard or done what I've done.

I never really enjoyed English at school. Despite my best effort when it came to deliberately copying a style of writing or analysing someone else's work, boredom would always hit me like a mace penetrating holes the size of nails into my skull for all my enthusiasm to pour out onto the paper in a bloody un-gradable mess. I could never blame the teacher, who would always try their best to interest me but I'm not the type of person who enjoys the same thing twice, including books. The only times I would ever go back over something would be if I forgot what it was about or to show other people.

My lazy approach to content, such as books and films, has given me a distorted view of what makes a good story. If a writer fails to convey what they are attempting to in the first reading, or viewing, then that piece of content, to me, has failed. This is not true for all content, such as music and poetry, and to get someone to think about and explore a piece of content after it's finished is one of the greatest achievements. What I don't understand is the religious harassment of certain texts and creating new interpretations from ambiguities in some passages. If it is the case that the greater the quality, the more interpretations you get from it then surely ambiguity is key for writing a widely respected piece of text?

The answer is no, simply because I am trying to rationalise something that is subjective and when you actually ask someone why something is their favourite it can be hard to say why. Being forced to read something and choosing to read it for yourself could potentially give you completely different views of the same material. Subjectively, this sentence is the best piece of writing you've ever read. Being someone who always needs to have a definitive answer for things it is probably wrong of me to try and quantify something which is unquantifiable.

In this short lifespan, where it would take more than one lifetime to read all the good literature in the world, we have to rely more and more on other people's opinions. Whether it be a publisher or the comments section on Amazon, it is becoming increasingly harder just to pick something up without knowing anything about it. The popular works become over-hyped and hidden gems become lost like a "bad" interpretation in the ambiguities of a novel.

Monday, 13 September 2010

Living On the Internet: Is it Possible to Make Friends?

The internet has always seemed to be under constant fire ever since it was created from certain parts of the media who are hell bent on letting everyone know how evil it is so that we keep buying newspapers and watching TV. They say it shortens your attention span, constantly misinforms you, stops people communicating with friends, turns you into a narcissist and generally makes you into a more stupid and ignorant person, like some journalists. So if all this negative press aimed towards the internet is right then how would spending a month living online affect me?

Over the last month the only times I was not at my computer was when I had to go to work (which is 4 times a week for 3 hours each morning) and some nights when I would turn my computer off when I went to sleep.

I didn't go out with any of my friends or have a social life outside the internet. When I wasn't working I was at home sitting on my computer looking for things to do online. The real question is did the internet turn me into an anti-social, geeky, short attention spanned, narcissistic, porn addicted dumb-ass or are all the assumptions made just out of bitterness and competition? Let's start with friends...

Is it Possible to Make Friends on the Internet?

The first thought that came to my head when having to spend a month online is would I be lonely since most normal people don't tend to spend their lives attached to a computer. Luckily for me I already had over 600 Facebook friends at my disposal with an average of 30 online in the day and over 100 in the evenings, however I didn't find myself really talking to people I know. Over the entire month I have spoken to less than 10 of my real friends on Facebook chat and maybe a few more by commenting on statuses which shows that the majority of my Facebook friends aren't actually friends I usually communicate with online. This is most likely because the people I tend to hang around the most don't spend that much time on Facebook.

Only speaking to a small single group of people seemed like a big problem to me, so I decided to set out and see if it was possible to make some new friends online. The first thing I noticed that meeting someone online has a lot of similarities to meeting someone in real life. The two websites I used to meet people were Omegle (which is a website where you randomly get put into a private chat with a stranger) and on Chat Roulette (where you randomly connect up to a stranger using a webcam and mic).

When you get dumped into a random chat with someone online most of the time the other person is looking for a 'cyber sex' partner because they are feeling horny. I have come to the conclusion that the vast majority of people who spend a lot of the time on 'random people meeting sites' are just very horny people and there are very few people out there who are looking to connect with other people in a none penis or vagina related fashion. Even though this is the majority, it is clearly not everyones intention to simply try dogging on the internet. When not faced with a sex hungry beasts, the conversation usually drifts off into where the other person is from and I usually asked the question "So what do you do with your life?" which got some very interesting responses.

Omegle immediately creates first impressions based on what someone says and how they think rather than anything else. This is a far better tool at meeting people since you actually tend to carry on speaking to people based on whether they have similar interests as you and not based on looks, gender or age.

On Chat Roulette there does tend to be some more awkward silences as you are forced to communicate with someone you have never met before with speech, but if you go in confidently you can really burn down tht tension. Most people tend to go on Chat Roulette with friends around as I guess they feel less awkward with someone else in the room with them. Also if you haven't been desensitised enough by the internet then you might what to burn your eyes out after going on this site since to 'win' at Chat Roulette involves spending a lot of time losing and looking at things you wish you had never seen.

I also went another route by creating a new YouTube account and simply talking about topics I found interesting and seeing if I could make any friends that way. After doing it for a week I got a message from someone who runs a Vlogging channel (video blogging) with 5 other people and asked me if I would make videos for it every Tuesday. I checked out the channel and accepted and through there I met another 4 new people who also worked on the channel as a hobby.

I ended up meeting people from all over the world. The majority of people I met online however didn't come from these sites. Practically every person I shared interests with on these websites added me on another social networking tool; whether it was Facebook, Sype, MSN, AIM, Friendster, Youtube, Twitter or Myspace. These people would then introduce me to their other friends.

One person I met in Canada introduced me to someone who lived in California who I started to speak to more regularly than anyone else. I also got introduced to another group of people who live in California through a different person on omegle. I ended up speaking to more people that I met through others online than the initial people I met. The strange part was when you check out these people's social networks the ones I usually carried on contact with all were the same demographic as me; either 17, 18 or 19. There was also no clear gender discrimination as I made friends with just as many girls as I did guys.

So how did the relationships carry on? Well I speak to a group of 12 people from California who all go to the same college, apart from me, pretty much ever day on a chatroom via Skype. The people I met on YouTube I also talk to on Skype however we spoke video conferencing around 3 times a week for about 2 hours at a time. Out of the YouTube people there was on other person from England, two Americans (one from California and one from Texas) and one from Sweden.

I also had contacts I met online through other specific social networking sites such as Geeks.Pirillo.Com, and via blogging but since I didn't meet them this month I have decided I will not go into depth about how I met them.

As I am also about to head off to university for the first time there were some big social networking groups for people heading to my university so I decided to take advantage of that. I have met around 6 people through that channel who I could regularly speak to on Facebook and ended up speaking to them more than the people I knew before.

So did the internet turn me more antisocial? Well the honest answer is no. Apart from the people I spoke to who are going to my university, which I would have probably spoken to anyway, I still met more people this month than I would have ever met leaving the house and living my normal day to day life. When are you talking to people with the same interests as you online you start to care less about where they are from and more about the actual person. I did miss actual social interaction a lot and meeting people online is not a substitution but rather a different experience. There is something a lot different about going out with someone and physically see them rather than being a room looking at the other person down a camera from half way across the world.

After this month I am already planning on going to meet the people I met online next summer and should have a lot of fun speaking to these people in real life as I have online. I will also be creating a documentary about travelling and meeting people in real life I have met online which will be filmed next year.

If you haven't tried meeting new people online I suggest you do since it has done more good for me than bad. Like everything, it is very good in moderation, and people shouldn't see meeting people online as a taboo or treat everyone who does like they use it because they can't make friends in real life. Try it out and maybe you will have the same success I did...

Add me on Skype: tim.edwards929

Next: How to Pass Time On the Internet

Monday, 9 August 2010

The Homo Kid Story (ChristianU2uber)

Youtube can be a very fun place to share ideas, but if you set yourself up to be a prime victim for trolls then prepare to get abused:


This YouTube sensation started talking about gay marriage but unfortunately informed us to his own homo-erotic experiences. One of the worst things ever to do on YouTube, and was inevitably trolled to deletion.

After the video he started to get some haters and foolishly responded. YouTube did delete his account after they became aware of the abuse, as well as having a policy that you need to be 13 to upload videos.

Then he starts to get angry when people called him a homo and then made this video which was like jumping off a cliff on to a series of sharp rocks.

Ok, this child did take it a bit too far and  got some shocking treatment. The one lesson we can learn from this is never to let children express their opinions on the Internet.


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