klastrup AT it-c.dk

This is the research diary of Lisbeth Klastrup. Here I share some of my thoughts on life, universe, virtual worlds, interactive stories and internet oddities with you.

I'm a ph.d. scholar at DIAC at the IT University at Copenhagen (ITU). I also host & work in a world called StoryMOO. At this ITU homepage you can read more about my research project and miscellaneus activities. List of publications is here.

Current month

Fellow researchers
Jesper Juul
Susana Tosca
Troels Degn Johansson
Estrid Soerensen
Lars Konzack
Kenneth Hansen
Gabriel Hansen
Joergen Callesen
Soeren Pold

Jill Walker's blog
Torill Mortensen's blog
Ragnhild Tronstad
Hilde Corneliussen's blog
Carsten Jopp's blog
Anders Fagerjord's blog

Anna Gunder
Jenny Sunden
Mikael Jacobsson

Aki Jarvinen
Markku Eskelinen
Raine Koskimaa

-The World
Gonzalo Frasca's blog (URU, US)
Anja Rau's blog (DE)
Elin Sjursen's blog (NO, US)
Frank Schaap's blog (NL)
Adrian Miles' Vog blog (AUSTR.)
Mark Bernstein's blog (US.)

Related Reads
Dust from a Distant Sun (DK)
Cykelkokken (DK, in Danish)
Two Years in Denmark (DK,US)
Future Dr. Karlsbjerg (DK)
Laurel.blog (US)
Texturl (US)

©Lisbeth Klastrup 2002

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A last word from Henry Jenkins in a partial copy of an email to Elin which he allowed her to post on her site:BloggerdyDoc.
All of this is a very good illustration of the differences in the level of control authors have over their words in a blog and those which they have in a commercial publication. It is ironic, to be sure, that once these words appear -- because I do not control the press -- I have no real way of responding to what the bloggers are saying. Yet, there's another side to this. When I write in the magazine, I can reach an extremely large public with a single message. Because the blogging community is decentralized, there is no way to adequately respond once the controversy is set into play. In theory, I can respond to any site and hope that the response becomes part of a larger conversation -- as happened to some degree when you post my remarks on your blog -- but in practice, I can only respond to small pockets of bloggers with no hope of addressing them all.

- Yet, it appears that he is at least trying to reach out to the community by accepting using Elin's blog as an outlet....But he has a good point (which is also my own experience) - if you really want to tell "the public" about internet phenomena, you still need to use print media!! On the other hand, reflecting on Jenkins claim that he cannot target all bloggers and reach "an extremely large audience" as he can in print media, it could be interesting to do some calculations on readership: say that Jenkins is initially quoted & commented in 100 blogs who all have between 50-100 readers in average. That would be 10.000 readers all in all, some of whom would probably also link and comment in their posts etc ad infinitum. And readers actually Read blogs, in comparision to print journals which people might in fact just leaf through - for instance never reading that article on blogs. So if we are talking numbers, perhaps a study of which text actually got the most readers in the end would come up with the blogtext as the winner.
- An intriguing thing is going on here (twisting Jenkins words slightly): publishing in a print article allows you to control your audience in that you as author have a good idea who many are reading it and who they are - but you cant respond to their reactions immediately or in an unmediated way. With a blog you cannot control your audience (there is no way of of measuring the demographics of all the people reading all the blogs), but you can communicate with them instantly if you feel the need. It makes me think; is blogging closer to being a modern form of oral culture than traditional print is? Blogging is very much about writing (be it in a "professional" or "amateurish" manner) I know, but as a communication media, perhaps it has more of the immediacy of orality - this spreading by "word of mouth" which can pervade an entire community in no time??

BUG! Seems like the link after each post to the archive doesnt work. However, if you go into the archive by clicking on the archive links on left side of the blog, and get into the month archive page, the individual post link works fine. The reason why it doesn't work from here, is that Blogger seems to have forgotten that my Blogarchivefilename is a level below the klastrup.index. So instead of linking to klastrup/archive_archive name, it just links to klastrup_archive name. Just cant get my head around this - why does the URLs come out differently on the index.page and in the archive page though they are exactly similiar and supposedly stored at the same time. Help!

WhataDate.dk - a Danish site which asked people to send in stories about netdating - a project which resulted in a book you can buy via the site. You can still access stories of the month - and if you are interested in representations of self on the internet, there is some juicy material here. Check out the story at the "den klamme" (the slimy) link, about someone who impersonates a teenager and gets chatted up by a guy who also pretends to be someone completely else.

Jan has a new blog Jan Karlsbjerg's Radio Weblog

Brief updates:
Noah has sent me pointers to more - and interesting looking definitions - of interactivity. Will be back with ver.3 of my "interactitivity - interaction definition" document when I have the time!

Tinka had some good thoughts on blogg clusters, when she responded to my post last week and she revealed a RL connection btw some of the bloggers which was nice to know about :). And she is right that there are many more Scan clusters outthere - alone the list of Danish weblogs have really grown during the last year (NB! this list might in fact be more updated). And she got some good on-site comments to that post too. Torill chimed in on her site.
I havent really had time to think much more about it, just that I think that clusters are definitely not closed or stable, nor purely random. I think the process of linking to sites and people you like is very similiar to "word of mouth" in this context. And I would like to think more about the relationship between blog clusters and Deleuze/Guattaris ideas of smooth and striated space - and of the rhizome. Using the rhizome metaphor on a phenomena like blog clusters at least seems more meaningful than applying it to (static) hypertexts -- in that here both linking and text is dynamic and shifting. BRB post-teaching!

You Know You're Drinking Too Much Coffe When . . .
So why do I post on coffee addiction (Jesper complained about this post when blogwatch told him to look here...)? Just because on a day like this (the last before teaching day) it is always massive amounts of coffee which makes me get though the day...

My herbivore in Technosphere isdead. It came to a sad end when it was killed by a vicious carnivore. RIP, ITU-baby.
- Luckily my carnivore Armilla is still alive - and has had her/his first kill. Have mated several times, but unsuccesfully, yet I am now impatiently waiting to become the grandmother of a little cute carnivoral baby.

[end of Friday postings!]

Two years in Denmark - denniskim.net - another interesting blog written by foreigner living in Denmark. I get the feeling another Scadinavian-located Blogger cluster is evolving, centered round people like Tinka(Distant Sun), DennisKim,Rasmus/theprint.dk, Ingrid/Dutch in Denmark, Francis/How to learn Swedish in 1000 difficult lessons and others, of which I am not a part (listed, referred to), probably because Im more part of the Norwegian-Humanities & Computing-Academic blogging cluster (was it "media-flavoured Scandinavian Cluster" Mark called it?)...?
- There has been a lot of good writing on blogging lately, sparked by Henry Jenkins' article - but in what little I have read there hasnt been much written on blogging cluster [LK: just decided to reserve the word "community" as descriptive of the general blog movement]. I'd like to read more about it, though. Why does the writer of theprint.dk need to put a comment like this into his "Blogs I read" list: I read these blogs for different reasons, but I only link to them because I want to, not because they link to me.? Is it because he wants to tell us he is not sucking up to a certain loosely-linked cluster? However, by adding this remark, one would at least he acknowledges its existence. Hmmh??

What tells these two clusters apart - if anything? (for the sake of argument I'll here call them the media-people-cluster and the "life in scandinavia"-cluster)? Torill, for instance, seems to have made her way into lists both places - and perhaps we are slowly starting to fuse, in fact. But as is now, is the slight divide due to the fact that we have different styles of writing? Too different interests in life? (or that some of us just have chosen to focus on writing about academic matters and issues related to that rather than on our personal lives??) - Or is it just a question of getting a foothold in the other cluster by starting to refer to - and comment on various peoples writings?
- In general, what does it take to become a "member" of a blogg-cluster or community - and does being a member mean being "blogged", or linked, or referred to regularly or being apointed a blogsitter or what? Well, maybe it is just as simply as this: that some people think this blog is boring to read, my writing sucks and my opinions arent interesting. Which there will always be - as I reciprocally find some blogs dull and inane (none of those listed here today, though, and Im not saying this to please either:!): with little time on your hands you are naturally critical about what you read.

Probably, my "neurotic" (?) awareness of groupings goes back to my not-so-fun years in primary and secondary school, where I was always struggling to be part of groups which never admitted me into their circles. I think my years as a ph.d.student have in some ways been some of my happiest, as I have finally found people who share the same interests and elements of nerdiness as myself - and perhaps this is part of why I like blogging so much, because it is also part of the maintenance of this community which I feel much at home in....

I'm wondering: what is the difference between an action and an event? Are they basically the same or does one contain the other? That is, is an event a series of actions? So an action (a sentence, an emote, the manipulation of an object, a movement from one place to another) would be the "smallest signifying unit" in a multi-user text? And the event would be similar to the shot and a series of events similar to the syntagme? (thinking Metz and Cinema semiotics here).

Did an informal talk on interactivity forms and definitions today. For that purpose updated my list of interactivity definitions. I learn new things everytime I discuss my own definitions with students too. I really like that - makes me feel that this is what academia is - and should be -about: exchanging ideas, developing theories as a collaborative effort.

Jill is quoted on the Weblogs FAQ site on Eastgate's new publishing tool Tinderbox. I have seen it work on Jill's machine and I am envious!! Alas, as I am one of the numerous PC/Windows users, Tinderbox is not for me - yet....Crossing my fingers for a soon to be PC-version!

Narrative Ethics a book by A. Z. Newton looks pretty interesting if you, as I, are intersted in examining multi-user story telling.

Aesthetics of Virtual Worlds, article English, in Teleopolis. [update: is actually an article by Lev Manovich which I have read extracts from on his own website, but this time just dumped into it midways. Havent had the time to check out if this is exact copy of stuff on his own site or if there is something new hidden in it]

Chatman co-edited a book which came out last year New Perspectives on Narrative Perspective (Suny Series, the Margins of Literature), which I havent heard of before - and no additional info on Amazon. Anyone of you know it?

Seymour Chatman in Coming to Terms (1990):
"It is precisely the function of theory building to coin new terms and to regulate old ones, not in a prescriptive or proscriptive spirit but simply in an effort to facilitate communication"

I know, I know. I should have read this article by Greg Costikyan long time ago. Useful. Quote (to go in my interaction definition catalogue):
"Decision Making. I offer this tem in an effort to destroy the inane, and overhyped, word "interactive". The future we are told, will be interactive. You might as well say, "The future will be fnurglewitz." It would be about as enlightening.

Definitely, in a broad sense, all interaction is about making decisions, or choices. (what is the difference here, I wonder, btw decision and choice?). Here it seems, decision making is closely related to the wish for a certain effect ("If I go though this door, I might complete this level" - "if I move this piece, I will make space for that piece" etc). But still there are "forms of interaction" (for lack of better phrasing) like social interaction, where decision-making is not very important or concrete effects are not pertinent. Though it involves decision making ("what to say now?"), rather, social interaction is about creating an impression, maintaining dialogue until you either know what you need to know or have the excuse to get away from conversation (so you also make a decision on when to stop social interaction....sometimes. We all know people who are very good at forcing you to stay in conversation with them, though you would rather not. But social norms prevent you from actually following up on your decision to leave the scene.). That is, social interaction is a performative act, whose final effect or outcome does not solely rest on the conscious choices you make but on a whole conglomerate of other factors which effects the situation during which the social interaction takes place: the objectives of those you interact with, the non-verbal language you use, the institutional context, the concrete setting of the performance etc. So if you are in a game with multiple users, perhaps it is not all about decision making, but also about "interaction" after all. That is, if you reserve interaction to be used only in connection with the word social. So far Im heavily in need of a terminology which could replace "social interaction", but I havent found it yet so till then I will stick to using the word interaction in this connection. Hmmh, this line of thought might be very foggy, but Im still grappling with these issues, ideas. How does one define what goes on in a virtual world, when I think what "happens" is neither a game, nor a story??

Gaming tips for Game Masters, includes small articles on "Storytelling vs Gaming" (*grin*), "Detailing your world" and "Character meetings - avoiding the tavern scene" ;)

[PS. As you might have guessed, Im teaching a class on world construction from a verbal perspective on Wednesday...more links coming up!]

The Language Construction Kit - and of course there is a page dedicated exclusively to those who want to construct a realistically "looking" language bottom-up...

World Builders Home Page! And there is even a resource site related to a course on California State University - for teachers and students alike...Amazing!!

World-Building Email List - a list for writers and gamers involved in building worlds. Have archives and links online too.

World Building - a resource site for RPG World Builders.

Worlds in the Net - a site listing a number of worlds build by Game Masters and imported to the net.

acutecut - a peer-to-peer blog review project. Sounds interesting, so I will probably sign up - even though I am seriously tired of reviewing these days ;). Last weekend I spent reading the 50+ papers I had to review for the Computer Games and Digital Cultures conference. This weekend it is a long paper for Game Studies I have to comment on. Oh, the joys of being an academic and never having proper time to write something serious yourself...

Good news for the ergonomically challenged. Danish Insurance compagny "Tryg" has set up a site, called )"Tryg med PC" If you register here (for free), you gain access to their site - and most importantly - can download a program called "Ergosensor" which monitors your use of mouse and keyboard and based on this, tells you when to take a break!!

Just downloaded it, will keep you posted on how I like it.

Sometimes the spam-mail you get just goes beyond what you could ever imagine people spamming you with. Yesterday I found a mail with this subject header in my hotmail:
MASTER PSYCHICS are here to assist you and then in the mail it said We are the best in the world, and we believe in you and your future!. Well, I am glad that someone does (care about my future) but why didnt anyone tell me that the Aliens have already landed...?

Today is the official


of Klastrup's Cataclysms.
I can't believe that an entire year has past since I posted these lines. Still, I am pretty happy with the way this blog has developped - my intention of bookmarking and commenting stuff I read and saw on the net has worked well, and I now find myself browsing through the archives to find specific URL or thoughts that I want to use in my writing or my teachin -so it really is a useful tool.

Also, quite a few bloggers have joined the community since I started - and there is a nice sense of fellow exchanges and cross-postal reading between people like Jill (the mother-blogger), Torill, Hilde, Gonzalo, Anja, Adrian, Frank, Laurel, Elin , Carsten, and Lars. Anders is new on the blog, but will definitely be read. Jesper still refuses to blog, but at least now he is looking over our shoulders (*waves*). As is Ragnhild (*another wave*). And some of the Finns occasionally. Jan is a trusty reader too (*wave towards Jylland*). As is the omnipresent Mark Bernstein, who must be the most avid reader in the world...(*respect*).
Oh, and it should be mentioned that so far I have been visited 8 times by the US Gov. and 8 times by the US Mil since September 11th. According to Mark this happens regularly on many websites, so not to worry. But Im still just a little bit wary....

All in all people from more than 60 different domain names have visited this blog - most are country domains. Top 3 domain visitors are .dk, .com and .net URLs. But .no is a strong number 4 with 389 visits! Most exotic visitors must be the person from SAO TOME AND PRINCIPE and him/her from FAROE ISLANDS (.FO). My counter stats also tells me that 79% af all visitors use an Internet Explorer browser. A little more than 14% uses a version of Netscape. 156 visitors used Opera to view this page (=less than 1%) - so it definitely looks like IE is the big winner, for better for worse. Which is good, because this page definitely looks best in IE - not intentionally, but just happens to be so...

Looking forward to one more year of blogging, though I expect that blogging later this year might be rather sparse as I reach the stage where I Really have to Finish my ph.d.thesis. If what you write about in your blog, is "who" you are, one would suspect, I guess, that I am drawn more and more into gaming and games. Perhaps I am, not the least because I am under the subtle influence of Games Spokesman Jesper Juul, whom I in RL share an office with. Or just that game studies is just what's hot currently...As is, I want to try and focus more on virtual worlds in times to come - let's see what the winds and the net fishing will bring me.

Greetings to all :))

Article in Politiken on the Virtual Economy of Everquest. According to this article which relates the research of prof.Edward Castronova at California State University, the BNP of the Everquest citizen is higher than that of Bulgaria and earns Everquest a ranking as no. 77 on the list of the average citizen BNP in real-life countries.

I have been thinking about what Laurel writes about manoevering between different languages.
I lived for 3 years in Africa, Malawi when I was a child and went to an International English-speaking school there. I have been told that I at the age of 7, managed Danish, English and Chichewa perfectly. I remember myself being asked to translate between Chichewa and Danish when the cook wanted to talk to my parents. When I returned to Denmark, there were ample opportunity to maintain my English, but I never had the chance to speak Chichewa. Many years later, as a grown-up, I went to a party on a beach in Whitstable, England - and there was this African guy with a guitar, singing sad songs in a beautiful and strange language. Later in the evening it turned out it was Chichewa - and I didnt understand a word. So I have this weird experience of having learnt and lost a language completely - and I often wonder, if I would actually be able to pick up Chichewa again if I went back and stayed in Malawi for a while. And so getting an answer to whether the knowledge of this language still resides in some remote, forgotten corner of my mind or if it is completely gone?
Sometimes, when I have been writing or speaking a lot of English, I start dreaming in English again. Or unconsciously forming my sentences in English when I am thinking of what to write in this blog, for instance. When I become conscious of it, I feel a little bit schizofrenic about it - as if there were a voice of another person speaking instead of the "real me" (the Dane). I definitely do feel that there is a difference between the English me and the Danish me - and so in that way, I can also be tired in 2 different languages in that I would be tired in a slightly different way, depending on whether I told somebody I was tired in English, or in Danish. I also wonder what kind of "me" I would discover, if I learnt to speak Chichewa again? Would that be an altogether different me - or would it be like finding a part of myself that have been lost for many years, and for that reason feels like an old friend?

Meet Armilla

The carnivoral bug who represents me in the Technosphere world. Go, Armilla - get fed!

Keeping up.
laurel.blog should definitely be added to my list of blogs. And tinka's dust.from.a distant.sun.

What Justin Hall writes in his little piece Japan: Considering Ayako struck a chord with me for many personal reasons.

Elsewhere he confesses that till now he has slept with 32 women. That was really more than I wanted to know, thank you, but then I shouldn't have started reading his blog again at all, should I?

Defining where the border lies - what to say and what not to. I still struggle. Justin obviously dont, it seems.

TechnoSphere - a virtual - but invisible! - world where you set your own virtual creature free to survive on its own. Apparently you get updates regularly on how it is doing. The world has been running for 4 years and the oldest creature is more than 2 years old, so by internet standard a quite old world ;).

And it was exactly projects like this we were discussing in class today :)

The problematics of Internet Research...
Bummer! The people behind the A.I. film's supplementary web mystery have "killed" all the sites related to the mystery. I wanted to tell about this project in class and show some screenshots, but suddenly found only 404s (site not found). Tried Google's cached pages instead, but a) since images on pages apparently came from somewhere else, they werent cached and there were a lot of empty icons on the pages, and b) the Google "this is a cached page" notice fills like 1/3 of the screen which is pretty annoying especially if you want to show them as screenshots in a presentation. But!! Help is to be found - I discovered that the The Internet Archive appears to have stored a lot of these websites while they were up and running - with all images too. By way of an article on A.I. and viral marketing, I found a lot of links to those missing from A.I and with a copy of those URLs pasted into archive.org and the results, I am now able to do a presentation after all. Thumbs up for the Internet Archive - and another experience which has convinced me that the only way to make 100& sure that my research sites remain available is to store them myself on my computer :(. Such a precious waste of space - but what else to do?

The Joy of Stats:Danmarks Statistik tells me that 14748 women i Denmark are called Lisbeth. However, less than 3 is called Lisbeth Klastrup so we are pretty unique ;)

The Social Life of Avatars very recent anthology edited by Ralph Schroeder published at Springer Verlag. Think I need this!

Getting a grip of the world (I can never remember where those UK cities are located):Online Maps to Everywhere.

Handbook of Virtual Environments.. The title sounds interesting, but a look at the index seem to indicate that this is very much a tech book, mostly aimed at VR environments. I wish: that people could agree on using Virtual Reality Environments as a specific subgenre and then Virtuel Environments as a general term. It would make literature search so much easier for some of us!

Kirschenbaum: "Materiality and Matter and Stuff: What Electronic Texts Are Made Of" at ebr (Electronic Book Review), part of the ongoing discussion at ebr site on the nature of cybertext etc.

In the paper "Content and Creativity in Virtual Environment Design". Clive Fencott talks of various forms of perceptual opportunities in a VE (Virtual Environment): sureties, surprises, shocks, attractors, connectors, retainers. Something triggers me here - I feel sure these concepts can be linked to my concepts of interaction forms.

OK, starting blogging on the first day of their life - who can beat that! New and youngest member of Blogger community appears to be Robbie :)

Chris Cobbs has written a glorifying journalistic article on women's use of the internet: Riding the wave of technology. It's gots lots of nice stats and numbers in there for those of us who like to use those in arguments ;).

Lord Grip - Danish b/w comics for children available online as pdf.file. Looks nice - and is scrollable.

Via Jill, a link to colleague Anders Fagerjord's BlogSurftrail

Agathe never had her own homepage, but Elizabeth has a site.
To those of you, who have not already figured that out, I have to admit that I am a great fan of detective novels of the old-fashioned English style. Recently I have started reading the series on detectives Lynley and Havers. I just discovered that the author of the series has her own extremely tacky homepage:Elizabeth George Web Site. The series is more up-to-date than Christie and peers, but still an example of good detective story workmanship. And the fun thing is that this most English of English series (complete with class tensions, protagonists are the gentleman-like lord detective Lynley and his associate the working class woman Barbara Havers who falls in love with an immigrant) is actually written by an American.

Ladybirds and laptops.
Hilde is a shrewd observer of all those gender and techonology biassed occurrences we come across in our daily life. And had I not been under her subtle influence, I might not have noticed this before, but now I did (thanx Hilde for educating me :)):
I was waiting around for my number to be called to the desk at the postoffice earlier today, when I noticed this display of birthday cards. They had several vertical rows of cards under different headings - two of the headings were birthdays cards for men and woman, of course nicely situated next to each other. The top card for the men on the front displayed a drawing of a laptop (with nothing on the screen) in a soft light sitting on a table,surrounded by various gadgets. The top card for women next to it displayed a ladybird in upright position painting a new black spot on the shield of a fellow ladybird - and here there was a text on the front saying "One year more....". I wonder what the senders and receivers are supposed to read out of these cards. Giving a card with a laptop on front to a man would seem to indicate something along the lines: "I know that your favourite item in the world is a laptop and rather than having a birthday cake or celebrating with friends you would rather spend the entire day in front of your laptop, so I give you another laptop to look at too!" (honestly it is the most boring card I have seen in a long time - I like laptops but what have they got to do with "birthday aesthetics?") - whereas the ladybird card implies notions along the lines of: "Since you are a woman, I know you are sensitive about growing older and of the fact that age is visible, so you are probably not too happy about being a year older because it shows -but as a fellowwoman (ladybird) you have my sympathy!". Frankly, I wouldnt be happy receiving either of the cards, and I am annoyed with the fact that birthday card producers seem to think that we still live in a world where only men are interested in techonology and women only care about their appearance. FYI, the other "male" cards in the rack mostly contained references to the consumption of alcohol and the "female" cards more or less all contained cute, furry animals (except for the card who made a pun on boring husbands). Wonder how many years it will be before they produce "female" birthday cards for single women who actually like technological gadgets but despite of that actually have a social life too;)?