I think it is getting increasingly difficult to get bored if you’re “connected” to the web in the 21st century. If you are connected to the Internet and are online, it may indeed be impossible to get bored. There is value in boredom, because creative thought often takes flight when the mind is idle or at least not focused on an attention-demanding task. A few books that address issues similar to this that I’ve read, am reading, or hope to read soon are (in that order):
- “Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience” (Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi)
- “In Praise of Slowness: Challenging the Cult of Speed” (Carl Honore)
- “Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder” (Richard Louv)
This evening after I posted a new podcast episode to our “Digital Dialog” channel I used the “much lamented in schools” NEXT BLOG link on my blogger site, and stumbled upon the “Cool Moms Rule” blog. “Viv,” as she identifies herself on her blogger profile, has a ton of advertisements in her blog sidebar, but does have some really good links. Two of the ones I checked out tonight and added to my del.icio.us links were heromachine (where you can create your own superhero or other character– think SL but just a 2D avatar) and Every Video Game.
All video games are not there, I searched for some old Atari 2600 titles like “River Raid” and came up with snake eyes, but LOTS are there including my old console favorites Joust and Galaga. Joust and Galaga online and playable for free? Yes, it appears so. Amazing.
I know that the video games folks find most engaging today are far more complex than games like Galaga and Joust, but I wonder if they are more addictive? It is probably hard for younger XBox, Wii, Gamecube and Playstation gamers to imagine that people like me used to spend a fair number of quarters to play Joust, Galaga, Pac Man, and other similar games. 🙂
I checked and these games play fine on both Firefox on WindowsXP and in Safari on Mac OS X. I can’t vouch for the website, however, in terms of malware and scripts. One of the things I recommended to attendees last night at our second “Digital Dialog” class for parents was running Firefox on their Windows-based computers with the free plug-in “No-Scripts.” Often malware is installed on Windows-based computers (and theoretically could be installed on Mac and Linux computers too) from scripts that run from webpages as they are viewed by a user. According to founding Internet father Vint Cerf, at least a quarter of all computers now online are infected with malware. That’s really unfortunate, considering the types of Internet-based extortion rings which now proliferate thanks to zombie botnets. (I wish I was making this up, but it’s really not science fiction. Check out the latest “Security Now” podcast– episode #82 for more on cyberwarfare.)
Gamers beware, there are many sites “out there” that are sharing cool stuff just so they can get you to click on ads or get your computer to download a new zombie botnet malware program. Running “No Scripts” with Firefox on the Windows-side and most frequently using my Mac to surf the web, I think I’m pretty safe from malware– but there are no guarantees.
There’s even less hope, I’m afraid, for the cause of boredom in the evenings. Maybe it’s time to go camping with the family, WITHOUT any technology. Temperatures were in the 70s here in Oklahoma today, so maybe winter is about over… Let’s hope so. I’m ready for some boredom! 🙂
Technorati Tags: botnet, games, security
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Thanks for checking out HeroMachine, Wesley, I hope you enjoyed it. My mother-in-law was a computer teacher / librarian in Minnesota for a long time, I’ll be sending her a link to your blog as well, I think she’ll really enjoy it.
Keep up the good work, very interesting stuff you have going on over here!
Jeff: How cool you found my post! Were you using a Technorati search, a Google search, or something else? I know kids who don’t know about HeroMachine would love its creative possibilities!
Wes, I think you will love Richard Louv’s book. It is the Yin to technology’s Yang. It spoke to me as I grew up with a foot in both canoes. I loved running through the woods and ridges as a boy but often found refuge in technology. For me it is a reminder that we need balance in our lives and when the scales tip too far in either direction we need to adjust our priorities in kind.