Author Archives: feliciaaap

new technologies, new truths, how do we know what is real?

Monkeys testing out new technologies for quadriplegics, aeroplanes flying themselves. No, this is not events from the latest block bluster film, it is simply reality for scientists and humans everywhere. You see what really got me thinking in this week’s readings was, wow these events really happen? How can this be true? I mean traditionally, it was humans who had to complete these activities, and now we are giving the responsibility of caring for a flight load of humans to an aeroplane alone, an aeroplane that requires no human contact? You see from the article by W.J. Hennigan in LA Times titled ‘New drone has no pilot anywhere, so who’s accountable?’ you can really see the probing issues with placing such a high emphasis of responsibility on technology alone. Questions are asked such as, should we hold the manufacturer responsible? What is even more interesting here is that assumptions are made that these flights are going to be put to commercial use, however in the article it doesn’t mention anywhere that a commercial airliner wants to take one of these onboard. Instead, they are used mainly for the army. This is another interesting point stemming from the article, if the army starts using what can only be described as ‘robots’ to fight their battles, although yes it will result in less casualties, the ‘battles’ will essentially be between robots and not humans. Does this mean that we are going to have to start glorifying robots in the same way that we do soldiers? Or does it mean that we have acknowledged that war and battle is wrong, and therefore instead of announcing world peace we are happy to clear our conscience of murdering people and pass it onto machinery?

All this pretty much challenges us to think, what is reality? Is it what each individual person believes? Or is it something that needs to be proven by fact? Is it dreams as some people believe they foreshadow the future? Reality really is a tricky term to define, so I employed the help of this video to help understand it more.

NB: An interesting thought to consider is, a lot of the aeroplane crashes in the past have been as a direct result of malfunctions, (that’s right due to the machine itself) so why would we want to employ this idea of a aeroplane that has no human interaction?

Few extra references: 

– Found this to show how monkeys relate more to humans, so does this mean that it is a reality that monkeys could be our ancestors?

– Consider this, aeroplane ‘spy planes’ sounds all too exciting to be real!

References: 

– http://articles.latimes.com/2012/jan/26/business/la-fi-auto-drone-20120126

– http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111005131648.htm

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you give me fever…..

So, admitedly when I heard the term this week, Beyonce’s ‘Fever’ came to mind. So, in the true spirit of procrastination, I decided to google the song, follow the links to youtube and watch the video. Now I guess this would normally be ok if i had stopped here. Instead,  a good hour later I realised that I had looked through the official Beyonce fan page, viewed a couple more of her videos and even read her biography on where else but, wikipedia.

Now before you shake your head at me, I just want to mention, that as I was doing this, a couple of key terms from the readings came to mind, particularly; arranging, information and access. What I then realised at this point was that I had been accessing archives, that were arranged and accessible thanks to the trusty google.

You see before the readings, I guess I can say I assumed that ‘archives’ had to be the real sort of traditional pieces of work, art etc. But in actual fact, and through the definition provided by the readings, an archive is essentially any way of storing and arranging information or data, so that we can access it later. When you take this definition, you sort of realise that we are all surrounded by archives, from every song that we listen to, every movie we watch, and of course through the readings that we do!

Now, what I have not yet mentioned is, what has this got to do with media? Well simple, through the course we have learnt that media is essentially information provided to the public. Taking this into consideration, one can assume that archives are essentially the tools in which we utilise to prepare media. A concept that I found very useful from the readings is that of Jacques Derrida, and his work in Archive Fever (1997), this idea suggested that all media construct archives (which is what I deduced) however, they also destroy other archives differently. To be honest, this completely baffled me, but then I thought back to the burning of the books in Germany, and about how media destroyed other archives, now we don’t have to think about such drastic examples, but think back to newer technologies such as computers and ipads and in a sense, some people have thought that they have destroyed older archives, such as books, so what do you think? Are archives essentially like a ‘fever’ in which everyone catches?

Watch the video that sparked this thought here

Photos can be found at:

– http://www.beyoncefan.com/category/news/heat/page/2/

-http://www.wordsinspace.net/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/ArchiveFever.jpg

from this you get that, the basics of assemblage

Felix Guatteri, Manuel DeLanda and Gilles Deleuze appear to be all over the readings this week, and so they should be I guess as they are the three social theorists that coined the term ‘assemblage’, but what is it?

Quite simply, it appears to be a series of elements/actants that come together to create and/or produce something new. From this definition ‘assemblage’ can be anything, however through utilizing the Actor’s Network Theory (ANT) proposed by Bruno Lattori we are able to understand this term in a different light.

Lattori through ANT developed this idea, that all actants should be treated as equals, regardless of if they are humans or not. At first, this theory received a lot to criticism as it appeared bizarre that something that did not encompass human qualities, something like a iPad for instance could be considered equal. However if we consider the work of historians like Plato and Aristotle who believed that technologies are extensions of human thought, it suddenly all makes sense right?

If I haven’t convinced you yet consider this Facebook as an example of assemblage and the impact it can have on the multiple actants. It relies on a heap of elements; apps, computers, internet connection and people. You see without one of these qualities it would not be what it is today, as without Internet connection and computers people would not be able to access it, and

 without apps there really wouldn’t be much to do on it. Thus from this example we see that assemblage relies heavily on a

multitude if factors and requires that all these factors work together simultaneously. It all suddenly makes sense now! 🙂

NB: Just as a little break from all the theory, I thought it would be nice to include some ‘assemblage artworks’ within the post. Just to show how something can be made through utilising different aspects and in turn, they create something new. Enjoy! 🙂

References: 

– http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_New_Philosophy_of_Society:_Assemblage_Theory_and_Social_Complexity

– http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Actor-network_theory

– http://www.shaviro.com/Blog/?p=541

Pictures can be found at: 

– http://gadgetsin.com/tag/found-art

Ecologies, unearthing secrets ?!?!

Media ecologies. So, when I first saw this term, I don’t know if it was because I had done some biology in year 12 or what, but I immediately thought of ecosystems and got a little bit confused on how this could relate to media. Sounds silly I know, but it turns out that I really wasn’t as far off as I had thought I was.

You see the term ‘media ecologies‘ shares its roots with the belief that technology, whether intended to or not, puts profound influences on a society, while the technology remains in control over virtual walks of life, quite simply it is a study of how media and communication affect perception and understanding.’

When I read this definition I was a bit freaked out, thinking, technology controlling us, really? But I guess whether I like it or not, it is true, I mean I don’t even wear a watch (older technology) anymore, I just check the time on my phone. Similarly, if I can’t find someone, I call them instead of walking around to see if I can bump into them. If we focus on this aspect though, we

are ignoring the ‘media’ side, about how it creates a system, that in reality breaks down traditional hierarchy. For instance,

through the work of Paul Levinson in ‘The First Digital Medium’ there is talks about how in the past, ancient Pharaoh’s and Christian Priest’s would limit the knowledge shared to people so that they could ensure that they had continued control over them. In modern society however, technology in a way helps us to share this knowledge, and in a way creates a society that is

better informed. Thus power is given back to the people instead of remaining with authorities. Consider the Wikileaks example, now I am not about to sit here and debate whether it was right or wrong, however this example demonstrates that through

technology, Julian Assange was able to create a ‘major shift in the way we are ruled and the information we are entitled to expect about how decisions about our future are made”. 

                                                                                                   

References: 

– http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Media_ecology

-http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=11410&page=1

– http://agreatbecoming.com/2011/02/03/games-as-a-happening-as-a-service-notes-from-my-talk-at-goldsmiths/

– Paul Levinson, ‘The First Digital Medium’ (In Course Reader)

Pictures Available at:

–  http://www.pcmagme.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/wikileaks.jpg 

– http://technorati.com/technology/article/julian-assange-lashes-out-at-silicon/

Modes of publishing and their importance in the Digital Age


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New business model has sparked both excitement, and criticism.

It’s been almost a year since the New York Times (NYT) initially introduced their new ‘pay wall’ business model to its readers, and yet here I sit in ARTS2090 reading about it as if it was only introduced yesterday. I believe that I must begin with a basic definition of the ‘paywall’ just to ensure that everyone is on the same page. In simple terms, it is pretty much getting subscribers to pay for the newspapers online content. What NYT does differently however, is that it offers some of its articles online for free, as an incentive for readers, and then includes sections of the online newspaper in which the reader is ‘blocked’ and then has to pay to access the additional material.

You see, when NYT introduced this new mode for publishing, it sparked (unsurprisingly) a large amount of criticism. The critics, namely Alan Rusbridger, claimed in simple terms, that if the newspaper was to continue this sort of tactic, it would essentially ‘remove the industry from a digital revolution which is allowing news organisations to engage with their readers more than ever before’. The critics perceived this tactic as a selfish act by which if continued would ‘only hurt newspapers further’, due to its ability to inhibit connectivity. What the critics I guess are failing to understand here, is that newspapers have, during their entire existence been a physical product in which people need to pay for, so why should all this change because its mode of publishing has changed from a physical form to an online form?  I mean the fact that NYT is offering free content at all should be commended, not looked down upon. In the words of Felix Salmon from wired.com, this decision has shown NYT to treat its readers as mature and civilised adults, as quite simply, paying for something you value, even if you don’t have to is a mark of a civilised society.

Also! I don’t know if you guys are interested, but I found this bloggers perspective of the pay wall, check it out and let me know what you think 🙂

http://yourbrandisshowing.tumblr.com/post/11062580487/dont-tear-down-that-wall-gorby

References: 

– http://yourbrandisshowing.tumblr.com/post/11062580487/dont-tear-down-that-wall-gorby

– http://www.wired.com/epicenter/2011/08/new-york-times-paywall

– http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2010/jan/25/guardian-editor-paywalls

Technology, to transform media… really?

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The topic on everyones lips, or better yet everyone’s research papers appears to be media, more particularly its evolution. You see it is evident that a vast amount of scholars appear to be extremely concerned with the changes of technology and its impact on the mode and content of media.

All works it appears, feel as if media has unintentionally transformed society’s views on caring more about the medium as opposed to the content of the media. Such is apparent within the view of technological determinism, which in its simplest form refers to the belief that technology is the agent of social change. Furthermore it appears that scholars, such as Marshall Mcluhan have gone as far as to say that ‘the medium is the message’, re-affirming this belief that people today are more intrigued with the mode (whether it be through an ipad, online etc) rather than the content that the mode produces.

You see what baffles me is that everyone appears to be complaining about the changes in mediums, however no one has stopped to ask and think why have these mediums been so successful? You see it appears that historical interventions such as the printing press and clock, were initially invented in China, however society elite produced no support for these inventions and thus they died down in China. However, we put the same technology in England, and it became an industry that blossomed.

Thus what I want to leave with everyone is, before you begin to criticise new mediums, ask yourself, if you don’t like them so much then why engage with them? The most prominent example i can think of at the moment is facebook, everyone complains about it, but you still see regular check ins, constant likes, and people love to post on each others walls (or timelines).

Photo available at: http://firm-marketing.com/social-media-marketing/facebook-changes-and-the-social-media-impact-part-2-of-2/

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eReaders, threat, or technological breakthrough?

Kindle, Kobo, iPad, sony reader, what do all these names have in common? Well, they are all clear cut examples of the new one year old revolutionary technology to hit the shelves, but you see, it appears that to publishers and authors alike, they are much more than a new product. To some critics, they have been acclaimed as a technological breakthrough, however to others, more so the sceptics, they have been claimed to be a direct threat to an industry that itself has stood the test of time.

Consider the work of Jonah Lehre, he claims that when he used to pack for holidays, he used to pack 9 pounds of clothes and 45 pounds of books (I myself can relate). You see I agree with him, that there is something nice about holding a physical book, sitting on a hammock and flicking through the pages on a nice afternoon. What book lovers do not realise, is that this experience does not necessarily have to be a thing of the past. Using the latest eReader just means that there are more ways, tailored to suite you, and be of a convenience to you to read your favourite book. I mean I for one know that sometimes I hate lugging around a book on my way to uni, as there is barely enough room in my bag for my uni books. I think everyone just needs to remember here, that true book lovers will continue to purchase their favourite books in physical form, despite the new technology that is created. I mean, consider the example of the introduction of the iPad and iPhone. Both these products delivered similar uses to that of the macbook, however due to the different experiences that the technologies offer, such as smaller screens, and easier portability the macbook has still continued to remain one of the best sellers in apple history, mainly because its use is still required in society.

This idea is illustrated quite well in the work of Erik Schonfield. Schonfield has published charts showcasing, that all these technologies are still being utilised, however as each has a different level of convenience, they are utilised at different times. For instance, mobiles are an ‘intestitial reading device, filling in the moments in between activities’ and that ‘iPad usage is shifted to 7pm-11pm and competing with prime time television.’

The differences in the experience of an e-book is noted by John Naughton. He, interestingly notes in his article, ‘Publishers take note, the iPad is altering the concept of a book’, describes a way in which one author, Stephan Fry has interestingly utilised the concept of an ebook to create a whole different experience for the reader. Naughton notes, that in Fry’s book, ‘Eagleman’s Essay’, Fry has in each chapter, split the screens, while ‘one side is conventional text. On the other are illustrations, photographs, animations and 3D models that the reader can manipulate. To see how it works, he’s made a YouTube video. It’s clever, informative, intriguing and fresh.’ Naughton finishes off his article, with one of my favourite quotes, from the readings for the week,

‘There will always be “books”. The question now is: will there always be publishers?’

So I guess what are these critics really scared of? The fact that there will be no books, or that publishers have to actually change their tactics?

So which eReader is best, take a look at this website, it may help you out, I know it assisted me in some way! 🙂

http://www.cnet.com.au/best-e-readers-in-australia-339304247.htm#image0

References: 

– http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2010/09/the-future-of-reading-2

– http://techcrunch.com/2011/02/04/ipad-shifts-reading/

http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2010/dec/19/ipad-publishing-kindle-books-apple

http://greatweboffersonline.com/

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