Category Archives: ARTS2090 – Publics & Publishing

Assessment Task Number 3

Question Chosen: 1. ‘It makes increasingly less sense even to talk about a publishing industry, because the core problem publishing solves—the incredible difficulty, complexity, and expense of making something available to the public—has stopped being a problem.’ (Clay Shirky, ‘Newspapers and Thinking the Unthinkable’,www.shirky.com/weblog/2009/03/newspapers-and-thinking-the-unthinkable /). Are digital and networked media dismantling the “publishing industry”? Is it being replaced? If so, what is replacing it? If not, what is the publishing industry becoming, and how is it doing so? Are there new difficulties and complexities or expenses involved?

I have chosen to publish my work through flickr, the link is here, http://www.flickr.com/photos/feliciapserras/sets/72157630003637461/

my story uses current and past examples to illustrate what has become of the distribution of the publishing industry today, enjoy! 🙂

platforms have now changed the media flow, but is this a bad thing?

I’d like to start the blog off this week with a powerful quote that really got me thinking…. 

‘We live in a world of flows, that is a world where information is everywhere…’ 

– Hubert Guillard 

At first, you may read this quote and think, big deal right? But if you’re a media student, you get all excited and start thinking, ‘YES! this is going to make my job so much easier.’ Well you see, just because information is everywhere, it does not necessarily mean that this information is correct. This you see, is one of the issues with the contemporary ‘Systems Age’ an age that involves sensing, collecting, and manipulating data in real time with little to no human supervision. What this new technological age has brought to society is a new platform that essentially alters, or better yet dismantles the previous technological systems. The best example that i can think of to illustrate this implication is wikipedia. It has become an online tool that students in pretty much every faculty turn to in order to get a brief run down on their subjects. And why shouldn’t they right? I mean it conveniently breaks down everything and even has user friendly sub headings so that you can get to the information that you need nice and quickly. But what should happen if all this information was wrong? I’ll tell you straight up, your assignment is pretty much screwed! Because chances are, if you continue using the online medium as a prime form of research, you are bound to get conflicting ideals on just about every subject.

This is not necessarily a bad thing, because as David Gauntlett puts it, ‘making is connecting’ and platforms quite simply flourish because they allow people to do what they want to, which in a sense is important as it allows people to create their own work and not just be consumers. This, Gauntlett believes has been the prime reason as to why society has flourished. Plus, next time you write that assignment, the conflicting ideals will allow you to see every angle in a story, and help you to make your own decision, making your work, well unique. 

 

so what am I doing for the visualisation project?

The aim for my visualisation project was to create a unique way to present the statistics of NBA players, in particularly, who would win the MVP award?

This idea came about when my partner, Alejo Rodrigues and myself were discussing basketball. It was at this point that I realised I had nowhere near as much knowledge as him in the subject, and just through looking through the statistics, I realised that I was so lost, and that it all looked like a massive case of mumbo jumbo to me. I mean c’mon check out the statistics for the NBA players here, how complicated does it look? There’s a whole bunch of different terms and everything, how are you meant to work out what is important?

Anyway, Alejo on the other hand looked like he was in his element, happily stating which type of statistic

was important, and which wasn’t. So then, we decided to carefully select a bunch of statistics, that were in Alejo’s opinion important to the game, and through this we were going to find out the top 10 players in the NBA and then rank them from 1 (most likely to win MVP) to 10 (least likely to win MVP). So in a way, our visualisation is all about carefully selecting statistics to help make a prediction.

So, these are the statistics that we have found:

Player    Ppg    FG%

Apg    Rpg    Spg    Bpg

Leborn James    27.1    0.531    6.9    7.2    1.8    0.8
Kevin Durant    28    0.496    2.8    6.6    1.3    1.2
Kobe Bryant    27.9    0.43    4.7    5.3    1.2    0.3
Chris Paul    18.8    0.478    9.8    3.5    2.4    0.1
Tony Parker    18.3    0.48    7.7    2.9    1    0.1

Kevin Love    26    0.448    2    13.3    0.8    0.5

Rajon Rondo    11.9    0.448    8.1    4.8    1.9    0.1
Russel Westbroke    23.6    0.457    5.5    4.6    1.7    0.3
Dwayne Wade    22.1    0.497    4.6    4.8    1.7    1.3
Dwight Howard    20.6    0.573    1.9    14.5    1.5    2.2

NBA Teams

Oh and don’t forget to stay tuned to see how we will put this together in our visualisation presentation(s), I’m actually really excited about it! 🙂

A new look at information technologies

When I first heard/read about the visualisation project, I instantly started to think that it was a complex project, that required a great deal of technical expertise. However, boy was I wrong. You see what the project actually called for was something that presented something in a simple, creative and effective manner.

This week’s readings and explorations is what ultimately helped me reach this conclusion. One website in particular that helped me realise this was http://www.infosthetics.com, in particular the ‘how does 200 calories look like’ article. For those of you who are unaware, the article compares different foods, and does so through showing their calorie content. What was found was that a lot more healthier foods were required to make 200 calories, however what some people would call ‘junk food’ made 200 calories very quickly, and in tiny portions. So simple, yet so effective, I loved it! (Also helped me think about my food choices a little better to).

Other articles that I found particularly useful on the website included:

  • What Colours are people wearing today? I loved this one because like most females, I love fashion, and found it quite interesting to see that a lot of people liked more neutral based colours during the day
  • World Mapped According to Wikipedia articles Another one that was so simple, yet so interesting because you could visually see where all the articles came from
  • Weight of data Very interesting movie, because you see we all deal with data on a regular basis, however how many of us really understand the importance of this data, and I don’t think many of us have considered data in relation to weight!

 

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

Modes of publishing and their importance in the Digital Age


Image

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

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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