Thursday, June 28, 2012

Communications and Cyberspace: Chapter 22

In Chapter 22, Professor Strate proposes the concept of cybertime and virtual time. His main argument goes, "the computer functions both as a clock- keeping, measuring, and producing time both for the outside world and its own internal microworld-and as a medium- generating "virtual time" through stories, games and audiovisual presentation". I find this statement interesting because I find that while the computer keeps track of time, I also find myself losing track of time easily when I'm on the Internet. The creation of terms cybertime and "virtual time" exhibit the immense impact the digital world has on our reality. It was even able to infiltrate one of the most objective parts of the real world. The chapter is introduced by paralleling the computer with the clock and their similar functions. Both technologies manufacture pure information. While the computer also serves as clock, it is unlike any other timepiece because "the central processor generates time for the computer's internal world". This is a fascinating idea because time is often thought as an element that cannot be created nor molded. Another interesting point made was that the computer functions as a medium of time but not in the traditional sense. The computer and communicate a sense of time that is not exactly the time but rather "virtual time". Virtual time refers to the sense of time propagated in the virtual reality and computer generated worlds. VR has become so involved and powerful that it even has its own separate sense of time. (that's kind of scary)

Communications and Cyberspace: Chapters 19, 20, 12, 13, & the Epilogue

Chapter 19 explores the characteristics of e-mail. While e-mail is supposed to be a remediation of letters, what makes it unique is its oral quality. The instantaneous speed at which e-mails can be exchanged induces a more conversational type communication. This conversational aspect to e-mails have given the sender a more informal atmosphere to work within. Now e-mails are inundated with informal vocabulary, phonetic spellings, and colloquial sentence structures. Some of these habits have trickled into places such as school essays where such language is unacceptable. Another issue with e-mails is miscommunication. Sometimes people may read into things and misinterpret certain messages. However we have found ways to adapt this language to our true tone of voice through emoticons and caps locks.
In Chapter 20, author Philip Thompsen commences the chapter with a series of definitions of the term flaming. He says one of the primitive definitions of flaming is "to speak rabidly or incessantly on an uninteresting topic or with a patently ridiculous attitude". The definition of flaming has slowly broadened and now includes a range of negative social behaviors such as hostility and using profanity. Thompsen also concludes that flaming is both a media use and a media evaluation. This means that flaming takes into consideration both the behavior of flaming and the "social negation of what that behavior means." People may start flames by using all caps in order to indicate shouting or use less descriptive messages to suggest discontent.
In Chapter 12 one of the most valuable topics the author discusses is the value of VR in education. When students participate in responsive learning environments that are provided by VR are more like to retain information than the traditional passive learning experience. Information taken in by one's sight, sound, and touch instead by just viewing text and numbers often results in more efficient cognitive absorption. VR is also very practical for training purposes. The author uses the example of flight simulators where novices can practice certain tasks without the risk of injury or danger. VR is more active and can be more fun than a traditional classroom environment. I would support the use of VR in the educational system because often students are more conducive to learning when they are having fun or in a less formal environment.
Chapter 13 talks about the rising popularity of online education. While some still prefer the traditional face to face classroom learning environment, taking classes online has several advantages. Two enormous benefits of online classes are that it is cheaper and that location does not matter. One does not need to pay for transportation or worry about time commuting to school. Furthermore, the student does not have the hefty tuition of a university student because they are paying solely for the classes and not any of the facilities. It also very convenient for those who have many time constraints since classes are offered at flexible times. Although there are some subjects that would be more effectively taught in the traditional class room, online education has many benefits and several class offerings.

6/27 Cybertime

One of the aspects of the cybertime phenomena is that computers are able to tell time in the outside world. It is fascinating to think that computers and clocks produce nothing material but instead deliver information (363). Another comparison that Professor Strate makes that’s interesting is that the clock coordinates and synchronizes activities, and as a consequent of their ability to self-operate they become a metaphor for the body and universe. Furthermore, Professor Strate makes a good point that even if we are wearing the best watches, the times will always vary as much as 10 to 15 minutes. It is important to realize this because as our society continues to be more fast paced, these differences in time will eventually be “intolerable.” Moreover, he explains that computers also "communicate a sense of time that is not necessarily the time." Instead it’s a virtual time by which human perception agrees. Another important thing brought up in the chapter is e-mails.  There is such a sense of immediacy with e-mail, that even when an e-mail is written in an earlier period we conceive it to be communicated to us in the present. As a result, “our sense of time passage becomes distorted.” Moreover, cybertime and cyberspace within computers is the only medium where we have the ability to experiment different versions of ourselves. While reading this chapter this idea particularly stood out to me. It amazes me that we have this ability to try out our “dream selves.” Even though this possibility can provide many positive experiments, I believe it is also important that we remember that it is just a virtual reality.

Communications and Cyberspace: Chapters 15, 16, 17

Chapter 15 poses the question, will New Media completely replace books and other print media? With the rapid emergence of hybrid technology, who knows how much of our world will be replaced by digital technology. The author suggests that one day, there will be a single apparatus that will be used for everything. We are living in an age where technology plays a huge role in an overwhelming part of our lives. Technology is so quickly evolving that soon enough the high-tech devices of today will be something part of the past.
In Chapter 16, author Camille Paglia walks us through her career and experience writing for the Internet. While many believed that the Internet would decrease the popularity of writing, we find that it is actually a very essential asset on the Web (. One of the important points she mentions is that Internet writing deviates towards more visual stimulation than verbal. With the enhanced graphics and colors incorporated into Internet writing, Paglia associates it with TV. The effects and availability parallel to the animated motion of the TV and our ability to record and re-watch segments.
Chapter 17 discusses pedagogy and hypertext. Stephanie Gibson commences the chapter by defining hypertext as, "any program that allows readers to navigate nonlinearly throughout a body of text". She juxtaposes the effectiveness of hypertext with traditional classroom textbooks. While hypertext is more interactive, she says that textbooks present information in way that just assumes that the reader will understand the content. Unlike the "static" and "anchored" nature of textbook print, hypertext allows the reader to navigate according to his or her own habits and preferences. The author believes that in the future, hypertexts will soon take the place of traditional textbooks. With the rate at which technology is developing it is hard not to believe this hypothesis. However, I believe that textbooks will be around for quite some time.

6/26 Computer-Mediated Communication & Edu.

Chapter 19 discusses the implications of e-mail. E-mails are different from print letters because they no longer need the predictable “to” and “from.” Instead we are forced to learn new ways to communicate with eachother. This is true because emails are usually informal, have phonetic spelling and the “literate and oral codes mingle and swap juices.” As a consequent we must learn new ways in communicating. Emoticons or smiley’s are a good example of new forms of communication. I find emoticons to be very interesting because even though there is no face-to-face communication through email, the smiley face or other symbols can show a facial expression. Furthermore, the chapter says, “People are always free in whatever medium they use (314).” in other words people have the ability to hide behind what they are saying through the computer and even use a fake identity. This could lead to falsified information and harassment. Furthermore, the chapter makes a good point about breaking off from a chat or email. Rather then the telephone where you can just hang up, “breaking off” seems more difficult to do in email and as a consequent there is talk that serves no function.

Chapter 20 discusses flaming. I found this chapter interesting because it states that this antisocial behavior may be a result of technological constraints that “encourage people to lose themselves and let their emotions fly (330).” I agree with this because when people lack face-to-face interaction, it becomes more impersonal leading to lack of respect and profanity. The chapter also said that experienced users are more aware of email etiquette and develop skill in “flame management” where a novice would reveal lack of experience by typing in all caps (339).

Chp.12- virtual organizations allow students to go at their own pace and therefore focus on weakness. I thought it was interesting how the chapter relates the technology to internships. The technology allows students to have valuable tasks and networking rather then doing the typical internship job of answering the phone. Furthermore the virtual intern can design something and check the effectiveness. Furthermore VR is great because it allows people to participate directly. Also, in addition to the visual aspects of VR, the auditory cues are also extremely important to get a feel of a real world. It is also important to note that there are philosophical issues at hand about VR. These philosophers say that we shouldn’t spend too much time in our VR body because it can result in a self identity crisis and give us health issues such as bad headaches. I find this fascinating that a virtual world can change our perception of things.

Understanding New Media: Chapters 50 & 51

Chapter 50 considers smart tag technology and dataspace. Smart tags or barcodes contain information that are extensions of the label of a product. They are made to be easily recognizable by computers to send to a database. Barcodes are definitely essential for sales industries. Now checking out at stores are significantly faster and more efficient. Now even cell phones have the ability to read bar codes through the use of the built on camera. Dataspace is the sum of all information. It is so expansive that it is considered to be a "new frontier". Furthermore it "represents an expansion of cyberspace"- all that is accessible on the web is available and present in the dataspace.
Chapter 51 deals with other enabling technologies not dealt with in UM.  Three notable technologies are Wikipedia, WiFi and Fiber Optics. Wikipedia, although not the most reliable source, has become a cornerstone in online researching. This website features an extensive archive of people, places, and terms with descriptions and information given by the public. WiFi today can be considered the optimal source of Internet connection. It can connect phones, tablets, and computers to the Internet at fast speed and across a wide range. Fiber Optics function by encoding information in a light beam. It improves the the transporting of information and alleviates traffic jams. 

Understanding New Media: Chapters 47-49

Chapter 47 involves virtual reality and simulations. VR is described as "any medium that imitates another medium"and "an environment hat is simulated by a computer". VR technology fulfills these definitions through the use os special stereoscopic googles and speakers in order to encompass all the users senses to create the illusion of a realistic environment. This is a powerful aspect of VR because when you are immersed in the program, you are not simply an observer but a participant. This interactive nature of VR has led to the creation of RPG games and VR reality platforms.
Chapter 48 describes robots as a "hybrid technology consisting of a computer and a electromechanical mechanism that can automatically perform tasks. The creation of robots, bots, and agents have made many tasks much easier and safer for humans. The use of robots has played a huge role in space exploration as well.
Similar to robots is the creation of Artificial Intelligence and Expert systems. Weak AI is defined as the use of computers to perform automated tasks that need human intelligence. On the other hand, there is strong AI which is an area of research working on ways to make computers intelligent beyond human capacity. This is difficult or impossible to achieve given that AI are only extensions of our own intelligence. A human cannot create something that is beyond them.

Communications and Cyberspace: Chapters 5, 6, 7, 14

In Chapter 5 Hebert Zettl analyzes the philosophical and ethical aspects of Virtual Reality in terms of human interaction in cyberspace. He examines the philosophical implications of VR through the Cave Theory of Plato. In Plato's Cave Theory, he describes prisoners that are jailed in a cave that are fascinated by shadows. Suppose one prisoner was released and was exposed to the light. At first, the prisoner would be blinded and would have difficulty deciphering the things that caused the shadows. He would initially reject the notion that these are the true objects and would refer back to the shadows as reality. However, the prisoner's eyes would eventually adjust to the light and he'd be able to perceive the truth vividly. The world of shadows described in Plato's theory can be paralleled to our synthetic VR. We are purposefully returning to the cave of shadows to become "perceptual prisoners" when we enter VR. When we engage in VR, we restrict our visions and motions to the monitor and computer. The author also poses concerns involving human behavior. What choices will we make in an environment with almost no consequences? The author wonders if humans are driven and lured to VR because we seek an escape from reality and responsibility. Some may also feel more comfortable in VR because we are in the power to create our own safe society.
Chapter 6 discusses implications and predictions of virtual reality. Critics of VR hypothesize that people will spend most of their time engaged in the false reality and slowly distance themselves from the real world. Because of the strong sense of intrapersonal communication, which is interaction between the person and the machine, VR inhibits the sense of community. VR technology challenges the concept of authenticity as it morphs into a seemingly alternative reality. Moral issues include the enslavement of robots, the use of VR for propaganda, and the question whether VR users will suffer consequences from their actions when engaged in the program. The most dramatized implication of VR is the ambiguity the technology places on ideas on subjective, objective, and social reality.
Chapter 7 involves virtual reality and the redefinition of self through text in relation to new technology. In the age of print, the two most significant constructions of self have been the Cartesian ego and the Kantian subject. Both constructions emphasized the autonomy of the individual and a separation between the subjet and object. They also place the visual and sensual facets of humanity under the control of reason. 
A notable topic in chapter 14 is the discussion of Cyberpunk culture which raises serious questions about human relationships to technology. Cyberpunk symbolizes the content in stimulations transferring into reality. Symbols generated by media are starting to weave into the fabric of reality. Cyberpunks love to engage in VR because they deem the real world as "boring". However, when they are too immersive in this fake world, they are detaching themselves from both their physical bodies and physical world. 

Varieties of Cyberspace: Problems in Definition and Delimitation

Professor Strate's article "Varieties in Cyberspace" describes what he calls the three levels of cyberspace and their subdivisions. The first level is called zero-order cyberspace. The first of its categories is called paraspace, or nonspace. Paraspace deals with the paradoxical aspects of cyberspace: it exists, but at the same time it is unreal. The other category of zero-order cyberspace is cyberspacetime, which has to do with our perceptions of space and time. The second level is called first order cyberspace. Its three categories are physical cyberspace, conceptual cyberspace, and perceptual cyberspace. Physical cyberspace consists of the electricity, wires, modem, and anything else relevant in the physical world. Conceptual cyberspace deals with the "cognition" and logical qualities of cyberspace. Perceptual cyberspace deals with how we use our senses to obtain information about cyberspace. The last order is called second order cyberspace. This contains cybermedia space, which contains its own subcategories of aesthetic space, information or dataspace, and interactive or relational space.

Cut, Copy, and Paste

Professor Strate's article "Cut, Copy, and Paste" compares the three basic word processor editing functions to historical tools. "Cut," he writes, comes from the stone knife that our prehistoric ancestors would have used as a cutting tool. Since this is the oldest of the tools, " is fitting that cut appears first in the edit menu of current operating systems." "Copy" would seem to be a modern function, since we associate the word "copy" with exact replicas. However, scribes copied manuscripts all the time. Even though they weren't identical copies, they were in fact replicas of the original works. "Paste" has been around for the shortest amount of time. Although there is no known record of prehistoric people using adhesives, it is safe to say that they would have discovered such properties in their plant surroundings.

Communication and Cyberspace Chapter 22

Chapter 22, Professor Strate's chapter, is titled "Cybertime." He states that the invention of the computer can be traced back to the invention of the clock; it was one of the first automated machines, and it produced information. He writes that, "Cybertime is absolute time, digital time, and it is quicktime." Today, people mark time down to the second, and even the nanosecond, changing the way people relate to time. Not only do computers display time, they also "communicate a sense of time that is not necessarily the time." He refers to this sense of time as "virtual time." As he said in class, no other medium allows users to lose track of real time so easily.

Cyberspace and Communications Chapters 19, 20, 12, 13, epilogue

Chapter 19 is titled "Charting the Codes of Cyberspace: A Rhetoric of Electronic Mail." Author Judith Yaross Lee states that e-mail and other similar media heavily resemble formats from letter writing. However, according to Lee, this writing does differ from writing that took place before e-mail. E-mail allows for immediacy, but it lacks intimacy and often leads to misunderstandings, which can be avoided by the use of emoticons. Lee's point is that communication in cyberspace is new and different from any other form of communication and doesn't entirely compare to one medium or another.

Chapter 20 is titled "What's Fueling the Flames in Cyberspace? A Social Influence Model." In this chapter, Author Philip A. Thompsen argues that flaming involves a relationship between people that has been formed through any form of computer media, and that how one interprets a message is equally part of the flaming as the person who sent the message. He defines flaming as sending any insulting, profane, vituperative message through electronic media.

Chapter 12 is titled "Constructing the Virtual Organization: Using a Multimedia Simulation for Communication Education." Author Terri Toles Patkin discusses the psychological implications of Virtual Reality and what cognitive processes are involved. She also writes about the practical, real-life uses of VR.

Chapter 13 is titled "Online Education Unbound." Online education has become widely used, due to its low cost and flexibility. Author Paul Levinson writes that online education has many advantages: it doesn't require transportation, it is time-flexible so that people can take their class any time, it is usually inexpensive, and it allows students to interact with other students. There are also several drawbacks, including the fact that complex science courses with laboratory components do not translate well to online media.

Chapter 22 the final blog

There have been many inventions that have lead up to what we now call the internet. of course the invention that makes viewing the internet possible is the computer. The computer has many inventions that have have come before it and lead up to its creation. These inventions consist of the abacus, steam engine, the loom, and many more. All of the inventions play a huge role in creating the computer, a functional interface and the internet. Another invention that does not create material objects, but information is the clock. As stated in our classroom lectures "Clocks are the ancestors of the computer"(Strate). Clocks have been existence to perform many functions and one of those main functions is a form of control to synchronize every individuals actions through out the world. Even though we are in different time zones we are all based on a system that allows everyone to operate and function together. Many of the financial markets in Asia and other countries open and close at different times than that of the United States. In order to keep track and be punctual in these markets we figure out the time difference and relate it to our own time. This is a universal sense of synchronization and has enabled our society's to live and work in conjunction with each other. To prevent crashes in one lane rail road tracks railroad companies configured different time zones within the United States to aid those traveling from places like Philadelphia, which there time is five minutes later than our time. This also created the ability for interstate transportation and travel. As time goes on Professor Strate believes that time will become more and more universal through out the world. Even though this transition will take time and be difficult it is a very large step into synchronizing individual society's into one and making trade, transport and many other things much more simple and logical. This class has been very influential in the teachings and history of New Media. The lectures and constant blogging have proved to be essential in mastering the beginnings of New Media. Thank you for the opportunity to par take in a class like this and I hope everyone has a great summer.

Understanding New Media Chapters 50-51

Chapter 50 of Understanding New Media is titled "'Smart Tags' and Dataspace." A "smart tag" is an extension of the bar code, used for computers to easily identify information for database purposes. Cell phones are now capable of reading smart tags, such as those found on posters in the subway. They can also be used in medical settings to help with medicine dosages. An additional (and frightening) potential use of the smart tag has been proposed by Homeland Security, which will tag the passports of visitors to the US to make sure they leave the country when their visas expire. Chapter 51 is titled "Enabling Technologies Not Dealt with in New Media" and discusses microelectronics, haptic and olfactory technology, hypermedia, fiber optics, WiFi, Bluetooth, and other communication technologies.

Communication and Cyberspace Chapters 15, 16, 17

Chapter 15 is titled "Getting Over the Edge." The author talks about the fact that every time a new medium appears, much speculation comes about over whether or not previous media will die out. He also talks at length about hypertext, which he describes as, "...a characteristic product of the late age of print, which is to say, it is deeply ambiguous. Although still dependent on alphabetic literacy, algorithmic programming, linearity, hierarchy, and other trappings of Gutenberg culture, hypertext implicitly challenges the episteme from which it sprang." In other words, hypertext is associated with literacy and challenges it at the same time.

Chapter 16 is titled "Dispatches from the New Frontier: Writing for the Internet." The author, Camille Paglia, discusses her career as a writer for both print and online media. One of the effects of college students' increased use of the Internet is that literature departments saw a decrease in majors. She writes that for her, the most important part of writing for the Internet is visual as opposed to verbal. The Internet, she states, is full of colorful, lively graphics that more closely represent a TV screen than a book.

Chapter 17 is titled "Pedagogy and Hypertext." Author Stephanie Gibson defines hypertext as, "Any program that allows readers to navigate nonlinearly through a body of text, sometimes a single text, but frequently a database of related materials with hundreds of nodes of text linked together forming a network of relevant material." She writes that when hypertext is used in the classroom, teachers lose control over who reads what texts and how they read them. Additionally, she believes that classrooms will at some point use hypertext instead of traditional print textbooks.

Communication and Cyberspace: Chapters 2, 3, 21

Chapter 2 considers the cultural and political impacts of cyberspace. John Phelan points out that the interactivity of the Internet is due to the user's ability to control the devices of the computer. An important facet of the Web is the notion of feedback as if the computer was an extension of themselves. We strive to synchronize ourselves with the technology by making our senses transparent. When doing so, we project our desires and intentions on the computer in order to gain a more realistic, human experience. What I found particularly interesting in this chapter was the idea of cyberspace as a paradox. We strive to fabricate a perfect reflection of reality through the new digital technology, so much so that we are eluded into thinking that our activities in cyberspace are directly translated into real space. The Web has also created both a better informed producer and better informed consumer. The new technology has even found its way into politics. For examples, protestors who are advocating the renewal of the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty were able to compose well formed arguments through coordinating on the Internet. The Internet has become a source of exchange of information and instruction.

In Chapter 3, the author brings up a point made by James Gleick that because the Net is not a physical entity, no one can be entitled to own or control it. It belongs to everyone. Cyberspace is not only composed of material things, it is also fosters relationships and a sense of belonging. These three elements of material, relational and cognitive together form what could be considered a culture. While cyberspace is rapidly destabilizing centralized means of mass control, Phelan says that there will always be a fight for control. He eventually concludes that those who will control society at large will control cyberspace.

Chapter 21 discusses the concern that a space intended to be free and open will become imperialized by businesses. The Internet's marketing potential is obvious; therefore making the medium vulnerable to commercialization. Rushkoff describes information as, "the modern science of control"which I think is an intriguing concept. I suppose when one possesses certain information, they gain some sort of power. I thought it was also notable when the author says that communication nurtures the direction and growth of a culture. When we interact with each other, we exchange information that will either add to our cognitive archive or enhance what we already know. Furthermore this article discusses the new strategies of advertisers. Companies are starting to perfect the art of "creating needs rather than fulfilling them" through their ads. The technique of "wink" advertising is also growing in popularity where the ad appeals to the viewer's intelligence.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Communication and Cyberspace: Chapters 1, 4, 10, 11, 18

In Chapter 1, the authors introduce the chapter by clarifying that cyberspace and the physical environment are two completely different realms. The laws that exist in reality might not work as efficiently when used in the digital world. This chapter also describes how we have attempted to mold cyberspace as close to reality as possible. The immersive qualities of the Internet are made apparent by computer programmer, David Alsberg. When he passed away, two communities mourned his death: his family and friends composed one community, the other consisted of his online friends that had their own version of a wake online. This shows the growth of which people are using the Internet as a medium for social interaction. Social interaction that takes place in electronic space redefines the nature of creating relationships in public and private spheres. The Internet is beginning to blur the line between  public and private relationships because of its accessibility to a number of various sources. The authors also discusses the repercussions of cyberspace on physical space. They refer to Victor Hugo's The Hunchback of Notre-Dame to build their argument where the character states, "The book will destroy the church." What the character means by this is that soon old technology will be replaced or remediated by newer more efficient technology. With the acceleration of digitalization dominating different industries, it is easy to be concerned that all assets of real space will eventually enter electric space.

In Chapter 4, Neil Kleinman points out the question, how do we enforce notions of property in a medium that advocates the complete freedom of information? The broad and extensive nature of electronic media makes it extremely difficult to apply copyright laws. Some solutions have surfaced including the search for careful balance between the scope of copyright protection and its duration that makes for the optimal access to information. Two strategies have risen to quell the conflicts between the public and producers. Either one should place limited protection combined with a rather extended period of protection or broaden protection combined with a more limited period of duration.  As a way to resolve this issue, Congress enacted the Digital Millenium Copyright Act of 1998 which forbid the creation or marketing of devices that allow for the circumvention of technologies intended to protect copyright material.

Chapter 10 discusses the digital divide which is the divide between those who have access to the Internet and those who do not. This divide is fueled by economic factors such as income. Some believe that this is an issue that should be resolved by the industries and others believe that the issue is government responsibility. One way the government tried solving the issue was through the $12.5 million in grants they gave in order to stimulate nonprofit organizations that serve underprivileged rural and urban areas to incorporate advanced network technologies to enhance their services. As of today with the availability of more inexpensive computers, I think the digital divide has definitely narrowed.

In Chapter 11, the authors examine the risks associated with the Internet. One of the most prominent concerns is pornography. Because of its popularity and availability on the Web, pornography along with other vices has led to criticisms of the new medium. The Internet was thought to be an "evil influence", possessing a toxic environment that induces immorality. It was described as a portal of pornography, hate speech, and violence. As a society, we try to balance these risks and negative qualities with the superfluous benefits that this new technology has to offer. I also think it's important that we sculpt the next generation to know how to responsibly patrol and enjoy the internet. The public receives a certain degree of power from Internet use, and with great power comes great responsibility.

Understanding New Media Chapters 47-49

These chapters of Logan's book again deal with New Media not covered in McLuhan's original book. Chaper 47 talks about Virtual Reality and the development of 3D virtual reality platforms. It also describes the concept of role-playing games, as well as massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs). These games, as the name suggests, include many players and often include a storyline and a theme. Chapter 48 deals with robots, bots, and agents. Logan defines a robot as "a hybrid technology consisting of a computer and an electromagnetical mechanism that can automatically perform tasks such as manufacturing, mining, exploration, or clean-ups in environments unsafe or difficult for human operators." Robots have been used in manufacturing for years, often making production faster, but coming at the expense of jobs for human workers. Chapter 49 discusses artificial intelligence (AI) and expert systems. AI is divided into two forms: weak AI and strong AI. Weak AI is,  "the use of computers to automatically perform tasks requiring human intelligence. Strong AI involves the area of study in which research have attempted to create a computer with, "an intelligence that its human creators would not be capable of." An example of this is the IBM computer Big Blue, which won a chess championship.

Communication and Cyberspace Chapters 5, 6, 7, 14

Chapter 5 is titled "Back to Plato's Cave: Virtual Reality." In this chapter, author Herbert Zettl argues that VR is an art form that has aesthetics such as 3D representation, motion, and sound that can be analyzed much in the same way that we analyze other media. He also compares VR to Plato's Allegory of the Cave. Although VR has some helpful uses that can be applied in scientific and medical fields, it also has been used to depict violence, rape, and murder scenes. 

Chapter 6 is titled "Dramatism and Virtual Reality: Implications and Predictions." The author argues that VR can be understood and function as a form of rhetoric and its performative value. Using VR, he argues, involves performing virtual acts on virtual screens. 

Chapter 7 is titled "Virtual Reality and the Redefinition of the Self." The author, Jay David Bolter, argues that there is a battle between text-based media in cyberspace and graphics-based media, and how it relates to the use of VR. He also discuses philosophical implications of VR and how it refutes many long-held ideas. 

Chapter 14 is titled "Cyberspace: Creating Paradoxes for the Ecology of Self." The author writes about topics pertaining to VR and cyberspace and how they related to self-conception. She describes the conception of the self in terms of ecology. She writes that the ecology of self will dissolve when all communications technologies become a part of our senses.

Communications and Cyberspace Chapters 2, 3, 21

Chapter 2 is titled "CyberWalden: The Online Psychology of Politics and Culture." The author, John M. Phelan, writes, "Cyberspace is a new field for old dreams. It is the latest meeting place for both doing things together and trying to figure out, as we never cease to do, where we really are." Cyberspace gives people the ability to control devices to give them feedback and to live as if those devices are a part of them. The feedback is what gives users a sense of feel, and makes them demand much more speed than is necessary. 

Chapter 3 is titled "Who Shall Control Cyberspace?" The author states that cyberspace is for the most part decentralized and uncontrolled. Although those who first inhabited the internet are proud of its openness and libertarian, self-governing abilities, it is incredibly easy for political and commercial entities to exploit those who use it. The author believes that in the future, those who control society at large will control cyberspace, which in my opinion is a scary thought. 

Chapter 21 is titled "The Information Arms Race." Although cyberspace is supposed to be free and open, businesses have exerted much influence over the way we use the World Wide Web. We now have terms like e-commerce and e-shopping, as well as advertising all over websites. The author describes this as a form of information warfare and compares it to the history of cultural imperialism. Much of what we know and use in cyberspace, he argues, is becoming commercialized by business interests, which goes against the freedom and openness that cyberspace originally stood for. 

Communication and Cyberspace Chapters 1, 4, 10, 11, 18

Chapter 1 of Communication and Cyberspace is titled "From Locomotion to Telecommunication." It also details how many people find a life inside cyberspace in addition to their lives with their families and communities. I found it interesting that a NY Times obituary described a deceased computer programmer as being a part of two communities: the physical one that included his family and neighbors and friends in Astoria, and his cyberspace community in which he had friends that came together for an online wake. This chapter also talks about the effect of cyberspace on physical space, referencing a portion of Victor Hugo's The Hunchback of Notre Dame and the idea that "the book will kill the church." This meant that people feared that books would free people from dependence on church. The modern-day parallel is that cyberspace will draw people away from physical environments.

Chapter 4 is titled "Striking a Balance: Access and Control Copyright, Property, and Technology." There is an issue that states that electronic media have changed the way we think about publishing. On one hand, authors have control of their intellectual property, but the point of the Internet is that information is to be freely available and sharable. It is incredibly difficult to police cyberspace.

Chapter 10 is titled "The Digital Divide," which states that there is a massive gap between who has access to new technologies and who doesn't have access. Rural areas are much less likely to have access to the Internet than suburban and urban areas. White people are more likely than Black or Hispanic people to have access to new technologies. Elderly people are less likely than young people to have Internet access. Additionally, education level and email use are positively correlated. I found this chapter interesting and eye-opening, as most of the world does not have access to the internet; I think this is something most Americans take for granted.

Chapter 11 is titled "Risk and the Internet: Perception and Reality." The author discusses risks in cyberspace, such as fears of censorship, pornography, and risks involving children and the Internet. Parents often believe that their children should have internet access, but at the same time worry about what their children are viewing online. Censorship has come about due to pornography, which is what drives technology. The US government has passed several laws pertaining to required Internet filtering software in schools.

Chapter 18 is titled "Cinematic Representations of Cyberspace." In this chapter, the author discuesses how cyberspace has been represented in cinema. Symbolic form in cinema has lead to a class divide: more educated people prefer literacy, whereas the less-educated people prefer speech and imagery.

Hypermediacy and Video Games

I found Lev Manovich’s idea of Hypermediacy in yesterday’s class to be quite fascinating. The counterpart to Hypermediacy, Transparent Immediacy, is a medium that strives for as accurate a reflection of reality as possible. The paradoxes and contradictions created in these two ideas are quite visible in our CGI-ridden and graphics obsessed entertainment industry.
            For example, many big budget video games, especially those for the PC, are marketed on their ‘cutting edge’ graphics, which accurately reflect the scene of a bullet blowing up a man’s skull and the various facial contortions one make’s when riding a motorcycle and firing two machine guns at the same time. Does this sort of ‘realism’ sit under the banner of Hypermediacy or Transparent immediacy? On one hand it is striving for visual realism, by giving as accurate reflection of various scenarios as possible. On the other, it’s strive for realism is part of a self-conscious development to be better than predecessors or competitors. By striving for realism, they are in a sense referring back to the medium of video games itself, the very definition of Hypermediacy.

Chapters 19, 20, 12, 13 & the Epilogue

E-mail has been a upcoming and influential form of communication within the last two decades. Marshall McLuhan discussed and described the medium as being synonymous with the message itself. E-mails have many things that make them different from letters or even older correspondence such as memos where emails take a bulk of their form from. Most individuals these days use acronyms and initials to shorten the length of what they are writing. At the same time many individuals do not use a proper letter format such as including sincerely, dear, or the regular structure of a formal letter. This is making communication a lot faster and easier to respond to, but increasing less and less formal. They were aiming to make e-mail as fluid as possible. Flaming is a term that is used in describing email conversations and the content with in them. Flaming used to describe someone who was a complete and utter annoyance to those that came in contact with that individual. It has now adapted a more broad meaning including many things as expressing hostile emotions and cursing within expressing these emotions.  Many factors come into play when deriving the cause of flaming. There are many different situations that can effect flaming and the outcome of flaming. Individuals feel that those who follow the rules will get rid of those who do not follow the rules, but in any circumstance there are always going to be rule breakers. When discussing virtual reality and implementing it into our society there are many precautions that need to be examined. Many think that introducing new technology is as easy as inventing something and selling it. There are many tests and prototypes that are conducted and made to ensure compatibility with humans. Many hope that a ambiquitous society is near and will be most helpful in aiding everyone to learn and enlighten individuals to the advancement of our society. Many schools today are implementing online classes, which the students, professors, and schools see as a great opportunity to let individuals learn from home with ease. On the other hand people are afraid that this will make the student body lazy or more capable of cheating through uses of technology. With everything said we as a society need to take necessary precautions when attempting to use or create new technology. When our society becomes totally entwined and dependent on technology is when there could be a serious problem. We need to take a step back and look at what we have done and what we are looking to do. All in all technology and its advancements have brought miracles to millions of people so we should embrace it, but at the same time have a great sense of caution in the back of our minds that we are creating our own fate.

Communication and Cyberspace chapters 8-9

Chapter 8 offers a brief history of the internet, beginning with the ARPAnet, which was a network solely used for research by military and defense agencies. It also details the "culture clash" between the Department of Defense and the computer scientists in the academic community who helped build the ARPAnet in the first place. The computer scientists believed that this technology should be free and open to all individuals, whereas the defense officials were secretive and rigid and wanted it to themselves. Eventually, the ARPAnet declined because it did not support a free flow of information. Giese writes that, "the turning point in the growth of the Internet was the advent of USENET NEWS in 1979 - a 'poor man's ARPAnet.'" USENET eventually spawned discussion boards, and the Internet continued to grow and develop from there.
Chapter 9, written by Ron L. Jacobson, addresses "Questions Concerning Public Interest in and Access to the Information Superhighway." He writes, "What the Internet is really about is the transformation of information rather than its growth." In other words, the world still has the exact same amount of information contained in it as it did before the advent of New Media; New Media is just making it digital and more accessible. The information isn't changing, it's just going from books to online forms. Other questions that come up pertain to literacy and access, and what social consequences come about from this access to information.

Understanding New Media Chapters 44-46

This groups of chapters also talks about forms of new media. Chapter 44 talks about blogs, which are personal online journals. The "blogosphere" has been broken up into smaller communities of interest. Blogs are personal, but can be a communal effort, and can also serve as news media. Chapter 45 talks about search engines (specifically Google) and their effect on libraries. Students now do most of their research via the internet and don't often use physical media such as books and microfilm found in libraries. Chapter 46 talks about videoconferencing and web-based collaboration tools. Logan writes that videoconferencing over the internet is better than standalone systems because it is cheaper and of better quality.

Understanding New Media Ch 34-43

These chapters of Logan's book are in Part III: The Analysis of New Media not Dealt with in Understanding Media. In other words, this deals with technologies that emerged after 1964, and the ways they were affected by New Media. Chapter 34 talks about hybrid and converging technologies, such as the microcomputer system. Chapter 35 deals with the multifunction printer, photocopier, scanner, and fax. It enhances distribution, and allows everyone to "be a publisher." Most households have one of these systems today. The cell phone, as talked about in chapter 36, now includes a camera and many have computer functions. Today, people are always connected and available. The personal computer can now come in the form of a handheld device, making it easier to work from home. The PDA, although not widely used anymore, used to combine multiple organization functions such as a calendar and a notepad. Other media affected include computer software and the internet, which includes an enormous amount of information. Other chapters in this section included email, IM, SMS, bulletin boards, and the world wide web.

Chapter 22

Professor Strate has written chapter 22 in the last homework assignment for this class, titled “Cybertime.”  Strate stresses the importance to consider the concept of cybertime.  It represents the intersection of the computer’s time-telling function, the computer’s representational function, and our own subjective experience of time with interactions with the computer.  Strate mentions how the computer can be traced back to many inventions way back when, but he was the one to compare it to the mechanical clock developed in the middle ages.  He does this because both the computer and the clock produce information only.  I do remember talking about this a few classes ago, but Strate mentions in his piece how digital displays of time have many objections.  With the traditional clock face people can see all the possibilities of time by looking at all of the numbers, while a digital clock is decontextualized time (the present time).  “Cybertime is based on a series of separate and distinct electronic pulses.”  An important distinction that Strate mentions is that digital time is a quantitative concept of time, not just a quantitative measurement of time.  He defines cybertime as absolute, digital, and quick time.  I like how professor Strate compared cybertime with real time.  Real time is formed by physical change, continuous, divisible, tied to the rhythms of nature, and monochronic, while cybertime is independent of its microworld, digital, atomistic, quicktime, and polychronic.  Virtual time is defined as “virtual reality’s internally generated sense of time and may be used in reference to both computer-generated virtual worlds and the illusion of reality created by all forms of media.”  The key is that cybertime is digital.  The term dimension is also associated with cybertime, for time and space.  It is multidimensional, not one-dimensional.  On a different topic, one fear for cybertime is the loss of privacy and that every move could be electronically recorded for later use.  Computers are smart in that they can predict the future—“they lock future events into a predetermined course in a way schedules cannot.”  Interaction with computer media includes our use of time or cyberchronemics.  Sacred time is a form of cybertime.  One sentence in Strate’s piece that jumped out at me was that we need to remember that time is a network of relations among different events.

Communications and Cyberspace: Chapters 8 & 9

     It is apparent in Chapter 8 that the web, like most technology, has come a long way since its beginnings. What was once a military communication tool is now an epicenter of information and entertainment accessible to the global public. The first web network was created by the Department of Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency in order to ensure national security by maintaining the "military's ability to communicate in the face of destruction". Despite the militaristic nature of the ARPAnet, it was not immune to what is known as "hacker ethic", the free flow of information. Soon the computer scientists associated with creating the ARPAnet began making similar networks that could be accessed by others not within the community of defense agencies and defense contractors. What also contributed to the demilitarization of the Internet was the mushrooming of discussion groups which transformed the Internet into more of a communication medium rather than a tool. Two main facets that led to the expansion of the Internet was the "cultural tenets held by the people who built the network...and the nature of the economic forces that provided the initial funding for APRAnet". Given the collegial culture the network was raised in and the communication aspect, the APRAnet eventually matured into a application used for electronic mail and remote login services. The amplification of its popularity inevitably began to attract private enterprise. Those in the telecommunications industry saw that the Internet had potential for a huge new market.
     In Chapter 9, Jacobson outlines the expectations and concerns about the Internet through the lens of corporations, the government, and the public. The chapter is commenced with a description of the National Information Infrastructure to be, "made up of seamless communications networks, databases, and consumer electronics". The NII is described as being "seamless" or having no boundaries. Because of the somewhat ambiguous and multifaceted nature of the Internet, the author answers the question "In which directions will the much-heralded Information Superhighway go?" in the perspectives of three different interest groups. Corporations advertised this new web technology as our gateway to knowledge with solely positive outcomes. Digital commerce will soon begin to grow when the federal government places policy parameters which industries can work within. The focal point of the Internet is to transform information and knowledge rather than mediate its growth. During its early stages, the Internet was often referred to as the Information Superhighway. However, unlike a highway, the Internet will not be constructed by the government, it will be built by people who stand to profit from them. There is also concern that once corporations monopolize on the Internet, the public will be denied participation.
     In terms of government visions, former Vice President Al Gore envisioned the Internet as a vehicle to bring the economic, health, and educational benefits of this information revolution to more Americans. The Clinton Administration aimed for the NII to be available to all at affordable costs. It was ensured that the NII plan was "flexible, adaptable, and fair in dealing with changing and emerging technologies and their applications" which I think was definitely smart strategy. New Media is never idle or stagnant for it is in a constant state of change. The public is mainly concerned with the digital divide. The division between those who have access to the internet and those who do not which is often based on levels of education and income. This is being resolved by companies who are creating more affordable devices and networks.

Understanding New Media: Chapters 44-46

Chapter 44 discusses the power of blogs. There are even concerns that blogs may replace mainstream media. While this may or not be true, blog popularity is evident in the 104.6 million web blogs posted within the past 5 years. Blogging is a communal effort in that the information posted in the blog can be reciprocated via comments from the readers. Furthermore, blogs are beginning to be viewed as a medium for news and can even cover news that has not been released in mainstream news channels. Because of blogs, several inaccuracies featured on the news have been corrected. Blogs can make anyone a journalist, therefore bloggers can be described as "guerilla journalists" since their posts possess the same global reach as the Internet. Newspapers and broadcasters that were once monopolies of information are now being subdued by blogs.
In Chapter 45, the dominating nature of Google is discussed. What makes Google one of the most successful search engines is its page ranking features that filter out all the less valuable sites. In terms of their initiatives, Google aims to extend themselves to all realms of media. They've already embarked on this process by featuring Google Book Search, Google Finance, and other various services on their web site. A quote found on one of Google's websites I think encompasses the magnitude of which Google has power over information, "Google's mission is to organize the world's information". Google's mission is to be able to search all the information that is accessible online, aside from offering a service to the global public, is to create as much traffic to its sites as possible." Google wants to help its users find the information of they need regardless of the medium. Already, Google is starting to evolve into more than just a search engine, it has become a conglomeration of media and communications mediums while digitizing ones that were once non-electric.
Another revolutionary feature of the Internet and computer is video conferencing and web-based collaboration tools- a hybrid of the telephone and digital video. There are several advantages to this technology. The most obvious one is that the video conferencing dispels the barrier of distance. People can collaborate with others no matter the location. It also permits a more immersive and realistic communicating environment than just simply talking on the phone. Furthermore, video conferencing has proven to be a valuable business tool in a number of ways. Firstly, it accelerates the sales cycle. There is no need to waste time entertaining and business associates can proceed straight to the point. It is also a convenient for training and servicing. This digital technology also gives an employee the option of working from home (depending on the job), thus saving them from having to pay commuter fees. Over time, video conferencing has spawned a collective intelligence amongst humans. George Por defines collective intelligence as "the capacity of a human community to evolve toward higher order complexity thought, problem-solving and integration through collaboration and innovation."I find this true. It is part of human nature that we need other people in order to grow both socially and cognitively.

Understanding New Media: Chapters 34-43

     At this point, we are at Part III of the book which concerns the analysis of New Media not dealt with in UM. This section of reading involves mostly digital technology that we more commonly associate with New Media today. Three major technologies discussed are the cell phone, the personal computer, and the Internet. The purpose and capabilities of the cell phone have grown exponentially since its birth. What was once a device used primarily for oral communication void of distal constraints is now a portable computer, mp3, TV, camera, and hand held game device. With technology such as the iPhone, people are more connected and available than ever. Smart phone users have access to the Internet pretty much whenever and wherever. "Basically, the cell phone will eventually morph into an all purpose mobile hand-held terminal for the production, transmission, and reception of all forms of digital information" (219). The book makes it evident through engineers at Ford that cell phone users can "roam through physical space gathering knowledge while at the same time being in touch with all their sources of knowledge and information ranging from voice to text messaging to the World Wide Web" (220). This is a powerful notion. Now humans have unprecedented access to information while also being able to stay super connected with friends, family, and associates. There are also detrimental effects associated with cell phone use. When we use our cell phones, we sacrifice a certain level of our privacy since we are always so accessible and because cell phones could be tracked down. Cell phone conversations could even be recorded without one being aware. An interesting concept brought up in this chapter is that we have become "natural born cyborgs wearing part of their brain outside their skulls and at a price that almost anyone can afford" (221).  McLuhan described electric technology as "total and inclusive," meaning we must expose our minds in order to fully and properly engage ourselves in this technology. Modern technology adapts to the desires of our mind therefore our brain becomes more  metaphorically external.
     The personal computer is another modern device that has greatly advanced since its beginnings. The first computer was initially created to perform complex calculations and manipulations of data. The catalyzed speed of which the Internet is able to solve calculations allowed researchers to study nonlinear equations that led to the discovery of fractals and chaos theory. Through these discoveries, we can conclude that the computer is a powerful source of new insights. On the Internet, information flow is totally decentralized. The information available has little boundaries and is seldom censored. However, the computer often serves a distraction from classes and can sometimes deteriorate the the development of social skills.
    The Internet is definitely a huge milestone for the human race. It is a information processor that serves as the medium for a multitude of communication channels. "The Net and the Web obliterate most monopolies of knowledge" (236). The internet is an open channel of information- one can both publish and have access to information. Once one has access to the Internet, there are little restrictions on attainting information, "there is no hierarchy; each participant has an equal voice and is heard" (241). The internet is also a very powerful marketing tool. It is more economic and easier to create ads. Also, the ad is more likely to be put into circulation because of the accessibility of the Internet and through review websites and blogs. Marketing on the Internet also allows for better feedback so one can evaluate the effectiveness of one's ad. The Internet also serves as a gateway for artistic expression.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

6/25 Electric Writing and Hypertext

 Hypertext has been the focus of discussions for many years. Even though interest in hypertext has died individuals try to pin point exactly what it is. Many say that definitions up until now have been very ambiguous. Many feel that it is time to stop living in the past and create the future with the use of cyberspace and hypertext. individuals have been going to colleges to examine students and their reliance on print ads versus the internet. Print ads have become less and less as the years have gone by and students are spending up to five hours on the internet each night. Hypertext can never exist in printed documents the only space that is capable of holding it is cyberspace. Many parents and other individuals who relate to education are very skeptical of how hypertext will be used in the classroom and what effect it will have on students. Many feel that the sources that are required with the display of hypertext lead students to be able to discover and vast variety of information from the sources that are cited. Others feel that there must be some structural evidence to why we have used a textbook for so long and what impact switching over will have on students. Of course there is no conclusive evidence of where our society will go, but with the trends that are being set now hypertext and other devices will replace what we know now as the printed textbook. Smart tags release radio frequencies that allow information related to the barcode to be found and directed to a database. In order for this information to be sorted and arranged an enabler needs to be put in place so that when the barcode is scanned the information can go directly where it is suppose to go. Smart boxes are used to receive information that may be highly confidential. The military uses drones to scout out their enemy and than this information is relayed to a smart box, which is than examined by the military. obviously this information isn't available to just everyone, but smart boxes can be programmed to work in either a private or public setting. As shown by Professor Strate in class Wikis can be created very easily and can be used in many functions. I was amazed to know that wikipedia was one of thousands of wikis that are being created everday. This enables individuals to create their own future and design exactly how they can go about completing their goals.

Writing for the Internet and the LCD

            The Internet as a democratizing and liberating medium is a frequent theme in discussions on the social utility of New Media. In Writing for the Internet, Camille Paglia describes the Internet as a ‘potentially universal medium’, one that will bring us to the mountain by democratizing what were formerly rigid hierarchal mediums, with a focus on academia and the news in this essay. The losers in this new digital frontier are the rigid old print-based publications, and for reasons unexplained, academic critical theorists and post-structuralists.
            While the Internet may open access to many different channels for a wider range of people, the article seems to take as given that the content of these channels are valuable. Paglia compares Internet publishing and writing to call-in radio shows, which she talks with a nostalgic reverence. This nostalgia and ironic attachment to such channels shields the fact that most call-in radio shows are exercises in banality, anti-intellectualism, and cross-eyed spectacle. Accompanying the rise of ‘crowd-sourcing’ and the ‘let the consumers decide!’ is an increase in the popularity of bite-sized, Youtube-friendly- bloggable junk. What rises to the top of the Internet cesspool is what most people settle on is good, the very definition of the lowest common denominator.