Monday, June 25, 2012

Chapters 15, 16, 17, 50-51

    Stuart Moulthrop titles chapter 15 “Getting Over the Edge”.  This chapter mentions that a single appliance will be all that’s needs in the world very soon.  No more personal computers or television sets or fax machines.  No one will have to go to the bookstore anymore because they have all the information they need already.  While reading this section, I was extremely concerned at how the world would interact if this were to happen.  Would I ever have a face-to-face conversation with another person again?  It would not be necessary with the advanced technology that we have, but I for one yearn for REAL social interaction.  Jay David Bolter states that we are living in “the late age of print,” where we ditch the world of print and are gradually becoming immersed in electronic technology.  Most of the chapter talks about how old regimes have changed into something electronic, but is this “new world” really emerging?  One of the most important thoughts in this chapter was that a book like Communication and Cyberspace, one written about new media, is still something in the past and a new world is not emerging as fast as we think.
     Chapter 16 talks about a medium that many thought would be outdated due to the emergence of the Internet, but writing for the Internet is actually something that is very important.  Camille Paglia talks about her experience starting in 1995 for writing for the Internet.  Paglia mentions how even the most prestigious people use the Internet daily.  People like Paglia mention that the key to Internet writing is the visual, not the verbal.  One of the best parts is similar to how television works.  Someone can TIVO a program and watch it repeatedly, just as writing for the Internet can be re-read as many times as someone wants to.  I thought it was extremely interesting that she said she uses different tones with her writing.  For example, in her op-ed pieces in The Wall Street Journal, she used a sober tone, whereas in the Salon, she uses an array of different personas to make her points.  Texts can also be visually designed so that it is more appealing to readers.  The Internet can have a flair for the “news flash.”  Internet writing can be made so that it can convince the reader to want to read it.
     Chapter 17 is about pedagogy and hypertext.  “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, may be considered a hypertext.”  Hypertexts and textbooks are compared throughout this chapter.  An example of a hypertext form is Afternoon by Michael Joyce.  “The reader reads a node of text and, depending on his or her selection of navigation methods, moves to any of several possible text blocks to continue reading.”  Hypertext brings about different habits for people than traditional reading in textbooks.  There is also no hierarchy of ideas with hypertext, which also causes it to be dynamic instead of static.  Hypertext always has a movement about on the screen causing no one idea to be the primary idea, yet the reader can decide where to start first.  In my opinion, I agree with Gibson that classrooms will shift from using traditional textbooks to hypertext.  But some things may be holding it back from being this way.

     Chapter 50 is called “Smart Tags and Dataspace.”  Bar codes and smart tags make it indefinitely easier to identify information on items.  Tracking shipments is now possible with smart tags.  Cell phones can even do the tracking now.  I thought it was interesting to know that the American Food and Drug Administration came out with a tiny chip the size of a grain of rice which can be implanted under the skin and transmit data on an individual’s location, identity, medical history, and possible criminal record.  Dataspace is the sum total of all the information resident on smart tags embedded in objects, buildings, and places.  An example of a smart tag application is the smart book that is smart, readable, searchable, and networkable.  Although it does not exist yet, it is a combination of a regular print book with a smart tag so they the reader can have both a digital book and a printed-on-paper book.  An interesting section in this chapter is the eighth language of dataspace.  Dataspace has all the information stored in smart tags.
     Chapter 51 is about enabling technologies not dealt with in Understanding Media.  Electronics, information storage devices, communication infrastructure, and more make new media possible.  There are many types of electronics, including microelectronics, nanotechnology, and quantum computing.  The mouse is an important section in this chapter, which was invented by Doug Engelbart in 1963.  Haptic technology means to translate touch into digital information and vice-versa.  One example that many people know of is the joystick in video games.  Hypertext, like described earlier, is a link from one set of text to another for from webpage to webpage.  Fiber optics works by encoding information in a light beam and can travel at the speed of light.  WiFi and Bluetooth technology is something that I have been accustomed to by growing up in this generation.  WiFi is a good invention because it allows someone to have Internet access where access would not usually be.  Wikis and Wikipedia is something we discussed in class, yet they are not related to each other whatsoever.  Wikipedia is a wiki-based encyclopedia, meaning a person can add or take off content on the web (similar to Google documents), but with the ability to add links as well.

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