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I want to comment on the discussion we had at the end of class, when we were talking about how Don Quixote (or Emma Bovary, if you prefer) sees objects in the "real" world as extensions of the fantastic narrative he imposes on the world. I'm not quite sure what to do with this. On the one hand, we all impose our own narratives on the world and thus do not see things as they are, but as we are.

Master Bunbury

As We May Think: How did this guy predict all this?

As I read "As We May Think" I found myself writing a ton in the margins. Everything he predicted or described brought up in me some sort of modern technology. When he wrote about the department store and the ability to combine the information from the object, the seller, and the consumer into one I thought immediately of bar codes and credit cards. The personal library he thought of is our modern day laptop (or even a desktop computer). If you have a laptop and an internet connection you have in your posession much of the printed literature from the last half of the 20th century and on.

issues of control

Ron Burnett seems fascinated by what he calls our "need to anthropomorphize machines" (126). He fails to recognize, though, that we need to anthropomorphize everything in the universe in order to conceptualize any of it. Much of the reason, I think, for the way we speak about machines -- "the computer doesn't want to turn on" -- stems from the fact that those kinds of metaphors best describe what we imagine the machines as doing. Try explaining the internet to someone without using any words that could also be applied to humans.

The Semantic Web

With our talks of hierarchies and how the current drive on the internet is to improve ways to index and search content, this seemed particularly interesting. Read. this article. All together too much jargon, but I am sure some of you will understand more than me. The gist seems to be that the future is in organizing the internet in a semantic hierarchy. Or how I dumb things down for myself: them computers are learnin' human.

the value of narrative

Something of what I was trying to say at the end of class today didn't quite get through, probably because I didn't say it. Once we have recognized the fact that new media have (already!) changed the way we structure the world outside of our computer screens, I think we have to ask ourselves whether that development is an improvement.

Al Gore and technological determinism

So I was making the ol' bookmark bar rounds and came across this review of Al Gore's new book. The 3rd and 4th sections of the article (they start with a giant "T" and "I", respectively) concern Gore's commentary on television and the internet. Basically, Gore sees television as having ruined the national discourse by transforming the American citizen into a passive couch potato (actually a hypnotized chicken here) who only recieves information and does not engage in any sort of feedback.

cool jazz

I pointed out in class today the way too obvious contradiction in McLuhan's distinction of hot and cold content within a single medium (cool jazz and hot jazz). Now that I've had time to think about it, I realize that McLuhan does deal with this. In the middle of page 27, he writes:

"The jazz of the period of the hot new media of movie and radio was hot jazz... Cool jazz came in quite naturally after the first impact of radio and movie had been absorbed."

The New Interface?

Thought of this video after watching the photosynth demo and amateur in Stumpy's Blog.

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