This week’s reading by Alexander Galloway touched upon some stuff that I have read for another subject I’m doing. The whole evolution of the internet was started by the need to have an atomic bomb shelter for the flow of information between military installations. This was called ARPAnet and it utilized a newly developed rule for how computers interact called NPC. This allowed graphically separated computers to exchange information securely. It was interesting to read how computer protocols are a technique for achieving regulations made up by different levels of coding, within a contingent environment. Then everything got fuzzy and didn’t quite understand a whole lot more. I hope to learn more about it in class.
This week I decided to do Lev Manovich’s “Database as Symbolic Form”. Now this was a really long reading not to say the rest were short but it just felt that way. Now this one talked about the different types of databases i.e. hierarchical, network, relational, and object-oriented. Databases were limited to hardware but thanks to the internet databases are more prominent than ever. This is because the internet combined already existing databases with completely new databases that are websites. The point about a website never being complete reminded me of what Adrian said in a symposium a few weeks back where he states that while a book or a movie have a begging a middle and an end, a website just continuously evolves into a collection.
This week’s reading by the fancily named Albert-László Barabás really empathized on the 80/20 rule. Now as I was reading the intro got me questioning where this was going since it took a page to give the rule context. Surprisingly the explanation that came with the rule that later turned into Murphy’s Law of Management made sense. It is in fact true that 80% of peas are produced by only 20% of the pea-pods (I actually looked this up) and back to Murphy’s Law of Management 80% of all profits are produced by 20% of all employees and 80% of customer service problems are made by 20% of customers. That is all well and good but what does this have to do with our understanding of networks? I decided to read on.
There we got into what we where talking about in the tutor where we were presented with random and scale-free networks. This gives an indication that even behind the hubs of the most complex networks, there is a power law that the network adheres to. So strict mathematical expression rules everything that we see, I guess my math teacher in grade five was right after all.
This week’s reading I decided to read Duncan J. Watts’ Six Degrees: The Science of a Connected Age. It was interesting to read how reliant people, in this case Americans were to technology and I would argue even more now.
We have become accustomed to a certain level comfort. Thanks to the electricity grid that we take for granted until there is a black out something as simple as keeping food from spoiling would have been a long arduous process of preservation. The comparison of the electrical grid to the network of the internet is quite accurate as the blackout I have mentioned before doesn’t just affect one peon but a whole area that is why we check if anyone else has power because we know that we are connected. As he continued to explain we are living in a various kinds of networks including who are friends and family are as we affect each other. I guess we are just used to be in a network and this has definitely opened me to different interpretations of the word network other than obvious one attached to the subject’s name. I also apprecated the fact that we were talking about electicity and his surname is Watts.
Hey no Hypertext this week, it feels weird and I kinda miss it. You would think that after these few months of having a blog I would have learnt something about text based sarcasm but I digress. This week I read Culture and Technology by Andrew Murphie and John Potts. The reading first introduced the work of Raymond Williams and technological determinism which I am familiar with through histories of technologies. Technological determinism is basically states that technology does not determine human action, but that rather, human action shapes technology. There is also a counter argument made by McLuhan and claims that not only is technology independent from societal pressures, it actually impacts society. I believe that there is no real right answer there has been times in history when society affected technology and vice versa.
This week’s reading by Douglas introduced a different concept about hyper text than last week’s reading which was also about the same subject. The part where he mentioned that a book “changes every time you read it” was quite interesting. This is true in the sense that the story itself doesn’t change but instead we change our interpretation of it. As we get older our perception of the world change therefore the meaning make out of these novels always changes.
The point about hyper texts being fluid and print texts are fixed was also quite interesting as books are limited to having one beginning, one middle and one end but not other mediums. The example given about the ‘choose your own adventure’ books such as the Titanic reminded me of a game I played a few years ago that has more than 20 different endings called Heavy Rain. It had one beginning but about half way through the game the player’s decisions in the game have a significant impact over the progression and conclusion of the story. In fact the main characters can fail the objective of the game and die at any point. What really was a surreal moment for me was when I seemingly failed this task and expected to have to restart but it never came as the story kept moving but into another direction because of my mistake. I had gotten a few friends to play the game and we all had a completely different story in the end.
After reading the Reading 1 for this week (an extract from: Nelson, Theodor Holm. Literary Machines 91.1) Hypertext is “non-sequential writing text that branches and allows choices to the reader, best read at an interactive screen”.
Well isn’t that a mouthful, any who this made me wonder about how fast we are progressing from a technological aspect. He predicted that offices would be paperless, publishing would be electronic, education will be focused on initiative understanding, and libraries may not exist. Seeing how far we’ve come in the five year Theodor (I Theadore his name) had written this, it’s not a farfetched as it first seems.
Let’s be honest for a sec, when we need to research does our mind automatically think “library” or “Google”? Thanks to advancing technology we are being conditioned to move away from traditional print literacy. Thanks to the internet when we read a text we can click on another text which leads us to a video and then all of a sudden you start rubbing your eyes as you realize you spent three hours watching cat videos.
The first reading, “Network Literacy: The New Path to Knowledge” by Miles, Adrian first talked about how though may years of conditioning, we developed an embedded knowledge when it comes to the practices of certain tasks such as finding a particular book at the library and quoting that book in an essay. However, this structurally rigid method is at risk of becoming obsolete thanks to the internet. He goes on to suggest that network literacy will become as natural to us as print literacy has been for so many years. That is an interesting thought as it is not unlikely that more and more will become fluent in network literacy as recently schools introduced laptops and tablets as part of their student requirement. This shift in the method of acquiring knowledge may as well help the next generation of students to become network literates. So many years wasted.
The reading by was interesting. Most of my understanding came from the diagrams I looked up but it think I get the gist of it. Single loop learning is basically the realisation of making a mistake and takes corrective action. Double loop learning is the correction of errors made through modifying an organisation’s policies, objectives and underlying norms. This will ensure that the problem is never repeated. But this can also be applied to a person’s learning as how a person fixes mistakes can have a significant impact on the final outcome as well as frequency of errors made.
The reading “The Age of the Essay” by Paul Graham was pretty much confirm what I had felt for years. I always felt that essay writing in high school was a pointless exercise in repetition as. We were told to think deeply about that subject to come up with original ideas, but that’s where the problem lies. Someone somewhere would produce an identical essay to me now matter how much I reflected on the topic because the question is so restricting. The element of surprise is absent completely from essay writing which to me anyway, makes for some tedious reading for the assessor but if that is what they want then a carbon copy of the same essay they read for years they get. In today’s media we seek story lines that challenge and surprise us. Take ‘Game of Thrones’ for example. Those who are familiar with the show are very aware that any character on any given day can die no matter how important and beloved they are. Those shock twists made the show the most popular show in years.