Personalised Newspaper; Pocket

I started using this service earlier in the week, but it ties in directly with some of the stuff we discussed in the symposium, namely Digitalisation, availability of content and the long tail, and hence the negation of scarcity – a recurring theme in the course.

Pocket is simply a service that aggregates media you want to view later. For example, I access 95% of the news I read via twitter. If I see a news report on Australian politics that I want to read later on, I’ll right click the link and add it to my queue of media. I can then access the queue at any time in the future to read at my leisure, usually when I have more time to read the article at a good pace.

This is great news for me specifically, or pretty much anyone to gets distracted easily. Rather than think, “I really should read that news article now, or I’ll forget about it later.” Pocket offers it’s service to bookmark those media in a succinct fashion, which makes it far easier to tuck things away for later.

What this creates is a digital, fully personalised newspaper. I highly doubt any person in the world who buys newspapers regularly reads every single article, commercial, classified, and comic strip. There is always something in the papers that isn’t of interest to that one individual, so those parts can essentially become waste. Being able to pick and choose the media – and I feel I should point out any kind of media, not just print – you want to view is nothing short of wonderful.

This is what Digitalisation of content allows for. Without physical or geographical restraints I end up with a publication of sorts that is personalised, globally aware, and accessible at any time from any place (with an internet connection, which is basically everywhere). As Adrian elaborated on in the symposium, scarcity is an outdated concept when it comes to anything digital so the idea that I have to jump onto an article before it’s sold out is silly; digital media will always be available (given the source is not isolated and not removed entirely).

On an interesting side note Adrian also explained the digital world – namely the internet – is not strictly intangible and in fact does take up it’s own physical space in the form of electrons, where if you weighed the entire internet’s physical electrical presence would weigh about 50 grams or the weight of a strawberry.

Twisty! A response to a response…

Something of a stream of consciousness post; sitting down on a Saturday night to do a bit of catch up as it were for Uni, and I decided to start off with Networked Media. Here’s what I’m listening to while writing (a 30 minute EDM mix by Knife Party, some ripper tracks in there).

So I started by catching up on the subject blog, and as per mentioning in my blog assessment I stated I wanted to do more of the networking thing, so I endeavoured to engage with somebody else’s blog and right off the bat I found something wonderful! Something I hadn’t thought about before either, as the network is best as revealing.

This post by Alois Wittwer responded to the question put to us last week, “What would it be like to read a story that changed it’s shape every time you read it?” with some observations on the “toxic notions” of a portion of society that like to ‘get something’ out of their lives. I’d agree that this is a rampant desire for pretty much everyone; it can be boiled down to the Meaning of Life thing. No, it isn’t 42 – 42 was the computational error by the Earth of 6 multiplied by 9 and not the answer to the ultimate question – I fancy Douglas Adams was making fun of arbitrary end goals we set ourselves in life when, and as is my main point; the concept of nihilism. Continue reading

Genesis of the Internet

This was quite a humbling piece to read. To think that only 20 something years ago a system that I spend a vast majority of my time engaging with was still a concept being flogged to the general public to be met with some doubt.

I spend virtually (literally) all of my time on the Internet (or the World Wide Web as I believe is properly denoted as) and to see a book written about it’s basic function during a time prior to it’s existence is fascinating. I, somewhat jokingly somewhat seriously, claim the Internet as my homeland because in terms of the eclectic nature of my knowledge and interests I seem most influenced by it’s inter-connected nature as a person. My favourite media is produced solely for distribution over the World Wide Web and I revere it as the most useful tool in my life for essentially any activity.

This reading starts off with a preamble explaining to the reader how to engage with the book in a way that best emulates HyperText (and subsequently HyperMedia) in that it is interconnected. The document states that some readers may not understand it, and some may do, and reading that now sounds very strange indeed. Of course I know how HyperText works (or in a more modern way, Hyperlinks)! Why would I need that explained to me?

This shows the drastic changes in perspective we have in today’s society compared to back then in the late 80’s. How awful it must have been to lack an automatic hierarchy of filing web pages and media over a global network. How terrible to have had to buy music in person and physical form, as well as books, photographs, or any medium! What an absolute nightmare to have had to manually arrange and organise file structures so that another user wouldn’t be hopelessly lost trying to locate a single file (although, that can still be a problem, I don’t get why some people can’t use proper file naming and saving techniques).

In terms of Design Fiction, like the other reading for this week, this is precious context for a network we now take for granted. We expect free Wi-Fi with our large fries or latte nowadays, else find yourself lunching in some primitive food establishment. Of course it doesn’t have quite the same foresight as the 1945 design fiction example, but the ‘what if’ situation of an interconnected network is, independently, a simple concept. Immensely useful, but simple. Fast forward ten, twenty years and the growth is mind blowing.

‘What is Networked Media?’

The first thing that came to me to describe this passage by Adrian Miles, was ‘sporadic’ and I guess it best describes the nature of ‘ideas’.

‘ocean’, ‘no shore’ then began to manifest into more morbid ideas of ‘ideas’. To be on this ‘boat’ surrounded by ideas – to immerse and surround yourself with the immensity of creativity – can be humbling and very lonely. At the most basic level and idea is hard to communicate with somebody, much like when you hear the infancy of an idea in your head, try to explain it, and end up stuttering or not being able to find the right words for it; the idea in it’s primal state is purely self-evident, incommunicable, or a qualia – a thing only experienced in the first person and indescribable to others. Try explaining the colour red to somebody who has never seen it before (thanks VCE Philosophy!).

Of course once the idea begins to take shape and you can attach human language to it, the loneliness will subside and you might find that ‘shore’ that you chart and settle your idea on to cultivate it. In short being in an ‘ocean’ of ideas is a little daunting but thrilling at the same time because once you catch that one sparkling idea it’s an adventure to explore it and when it’s a real killer of an idea the thrill is only further amplified.

How might this translate to Networked Media? Well adventure is exploring the unknown, so the easiest way to make the best use of the subject and explore it’s themes is to experiment in every way possible. With access to an online community feedback is inevitable, and the collaborative effort will be nothing short of an adventure for better or for worse.