Notes, quotes and articles to form a commonplace blog
Monday, November 26, 2007
getting Physical media
Don't underestimate the power of "off-line".
While a digital photo can be whisked to the other side of the planet in an instant, a printed photo can be displayed on a wall or held in a wallet.
A pdf can be read on screen, but a book with an inscription can be passed from a long dead great great grandparent to a newborn.
Which would you rather your child have. A video (file?) of you talking to her, or a bundle of letters?
Physical has two meanings. And those meaning are intertwined.
There is also the simple matter of getting your data off the devices. I know lots of people who use their phone cameras, but few ho can do anything with those bits in there. Remember the BBC Domesday Project from 1986. I think it was the 900 year anniversary of the Domesday Book, so the BBC created a new version for the digital age.
Unfortunately by 2002 they realised that there was hardly anything left which could read the laserdiscs that the project was stored on. So the BBC worked on a project to make a web version. The irony was that the original velum bound book was indeed still readable over 1000 years later.
Sometimes the simplest, physical solution beats the latest digital one.
As Conor asked "How many people are going to plump for the jesusphone in their posts?" Well no. The iPhone simply has one of the best user interfaces on a touch screen created. However the phone itself , without Bluetooth, may make it illegal to use on the Irish roads (I remember that a wired earpiece is not permitted), so it looses out for legal reasons. But Nokia went one better, and offered something that should be in the next iPhone... touch feedback’ touch screen as reported by Red Ferret.
So there you go, a tiny touch that lets you know you've made a tiny touch.
Why lifetime and not childhood... well... I haven't grown up yet. I've grown out, and gotten older but as anyone who has seen me in Smyths will attest, I've not grown up. So I suppose my first favourite is a 1984 invention : "Transformers" yup these
What can I say, its my not so secret shame. The fact that I'm still collecting the toys shows that it' having an ongoing impact on my life.
Why? Well it's not the two toys in one. Partly I think it's the most extreme form of anthropomorphism you can get. Not only are you putting human emotions on to an inanimate object, you're making it take on humanoid characteristics too. It's also less damaging than dressing up your pet.
It also is the aspect that things aren't always as they seem. It changes the way you view the world. Twist it a little bit and... It could be a government conspiracy or (flip body around, open doors, lower head from backside, push along brass neck, unfold arms, unclench grubby little fists, detach brown envelope) incompetence on a grand scale.
However if I was going to pick a proper technoligical invention... it's this
I know what you're thinking (other than "Will you're an idiot") which is everyone and their mother has one (even if it did take me three weeks to teach her to text so she could vote for that "nice boy" on "Strictly Come Dancing"), but the mobile phone has changed how people act with each other.
But what other device has caused such a social change?
Once people made exact appointments. Meet you under Eason's clock at 3pm on Friday. And at 4pm, still waiting, you felt very stood up. Now people make rough appointments, aproxi-meetings, and put in a call to the other's mobile to rearrange the meeting at the cinema directly due to traffic.
Once people used phone booths and pay phones.
I remember the "push button A" pay telephones (always press button B on a free phone to see if any change comes out. It's the old version of checking the base of the automatic cash registers in Tesco's). I remember those weird plastic bubbles next to the phones so that the caller could have privacy. But that privacy is a long abandoned thing. I now know the intimate details of the recent gynaecological exam thanks to a mobile phone call on the bus.
"I am never forget the day I first meet the great Lobachevsky. In one word he told me secret of success in mathematics: Plagiarize!
Plagiarize, Let no one else's work evade your eyes, Remember why the good Lord made your eyes, So don't shade your eyes, But plagiarize, plagiarize, plagiarize... Only be sure always to call it please, 'research'". -- Tom Lehrer (MP3)
Lobachevsky and Lehrer both work in mathematics... a hard science. And simply put, you can't copyright a fact.
Think about it. What colour is the sky on your planet? "The sky is blue" is a fact and not copyrightable. The line "well, I'm from Ireland so it's mostly overcast grey" is opinion, and so is copyrightable.
If you publish a non-fiction book, then you are stating that everything in it is fact. If someone then used the facts in your book as a basis for fiction, you shouldn't be able to sue. If its a history (or even a pseudo-history) book, then your "plot premise" is probably re-producable without you getting a penny. However is large chunks of your text have been copied (and not text attributed from another source) then you have a stronger case.
So, if you are going to steal off someone, it is better to take the facts and then reproduce it in your own words.
What about fair use... well let me put it this way, if you take content form another site, make the entire chunk a link. If your post, article, whatever is almost entirely a link... you have breached fair use.
Unless of course you do something to turn it (or them) into a completely different work. Think Andy Warhol and his soup cans. Think any of those music mashups you can think of. Usually it forces you to listen to the sources with fresh ears.
Or think about it creatively. Take other peoples footage from across the world and edit it in to a cheap music video to make a point like Sarah McLachlan does in "World on Fire"
Or mix together 32 songs and 28 different dance routines to make something humorous (laugh-out-loud in places) like Judson Laipply does with "The Evolution Of Dance".
According to Jyri Engeström, while wearing his anthropologist hat, all social networks are based around objects. Not necessarily a physical object, but a focus. Flikr for example, is based around photographs and locations. Networks built around people have a problem; for a while it is all about "how-has-the-most-friends" but that game stops being interesting fairly quickly. (Of course a network built around, ahem, dating has a focus, just a very different one. You might get photographs but...).
Now I don't know how well it will work out for anyone, but I can see the appeal.
You have a fan club where all the fans can talk to each other. Pick up the opinions of the fans and sell the music directly to them thus by-passing the record label (if you want to, this site is being run by EMI). Inspired or a silly idea. Add to the mix that it's a dot mobi, which means it might be a source of ring-tones and other gphone-ish goodness. Or use an Open Social API so that they can leverage the fans in other networks, from their own hub here.
At least that's what I think is the idea. If its just to replicate another social network, then its going to quickly have digital tumble weeds on it's site.
..."the death of a star and how that throws elements out in to space, and how those elements are the same ones that you and I are made of. So we are all the children of stars."..." Or there is another less poetic romantic way of putting it, you could say we are all made of nuclear waste. Kind of depends on how you are feeling that day".
Why an Idiot? According to Fyodor Dostoyevsky "The Idiot" much of what Russian society views as idiocy is simply honesty and trustfulness, in spite of social conventions.
Which is what blogging is all about really...