Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Digital New Media Timeline (#25 - #39)

As I'm drawing near the end of the semester, I have finished more of the New Media Reader for my Digital New Media class. Featuring articles from the late 70's and early 80's, these selections show how perceptions of the computer constantly changed and we also see the birth of video game technologies, how they were percieved and how they affected the growth of new media.

#25- Responsive Environments
Myron W. Krueger, 1977
-- Kreuger is often placed as "the father of virtual reality" and his ideas on how a computer can interact with humans may have influenced, on a long-term scale, the makings of the game Second Life.
-- Krueger argues that the "response is the medium," unlike McLuhan's assertion that "the medium is the message."

#26- Personal Dynamic Media
Alan Kay and Adele Goldberg, 1977
-- Kay and Goldberg were the first to see the computer as an all-purpose moveable machine (a.k.a. laptops) for anyone to use.
-- Kay was part of Atari's short-lived research lab that was dismantled after the first video game industry crash.

#27- From A Thousand Plateaus
Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, 1980
-- As philosophers, Deleuze and Guattari raised issues in metaphysics and epistemology, and hinted that computers could create unstable identities for humans.
-- They introduced the idea of rhizomatic writing which, simply put, is how one writes to exude hypertext (think Borges).

#28- From Mindstorms: Children, Computers and Powerful Ideas
Seymour Papert, 1980
-- Papert made a programming language called LOGO that was designed to teach children an easier programming language.
-- Though the beginnings of video games were slowly bringing a younger audience to computers and technology, Papert was dedicated to bringing the creative powers of a computer to children.

#29- "Put-That-There"
Richard A. Bolt, 1980
-- Put that there is an interface that combines speech and gestures to have interaction a computer. Voice-activated technology is still being improved today, and Bolt pioneered in in 1980.
-- Bolt's "Put-That-There" was an attempt at making the computer a more intuitive human-like technology.

#30- Proposal for a Universal Electronic Publishing System and Archive
Theodor H. Nelson, 1981
-- The title of this chapter says it all. Nelson was not only suggesting a digital library system (i.e. the web) but, also his ideas influenced the concepts of Weblogs, or just blogs.
-- While the ideas of hyperlinks are understood now, Nelson how to lay out, piece-by-piece, how hyperlinks would work and help computer users.

#31- Will There Be Condominiums in Data Space?
Bill Viola, 1982
-- Bill viola is a famous early video artist who has been featured at big museums like Whitney museum.
-- Viola makes an argument that the video is an improved extension of the human memory.

#32- The Endless Chain
Ben Bagdikian, 1983
-- Bagdika argues that all media is part of chain that eventually become connected through one form or another.
-- Compatibility is important for old media to survive. In order for radio and television to stay alive in our new media environment, Bardikian argues that they need to adapt to the culture and find a way to seep into new mediums.

#33- Direct Manipulation
Ben Shneiderman, 1983
-- A Direct Manipulation system suggests that what happens on screen will mimic what the user is doing. For example, if you shoot a gun in a video, a direct manipulation tactic would be to have the button be trigger, like the Z-button on the N64.
--Shneiderman argues that computer should move towards a direct manipulation system so to make it easier for new users to use the computer.

#34- Video Games and Computer Holding Power
Sherry Turkle, 1984
-- Turkle studied how people act when they play games. She noticed that when people play a pinball machine, they move their bodies to emulate the ball. However, when people play something like Pac-man, they hardly move at all even though that they are the big yellow mouth. One theory on why there is less movement is because the lack of a physical space for the game forces people to become immersed with the visual experience and therefor exude no kinetic experience.
-- Turkle also suggests that gamers care less about narrative in games because the interactivity of a game already allows them to create their own story, even if they are trapped in a highly rule-based world.

#35- A Cyborg Manifesto
Donna Haraway, 1985
-- Haraway argues that a cyborg would be a better image for women to pursue than a goddess since cyborgs deal with the "here and now."
-- Haraway also argues that computers and technology can be liberating for women and that if used properly, can help drive a socialist-feminist movement with their communicative powers.

#36- The GNU Manifesto
Richard Stallman, 1985
-- Stallman is probably the most famous free software hacker ever. His GNU project attempted to create a operating system that would rival UNIX and be completely free and open source.
-- Stallman is also famous for helping drive the "copyleft" movement, which is essentially a culture full of sharing information and no intellectual property. In essence, it's the opposite of copyright laws.

#37- Using Computers: A Direction for Design
Terry Winograd and Fernado Flores, 1986
-- These two authors argue that computers should not try to emulate artificial intelligence and focus more on using the computer as tools to help people with tasks and design.
-- Their plea made programmers reconsider the effects of computers and some people began to see the computer as just a powerful machine, not a human-like machine.

#38- Two Selections by Brenda Laurel
Brenda Laurel, 1986, 1991
-- Laurel helps layout the differences between different dramatic elements in drama and human-computer activity. The overall difference human-computer activity is more interactive and that human-computer activity uses more graphical "language" for pleasure.
-- Plot, especially in video games becomes very blurred. Laurel argues that new media technologies will alter how we view drama.

#39- Towards a New Classification of Tele-Information Services
Jan L. Bordewijk and Ben van Kaam, 1986
-- These authors look at the social role of media, and foresaw a change in language and how people converse. IRC channels and even conversations in various MMORPGs are predicted in this essay, years before their conception.
-- Their ideas on how information travels formed the foundations for new media studies.

Note: Hyperlinks and reactions are to be added later in an update of this post.

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