Music is the motor – Media is the machine

The Rape of a Digital Frontier


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The creation and the development of the internet has been touted as the first truly digital frontier. Frontiers are by default are there to be explored for their potential riches and resources. As with every frontier, the “newly discovered” riches and resources will be measured and mined to create goods and services for the betterment of its developers – and those who partake in some form of equitable exchange. Sounds simple enough – provide a service that is available to your customers and voila, connections are made and commerce commences. In the past, the dark side of a frontier has been relegated to a locality which made easy for the wary traveler to avoid. The digital frontier has become global for better and for worse. In this frontier, public and private property intermingle freely. So much so that what once was content for commerce has become content as advertising. Music as private property has laid as a sacrifice on the alter of progress. Digital downloads have raped the digital frontier of some of its riches – how much more will fall victim has yet to be seen. Perhaps its time to do something about it before more than just the playing field has been leveled. Continue reading


05/10/2010 Posted by | Copyright, Technology | , , | Leave a comment

Touch Screens – The Current Revolution

iPhone touch technology

Graphic User Interfaces (GUI’s) have evolved from the point and click mouse of the 80’s to a point and touch revolution of the twenty-first century. The touch screen advances the human user interface with more compelling and well – a more human experience. From our earliest explorations as a child we have explore our world through touch and feel. Building on this visceral experience, the touch screen feels more like what we think of as a normal human interface. In this blog lets explore the technology that makes touch screens possible ending with a glimpse of cutting edge user interfaces just hitting the market.

Electronic devices can use lots of different methods to detect a person’s input on a touch-screen. Most  of them use sensors and circuitry to monitor changes in a particular state. Many, including the  iPhone, monitor changes in electrical current. Others monitor changes in the reflection of waves.  These can be sound waves or beams of near infra-red light. A few systems use transducers to measure  changes in vibration caused when your finger hits the screen’s surface or cameras to monitor changes  in light and shadow.

The basic idea is pretty simple — when you place your finger or a stylus on the screen, it changes the state that the device is monitoring. In screens that rely on sound or light waves, your finger physically blocks or reflects some of the waves. Capacitive touch-screens use a layer of capacitive material to hold an electrical charge; touching the screen changes the amount of charge at a specific point of contact. Inresistive screens, the pressure from your finger causes conductive and resistive layers of circuitry to touch each other, changing the circuits’ resistance.

Touch-screen monitors have become more and more commonplace as their price has steadily dropped over the past decade. There are three basic systems that are used to recognize a person’s touch:

  • Resistive
  • Capacitive
  • Surface acoustic wave

    Basic touchscreens revealed

The resistive system consists of a normal glass panel that is covered with a conductive and a resistive metallic layer. These two layers are held apart by spacers, and a scratch-resistant layer is placed on top of the whole setup. An electrical current runs through the two layers while the monitor is operational. When a user touches the screen, the two layers make contact in that exact spot. The change in the electrical field is noted and the coordinates of the point of contact are calculated by the computer. Once the coordinates are known, a special driver translates the touch into something that the operating system can understand, much as a computer mouse driver translates a mouse’s movements into a click or a drag.

In the capacitive system, a layer that stores electrical charge is placed on the glass panel of the monitor. When a user touches the monitor with his or her finger, some of the charge is transferred to the user, so the charge on the capacitive layer decreases. This decrease is measured in circuits located at each corner of the monitor. The computer calculates, from the relative differences in charge at each corner, exactly where the touch event took place and then relays that information to the touch-screen driver software. One advantage that the capacitive system has over the resistive system is that it transmits almost 90 percent of the light from the monitor, whereas the resistive system only transmits about 75 percent. This gives the capacitive system a much clearer picture than the resistive system.

On the monitor of a surface acoustic wave system, two transducers (one receiving and one sending) are placed along the x and y axes of the monitor’s glass plate. Also placed on the glass are reflectors — they reflect an electrical signal sent from one transducer to the other. The receiving transducer is able to tell if the wave has been disturbed by a touch event at any instant, and can locate it accordingly. The wave setup has no metallic layers on the screen, allowing for 100-percent light throughput and perfect image clarity. This makes the surface acoustic wave system best for displaying detailed graphics (both other systems have significant degradation in clarity).

06/05/2010 Posted by | Technology | , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Apple’s Latest GUI’s puts eBooks in Orbit

Apple's ill-fated LISA

After a long history of firsts,  Apple Inc. releases the iPad, a touch screen computer tablet that looks more like their iconic iPod Touch than a tradition computing device.  Apple is no stranger to bringing odd and innovative computer devices to market.

As with the Apple Computers of old, the newly rebranded Apple Inc. has always had an eye for the innovative design and feature set targeted for the rest of us.

Apple Computer and the “first” GUI

A GUI (pronounced GOO-ee) is a graphical user interface to a computer. Take a look at your computer screen, the GUI provides you with windows, pull-down menus, clickable buttons, scroll bars, icons, images and the mouse or pointer. In 1983, Apples “Lisa” was the first personal computer that incorporated a GUI.

Other innovative features for the personal market included a drop-down menu bar, windows, multiple tasking, a hierarchal file system, the ability to copy and paste, icons, folders and a mouse. It cost Apple $50 million to develop the Lisa and $100 million to write the software, and only 10,000 units were ever sold. One year later the Lisa 2 was released with a price tag slashed in half from the original $9,995. In 1985, the Lisa 2 was renamed the Macintosh XL and bundled with MacWorks system software. Finally in 1986, the Lisa, Lisa 2 and Macintosh XL line was scrapped altogether, literally ending up as landfill.¹

¹ Bellis, Mary: Inventors of the Modern Computer,

The History of the Graphical User Interface or GUI – The Apple Lisa

The iPad Apple's latest

Apple releases its latest innovation: iPad

After years of rumors, speculation, and leaks, Apple today announced its long-awaited tablet, the iPad.

Chief executive Steve Jobs complemented the introduction of the new device with a new e-bookstore, called iBooks, together with partnerships with four major publishers, and showed off new versions of its iWork application and third-party applications.

Jobs kicked off the company’s launch event in San Francisco on Wednesday by highlighting the history of the company’s mobile products. “We’re the largest mobile device company in the world,” he told the audience,”There is room for something in the middle,” he told the crowd. “If there’s gonna be a third category, it has to be better at [Web browsing, e-mail, photos, video, music, games, and e-book reader]—otherwise it has no reason for being.”

The iPad has a built-in iTunes store, for music playback. It can also do video, naturally, either via iTunes for movies and TV shows, or via third-party apps like YouTube and YouTube HD. The device syncs to Macs and PCs via USB, in much the same manner as the iPhone, so users can transfer content like movies and music from iTunes. Pricing for the iPad starts at $499 – far lower than the early $1,000 projections of many analysts. I wonder how many iPads will end up in a landfill or become Apples newest iconic product?s Stay tuned – more to come.

27/04/2010 Posted by | Technology | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lifecasting and Beyond

Media technology has shaped society for centuries. Humankind’s need to communicate is has become central to our very existence. Invention’s such as Gutenberg’s press, Morse’s Telegraph, Bell’s telephone, Edison’s Phonograph, Farnsworth’s Televison and Job’s computer gave birth to new industries that have forever altered our lives.  And a plethora of media technologies are introduced each year.  Perhaps the central question becomes – how important is media technology in your life?  What technologies do you depend on?

The media industry has undergone radical changes in the last two decades. Gone are the traditional revenue streams of record sales, radio dominance and single source suppliers. New market models are emerging that are building on the instant access model born  in the digital downloads, portable media, and powerful computer driven cell phones era

Now more than ever marketing and media trends are coupled with on-line retailers creating a global marketplace. The global marketplace brings new opportunities and new challenges to the next generation of new media specialists in many ways.

Consumer analysis of digital media technology and how it media is delivered can determine your future career opportunities. High level information mining skills are necessary for todays media student and tomorrows knowledge worker.

Understanding trends in modern technology can be your most valuable media tool.

Understanding trends in todays media technology market place can be your most valuable media tool. Consumer analysis of digital media technology and how it media is delivered can determine your future career opportunities.

The investigation into current media technology can be extended with a series of literature review.  The review has been greatly expanded by the explosion new and old publications found through on line resources.

Caveat Emptor or buyer beware, has gained new meaning in the digital age. Reading with prejudice becomes a necessity as we mine information especially when you are gathering information to forge credible knowledge integration that will bare your name.

The proliferation electronic media in every area of life has ushered in a new era of end user options and responsibilities. Lifecasting comes naturally to today’s digital consumers by those who are used to living their lives on line. Creating individualized knowledge through integration of by gathering basic research information becomes currency in a new media economy.

New media is a term meant to encompass digital, computerized, networked information and communication technologies.  What connections, assumptions and conclusions can we make between the ways global culture and the computer is evolving?

29/03/2010 Posted by | Technology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment