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robertogreco : analog   40

William Gibson on Watches | WatchPaper
“William Gibson is famously credited with predicting the internet. Early works like Neuromancer, Count Zero, and Mona Lisa Overdrive established him as a major voice in science fiction and the worlds he created still serve as a template for how popular culture views the future. If you’ve seen The Matrix or read any cyberpunk, you’ve seen William Gibson’s influence at work. Equally important, but perhaps less famous are his essays, collected recently in Distrust That Particular Flavour. Highly perceptive and suggestive, they span a range of topics from Singapore’s totalitarianism and Tokyo’s futurism, to the Web and technology’s effect on us all. The volume also contains his glosses on those essays, which were written over a span of 30 years. Brief afterwords, they are his reflections on the content, and on the person who wrote that content at a point and time, and what’s happened since. In his 1997 essay, “My Obsession”, William Gibson chronicled his interest in watches for Wired magazine. [See “My Obsession” https://www.wired.com/1999/01/ebay/ ] The essay is as much about the advent of the internet and sites like eBay as it is about watches, and his afterword to the essay reflects:
People who’ve read this piece often assume that I subsequently became a collector of watches. I didn’t, at least not in my own view. Collections of things, and their collectors, have generally tended to give me the willies. I sometimes, usually only temporarily, accumulate things in some one category, but the real pursuit is in the learning curve. The dive into esoterica. The quest for expertise. This one lasted, in its purest form, for five or six years. None of the eBay purchases documented [in the essay] proved to be “keepers.” Not even close.

Undaunted by his placing this interest squarely in the past, something he got over, I wanted to find out what had survived, physically or intellectually, of his obsession. It turns out, quite a lot. We corresponded via email and William Gibson shared his thoughts on collecting, how he got started, what “keepers” remain in his collection and why. We also talked about the Apple watch and what it means for traditional horology.”

...

"If “old” people, as you mentioned in our recent discussion, are concerned that what they’ve collected will be unwanted, how is that anxiety being manifested? Some watch brands like Patek Philippe use durability, inheritance and legacy as their explicit identity.

I was thinking of someone with dozens of rare military watches. Even if they have children, will the children want their watches? It could be difficult finding the right museum to donate them to, in order to keep the collection intact. I think Patek’s appeal to inheritance and legacy still has some basis, though the wristwatch itself has become a piece of archaic (though still functional) jewelry. You don’t absolutely need one. You do, probably, absolutely need your smartphone, and it also tells the time. Eventually, I assume, virtually everything will also tell the time.

Is there something authentic in collecting we as humans are striving for? What does the impulse represent for you?

I actively enjoy having fewer, preferably better things. So I never deliberately accumulated watches, except as the temporary by-product of a learning curve, as I searched for my own understanding of watches, and for the ones I’d turn out to particularly like. I wanted an education, rather than a collection. But there’s always a residuum: the keepers. (And editing is as satisfying as acquiring, for me.)

Do you think there’s anything intrinsic to watches (their aesthetics, engineering etc.) that make them especially susceptible to our interest?

Mechanical timekeeping devices were among our first complex machines, and became our first ubiquitous complex machines, and the first to be miniaturized. Mechanical wristwatches were utterly commonplace for less than a century. Today, there’s no specific need for a mechanical watch, unless you’re worried about timekeeping in the wake of an Electromagnetic Pulse attack. So we have heritage devices, increasingly archaic in the singularity of their function, their lack of connectivity. But it was exactly that lack that once made them heroic: they kept telling accurate time, regardless of what was going on around them. They were accurate because they were unconnected, unitary.

How do you think the notion of collecting has changed since your preoccupation with watches played itself out? Scarcity (but not true rarity) barely exists any more.

The Internet makes it increasingly easy to assemble a big pile of any category of objects, but has also rationalized the market in every sort of rarity. There’s more stuff, and fewer random treasures. When I discovered military watches, I could see that that was already happening to them, but that there was still a window for informed acquisition. That’s mostly closed now. The world’s attic is now that much more thoroughly sorted and priced!"
watches  williamgibson  ebay  horology  fashion  collecting  collections  learning  howwelearn  2015  esoterica  research  researching  deepdives  expertise  obsessions  cv  immersion  posterity  legacy  analog  mechanical  durability  longevity  inheritance  jewelery  smartphones  understanding  education  self-directed  self-directedlearning  timekeeping  connectivity  scarcity  objects  possessions  ownership  quality  internet  web  online  wristwatches  things  applewatch  pebble  pebblewatch  smartwatches 
9 days ago by robertogreco
Jacob Sam-La Rose en Instagram: “Decluttering. These are the keepers. I harbour a fantasy of my future kids being fascinated with these in the same way I raided my mother’s…”
"Decluttering. These are the keepers. I harbour a fantasy of my future kids being fascinated with these in the same way I raided my mother’s record collection. Not just for the music itself, but the cover design, the appeal of the tangible object... In a digital world, it’s good to have analog anchors..."

[Commented: "Oh, those spacial, ambient, tactile, smell, taste, and sound memories that come from the places where we are raised. Swoon. I just tracked down a book about whales that was in our house as a child. I’d been referencing it for years without remembering the name (The Whale), but recalling so many details of its contents and the situations I was in while pouring over the book. The confines of small-ish collections encourage repeated reencounters that just don’t come as easily in the near infinite expanse of YouTube, Spotify, etc. Maybe this is why I have been so keen to create my on digital collections, something that I can move around in over and over again?"]

[See also: https://www.instagram.com/p/BmL5xv5HcOo/]
jacobsam-larose  2018  decluttering  memory  space  sound  music  collections  senses  mariekondo  taste  smell  sounds  place  finite  curation  tangible  tactile  analog  digital  books  childhood  memories 
august 2018 by robertogreco
Austin Kleon on Twitter: "I think a lot about how the phone call — hearing the sound of a real human voice — is becoming a more intimate, meaningful option in the face of 24/7 text/image connection… https://t.co/dDx24gJ62v"
"I think a lot about how the phone call — hearing the sound of a real human voice — is becoming a more intimate, meaningful option in the face of 24/7 text/image connection

There’s a really interesting part of @dada_drummer’s THE NEW ANALOG, where he talks about how different phone calls became when they went digital — background noise was reduced, and so the sense of distance https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1620971976/

He points out that the iPhone has 3 microphones, but they're not used to capture extra sound, they're for noise-cancelling — they're used to isolate signal from noise [image]

On the iPhone, “*what* is being said is very clear — but *how* the message is delivered is lost. Is the voice loud or soft? Are we being addressed intimately or publicly? Can we hear hints of other meanings in the speaker’s voice, or does the delivery match the words exactly?”

There’s a “cell yell” that @dada_drummer points out: when we're out in the world on the phone, we tend towards shouting — even though we can be clearly heard in a noisy environ thanks to noise cancellation — b/c the phone doesn't feed our voice back to us, so we can’t regulate it

"essay idea: how the rise of podcasts corresponds to the decline of (personal) phone calls for millennials"
[https://twitter.com/popespeed/status/971940280709603328 ]

This is an interesting point. When I do podcast interviews, I have an extremely good USB mic and headphones to monitor my voice, so I can move closer to the mic, speak softer,

Maybe people like podcasts so much because they replicate more of what a real world or analog telephone conversation sounds like? Something to ponder!

Oh, I’m reminded now: @cordjefferson told a beautiful story at @PopUpMag about a voicemail message his mother left him, and how it changed the way he thought about phone calls. (I don’t think it exists online, or I’d link to it.)"
austinkleon  audio  microphones  mobile  phones  telephones  intimacy  voice  sound  recording  noise  noisecancellation  analog  conversation  phonecalls  humans  connection  2018  digital  iphone  podcasts 
april 2018 by robertogreco
FYS 2017: Living and Thinking in a Digital Age – Snakes and Ladders
"Instructor: Alan Jacobs

Office: Morrison 203.7

Email: alan [underscore] jacobs [at] baylor [dot] edu

This class is all about questions: How is the rise of digital technologies changing some of the fundamental practices of the intellectual life: reading, writing, and researching? How does writing on a computer differ from writing on a typewriter, or (still more) writing by hand? Has Google made information just too easy to find? Is the experience of reading on a Kindle or iPad significantly different from that of reading a paper codex? Moreover, how are these changes affecting the intellectual culture and communal practices of the Christian faith? We will explore these questions through a range of readings and conversational topics, and through trying out some interesting digital and analog tools.

But this is also a class in which we will reflect more generally on why you are here, in the Honors College of Baylor, and what you need to do (and be) to flourish. So we will also spend some time thinking about the character and purposes of liberal education, and I will explain to you why you need to buy earplugs and wash your hands regularly.

I have ordered two books for you to buy: Kevin Kelly, The Inevitable: Understanding the 12 Technological Forces that Will Shape the Future and David Sax, The Revenge of Analog: Real Things and Why They Matter. All other readings will be PDFs available in this Dropbox folder. [https://www.dropbox.com/sh/54uu45mhespvubo/AAAETUCU6U0YuyXgl6HbxVTva?dl=0 ]

Assignments

1. There will be frequent (pop!) quizzes on your readings; these will count a total of 25% of your grade.

2. You will choose a digital or analog tool with which to organize your academic life this semester, learn to use it well, and give an oral report on it to the class, along with a handout. 15%

3. You will write a 3500-word research essay on a topic of your choosing, subject to approval by me. I will work with you to choose a good topic and focus it properly, and will read and evaluate a draft of the essay before you hand in a final version. 40%

4. In lieu of a final exam, you will write a personal narrative identifying the most important things you leaned in this class; as part of that you’ll offer a final evaluation of your chosen organizational tool. 20%

5. Borderline grades will be decided by class participation.

Here’s a handy list of organizational tools you might try, starting with digital ones:

• emacs org-mode
• Evernote
• Google Keep
• OneNote
• Pinboard
• Trello
• Workflowy
• Zotero

And now analog (paper-based) ones:

• Bullet Journal
• Hipster PDA
• Noguchi filing system
• Personal Kanban
• Zettelkasten

Here’s a guide [https://lifehacker.com/productivity-101-a-primer-to-the-getting-things-done-1551880955 ] to helping you think through the options — keyed to the Getting Things Done system, which is fine, though it’s not the only useful system out there. The key to this assignment is that you choose a tool and seriously commit to it, for this semester, anyway. You are of course welcome to ditch it as soon as the term is over. But what I am asking for is a semester-long experiment, so that you will have detailed information to share with the rest of us. N.B.: All the options I am suggesting here are free — if you want to pay for an app or service, you are certainly welcome to, but I wouldn’t ask that of you.

Policies

My policies on attendance, grading, and pretty much everything else may be found here [http://ayjay.org/FAQ.html ]. You’ll find a good deal of other useful information on that site also.

Schedule

This is a course on how the digital worlds we live in now — our technologies of knowledge and communication — will inevitably shape our experience as learners. So let’s begin by trying to get a grip on the digital tech that shapes our everyday lives:

8.22 Introduction to course (with handouts)
8.24 boyd, It’s Complicated, Introduction and Chapter 7
8.29 Wilmer, Sherman, and Chein, “Smartphones and Cognition”
8.31 Rosen, “My Little Sister Taught Me How to Snapchat”

But you’re not just smartphone users, you’re college students. So let’s try to get a better understanding of why we’re here — or why we might be:

9.5 Meilaender, “Who Needs a Liberal Education?“
9.7 Carr, “The Crisis in Higher Education”; Robbins, “Home College”

With some of the initial coordinates in place, let’s get some historical context:

9.12 Jacobs, “Christianity and the Book”
9.14 Blair, “Information Overload”

And now let’s take a deeper dive into the conditions of our moment, and of the near future:

9.19 Kelly, The Inevitable, Introduction and Chapters 1-4
9.21 Kelly, Chapters 5-8
9.26 Kelly, Chapters 9-12
9.28 Sax, The Revenge of Analog, Introduction and Part I
10.3 Sax, Part II
10.5 Concluding discussion of Kelly and Sax

We’ll spend a couple of days finding out how your experiments in organization have been going:

10.10 reports from half of you
10.12 reports from the rest of you

Now that we’re pretty well equipped to think more seriously about the technological and educational challenges facing us, we’ll spend the rest of the term learning some practical strategies for information management, and revisiting some of the key issues we’ve raised in light of our recently acquired knowledge. First, you’re going to get a break from reading:

10.17 Dr. J’s Handy Guide to Owning Your Online Turf, Part 1
10.19 Dr. J’s Handy Guide to Owning Your Online Turf, Part 2

So, back to reading:

10.24 Web Literacy for Student Fact-Checkers, Parts I-III
10.26 Web Literacy for Student Fact-Checkers, Parts IV-VI
10.31 further discussion of Web Literacy
11.2 Piper, “Out of Touch” and Clive Thompson, “Reading War and Peace on my Phone”
11.7 Mueller and Oppenheimer, “The Pen is Mightier than the Keyboard”; Hensher, “Why Handwriting Matters”; Trubek, “Handwriting Just Doesn’t Matter”
11.9 Zomorodi, “Bored and Brilliant”; draft of research essay due

And finally, we’ll put what we’ve learned to use in thinking about what kind of education we’re pursuing here in the Honors College at Baylor:

11.14 Jacobs, “Renewing the University”
11.16 writing day; research essay due 11.17
11.21 “Engaging the Future of Higher Education”
11.23 THANKSGIVING HOLIDAY
11.28 continued discussion of “Engaging the Future”
11.30 Wrapping up
12.5 Personal narrative due"
alanjacobs  syllabus  online  internet  tools  onlinetoolkit  reading  education  highered  highereducation  classideas  gtd  productivity  kevinkelly  davidsax  readinglists  technology  cognition  socialmedia  christianity  humanities  infooverload  webliteracy  wen  handwriting  notetaking  thewhy  digital  analog  digitalage  syllabi 
july 2017 by robertogreco
Selected analog/board game references
"Selected analog/board game references
Hand-picked by Joe Wasserman for Paolo Pedercini

Board versus digital

Bellomy, I. (2017). What counts: Configuring the human in platform studies. Analog Game Studies. Retrieved from http://analoggamestudies.org/2017/03/what-counts/

Gandolfi, E. (2015). The online dream of old ludi. RESET. Recherches En Sciences Sociales Sur Internet, 4. doi:10.4000/reset.506

Nicholson, S., & Begy, J. (2014). A framework for exploring tablet-based tabletop games. In Proceedings of the Canadian Game Studies Association Annual Conference: Borders without Boundaries. Retrieved from http://scottnicholson.com/pubs/jsbgame.pdf

Rogerson, M. J., Gibbs, M., & Smith, W. (2015). Digitising boardgames: Issues and tensions. In Proceedings of DiGRA 2015: Diversity of play: Games – Cultures – Identities. Retrieved from http://www.digra.org/digital-library/forums/12-digra2015/

Xu, Y., Barba, E., Radu, I., Gandy, M., & MacIntyre, B. (2011). Chores are fun: Understanding social play in board games for digital tabletop game design. In Proceedings of DiGRA 2011 Conference: Think Design Play. Retrieved from http://www.digra.org/digital-library/forums/6-think-design-play/

Text, more than

Brown, A., & Waterhouse-Watson, D. (2014). Reconfiguring narrative in contemporary board games: Story-making across the competitive-cooperative spectrum. Intensities: The Journal of Cult Media, 7. Retrieved from http://dro.deakin.edu.au/eserv/DU:30069183/brown-reconfiguringnarrativee-2014.pdf

Evans, J. (2013). Translating board games: Multimodality and play. The Journal of Specialised Translation, (20), 15–32.

Analyses of more than one

Begy, J. (2015). Board games and the construction of cultural memory. Games and Culture, Advance online publication. doi:10.1177/1555412015600066

Chappell, D. (2010). Success through excess: Narratives and performances in board and card games. In D. Chappell (Ed.), Children under construction: Critical essays on play as curriculum (pp. 277–298). New York, NY: Peter Lang.

Chappell, D. (2013). Circles within circles: The commercial pursuit of leisure time and morality through board games in the 18th and 19th century United States. In S. Fitzpatrick (Ed.), Work of play: Where business meets leisure (pp. 40–58). Madison, NJ: Museum of Early Trades and Crafts.

Book-length

Booth, P. (2015). Game play: Paratextuality in contemporary board games. New York, NY: Bloomsbury.

Costikyan, G., & Davidson, D. (Eds.). (2011). Tabletop: Analog game design. Pittsburgh, PA: ETC Press. Retrieved from http://press.etc.cmu.edu/files/Tabletop-CostikyanDavidson-etal-web.pdf

Woods, S. (2012). Eurogames: The design, culture and play of modern European board games. Jefferson, NC: McFarland."
boardgames  games  gaming  play  joewasserman  bibliography  digital  analog 
july 2017 by robertogreco
Review: David Sax’s The Revenge of Analog extols the superiority of ‘real things’ - The Globe and Mail
"The key change wrought by digital is that, where scarcity was once the norm, surfeit is now our default. Digital thus represents a kind of inversion. Once, more was better: Technology was improved by more features, knowledge increased with ever more facts and greater choice. Now, it is subtraction that in fact adds to a scenario. The best digital services are those that constrain in some fashion. Netflix and Spotify have both succeeded because they have figured out how to recommend small numbers of titles from thousands of choices.

In his book, Sax outlines the many ways in which analog tech bests digital because of what it does not do. Your paperback novel cannot interrupt your reading to tell you the weather, your newspaper has a start and a finish, and your analog recording studio forces you to make decisions and just cut a track, rather than the malleability of digitally creating “a moving target of unachievable perfection.” In the face of such endlessness, it is subtraction, boundaries – less – that is the strategy for survival in the digital era.

For many, though, this upending of Western thought also represents a world gone topsy-turvy. Sax echoes Sullivan’s complaints about the relentless pace of digital, and its related psychological effects. These are real issues, not to be dismissed lightly. At this early stage of the digital era, we are still stuck on how to achieve balance, particularly now that our technology and the flood of information it brings is with us all the time. When Sax cites the tendency of even young millennials to prefer print, it is because they, like we, are seeking relief. Digital as a tool or medium seems primed to plug most directly into our receptors for pleasure, for the dopamine and serotonin centres that thrive on novelty, lust or conflict, and the unending flow can quickly turn to excess. In contradistinction to that torrent, it is the tactile, physical nature of analog that is its saving grace – its seeming permanence, it’s there-ness, its tendency, quite unlike digital, to be in one place at one time doing one thing. In his book, Sax’s lively, evocative prose conjures reminders of the physical world: Record presses spit and heave, cameras satisfyingly click, and paper crinkles and smells in ways pleasingly familiar.

But the neat line separating digital from analog is more fuzzy than it might appear. Sullivan, Sax, and I – all part of a generation who spent their formative years before the Internet and their adult ones completely saturated with it – have also grown up with plastic Nintendo controllers, button-filled digital cameras, and DVD players armed with an array of LED lights. My own home is littered with the tactile remains of no end of technology, and the chubby, reassuring thickness of the first iPhone I still keep tucked in a drawer has already taken on the same sheen of nostalgia I reserve for old school notebooks or sweaters.

As Sullivan’s piece spoke of a return from the seductive screens, Sax’s constantly extols the superiority of what the text calls “real things.” It is, however, a world cleaved neatly into two neat spheres, digital and analog – so much so that near the end of the book, Sax claims that “digital is not reality. It never was and never will be.” It’s a claim that one might generously characterize as nonsense. To assert that the almost unfathomable explosion of human creativity that fills the Internet sits somehow lower on a hierarchy of ontological realness is absurd.

It is this needless, false dualism that should make one skeptical of claims not only of the superiority of analog, but that such a neat distinction exists at all. In The Revenge of Analog, the alluring material quality of objects is always highlighted, but ignores the fetishism that has led us to revalue it, skipping over the more simple fact that analog has become appealing for the same reason you can’t put your phone down: novelty. Similarly, when speaking of Silicon Valley’s tendency to use lots of paper, Sax’s claim that “analog proves the most efficient way to run a business,” simply isn’t true. One would hardly be better served by doing one’s accounting or inventory using a pen and paper. What works better is finding the right balance between analog and digital – largely because at this moment, that is the only choice there is.

***

The Revenge of Analog is at its core a business book, each chapter the revenge of a new sector – retail, print, film – and is thus a work meant to uncover entrepreneurial opportunities lying in wait. It works best as polemic, as an interjection into a world that has too eagerly assumed digital is in some simple sense better, and perhaps ignored that the limitations of analog are more vital than ever. But in the eagerness to sell a marketable idea, Sax mistakes the fact that digital things cannot be touched for the fact that they are insubstantial.

It is what can be held that enthralls Sax, however, and he is most transfixed by Kevin Kelly’s Cool Tools, a thing he calls “exhibit A in analog’s revenge.” Kelly, the founder of Wired magazine, created the Cool Tools book as an homage to the Whole Earth Catalogue, a kind of how-to guide for life from the late sixties that told you how to grow food or build a home – and the sort of thing rendered quite obsolete by the Internet. Cool Tools began as a blog, and started out simply reviewing tools that you need for a dizzying array of practical endeavours – everything from milling your own grains to ways to increase the WiFi signal in your home. Kelly then made the decision to create the book, which quickly sold out on its first run.

For Sax, the book highlights what is best about analog. It lends itself to idle browsing, drawing in anyone who happens to pick it up, its catalogue of useful things evoking the possibility of a life better lived. But beyond its obvious digital origins, or even the inevitability of its creation on and through computers, Cool Tools reveals a world forever changed by the digital landscape. The book’s non-linear mishmash of ideas, the serendipity of their discovery, is a function of its digital past, now formalized by the analog. The two spheres are inextricable, indivisible, not simply in practical terms (each review has a QR code leading to an online store) but in ideological, epistemological ones, too. We cannot help but read the book from our moment in the present where there is no offline and online, but only what scholar J. Sage Elwell calls “onlife”: an existence that is always both digital and analog at once, and irrevocably so. For now, we may struggle to pay attention, but this is our lot. It is already too late for analog’s revenge – the thing to do is figure out how to be human after digital’s victory. There is no going back."
navneetalang  2016  davidsax  kevinkelly  andrewsullivan  digital  analog  less  subtraction  louismenand  jsageelwell  humans  humanity  boundaries 
november 2016 by robertogreco
Our (Bare) Shelves, Our Selves - The New York Times
"When I was 13, in the early 1990s, I dug through my parents’ cache of vinyl records from the ’60s and ’70s. We still had a phonograph, so I played some of them, concentrating on the Beatles. Their bigger hits were inescapably familiar, but a number of their songs were new to me.

Were I a teenager in 2015, I may not have found “Lovely Rita” or acquired an early taste at all for the Liverpudlian lads. The albums stacked up next to the record player, in plain sight for years, would be invisible MP3s on a computer or phone that I didn’t own. Their proximal existence could have been altogether unknown to me"



"There are several big upsides to growing up with streaming audio, one of which is accessibility: assuming I was interested enough, I could have explored, for free, the Beatles’ catalog on the Internet far beyond the scope of my parents’ collection.

But in our digital conversion of media (perhaps buttressed by application of the popular KonMari method of decluttering), physical objects have been expunged at a cost. Aside from the disappearance of record crates and CD towers, the loss of print books and periodicals can have significant repercussions on children’s intellectual development.

Perhaps the strongest case for a household full of print books came from a 2014 study published in the sociology journal Social Forces. Researchers measured the impact of the size of home libraries on the reading level of 15-year-old students across 42 nations, controlling for wealth, parents’ education and occupations, gender and the country’s gross national product.

After G.N.P., the quantity of books in one’s home was the most important predictor of reading performance. The greatest effect was seen in libraries of about 100 books, which resulted in approximately 1.5 extra years of grade-level reading performance. (Diminishing returns kick in at about 500 books, which is the equivalent of about 2.2 extra years of education.)

Libraries matter even more than money; in the United States, with the size of libraries being equal, students coming from the top 10 percent of wealthiest families performed at just one extra grade level over students from the poorest 10 percent.

The implications are clear: Owning books in the home is one of the best things you can do for your children academically. It helps, of course, if parents are reading to their children and reading themselves, not simply buying books by the yard as décor.

“It is a big question of whether it’s the books themselves or the parental scholarly culture that matters — we’re guessing it’s somewhere in between,” said Mariah Evans, one of the study’s authors and an associate professor of sociology at the University of Nevada, Reno. “The books partly reflect intelligence.”

Although the study did not account for e-books, as they’re not yet available in enough countries, Dr. Evans said in theory they could be just as effective as print books in encouraging literacy.

“But what about the casual atmosphere of living in a bookish world, and being intrigued to pull something off the shelf to see what it’s like?” she asked. “I think that will depend partly on the seamless integration of our electronic devices in the future.”"



"Digital media trains us to be high-bandwidth consumers rather than meditative thinkers. We download or stream a song, article, book or movie instantly, get through it (if we’re not waylaid by the infinite inventory also offered) and advance to the next immaterial thing.

Poking through physical artifacts, as I did with those Beatles records, is archival and curatorial; it forces you to examine each object slowly, perhaps sample it and come across a serendipitous discovery.

Scrolling through file names on a device, on the other hand, is what we do all day long, often mindlessly, in our quest to find whatever it is we’re already looking for as rapidly as possible. To see “The Beatles” in a list of hundreds of artists in an iTunes database is not nearly as arresting as holding the album cover for “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.”

Consider the difference between listening to music digitally versus on a record player or CD. On the former, you’re more likely to download or stream only the singles you want to hear from an album. The latter requires enough of an investment — of acquiring it, but also of energy in playing it — that you stand a better chance of committing and listening to the entire album.

If I’d merely clicked on the first MP3 track of “Sgt. Pepper’s” rather than removed the record from its sleeve, placed it in the phonograph and carefully set the needle over it, I may have become distracted and clicked elsewhere long before the B-side “Lovely Rita” played.

And what of sentiment? Jeff Bezos himself would have a hard time defending the nostalgic capacity of a Kindle. azw file over that of a tattered paperback. Data files can’t replicate the lived-in feel of a piece of beloved art. To a child, a parent’s dog-eared book is a sign of a mind at work and of the personal significance of that volume.

A crisp JPEG of the cover design on a virtual shelf, however, looks the same whether it’s been reread 10 times or not at all. If, that is, it’s ever even seen."
books  digital  analog  music  browsing  2015  streaming  collections  visibility  sharing  children  learning  reading  literacy  cds  audio  patina  beausage  ebooks  data  teddywayne 
december 2015 by robertogreco
Generation loss - Wikipedia
"Generation loss refers to the loss of quality between subsequent copies or transcodes of data. Anything that reduces the quality of the representation when copying, and would cause further reduction in quality on making a copy of the copy, can be considered a form of generation loss. File size increases are a common result of generation loss, as the introduction of artifacts may actually increase the entropy of the data through each generation."
degradation  audio  video  photography  photocopies  analog  digital  compression 
october 2015 by robertogreco
Dear Data
"Two girls who switched continents get to know each other through the data they draw and send across the pond

Dear Data is a year-long, analog data drawing project by Giorgia Lupi and Stefanie Posavec.

We are currently at week 29 and will be updating this site with regular deliveries, check back for more drawings!

New cards are delivered on Wednesdays."

[via: http://migurski.tumblr.com/post/114142193920/week-04-a-week-of-mirrors

See also: http://www.visualisingdata.com/index.php/2015/03/dear-data-pen-pals-in-a-data-age/ ]
data  art  visualization  illustration  dataviz  penpals  mail  giorgilupi  stefaniepsavec  datavisualizai  drawing  analog 
march 2015 by robertogreco
Things do Jobs
"A visual comparison of two things [one analog, one digital] solving the same job"
mobile  phones  applications  ios  iphone  tumblr  toolbelttheory  analog  digital  interactiondesign  ux  tools  toolkits 
february 2015 by robertogreco
Dither - Wikipedia
"
…[O]ne of the earliest [applications] of dither came in World War II. Airplane bombers used mechanical computers to perform navigation and bomb trajectory calculations. Curiously, these computers (boxes filled with hundreds of gears and cogs) performed more accurately when flying on board the aircraft, and less well on ground. Engineers realized that the vibration from the aircraft reduced the error from sticky moving parts. Instead of moving in short jerks, they moved more continuously. Small vibrating motors were built into the computers, and their vibration was called dither from the Middle English verb "didderen," meaning "to tremble." Today, when you tap a mechanical meter to increase its accuracy, you are applying dither, and modern dictionaries define dither as a highly nervous, confused, or agitated state. In minute quantities, dither successfully makes a digitization system a little more analog in the good sense of the word.
—Ken Pohlmann, Principles of Digital Audio[1]


The term "dither" was published in books on analog computation and hydraulically controlled guns shortly after the war.[2][3] The concept of dithering to reduce quantization patterns was first applied by Lawrence G. Roberts[4] in his 1961 MIT master's thesis[5] and 1962 article[6] though he did not use the term dither. By 1964 dither was being used in the modern sense described in this article."
dithering  etymology  computing  history  movement  dither  via:unthinkingly  digital  analog  vibration  agitation  accuracy 
november 2013 by robertogreco
Mass + Text
Text from the about page: http://massandtext.tumblr.com/post/51958922935/what-is-mass-text ]

"Mass + Text wants to understand the relationship between language (analogue and digital signals), physical objects, and the communities they anchor. I’m curious about how we translate thought into form, and back again.

Mass + Text happened because I like words, and I like the idea that objects are a byproduct of their cultural context. I think there’s an interesting back and forth between said things and made things, and this is an attempt to think-through-writing till I make some sense of it.

I’m not quite sure what I’m doing, but I’m going to scratch this itch anyway. What I do know is that the emergence of ubiquitous computing is going to bring together language and objects in weird and interesting ways, with implications for architecture, media, journalism, consumer technology, and fashion. This is my attempt to begin to make some sense of it.

***

The ease with which we’re able to summon and dismiss texts on glowing rectangles makes us forget that language isn’t weightless. The ways in which we call out and respond to each other are deeply anchored within physical things. Heavy things. We make meaning by spilling oceans of ink, crushing mountains of herbs and minerals into pigments, and by sliding slabs of quivering muscle against each other.

And even when we summon an idea from the depths of cyberspace,and it leaps onto our screens, that idea is bound to this plane by physical objects. Language exists within at least three dimensions.

So if language can shape mass (indeed, if language is mass), what will new forms of communication mean for the things we build, and the way we build? Can we incorporate content into spaces and objects in ways that go beyond merely turning them into display screens? How does this communication influence our relationships with our tools?

With ourselves?

***

Areas of interest:

• the evolution of media and journalism: what does it mean that ESPN is interested in the data being harvested from wearable tech such as the Jawbone UP? If the medium is the message, how will media companies design for wearable computing devices that have very little room for display screens?

• internet-connected devices: the coming wave of “smart" devices offers an opportunity to rethink everything from how these objects look to what they do. How do you design analog/digital interfaces that take into account qualities of mass such as weight, texture and temperature?

• architecture: we can speak to our spaces, and our spaces can speak back (through location-based Foursquare tips, geo-triggered alerts, changing room temperature to suit our personal profile, etc.). The built form is how we interface with the city, and changes to that form have implications for everything from our ideas about privacy, community, and to discussions about who has the right to the city.

• fashion: we know clothing can be language, but the use cases of clothing-as-tool have been surprisingly few, i.e. clothing can keep us warm, and they offer some measure of protection from weapons, but that’s about it. How can we make clothing even more useful? And how will those utilitarian scripts be reflected in aesthetics?

• histories of communication: everywhere mass intersects with text, an idea finds its way into our world, be it when a finger strikes against a keyboard, or when someone’s vocal chords rub together. I want to understand that threshold, liminal space where a concept is impregnated within an object, and given form."
text  communication  objects  emmanuelquartey  language  digital  communities  community  blogs  ubicomp  internetofthings  networkedobjects  senses  media  journalism  wearable  technology  jawbone  architecture  design  fashion  history  interfaces  ux  mobile  smartdevices  analog  wearables  iot 
july 2013 by robertogreco
The digital doesn't annihilate the analog, and the business card creativity proves it. : Observatory: Design Observer
"The digital does not annihilate the analog. It glorifies it. Paper books and vinyl records were once quotidian; today they are objects to defend, romanticize, venerate.

Or consider this example: the humble business card. As a genre of object, it is “doomed,” one technology observer asserted not long ago, asking, “Who needs business cards when you have Google?” The function of the business card, in other words, has been replaced by a more efficient alternative: “We don't need to be made legible to each other because we have already written ourselves onto the Internet.”

I wish I believed this. I’ve recently run out of cards and have seriously considered whether I can get away with not ordering a new set. But take a look around, and it’s not hard to find evidence of a business-card-centered creative renaissiance. In fact, start with the very object offered up as a metaphor for the business card’s pending demise: A marketing agency specializing in “viral” campaigns has one that…"
gifts  sharing  projectideas  glvo  edg  srg  creativity  printing  imprint  2012  paper  businesscards  digital  analog  robwalker 
september 2012 by robertogreco
Whitelines | Whitelines Link
"Whitelines® Link is a happy combo of physical and digital notes. You could call it a clever scanner-app that in combination with Whitelines® Link paper makes it super easy to capture, save and share your notes."
notetaking  dropbox  evernote  notebooks  via:markllobrera  digital  analog  whitelines 
september 2012 by robertogreco
Bike Horn iPhone Speaker, A Great Low-Tech DIY Gadget for Cyclists : TreeHugger
"We have a thing for electricity-free iPhone speakers, especially when they are DIY projects using cool old materials. Flickr user lowtechatmo posted a couple images of their "home-brew, low-tech iPhone amp made of PVC and an old bike horn.""
analog  diy  via:jessebrand  2012  bikes  biking  accessories  iphone  ipod 
may 2012 by robertogreco
Heading East: Pens
"Over the past week I've twice heard twenty-somethings wonder whether kids growing up today, kids who were practically born with iPhones in hand, will still have the capacity for wonder.

Yesterday as a present for his first day of second grade I brought home an erasable gel pen for my iPhone savvy six year old. After a brief demonstration, he spontaneously hugged me, "I've been waiting for this pen my entire life!"

I think the kids are alright."

[via: http://bobulate.com/post/10298783599/over-the-past-week-ive-twice-heard ]
digitalnatives  raulgutierrez  children  parenting  digital  analog  wonderdeficit  wonder  capactityforwaonder  2011  pens  officesupplies 
september 2011 by robertogreco
My Life Without A Cell Phone: An Amazing Tale Of Survival | The Awl
"Want to know real convenience? Leave a message on my machine, or email me, and I’ll get back to you when I damn well feel like it. And if I desperately need to speak to someone when I’m away from home or office, I’ll either use a payphone (they do still exist, and I can tell you where every one south of 23rd Street is) or borrow someone else’s cell to make the call. Now that’s convenience."

"Punctuality/Attention Span: These two are boons for my friends and loved ones: If we have a date, I’ll almost always be on time, because I can’t call you at the restaurant, after lingering needlessly somewhere, to tell you I’m running late. Also, when we are together, you will have my undivided attention. Really. I will never glance surreptitiously down at the corner of the table to see who is calling/emailing/texting while we’re in the middle of a conversation. Which, by the way, is gross, and if you’re one of the people who does this you don’t deserve the company of other humans."
mobile  phones  cv  convenience  anachronism  cellphones  etiquette  attention  punctuality  manners  technology  analog  reception  health  relationships  self-reliance  freedom 
march 2011 by robertogreco
Nostalgia for the Now | HiLobrow
"And nostalgia, for all its trickiness, isn’t terrible, just problematic. It’s possible to have good memories, sure, or to segment and enhance the ones that were not really that good, instead of sinking into an overwhelmed bitterness like an inverted Benjaminian Angel. But nostalgia is not neutral. We need to remember, along with all the memories, that our lives in the now are partially cast from the look of our past. Maybe it’s fade and maybe it’s stutter, or maybe it’s different looks on different days."
peggynelson  nostalgia  memory  instagram  hipstamatic  photography  atemporality  decim8  imperfection  wabi-sabi  analog  digitalanalog 
january 2011 by robertogreco
Musing about 2011 and an un-national generation – confused of calcutta
"The internet, Web, Cloud, these are essentially disruptive global constructs for many of us. The atoms that serve as infrastructure for these global constructs are physically located in specific countries; the laws & regulations that govern the industries disrupted by these constructs are themselves usually national in structure; the firms doing the disrupting are quasi-stateless in character, trying…to be “global”; emerging & future generations have worldviews that are becoming more & more AmazonBay, discarding the national middle for edges of global & hyperlocal.

We are all so steeped in national structures for every aspect of this: the law, governance model, access & delivery technologies, ways of doing business — that we’re missing the point.

Everything is becoming more stateless, more global. We don’t know how to deal with it. So we’re all trying very hard to put genies back in bottles, pave cowpaths, turn back waves, all with the same result.

Abject failure."
postnational  global  globalization  globalism  nationalism  national  business  law  culture  mobility  cv  jprangaswami  digital  analog  thirdculture  un-national  generations  internet  web  cloud  government  wikileaks  taxes  regulation  fundraising  residency  identity  statelessness  open  closed  trade  copyright  regional  local  hyperlocal  williamstafford  poetry  borders 
january 2011 by robertogreco
Subtraction.com: What’s Old Is New Again on iPad
"theiPad is something entirely new, & that it should be treated as such. But it’s worth noting that the current prevailing perception of the iPad seems to be that it is a digital reinvention of analog conventions… newspapers, magazines, books, & subscriptions…why an exhibition of essentially analog paintings rendered through digital means draws interest at all from art lovers & writers.

…this is a misconception…underserves the potential of the device…[but] there’s a power to this particular understanding of the device. Perhaps emphasizing its familiarity is part of what will earn it mass adoption, setting stage for more informed uses. If this is a transitional stage, then I hope it doesn’t last too long, because iPad’s potential to remake things like art making is so painfully evident to me. Ultimately, iPad is much more interesting than Hockney’s paintings & artists who truly understand the medium will show us things we can barely even imagine right now."
art  2010  ipad  khoivinh  davidhockney  print  analog  digitalanalog  transitions 
december 2010 by robertogreco
Everything You Need to Know About a Digital Sabbatical
"What is a digital sabbatical? Dedicating one day a week or even a whole month away from the internet, email, twitter, and other online activities.

Taking an extended sabbatical is appealing to me. It would be one way to solely focus on writing my next ebook and to recharge my creative juices. Until I can take an extended break from the web, I’m planning on unplugging every weekend."
advice  digitalsabbatical  timeouts  internet  twiter  email  infooverload  analog  slow 
august 2010 by robertogreco
Does the web make experts dumb? – confused of calcutta
"There’s been a lot of talk about the web and the internet making us dumber.

I think it’s more serious than that. What the web does is reduce the capacity for asymmetry in education. Which in turn undermines the exalted status of the expert.

The web makes experts “dumb”. By reducing the privileged nature of their expertise.

I have three children born since 1986. One has finished her Master’s and is now a teacher. One has just finished his A Levels and is taking a “gap year” before starting university in a year’s time. The third is still in school.

The web has made them smarter. They know things I did not know at their age, and I had privileged upbringing and access. They know things more deeply than I did. Their interest in things analog is unabated, they think of the web as an AND to their analog lives rather than an OR.

Many of you reading this are experts; I myself am considered an expert in some things. And the status bestowed upon us by our expertise is dwindling."

[Part 2: http://confusedofcalcutta.com/2010/08/23/does-the-web-make-experts-dumb-part-2-whos-the-teacher/ ]
jprangaswami  web  experts  education  unschooling  hierarchy  deschooling  asymmetry  scarcity  expertise  analog  digital  internet  online 
august 2010 by robertogreco
jeweled platypus · text · Augmented reality for non-programmers
"When people care about the place where they live, they often end up helping make it a better place. But how do people get interested? It might help if the history of that place is brought to the surface, making its compelling stories more noticeable. A good local newspaper or blog can do this, but only if you find one and read it regularly. An augmented-reality mobile app might be able to do this instantly for anyone curious about their surroundings, but only if they have that device. What about for everyone? These are some stories about a place I like." …

"So I’d like to install some sidewalk plaques in IV! Traditional bronze markers would be very expensive (and require who knows what kind of permission and work to install), but there’s an alternative made with linoleum: messages in the style of Toynbee tiles, which are crackpot graffiti anonymously glued to asphalt roads in a few cities:"
comments  islavista  santabarbara  ucsb  brittagustafson  annotation  annotatedspeces  space  place  meaning  classideas  tcsnmy  cities  history  neighborhoods  stories  storytelling  augmentedreality  toynbeetiles  graffiti  streetart  intelligentgraffiti  noticings  local  yellowarrow  blueplaques  spaceinvader  analog  waymwaymarking  ar  arnoldtoynbee 
august 2010 by robertogreco
Entelligence: Let's get digital -- Engadget
"one of the things I like about WP7 is that it's not a digital UI pretending to be analog. The user interface is flat...no photorealistic depictions of real world items, no shading, & no 3D effects. Everything is conveyed through the use of fonts, shapes & color. It's digital & it's proud. Overall, I like it, & the more I use it, the more I prefer it. Returning to a more digital approach means Microsoft was able to rethink the nature of applications and services and create the concept of hubs, where like functions meet similar functions w/out need for separate applications. It takes some getting used to, but the more I use it, the more natural it feels."

[via: http://twitter.com/tcarmody/status/20098622824 ]
analog  digital  technology  design  wp7  windowsphone7  microsoft  ui  ux  skeuomorph  windowsphonemetro 
august 2010 by robertogreco
Keynote: Bruce Sterling (us) on Atemporality | transmediale
"If progress is to go beyond the banal indulgences that give rise to a never-ending array of car shell designs then we need to analyse our present time with regard to its aesthetics and its media. The second conference session is being introduced with Bruce Sterling's Keynote on Atemporality."

[transcript here: http://www.wired.com/beyond_the_beyond/2010/02/atemporality-for-the-creative-artist/ ]
atemporality  brucesterling  future  history  culture  art  technology  design  philosophy  time  creativity  theory  research  2010  media  community  sciencefiction  scifi  roleplaying  favelachic  informationvisualization  williamgibson  humanities  databases  literature  collaboration  multitemporal  analog  digital  gothichightech  futuritynow  collectiveintelligence  networks  networkculture  postmodernism  failedstates  collapse  narrative  resilience  decay  failure 
february 2010 by robertogreco
The package deal « Snarkmarket
"I’m going to put a marker down on this. In this tran­si­tional period, the most valu­able and suc­cess­ful exper­i­ments will come from peo­ple who find new ways to give read­ers BOTH dig­i­tal and print books — who in fact cre­ate incen­tives to encour­age BOTH kinds of read­ing — and that in turn value their read­ers as mem­bers of an inter­lock­ing com­mu­nity, not (just) iso­lated buy­ers at dif­fer­ent price points. And that means align­ing read­ers’ inter­ests and offer­ing them MORE than they might think they’d want."
books  robinsloan  snarkmarket  corydoctorow  ebooks  future  nearfuture  transitions  digital  analog  coaxing 
october 2009 by robertogreco
Saffo: journal - Save that old TV - there's a message in the 'snow"
"A TV antenna is a sponge for radio energy, collecting lots more than just the desired signal. Snow is the result of the TV attempting to turn stray signals into an image, signals from radio stations, emissions from power lines, transformers or appliances, or even from the electrical noise of the circuits in the TV itself...result is the strangely-calming ant-dance of black on white that we call snow. But snow has another source, a source far from this planet in both time & space. Mixed in with the noise of Earthling civilization are radio echoes of the Big Bang, the moment of the Universe's creation 13 Billion years ago...universe started out very small & very hot & has been expanding and cooling ever since. As it cools, the Big Bang's fossil radiation sheds radio energy in the same way a cake on a cooling rack gives up heat. & when those indescribably ancient radio waves run down the rabbit ears and into your analog TV, the TV's circuitry interprets it as an image & voila! - Snow."

[see audio version here: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=105339922 ]
paulsaffo  analog  tv  television  noise  whitenoise  snow  obsolescence 
june 2009 by robertogreco
As TV Changes To Digital, White Noise Fades Away : NPR
"A familiar sight and sound is disappearing as digital TV takes over from analog: television snow and the "white noise" that accompanies it."

[transcript is here: http://www.saffo.com/journal/entry.php?id=1052 ]
analog  tv  television  noise  whitenoise  snow  obsolescence 
june 2009 by robertogreco
yuri suzuki: 'the physical value of sound' exhibition at clear gallery, tokyo
"the 'record' was chosen not just because of the commonness in its time, but because of the simple structure and characteristics of the media. 'sound' is recorded on this media in an extremely direct and physical way which allows it to be played simply by amplifying the vibration between the record and the needle dropped upon it. in addition sound can be visually seen and read through the density of the grooves pressed on the record. it could still be said that the record is the most modern, and the finest media in the field of analogue recording technology."
audio  sound  installation  art  music  vinyl  analog 
march 2009 by robertogreco
russell davies: analogue natives
"So much joyful digital stuff is only a pleasure because it's hugely convenient; quick, free, indoors, no heavy lifting. That's enabled lovely little thoughts to get out there. But as 'digital natives' get more interested in the real world; embedding in it, augmenting it, connecting it, weaponising it, arduinoing it, printing it out, then those thoughts/things need to get better. And we might all need to acquire some analogue native skills."
russelldavies  analog  printing  making  arduino  spimes  technology  papernet  hardware  digital 
december 2008 by robertogreco
Analog Meets Its Match in Red Digital Cinema's Ultrahigh-Res Camera
"The Red One camera gives moviemakers the best of both worlds. It delivers the ease of use and editing flexibility provided by digital cinema cameras. At the same time, the Red's resolution and color fidelity rival that of 35-millimeter film, and it allows the same kind of control over focus. Bonus: Like HD and 2K digital, it's cheap."
cinematography  video  cameras  filmmaking  digital  analog  hd  red  hdtv  hardware 
august 2008 by robertogreco
10 Things I Learned from Mental Detox Week | iain tait | crackunit.com
"phones are good; email can wait; ipods breed ipods; pens vs pixels; screens & sleep (funny side-effect); fractalization of stuff; computers create width not focus; felt cut off from stuff not people; w/out computers felt less creative; computers are easy
via:cityofsound  computers  detox  technology  ipod  gtd  television  tv  internet  wen  analog  concentration  process  attention  productivity  creativity  focus  learning  digital 
may 2008 by robertogreco
russell davies: dawdlr - a twitter for the long now
"I've tried to make dawdlr way slower than twitter. I reckon most people I know twitter about twice a day, so dawdlr is going to update twice a year. To try and get people to say what they're doing, you know, more generally."
slow  longnow  twitter  analog  messaging  viral  overload  parody  humor  blogging  socialsoftware  blogs  tumblr 
november 2007 by robertogreco
Trend: Overloaded Kids Turning Low-Tech
"The older generation is rediscovering clouds and craft fairs and kids are turning to activities that involve actual human interactions"
children  youth  technology  overload  society  human  limits  interaction  analog  us  uk  canada  retro  online  internet  web  ebay  simplicity  slow 
november 2007 by robertogreco
dawdlr
"dawdlr is a global community of friends and strangers answering one simple question: what are you doing, you know, more generally?"
slow  longnow  twitter  analog  messaging  viral  overload  parody  humor  blogging  socialsoftware  blogs  tumblr 
october 2007 by robertogreco
Lost Format Preservation Society
"The society was founded in 2000 with the design of Emigre issue no. 57. It's sole purpose is to save formats from obscurity."
media  movies  music  recording  computers  collections  archive  analog  information  format  film  design  retro  storage  vinyl  technology  formats  archiving  digital  software  history 
june 2007 by robertogreco
Jan Chipchase - Future Perfect: Heritage, Reference
"To what extent does the visual transition between the fixed analog form and digital support passengers looking for visual clues that they looking at the right sign?"
design  transitions  visual  analog  digital  information  janchipchase 
january 2007 by robertogreco

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