Monday, February 27, 2012

It's Time To Take Charge - revised

Assessing technology is not only for those who create technology but also for those who use and consume technology.

Recently I participated in an assignment that encouraged me to create my own idea or concept for new technology. It proved to be enlightening as well as challenging. It is not easy to create new technology when you don’t have a conscious understanding of how to assess or analyze the technology around you.

The purpose of analyzing technology is to not only to deconstruct the power but to discover the human connection to that particular technology. We tend to use technology in the “ground” state of mind. Meaning, we are not aware of the development or the components associated with the development of technology. Dr. Jason Ohler, author of Digital Community Digital Citizen, says "Technology is a fog. It covers its inventions, so when one gets close to them, they are seen clearly" (p. 94).

The goal of this blog post is to demonstrate how assessing the process of creating technology brings the purpose and use of technology into the “figure” state or working through the fog. Here, individuals can create better consumer habits.

I introduced the new technology idea that would allow for cell phones to be charged from a Watch or portable timepiece. It sounds like an interesting proposal but the only way to determine the validity of the idea is to assess or analyze the potential development of the technology.

The following is an outline associated with the assessment of the Cell Phone Charging Watch.

It's "Time" to take "Charge"!

1) Physical characteristic- this product would be designed as a watch with multiple purposes. It is functional as a timepiece, compass and cell phone charger. It will be worn on the wrist. It will have multiple “fashion” designs to appeal to the everyday user. Solar powered.

2) Enhancement- this device will allow for individuals to portably and wirelessly charge a cell phone. This will obsolete the need to be connected to electricity, car and computer in order to charge phone. The fact that it would be solar powered makes it a green and progressive technology.

3) Predecessors/next steps- this devise replaces or lessons the need for cumbersome wall chargers and the need to be connected. It advances the purpose of the Watch.

4) Social context- our society is ruled by convenience. This technology reduces the need for other technology that creates a “time” concern. But it does mean that people will spend more time connected to their cell phone device.

5) Biases- This product favors those who can afford it and are digital natives. Those who cannot afford it and those who are not connected to the advancement of technology are left out of the benefits of the technology.

6) Benefits- This product creates convenience and disconnects individuals from electricity. It creates new appreciation for the watch, as existing technology. This product can be fashionable. More Watches may be purchased.

7) Impacts- This product can disconnect people from the constant need to be plugged in for energy. This product will push forward with discovering the technology that can fit in the watch and be powerful enough to charge the cell phone. This power or energy can potentially be used to develop other technology. This product will connect people to their hand devices more often. This can be a good thing for those are on the run and need to stay connected to their communication device. Staying connected to device can be a bad thing as individuals can create more clutter and more fog in their lives.

Note: The watch will be made of biodegradable materials that will allow for the penetration of light to create a constant charge. It will be a combination of existing technology: time piece, and add the functionality of a USB port of some type that will allow for cell phones to connect with watch.Many designs of watches can be developed with a solar charging USB port. This product will be made in America with American ingenuity.

After taking a closer look at the watch design, it seems like this could work. But, more thought can and should go into the process. For example, after taking a closer look I see that I am actually flipping the technology. Adding the charging port to the watch may create a new reason to own and wear a watch. "Flipping" the original technology to create something new encourages new reason to be aware of the existing technology of the Watch.

Ohler, J. (2010). Digital community digial citizen. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin.

Monday, February 20, 2012

My H.I.P. Mantra

Use Technology with Honesty (how it applies to me); with Integrity (how it applies to others) and with Passion”.

The 21st century has unveiled technology to society that has changed how humans experience the world and the people within it. It is more important than ever for individuals to develop a conscious process of acknowledging technology. A mantra is an effective way to proactively consider the impacts of technology on an on going basis with old and new technology.

Honesty applies to an individual or personal understanding of technology and how it applies to that individual’s personal existence.

The integrity of those who use and create technology affects the lives of the community the technology it serves.

Passion is the driving force for creation. It is important to acknowledge the energy that goes into the development of technology to appreciate its use and purpose. The energy that creates technology is human energy. It is motivated and encouraged by culture, environment and social status. Passion is human. A person may not understand everything about how a piece of technology was created but he or she can understand human passion.

The goal is to see technology, and consider it “figure” rather than "ground".

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Film to HD - Revised

McLuhan’s Tetrad can be applied to many media examples but one in particular is the Film industry. There are many technological advances in the film industry, nothing more apparent the development of HD. The laws of media can be applied to film and its dominance until HD arrived on the market. This post attempts to apply the tetrad to the evolution of the film aesthetic. The tetrad gives a quadrant of questions that apply to existence of technology especially media technology. Enhance, retrieve, reverse and obsolesce are the components of the tetrad.

Film began in the late 1800’s and reached global dominance in the 20th century. Movies were made with film; celluloid, and as time progressed film development grew. Film dominated the feature film and television market.

What did film enhance? It enhanced the lifestyles and cultures of those who could experience, still or moving, images captured on film. The development of the film camera allowed for moving images to create an industry that created jobs and other industries. Film enhanced or amplified humans’ ability to record history and explore human narratives. The film (moving images) created opportunities for education and arts entertainment culture to advance society as well as to document human existence and behavior.

Before the discovery of film and its ability to enhance social growth, there was print media as well as radio that reined as the keys to communicating news, education and entertainment and therefore advertising. But what would it obsolesce? Film would almost make news and radio obsolete. The film industry in its “figure” stage challenged print media and radio and would create a “ground” stage associated with print media and radio.

When film was developed and became a dominant tool to further the human narrative. What did this technology retrieve, renew or reactivate? Film retrieved the expression of the human narrative. Film would allow societies to retrieve history and reactivated the spirit of the human story. What might have been lost in the pages of books could now be explored in a more visceral way. “The motional picture industry has provided a window on the world, and the colonized nations have looked through that window and have seen the things of which they have been deprived” (McLuhan & Fiore, 1967).

“Reversal” is the final component of the tetrad that can be applied to the discovery of film. When film development is pushed to it limits, what happens? When film is regulated and accepted as the norm or becomes “ground” what is the result?

Digital and HD cameras were developed to challenge the extended and growing cost of film projects as well create another format that could offer that same or better visual experience for the independent filmmaker. It would be the cost of film production and the growing digital technology that would reverse the dominance of film in the television and film industry.

McLuhan’s tetrad, which expresses the laws of media, is a valuable discovery and can be applied to all technology. The tetrad should be used as way to encourage media literacy and forming new interest in the development of technology. In secondary and primary education, individuals learn to create and dissect the English language; the tetrad should be included. The tetrad would be a powerful source of education and is an effective tool. No different than mathematics or learning to structure a sentence, the tetrad benefits human learning experience by creating away individuals can really see technology in the “figure” stage.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Mcluhan’s Wake is My Wake to Media Literacy

This week the focus was on Marshall McLuhan. The wonderful film about his life, “McLuhan’s Wake”, was central to the focus. There are many outlets to discovering Marshall McLuhan and his work but it was not until the pursuit of my PhD in media psychology that I was introduced. The 4 laws of media resonated as a discussion topic.

McLuhan is a visionary, a man of great insight and critical thought. McLuhan’s work has affected how psychology is applied to media. Media psychology has a ground level or foundation in which it is built and McLuhan challenged society to change its frame of reference when discussing the future of technology.

Marshall McLuhan’s “4 laws of media” were introduced as an insight of the advertising industry and open the doors for the idea of a Global Village. Enhance, retrieve, reverse and obsolesce are described as the 4 laws of media. McLuhan created a tetrad to help examine the interlocking of these laws.

Humans are consumed with technology, especially new media technology that must be examined in ways that demonstrate what the benefits are and the understanding of what new possibilities that can result from new media. What is being enhanced? When the cell phone was introduced to society it allowed people to communicate more and basically made the home phone obsolete. Some people actually replace their home phone with the cell phone. But, the Internet technology required a phone line. Factors like, privacy, natural disasters and Internet and cable television gave reason for phone lines to return to its original use as a landline. The “reverse” law examines the idea of when pushed to the limit; can the new media reverse the original characteristics? This law applies to the cell phone and landline technology. Cell phone consumption has reversed the need of home phones. The “retrieve” law applies to the ability of the new media to reintroduce the benefits of media that was once lost, making the once obsolete essential again. Here again, the phone line is retrieved. Finally the “obsolesce” law refers to media, which is no longer essential because of the introduction of new media. These laws have proven to be consistently in motion whether individuals are aware of it or not.

Over time there has been many examples of the laws in action. During our history we played music on records that then became 8 track tapes that lead to cassette tapes and then to the CD format. Today we have the ability to stream and download music from computers and smart phones. One media technology replacing another actually created a better music listening experience. Also today we see that as media progresses individuals have choices that they did not have previously.

Many people appreciate albums and have a record player that allows them to digitize that record (album). The creation of Hip Hop music allowed for albums to stay around long enough to still be prevalent in social use. Technology continues to work its way back to where it came from. This has been described as the “now, again” aesthetic. What used to be in the past or obsolete is “now” again.

There are many examples of “laws of media” and once an individual has the opportunity to absorb this information, possibly, a foundation for media literacy is defined. The challenge is to look for laws of media at work in individuals’ own life and media experience. The “laws of media” is a revelation. McLuhan continued with other theories that helped to explain, almost scientifically, the world today. With respect to readers, McLuhan is right and has given society more reason than ever to use history as way to carving a future.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Understanding Augmented Reality

Understanding Augmented Reality

This week I have had the pleasure of reading about augmented reality and was challenged to think about new technology that I might create. Our society today is inundated with technology that is intended to enhance the lively hoods of individuals. It becomes important to able to define technology beyond its intended use. Augmented Reality defines the current state of affairs associated with media presentation and media content.

Wikipedia defines augmented reality as a “live, direct or indirect, view of a physical, real world environment whose elements are augmented by computer generated sensory input such as sound, video graphics or GPS data”. We live in a world where the reality is modified more often than we consciously understand.

The point of this blog is to bring attention to the importance of educating individuals about augmented reality as a conscious experience. The computer and components thereof (chips) is the common denominator in the definition of augmented reality. I had no idea that my reality was being augmented daily, that I have been participating in the process of augmentation when I started editing television and film projects in film school.

From the beginning of film, individual’s reality has been augmented. Electronics has augmented reality through radio and television. Computer technology has redefined or has generated a reason to establish a definition that directly relates to computer generated images. When I turn on a camera and look through the viewfinder time code numbers and information pop up on the viewer screen. I all ways thought that it was useful information not really looking at it as augmented reality. When filmmakers apply graphics and visual special affects to a film or television show they are augmenting realty through the use of computer electronics. Cell phone use today involves the process of augmented reality as smart phones continue to grow with the use of applications and other computer generated software.

Humans have been experiencing a form of augmented reality from the moment airwaves have been used to communicate. Telegraphs, telephones, radio, television, computers, cell phones are distribution outlets that augment reality. Television and film continue to expand the concept of augmented reality as narratives continue to include computer technology to create or recreate reality that affects viewers’ emotions. As an educator the idea of augmented reality is important to share and encourage. Individuals should have and keep a conscious understanding of augmented reality as way to motivate media literacy. When thinking about new technology that I might create, I can not escape the process of augmented reality and realize that even beyond media, augmented reality is all around me.