What a lovely Sunday afternoon for blogging. My apartment that I just moved into recently is right next to the pool, so while I went to enjoy it the other day and it was infinitely convenient, it is also a little noisy sometimes when the other residents come to swim. Oh well, at least this means the mail is close by, too, which means when the last of my textbooks came in yesterday afternoon, it was easy-peezy to pick them up (Criticizing Art and Universal Principles of Design).
I was very responsible, though, and completed all the rest of my schoolwork on Friday night and Saturday afternoon. I freely admit that the Turing reading went over my head. I underlined important concepts, and it was nice to read about a man named Charles Babbage conceptualizing the idea of a digital computer as far back as 1828. After all, 1828 was a very looong time ago. Perhaps the reading will make more sense after a good class discussion.
But for last week, one of the readings really drew me in, the one by Jenkins about convergence culture. One little part in particular tickled me: the author talks about going to a cell phone place and trying to purchase a no-frills cell phone and how hopeless this ends up being. The poor guy is laughed at by the salespeople and was told by the cellphone company that single function phones are a thing of the past (Jenkins 5).
I have to disagree. I think those Jitterbug phones are still around. Yes, they are. Quick search on Google brings up a pretty website (that looks suspiciously like Verizon Wireless’s home page) about a $24.99 value and the greatness that is a no-crazy-feature phone.
But he makes a good point. My current cell phone is the old Iron Man phone which flips sideways for widescreen viewing of things. When one of my bank co-workers saw my cell phone when I started working there earlier this year, the first thing he did was grab it and try to talk into it like Robert Downey, Jr. I really do like my cell phone; it is the perfect size for grabbing hold of and easily fits into my jeans pockets without making it uncomfortable for me to sit down. My phone has the capability to get online, buy ringtones, buy ringback tones (tones that apparently play on other people’s phones when i call them- I think?), buy wallpapers, buy applications and games, record video, send video messages, send recordings of things to other cell phones, make recordings I have received via text message into ringtones, etc. You know, the usual collection of things phones do now.
What’s funny is that back in 2005, I made an advertisement for a Banana Phone for my Economics class, and the Banana Phone was going to be the first one to offer VerizonTV on your cell phone. (The assignment was to make an invention and advertise it.) That year, TV on your cell phone was not around yet, but in about a year, it started to emerge as the next great thing. (Yes, the jingle that was supposed to be used to advertise the phone on the radio was indeed Raffi’s “Banana Phone.”)
And by the way, was I the only one who laughed out loud about the New Orleans Media Experience, where all these panels were seriously discussing the convergence of technology and how to stay ahead, and the first question asked by the public was when Grand Theft Auto III would be released for Xboxes?
The whole bit about video games is long, and I always find reading about video games interesting since I do not play them my own self. Once in a blue moon will you find me in an arcade (usually there because I am on a date with a manfriend and we are out enjoying ourselves somewhere) playing a generic shoot-the-bad-guy game. I am very bad at them, by the way. This is because way back when, my father had one of those original consoles which allowed you to play Super Mario Bros/Duck Hunt, and we ended up moving and I seem to recall us selling the thing for $30, so I obviously never played it. To this day, my dad wishes we had saved it so we could sell it on eBay to a collector or otherwise.
The one part that stuck out a whole lot to me was where Jenkins says “Delivery technologies become obsolete and get replaced; media, on the other hand, evolve” (Jenkins 13). That is so very true. Since I am moving, I have saved all these things over the years, (along with my mom, who left half the house for me to go through all alone) and a lot of it needs to be eliminated simply because it can’t be used anymore. We came across all kind of crap when we were cleaning the old house out. Christmas cassette tapes, records, weird Christmas decorations, tons of shoes, old jewelry, floppy disks, floppy disk readers…does anyone else remember floppy disks? I remember writing a manuscript when I was 14-16 years old, and I typed about half of it on a computer and saving it to floppy disks. The thing was over 200 pages single-spaced, so we’re talking some serious volume. Those disks took forever to save changes, and I don’t even know if you could open those floppy disks up with a computer nowadays. I saved about 30 pages per floppy disk, so it took about 4 disks to save what I had typed up to that point.
So I did the non-green thing back then (being green was an unheard-of concept in 2002-03) and printed it all out on a printer and glued it into composition books and just wrote the rest of the manuscript by hand. For anyone curious, this is why I can write so quickly. And, of course, this is why I type so slowly by comparison.
My, how technologies change! My dad wanted me to throw the manuscripts out and just scan them into the computer, but I told him no and put the composition books into a box. I labeled the box with a note that my manuscripts are in there, so I will know if he tries to scan them without me knowing…I love physical books. I will probably be one of the last ones on earth to embrace digital books. The idea of reading books on a cell phone (like discussed in class and in the article) irks me. I can’t read things 5 sentences at a time, especially not a novel! How am I supposed to skim through the boring parts, and even worse, know when the boring parts are?
And the Black Box Fallacy discussed is very amusing to read about. The idea that one day, everything will come from one single piece of equipment, is nice in theory but definitely far away in practice. I know cell phones are moving in that direction, but I find them to be limited by a need to recharge. (Mine sure is. Two video-text-messages later and it already has two-thirds of the charge gone. But this has more to do with it being left out in the sun for six hours in 106 degree weather at a recent pool party than anything else. This is what free updates are for.) I am happy to cart around different tools for different things, as long as my purse doesn’t end up too heavy to carry.
I do hope we get to read more from the Jenkins book. It says at the end of the reading that Chapter 5 deals with fan fiction, and not just any fan fiction: Harry Potter fan fiction! I love Harry Potter fan fiction, and I love fanfiction.net, probably my favorite time-wasting website to use ever! Been using it since I used AOL to access the internet, and Lord knows that was a long time ago…