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Digital Aesthetics in the information society. From the ashes of the Californian ideology a new way of media consumption has developed that challenges former notions of the internet economy in terms of consumption, distribution and production of information commodities.

These changes force us to reconsider the meaning of intellectual property, copyright and piracy within the virtual space created by computer-mediated communication. In this essay I would like to explore the relationship between the changes in the status of media commodities and the role of the consumer within the new audiovisual and digital space.

Life is different in Cuba. When the twilight sets in the Cuban capital of Havana the street life continues unaffected. On this little tropical island in the Caribbean communism has created a weird mix of industrial culture and island beats. Before the revolution Havana was the hotspot for gangsters and other good folk of the American economic upheaval of the 1950s. They used to come down here and roam the streets of Havana and frequent the Americana, the contours of its bend neon sign still visible as a monument of these far away times.

With the invention of photography in the 19th Century a new visual way of representing the world became available. Its realism made it a window to the world in people’s imagination and with the means to mass-produce and distribute photographic images it became a tool of representing and documenting reality available to the first mass audiences. With the greater availability of visual imagery people gained enhanced accessibility to this resource of representation. Visual imagery had before photography mainly been residing in social elites.

Art Attack When Roaming the Streets - William Gibson once say: "The Street find its own uses for Technology" - I think street art is very much the embodiment of this. Here people have found their own use for the urban landscape of brick and cement as a canvas to illustrate what meaning they gather from the world around them. The street canvas was never design with art in mind. Most of the time urban architecture is embodied with its own function and aestic. The interesting part is when users appropriate this environment for their own personal use. This usually means some that is in stark contrast to the intention of the original designer.

Hegemony, Global Media & information control, The information revolution - Early utopian visions of the internet as a saviour of democracy (e.g. Gates 1995, Toffler & Toffler 1995, Dyson 1998) have been displaced by a more pessimistic ‘normalisation thesis’ (Gibson et. al. 2005), the contention that the internet serves primarily to reinforce pre-existing social inequalities. On a macro scale, it is certainly difficult to suggest otherwise given the “digital divide” (Norris 2001), the uneven appropriation of information and communication technologies (ICTs) which tends to match material divisions both within advanced societies, and between countries and regions across the globe (Crenshaw & Robison 2006).

Spinozian ethology defines a body by its latitude: the catalogue of intensive qualities, dynamic capacities, “…what affects or is affected by the thing, what moves or is moved by it”. He is a Spinozist again when he considers “the problem of building Creatures as an engineering problem”.

Ethology also defines bodies by their longitude: the total sum of extensive qualities or molecular kinetics, relations of motion and rest, speed and slowness. “Artifice is fully a part of Nature”, Deleuze reminds us, “since each thing, on the immanent plane of Nature, is defined by the arrangements of motions and affects into which it enters, whether these arrangements are artificial or natural”

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The relevance of imperialism to the analysis of globalisation - This essay will attempt to demonstrate not only that this ostensible paradox is misconceived, but that imperialism is an indispensable notion for understanding the very possibility of globalisation. Indeed at the other extreme, some historians view all the major imperial powers of history as having “promoted one or more forms of globalization” (Hopkins 2002: viii).

Introduction to MechanoSphere.com - Our digital reality is constructed of social systems operating all around us. The basic premise for digital reality is emergent from the axis of technology and capitalism. In order to understand the digital reality in which we current find ourselves it is important to conceptualise the logic in which technology and capitalism has emerge and the principles that form the foundations upon which they operate.

Marx must be blushing in his grave. So much onerous and complicated theorising, when all that was needed to create a classless society was a humble preposition. ‘After’ class implies the “death of class” (Pakulski & Waters 1996). Certainly the ostensible centrality of class as the key social stratifier, particularly when compared to, for instance, race and gender divisions, appears difficult to maintain.

There is not … such a thing as a global capitalist class’. (Castells 1996: 473) - While there are certainly important conceptual and empirical difficulties with identifying a global capitalist class, which will be explored below, his impressively confident dismissal of human agency within the global economy is itself theoretically indefensible and, more importantly, empirically ungrounded. His argument is premised on the immense complexity of interactions on a planetary scale, in addition to selecting as his unit of analysis not subjects but networks.

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In the last 4 years the growth of social networks has brought more and more of the developed worlds population online in all areas of life. From banking, to news, to search and not least to social networks. Social Networks especially has provided a new digital way of life.  Social Networks have provided a digital platform where users connect and engage online. Any social network platform relies on its users to add as much data about themselves as possible. The issue with facebook (or any social network) and privacy is more about how it is technological possible to managing two fundamental concepts in social networking: the need for users to add personal data vs. the need to manage this data in an open online environment. Social networks exists and thrive because we as users feel comfortable adding our personal information so it is up to the social network to provide the user with tools by which we can manage how our personal data is presented. 

Four Days ago I got my Google Music Beta invite. It was exciting since I have for ages thought about the best way to preserve my now entirely digital music collection. As of 2009 I ingested all my CDs into MP3 files and have not looked back. But with digitization a whole new world of pain opened up. Issues such as duplication in my iTunes playlists, back-up to hard-drive and moving from computer to computer proved that by moving technology does not provide a digital Shangri-La for music. I am a fan of both Spotify.com and Grooveshark.com but both services lack the ability for me to have my music collection as a cloud based services available to all my devices across the globe.

 

 

In the non-conserved spread information that is received by a node or a users will continue to experience the content or information even as it is transmitted to another node or user. What is interesting about this model to social media networks is that the Non-Conserved Spread Model is extremely suitable for explaining the transmission of infectious diseases.

The point here is that information in social media networks like twitter behaves like infectious diseases and in such the information/content is thereby viral in its ability to spread throughout the network. In this way there is a similarity between Social Media Networks and other technological and biological networks.

Social media excels at connection people but only by specialising. By this I mean that people connect via social media not on whether they actually would like/dislike people in an everyday environment but by what they have in common. Be it an interest in stamp collection, technology or music, social media connects because of a shared specialisation between users.

In the case of social media it can be the media it they have in common. Social Media connects people because of Social Media – not because people have a need to connect in this way. For Social Media “the medium is the message” as postulated by Marshal McLuhan.

This comes down to defining events vs. news. If news is a summary of events that has happened filtered through the perception of a small number of individuals then the Google search provides news for users. If news is an event generated by user participation then Twitter offers the right platform for User Generated News.

The problem with User Generated News at the moment is the information overload factor. If it is possible to let bottom-up approaches distil the information for individual users then it will improve accuracy of the information and reduce information overload. This would enable the multitudes to determine what is news rather than the top-down approach of Old Media.

During the fall they tend to collide and stick together in clusters which are what is known as snowflakes. When the snow comes down in below freezing temperatures it stays on the surface where it lands. In a city like London the temperature seldom goes down below 0 long enough for snow to stay for more than a few hours. But when it does it has drastic consequence for life in the city. Today all busses have been cancelled, several undergrounds have been cancelled completely with the ones that are running either having severe delays or are seriously congested.

The ability to externalise memory in a physical form is the technology that enables human culture. From the invention of papyrus to the printing press these very first developments in the externalisation of our memory provide the incubator for the progressive development of human culture. It provides the ability to transmit memory and experience through generations and across cultures with very little error.

It can therefore be said that externalisations of memory is technological interaction with biology resulting in the proliferation of human culture. With the externalisation of memory new generations can draw upon memory derived from multiple layers of time and space. But the real problem with any form of memory is the accumulative effect of storing data and the methodology in retrieving it.

All these technical details make Chrome a great browser but more importantly it gives us an insight into what direction that technological development in this field can gravitate towards. The concept that the browser is becoming the Operating System is the emergence of cloud computing. A lot has been talked about with regards to cloud computing and there are several dynamics currently in play that points towards that this is a growing area for web-technology and development

This election campaign has been unprecedented in the use of new media and technology for production, distribution and consumption. Citizens were turned into users over the last two years enabling the emergence of the information society in terms of politics. Both campaigns had Facebook pages, websites, and all campaign ads uploaded to youtube. That is just the tip of the Iceberg. In order to understand why this happened we need to dig down into the voters. It was the voters who determined the election and how well each campaign managed to connect with them.

During the Cold War, DARPA launched a project called Assault Breaker. It was aimed at providing a counter to the 20,000 heavy tanks that the WARSAW Pact had stationed at the borders to Western Europe. NATO had only around 7,000 heavy tanks to oppose any attack by the Soviet Union. Assault Breaker was designed to strike far behind enemy lines disrupting and destroying Soviet reinforcements and support for all that hardware.

In this day and age it is interesting to hear about companies trying to find successful deployment of location-based services in the West. Contrast that to the million of Children that accesses the Internet through the mobile phone in Low-tech areas around the world and using location based services on a daily basis. In Low-tech regions location-based services are part of everyday life. The focus on consumption and advertising from big High-Tech companies ensure that focus on why user would want to access location-based services have been lost.

When users access new emergent technologies 3 outcomes have been observed: non-adaptation, adaptation or appropriation. These various values are outlined below:

Non-adaptation: The user does not engage with the emergent technology in its current form

Adaptation: The user engages with the emergent technology and it is adapted to the users technology inventory in its current form.

Appropriation: The user engages with the emergent technology but appropriates the function of the technology outside of what the designer/s had envisioned or what the technology was designed for. Users can thereby shape emergent technologies.

The uptake rate of a specific technology can be measured in terms of numbers from the 3 options above. Technology success-rates are formulated by user uptake. The most interesting part is “appropriation” where users actively engage in shaping the functionality of technology to suit cultural needs.

6 years ago and still it rumbles on…. According to Donna Haraway culture cannot escape biology and thereby blurs the lines between nature and culture. This feeds into her Cyborg Manifesto where the organic body is being fused together with the machine. For Haraway the boundaries between human, machine and animal are dissolving. This is the initiation of post-human ideas of technology and culture.

There has long been an understanding that human culture is “outside” of forces of nature – that culture is something removed and artificial. Raymond Williams identified ‘Culture’ is one of the most difficult words in the English language and one that has change it meaning substantially since its introduction. But its initial meaning was related to the cultivation of plants.

Certainly in most of the major civilisations the central authority was key to the development of a redistributive economy. This drove work specialisation within society since stone workers could focus on their craft rather than spend their time, energy and resources on producing food to feed themselves and their families.

The centralised authority has the ability to redistribute social resources in order to achieve larger social projects and this in turn drives specialisation. Even with industrialisation central manufacturing and distribution was need to provide exchange. But along side the central authority a range of places and spaces is opened up to bypass central control of a redistributive economy.

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