All entries for March 2007

March 25, 2007

JMW Turner: The Blue Rigi

The successful fight for JMW Turner's: The Blue Rigi

http://www.tate.org.uk/britain/exhibitions/turnerrigi/default.shtm



Turners Blue Rigi










I was very pleased to find out this morning from my email box that JMW Turner's The Blue Rigi has been bought by the Tate Gallery. What gave me special pleasure was that I had bought 6 brushstrokes through the special National Art Fund innovative online campaign.

OK my life as an art collector extends into the virtual rather than the real and aside from interesting issues as to whether I've got some virtual  art which is tradeable inside Second Life the fact that people had to be charitable at all in order to ensure that this painting stayed within the UK and available for public contemplation is a serious cultural policy issue. There is no way I would have contributed to a Tracy Emin piece or Damien Hurst piece. Amusing? Yes. Intellectually challenging? Possibly but rarely. Overhyped? Yes. Overvalued? Yes. How can we reasonably compare to Turner arguably the very first modernist painter and one who was up on the latest theories of colur (Goethe) and pereception (developing psychological theories) in his day producing valuable paintings which stand the test of cultural time.  

In recent years  it has become especially trendy amongst fans of 'New' Labour to spend their time in a typically postmodern way of using culture as an instrument of economic and social policy. Forget 'Art for Art's Sake' they sneer, don't be judgemental about content, let populism rule, what the audience think they want is all right just providing we can make money out of it and we can sit around getting audiences to evaluate their experience for the marketing people. This of course ignores issues of ideology and the construction of dominant cultural discourses.


Instrumentalism & Cultural Policy

Well, taken from this entirely instrumentalist perspective which at a theoretical level appears to subsume Walter Benjamin's notion of removing the auratic aspect of Art with a capital A and turn it into an excuse for commerce; paintings of the quality of Turner's Blue Rigi are fundamental to the success of megapolises such as London and New York. You can hardly hear a native English accent in central London in summer and now increasingly all year around. Students and tourists flock to London because it is a cultural capital of the World. those who have considerable cultural capital and wish to invest more in this go to London and its galleries as well as enjoying the signature architecture which is an iconic must for the contemporary global city fighting for the tourist trade, and in the case of London adding value to attract global financiers to work in London. Great art therefore can be seen as underpinning the attraction of London as a place to live and work. A process which has rather neatly been defined as Brandscaping.



Brandscapes










Even from the pitiful perspective of 'anything goes' providing it makes money New Labour should have the made the funds available to keep this 'high added value' sort of art without all sorts of quangos having to chase around for funding which is small fry at the national level. The irony is that City councils elsewhere in the country are beginning to sell of their own smaller art treasures because they can't afford to run their education and social care systems.

The January Warwick podcast by Munira Mirza is a welcome antidote to this sort of thinking. Hopefully it marks the beginnings of a change away to a more balanced view of culture than extreme populist postmodernism. this is not the same as saying that the cultural popular should be ignored. There is an issue of definitions as well as issues of quality. 


Taxation & Paying for Art

Why these mainly Northern councils have no money when the Chancellor emphasises 10 years of apparently unbroken economic growth is an interesting question. It is also hard to disagree with the Tories when they rail against the levels of taxation. Even they can justifiably note that poorer people are being hit by the tax system, just funding poorer people still.

At risk of slipping into anecdote most of my monthly outgoings are in the form of taxation. As a couple we spend over £120 per week on petrol. Most of this cost is tax in one form or another. Furthermore as my wife is currently a full-time student in receipt of a government loan she is effectively paying twice for her education as a huge proportion of the loan goes on this fuel every term. On top of that the course is materials and equipment heavy which attracts the regressive 17.5% VAT. At the same time I receive no tax relief and currently must commute a long way to work which is in the underpaid Tertiary education sector. We do not even have parity with school-teachers!

Three months of longish distance commuting shows that many people are in similar position . The key point here is not an individual whinge, it is to emphasise the huge tax burden that ordinary people are paying either to get to work or to get an education. Yet at the same time our cultural citizenship is being eroded. Why on earth should I or anybody else have to respond to begging bowl campaigns to maintain or improve an economically / culturally / socially valuable  infrastructure in which content (the Art itself is central). Quite obviously I already do this through the disproportinate tax system. It is a benighted cultural policy framework increasingly based upon narrow accountacy discourse which creates this situation.

It is now the case that  that the National Lottery which is a 'voluntary' tax on the very poorest who have had little training in probability theory. The fact that the Government has this at all is shameful. The fact that our culture is dependent upon the wheel of fate rather than a properly funded policy framework is despicable. The fact that a large amount of this extremly dubious tax is now being siphoned away from the cause it is promoted for supporting to the Olympic extravaganza is dihonest and exploitative beyond belief. The plain fact is that almost nobody funding the Olympic games through their gambling will be able to afford a seat in the stadium highlights the point. 

As taxpayers we are seemingly paying a lot for 'cultural consultants' and a range of parastites positioning themselves around policy honeypots while a cultural drain continues in line with the general opening up of wealth divides in the era of post-neo-liberal cultural-economic policies. They are the real vultures of culture! 

The Olympic Games  and the funding of it is a 21st century version of Roman gladitorial contests. Wage slaves are funding the pleasures of the rich. As a crumb they can sample the pleasures second hand through the Mass Media. Of course we can buy into the regeneration argument and I'm sure most of the population in the UK feel that the Millenium Dome bonanza was an excellent way of spending vast amounts of money rather than bulding say twenty art galleries the cost of the one in Wasall and some art to put in it! the citizens of Athens would probably agree as they pass the crumbling and unloved Olympic Stadium built for the last Olympics. Interestingly the tourist population is there for the genuine cultural heritage which seems to show that quality will out!

Cultural Citizenship 

It is time that we fought for a system of governance which values and promotes notions of cultural citizenship which should have at its heart the accessibility of canonical cultural works - This opens up a can of worms on canons but that is another debate.  This needs to be thought of on a global basis just as any other facet of advanced citizenry should be.  I want people from all over the world to be able to experience great art. The nature of individual paintings means that people usually have to travel to it unlike music which is more accessible.

I resent being arm-twisted to pay more for what as a state the UK should pay for anyway and what I consider I have more than paid for through my taxes. If I give money or goods it usually goes to Oxfam or global development campaigns and that is how I prefer to keep it.

When it comes to the arts and culture I would also prefer a wider European cultural policy perspective to be developed. Small accession states such as Lithuania inherited quite a good cultural infrastructure in terms of the numbers of galleries and museums and performance spaces.  These countries  became impoverished through neo-liberal approaches to the break-up of the Soviet Union. Now they should be having more support to rebuild the good aspects of cultural citizenship which were previously available under Soviet rule.  Cultural citizenship and a common cultural sense of 'Europeaness' is more likely to succeed in uniting  Europe at the level of the quotidian than highly abstract constitutional structures which have little to do with everyday European citizens. In brief culture is far more valuable than just simple accountancy benchmarks. It is where it is hardest to define that perhaps it becomes most valuable in terms of geist



March 23, 2007

Ghosts, 2007: dir Nick Broomfield

Ghosts: 2007: dir Nick Broomfield

Return to British Cinema: Representing the World Locally

Introduction

For those of you following the theme of 'British Cinema's Reaction to Globalisation and Global Events' it is an important film to note and should be seen at the earliest opportunity in order to compare with the other British films which have been covered.

Below there are a range of links to good quality reviews plus official sites, blogs and interviews. There is the facility to hear an interview with the director amd to see a short extract on the BBC film Network site as well as the trailer on the official site. There is also a brief contextual overview relating Ghosts to other British and European films which are examining the forces driving diaspora and some of the unpleasant outcomes for those who do emigrate. 

ghosts_1.jpg





Link to Official Web Site 

Click here to access trailer

Click here for BBC Film Network Site. Video interview and a short scene from the film are accessible here. (You will require Realplayer


Click here to access Nick Broomfield's Guardian Blog

Much of the film is taken from the work of journalist Hsiao-Hung Pai:

born in Taiwan and now lives in Britain. She writes for the Guardian newspaper, specialising in stories about the Chinese community. She also writes for UK-Chinese publications. Her latest Chinese-language work is Hidden Assembly Line: Undocumented workers in Britain, published in February 2006. (From Open Democracy site see webliography below).



Contextual Overview of British Cinema's Responses to Globalisation

In early April 2007 Tartan Video are releasing Ghosts which is a film bearing witness to the pain and danger endured by the undocumented workers from China who form a major part of Britian's hidden economy which has thrived under ten years of 'New Labour'. It also functions as a critique  of neo-liberal economic policies at the expense of social policy. It also important to note the EU has failed to take the measures necessary to stop this trade. This includes such policy areas as agricultural policy. As such the much vaunted 'joined up thinking' aspired to by New Labour ten years ago has failed to materialise. 


Ghosts bears witness to the dreadful night in February 2004 when 23 Chinese workers died on the sands of Blackpool. It was an event which finally brought the dreadful situation of undocumented workers into the limelight. It is well known that London runs on the sweat of undocumented labour in clothing, low value services such as sweatshops and the so-called 'sex industry' a name which appears to legitimise the 'new' slave trade of the 21st century of women being brought and held against their will to service British sexual fantasies (presumably mainly male). It is a subject touched upon by British cinema but to my knowledge best dealt with in Lucas Moodysson's Lilya 4-Ever (2002, Sweden). Stephen Frears' Dirty Pretty Things (2002) effectively exposed many of dodges in London as well as the apalling trade in body parts. Pawlikowski's Last Resort (2001) dealt with the way in which British men exploit and mislead women in vulnerable positions in Eastern Europe. Michael Winterbottom's In this World (2002) and Ghosts can be more strongly linked with Lilya 4-Ever in that all three seek to represent the powerful forces which push people into desparate migrations often right across the World. 

Of the British films dealing in differing ways with the pressures of globalisation upon the weaker countries of the World dirty Pretty Things (BBC), Last Resort (BBC) and Ghosts (Film Four - See note 1)  were all backed directly by TV. This is laudable as it is clear that a Public Service Broadcasting remit has gone beyonf the artificiality of national boundaries to explore problems n the World in relation to Britain which is as it should be. 



Ghosts 2









Chinese Cocklepickers at Morecombe Bay





Living Conditions for Undocumented Workers





1) Wikipedia suggests Film Four were involved in backing the film however I haven't found any other evidence to corroborate this at present. This will be updated when this is confirmed.




Webliography

Please note these sites were pop-up free when visited. The Times review has a pop-up and is not included.


Latest News:

May 08 2008 Gangmaster loses licence.  BBC Report on mass exploitation of Polish Workers in UK.  


http://www.opendemocracy.net/arts-Film/ghosts_4036.jsp

http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/arts/filmprogramme/filmprogramme_20060512.shtml

http://www.opendemocracy.net/globalization-migrationeurope/Morecambe_3235.jsp

http://www.newstatesman.com/200701080032

http://film.guardian.co.uk/london2006/story/0,,1929375,00.html

http://film.guardian.co.uk/interview/interviewpages/0,,2053186,00.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nick_Broomfield

http://kamera.blogspot.com/2006/10/nick-broomfields-documentary-ghosts.html

http://www.iht.com/articles/2006/10/02/opinion/fmsebastian.php

http://living.scotsman.com/tv.cfm?id=1871302006

http://www.kamera.co.uk/article.php/825

http://www.timeout.com/film/news/1651.html


March 15, 2007

Glossary for New Media Technologies: A–N

Introduction

This glossary was originally created for the AS New Media Technologies Unit.


Please note that this glossary is updated and expanded fairly regularly. It is intended that this will give you access to a wide range of terms that are conceptual as well as technical. You don’t have to learn all the terms just use the glossary as a point of reference to help you out if you get stuck. Hope you find it useful.


The development of Web 2.0 with the ability to gain feeds about new media technologies should make it easier to keep updated.


Students are strongly advised to add in feeds from sources such as the BBC Technology pages onto their own blogs in order to keep abreast of any changes.



The Glossary


Advertising. Any new mass media has enormous advertising potential as it can bring together audiences and advertisers in new and more effective ways. See paid for search and online advertising.


Analogue. Non digital form of recording and reproduction. Standard terrestrial TV is still fed from analogue transmissions however these are gradually being replaced by digital free-to-air services transmitted by the BBC. See linear editing.


ASDL. A broadband digital transmission technology which can send far more data down existing domestic phone lines than either conventional modems or ISDN. BT’s system offers half a megabyte per second. In Japan the latest in ASDL technology is offering Megabytes per second. This is more than adequate to use full-frame video streaming. Even faster FTTH technology is being pushed in Japan. Being cheaper to install it is now the major competitor to digital cable links provided by companies such as NTL. It requires special equipment at the exchange. ASDL is likely to be available to 90% of the population by mid-2005.

BT are also experimenting with mid-band.


Bandwidth. The amount of digitally encoded data which can be transmitted by particular systems.


Blogs. User generated material on specially created programmes that require no knowledge of coding and mark-up language. Now used for a variety of purposes from personal to political and company driven. A core part of Web 2 (2.0) if you like. Here is the Wikipedia entry


Blueray. See Format wars


Bluetooth. This is a wireless system which allows different products to communicate with each other using a common protocol. It is able to transmit large amounts of data. Portable computers can link to desktop computers or mobile phones via Bluetooth. You may well have a mobile phone with a Bluetooth wireless earpiece for example.


Broadband. The digital Holy Grail is having all homes linked to broadband networks which can handle huge amounts of digitally encoded data. It should be possible to be engaged in such things as video-conferencing and downloading films in real-time simultaneously in the same household. Likely to take several years to be fully developed and installed in a significant number of households. An important feature is the ability to have two of more computers from the same household linked to the internet. Currently it costs about £30 per month. Rumoured that the latest hard-disc recorders will add broadband internet access and be able to stream video and audio to TV, See also digital set-top boxes. Since writing this not so long ago the scenario has changed dramatically in the UK. This January 2007 story from the BBC shows "BT as having signed up 10 million broadband users".

CD Rewritable. This is a CD which can be recorded and then recorded over rather like an audiocassette. Not all CD-Players can replay these however as the system works on different laser frequencies. See also Rewritable digital media.

CD-Rom. These are CDs which are Read Only Memory (ROM). These are used for selling computer programmes. The data on them cannot be changed.

Citizenship. This concept builds on earlier ideas of citizenship which focused upon economic, political and social concerns. Economic citizenship gave people the right to trade, political citizenship gave people the rights to vote and have representative electable governments with powers limited by law. Social citizenship gave people the right to health care, education and pensions. See also cultural citizenship.

CMS. see Content Management Software.

Content Management Software. Content management software helps users organise their download materials. iTunes is probably the best known of these. It can be used to subsribe to podcast services for example as well a place where music or video content may be purchased. You can click this link to go to the free iTunes downloads site. (This should not be deemed as an endoresment of Apple's CMS above any other ones.). News from the BBC 12th of Jan 07 says that iTunes has made a deal with the Sundance film festival to make films available for download.


Convergence. You must know this term for the OCR AS exam*. This is the current process whereby new media and communications technologies are changing not only our media equipment but changing the ways old media institutions have worked. It is also globalising and changing our systems of gaining knowledge. The process is still in transition with new developments rapidly emerging. In a few years these processes will have matured and will be less dynamic. The way that mobile phones are now turning into multi-player gaming machines or able to provide location based information and send back images by wireless technology is a good example of convergent technologies creating new markets. See iPhone for a good example of this.

Cultural Citizenship. Cultural citizenship is about access to systems of representation within the arts and media to ensure that all have the knowledge and capabilities to represent themselves.

Cybersquatters. These are companies or individuals individuals who have registered variations or misspellings of its key brands, such as “Xbox”. They can make a lot of money out of this and also get respectable brands bad reputations. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/6449363.stm

Device for digitally storing still images. Whilst still unable to achieve the levels of image definition of conventional film higher capacity chips and storage systems are continuously eroding the quality difference. With the correct devices an image can be transmitted over the web instantaneously.

Desktop Recording Studio. The growth of podcasting has seen a growth of available desktop recording studios with some being USB powered and others having separate power supplies. Often small but flexible units they provide an interface with analogue microphones and computers. They can be combined with powerful software to create different effects and they can also have inputs from devices such as CD players and electronic instruments. empowering users to podcast onto the internet they are powerful tools in the collaborative and user generated world of Web 2.0. Below an early model the Lexicon Omega and the more recent Digidesign MBox2.

Lexicon Omega Interface












Digidesign MBox 2


Digital Distribution. It is necessary to differentiate between models of 'Business to Business' distribution and 'Business to Consumer' distribution. Digital forms of distribution can be advantageous to both small-scale ‘cottage’ industry sized companies and large media corporations. Digital videos can be distributed globally by specialist we-sites globally when users have high speed connections. They are only likely to find individuals often with little purchasing power. Large film companies can distribute to points of mass exhibition such as cinemas or outdoor arenas by high speed optic fibre cable or else via digital satellite links. With encrypted technologies it is now possible to release a film globally in cinemas if necessary in different versions for different markets on the same day. This will reduce piracy and maximise marketing opportunities whilst reducing significantly distribution costs. The ability to respond instantly to audience demand by downloading onto servers instead of relying on expensive and relatively slow multiple copy distribution will help increase profits and retain and develop audiences.


Digital divide. A very important social and cultural concept of the ‘information age’. This term refers to those who have access to a wide range of digital communications systems in terms of cost and knowledge and those who are excluded from this. It is becoming a serious problem of citizenship.

Digital set-top box. These boxes can receive digitally transmitted TV and Radio transmissions via satellite ( typically in Britain Sky), cable ( typically in Britain NTL and Telewest) and a standard TV aerial ( Freeview). Pace in conjunction with Sky + and others with hard disc-based digital recorders. Sky + has a 40 Gigabyte hard disc. A similar box is now being offered to Freeview viewers. It has a twin tuner and a 20 gigabyte hard disc. With a twin tuner it is possible to watch one programme or listen to radio whilst recording another.

Digital storage medium. Generic term for a wide range of storage media such as mini-disc, CD, CD-ROM, Hard disc, floppy-disc etc. These media may sometimes be designed by a company to only fit their products. Others will be generic. Some will be read only such as a CD or DVD game or film. Others are random access and as such can be totally or partially used many times.

Digital Versatile Disc / DVD. A disc which although the same size as a CD can hold many times the amount of data due to a combination of more sophisticated data compression systems, the ability to store and retrieve data from different levels of the disc. This means that moving images can be stored in a way which is more permanent than tape and maintains its quality over time, whereas tape particles lose their magnetism and lose details. Research is going on to more than double the storage capacity of the current DVD’s by using different laser technologies. The ‘versatility’ referred to in the name means that the equipment incorporates technical standards which means that digital information relating to images - static or moving sounds or text can be stored and retrieved.

DRM. (Meaning 1) Digital Rights Management. This is a major concern for companies and individuals dependent upon traditional copyright legislation to protect their intellectual rights. Within the the world of the web the Napster free downloding company became renowned for breaking these copyright rules in the USA. It was eventually forced to concede by the big record companies. 'Pirate downloading' is still seen as a major problem by many media comapnies. At the time of writing Viacom was taking Google to court with a $1 billion law suit relating to the copyrighted material availble on YouTube which was bought buy Google in 2006. The Wikipedia entry states:

Digital Rights Management (generally abbreviated to DRM) is an umbrella term that refers to any of several technologies used by publishers or copyright owners to control access to and usage of digital data or hardware, and to restrictions associated with a specific instance of a digital work or device. The term is often confused with copy protection and technical protection measures; these two terms refer to technologies that control or restrict the use and access of digital content on electronic devices with such technologies installed, acting as components of a DRM design. 

DRM.  (Meaning 2) DRM or Digital Radio Mondiale is the world's only, open standard digital radio system for short-wave, AM/medium-wave and long-wave. It has been endorsed by the ITU, IEC and ETSI. DRM is the only universal, open standard digital AM radio system with near-FM quality sound available to markets worldwide. Unlike digital systems that require a new frequency allocation, DRM uses existing AM broadcast frequency bands. The DRM signal is designed to fit in with the existing AM broadcast band plan. Below a Morphy richards DRM Radio.

DRM Radio






DVB-H (Digital Video Broadcasting for Handhelds). At 2007 CEBIT Nokia showed off its N92, which is due to launch later this year, which has a DVB-H tuner built in as well as access to an electronic programme guide so you can plan what you watch on your handset.


DVD-Audio. A music format which by having a higher sampling rate than conventional CDs can create more ‘natural sounding’ music.


DVD-HD. This is a new high definition format which Toshiba and its backers including Microsoft launched in 2006. It is one side of a format war with Sony who along with many consumer electronics heavyweights such as Philips and Panasonic have now launched Bluray. This is also supported by many Hollywood Studios.


DVD Recordable. A new breed of domestic machines has now appeared which can record TV or films in DVD format. Whilst currently still very expensive it is probable that they will replace the VCR in most households in 5 years time. They will be able to record digital radio signals as well. There is not currently a standardised format which makes things difficult for consumers.

Digital Video. Often called DV as an abbreviation. The ability to 'capture' moving images without the use of film on a digital storage format. The data can be edited ( post-production) digitally and streamed onto the web or put on a DVD or CD.


Dolby surround sound. This is a digital sound decoding system which provides the surround sound features now standard in cinemas. It is also a feature of domestic audio visual surround-sound systems and can disperse the sound around up to 7 ordinary loudspeakers and a sub-woofer to deal with very deep bass sounds known as a 7.1 system.


Download. The expression for taking things from the Internet and putting them onto your computer either temporarily or permanently.


E-commerce B2C. ( business-to-consumer): IdTV and mobile are likely to be the devices which dominate this sector by volume rather than by commercial value. ( see also T-commerce )


Encryption. This makes it impossible to use media texts without having specialist software able to read the security encryption. This is to reduce software piracy and will enable large companies to retain more effective control over their products. Digitised products can be kept in high security systems and downloaded in encrypted form by cinemas for example. See digital distribution


Entertainment Phones. The world’s largest mobile phone manufacturer is producing a new product clled Ngage. Containing on-board memory cards it will be able to play high speed games. The phone will be expensive and currently the possibilities of multi-player gaming on-line are perceived of as very limited. It requires the development of the youth market who are least able to afford this level of sophistication.


Firewalls. This is security software which stops unwanted e.mails or hackers getting into your computer when it is online. As such it is much more sophisticated than straight-forward anti-virus software. It is becoming increasingly important to have this software installed as the internet grows in size and complexity.


Flash Memory. Flash memory is solid state memory. It exists on cards such as Secure Digital cards commonly used in digital cameras and also as USB Flash Drives It is fast, versatile and more resilient to damage by dropping than conventional hard drives. The technology is advancing quickly and for high small computers which firms like "Samsung envisage as 'Super-Blackberries' it will be the first choice over conventional hard drives. For those wishing to conduct electronic warfare the Swiss Army USB drive knife seems like a perfect solution. Doubtless they will be found on Chanel lipsticks soon!


Flash Memory Swiss Army Knife


New memory for 2007 is going to be HHD or Hybrid Hard Drives. Vista the new Microsoft operating system is supporting them and Apple is also in the game. See HDD for more info.


Format Wars. "HD-DVD / Blueray Hybrid."


Free-to-Air. Digitally transmitted TV and radio services which cost the viewer no more than the standard licence fee.


FTTH. Fibre to the home technologies currently being pushed as the next big thing in Japan. This would enable a home to be watching several films in different parts of the house.


Global Positioning System ( GPS ). The ability to find out where you are in the world through special equipment including expensive mobile phones. These link with a satellite to give a precise position. See also Location-based services. Latest gizmo ‘The Hoppy’. Aimed at tourists this device monitors GPS satellites and gives an commentary stored on mini CD using MP3 data compression technology. When triggered by the GPS signals. It can be connected to the car stereo giving information to the driver in real time.


Google. An example of an internet search engine. It became a member of the American stock market in 2004 and first started in 1998. Its founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page were worth an estimated $10 billion each in August 2005.


GPS. See Global Positioning Systems.


HHD. 2007 will see the first Hybrid Hard Drives appear on production models of computers. This is likely to be particularly relevant to the "high end laptop market. However Sandisc has already announced a flash memory card which is claims is superior to HHD (see below). Whatever else the effect on small devices which demand high storage such as HD-video are likely to see these appearing.


Sandisk 32 Gb flash drive



Hard-disc recorder. A digital recording machine which records other digital sources on a hard disc similar to the ones found in computers. The advantage over a CD or DVD recorder is that material can be more easily edited before being recorded on another more permanent medium such as a recordable CD. (See also under Broadband).



HD-TV. High definition TVs came on sale in Britain in a big way in 2006 in the run up to the World Cup. whilst the quality is undoubtedly excellent when you see one with a live HD feed there is a problem in the UK of a lack of available programme material in HD. Rumour has it that many people are happily watching their HD TV not realising that the images are not being broadcast in HD. HD-DVDs also became available in 2006 led by Toshiba who have also brought out an HD-DVD Recordable. See also format wars. For a technical break down of the superior definition see "Wikipedia definition".


Hype Cycle. The Hype Cycle, used by Gartner to track the adoption of new technologies, has five distinct phases: “Technology Trigger,” “Peak of Inflated Expectations,” “Trough of Disillusionment,” “Slope of Enlightenment,” and “Plateau of Productivity.” "Link to debate between Gartner and Second Life reported by Reuters Jan 04 / 07 ."


Hypertext. The new aesthetic of the digital era. Originally perceived as the ability to move around a text through links making a medium non-linear and allowing a viewer to make some narrative decisions interactively. Dan Fleming (2000) suggests that there will be hyperlinking across media forms to produce metaforms.


IdTV. Interactive digital television. Currently at a simple level of development. Press red button to vote yes/no on an issue on the programme, or to get a brochure if it is an advert. 32 million households in Europe were expected to have this by end of 2003. This is likely to develop into a way of buying which means that media companies will gain transaction fees as well as advertising. In 2003 interactive games were the most successful market development in interactive TV. The rapid growth of the internet as an important vehicle for buying goods and services may well have made this technology semi-redundant since the time of writing and up-to-date sales figures havn't been seen. Certainly along with mainstream TV this seems to be a technological dinosaur.


Immersive environments. see Virtual Reality


Information filters. Media products which review various media outputs and industrial activities to synthesize and perhaps analyse these products and processes. These are necessary to cope with information overload.

Information gateways. A service, programme etc which provides access to media filtering and media metaforms.


Information inequality. Sometimes described as the ‘Digital Divide’. This expresses the concern that society will become polarised between the ‘digital haves’ and ‘have-nots’ forming another division in society. The lack of availability of information or else low quality information will directly impact upon citizenship.


Information Society. Many sociologists and media commentators are now suggesting that advanced western societies are increasingly becoming societies based upon the use of digitally stored information or data. This is increasingly affecting all our social cultural and scientific systems. Leadeing commentators on this such as Manual Castells have changed their ideas to calling contemporary society the Networked Society.


Interactive. This is an essential term to understand. Digital technologies are provide a wide range of interactivity which allow audiences to interact with the media product such as a TV show requiring some input or the ability to access certain stories stored on news programmes. Audiences can also provide feedback to media institutions large or small about their needs desires and criticisms of a media text in real time. This means that the man of the difficulties of creating and retaining an audience can be facilitated through these interactive monitoring systems. With mobile phone systems location based services can be accessed and information sent received such as booking a hotel or finding out what is on.


Interactive TV. The ability to feedback information into the TV system. This requires digital technology. Typically the flow of information from the receiver


Interface. Interfacing is the way in which people use technologies. A mouse or keyboard is the way we usually interface with computers. For games machines and consoles a range of joysticks were developed. The latest ways of interfacing are through digital imaging where a digital camera can image a subject and store this in the machine in ways that link to icons on the screen. The person can trigger these icons remotely via the camera link. This is the next technological step towards a more immersive environment. Both gamers and various sorts of artists such as dancers are beginning to exploit this technology which will become increasingly common. For one of the leading places to investigate human computer interfacing check out the MIT Media Lab. Wacky stuff including intelligent clothing.

Internet history of: See BBC History of the Internet


Internet Search Engine. To navigate the internet effectively it became necessary to invent new software to make a rapid search of the millions of domain names which mushroomed on after the start of the World Wide Web in the mid 1990s. These include search engines such as Yahoo and MSN. The most successful to date is Google. The way in which the companies who run these make money is by selling advertising space. See Paid for search.


iPhone. January 2007 CES saw the awaited launch of Apple's iPhone. This is a fine example of convergent technology in which a phone is able to download both music and video. The screen is a widescreen. The phone is also controlled via a touch screen rather than conventional buttons. Steve Jobs is claiming to have reinvented the phone. Some find Apple less than tempting however...


The Financial Times editorial comment found time to poke fun at iPhone at the weekend (Jan 13th 2007).

iPhone Launch Jaunuary CES 2007




iPod. An MP3 style music player which has been produced by Apple and has rapidly become a design icon much as the Sony Walkman did in the 1980s. At the time of writing (Aug 2005) Nokia the mobile phone company has planned a phone camera which will also be able to store s much music as a mini-iPod which it considers will rapidly outsell iPods. These phones are now comonplace but iPod is still ahead of the game. See also iTunes / podcasting.

Below iPod Nanos:

iPod Nanos







IPTV. IPTV is the current holy grail for the giants of the new media industries which is "delivery of video content via the net". Ideally this should be accessible in all rooms being streamed from a computer. Various industry linkups are being made between Microsoft and BT for example. Apple too is very interested. Another company on the scene is Sony who wish to use their long awaited Play-Station 3 to provide Blueray streaming to well Sony TVs of course1.

Apples Internet TV vision











ISDN. This is a high-speed data-link for computer communications. In Britain BT kept the price too high and people used conventional modems. It runs at 128 Kilobits per second twice as fast as an ordinary modem and it is possible to use the phone at the same time. It is now being superseded by ASDL and broadband technologies. At time of writing in 2007 it is now dead in the water as Broadband has taken off.


LAN. This is a local area network in which two or more computers are connected together. In the past this has been done by installing special cards and cables to connect to computers together physically. This is likely to change very soon with the commercialisation of Wi-Fi.

Linear editing. Video-recorders are examples of this technology. Unable to immediately access any of the date unlike data on a hard drive. This kind of editing is very slow and there is a loss of quality involved. To reproduce the text on the internet, via digital satellite or on DVDs the text must be digitally re-mastered. See also non-linear editing.

Local area Network. See under LAN and Wi-Fi


Location-based Services. The ability to be able to locate a person’s mobile phone handset, by working out which cell it is nearest to. Information can be passed to the emergency services for example. The new mobile network ‘3’ uses GPS to provide more accurate positioning. This information can be updated as a person moves.


Long Tail The. At its heart the idea of the long tail is straightforward. Online distirutors are able to carry much larger stocks or else can order instantly from small suppliers who are prepared to keep their publications / music available for enthusiasts. It is now much easier for consumers to access these products instead of being limited to what any particualr high street shop chooses to carry on its shelves.

Below representation of the long tail in the media through an analysis of Rhapsody an online store.

The Long Tail in Media















Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game. MMRPG’s for short. They are pervasive ( diffusing ) virtual environments populated by human-controlled digital people from around the globe. Players develop characters, work towards goals, solve puzzles. They are the visual marriage of text-based adventures and chat rooms. They are proving particularly attractive to women. Below image from the popular World of Warcraft.

World of Warcraft









Media ‘metaforms'. This is (1) the growth of television programmes, print media, websites devoted to other media. Some consider these programmes as just a case of self-absorption and a loss of contact from ‘the real’ ( wars, disasters, politics and policy etc.) Others argue that this is a sign of a growing need for data to make sense of other data leading to new relationships between audience and ‘text’. The metaforms which comprised the ‘Blairwitch Project’ can be seen as an example of an aesthetic life of its own being created which is not secondary to an original product. There was a movie, book and websites which became ‘official’ and ‘unofficial’ all of which were self-referential but also blurred the distinctions between ‘fact’ and ‘fiction’.. See also hypertext. See metadata gateways. (2) Growth of cross-media marketing strategies see total marketing.


Metadata gateways. These are currently being developed perhaps most successfully on the web and are likely to transfer to other media forms with the increasing convergence of technologies.


Metaforms. See media metaforms.


Midband. This offers 128 kilobits per second internet connection which is three times faster than a standard connection. Calls can be made simultaneously but will halve the net connection speed. This speed is still only 25% of an ASDL connection. The system is likely to appeal to those in rural locations without access to cable or ASDL. This is rapidly being made redundant.


Mini-disc. A rewritable digital recording system which can comfortably work when mobile. It records at half the data rate of conventional CDs and therefore quality is compromised. The rapid rise of MP3 and iPods is rapidly making this redunant technology.


MPEG. A data compression system which allows the recording and transmission of images using relatively small amounts of memory.


MMRPG. See Massively Multiplayer Online role Playing Game.


MP3. A digital compression system for transmitting music over the internet with short download times. The rate of sampling is only about half as much as on conventional CDs therefore quality is compromised. It is claimed that psychoacoustically people effectively notice little or no difference.


Narrowband. This is a standard internet connection via a dial-up modem. Maximum speed of these is 56 Kilobits of data per second. In reality depending upon line conditions these modems connect at about 40 kilobits per second. This is fine for basic e.mail and text-based websites. Audio, video and software downloads require broadband connections. A disadvantage of narrowband is that the phone cannot be used at the same time.


Non-linear editing. This is using hard discs on computers or now dedicated hard-disc digital recorders to edit sound and images. It is non-linear because any part of the information can be easily accessed unlike videotape which has to be dealt with on liner editing suites. This form of editing is especially useful for Digital Video enabling small-scale film makers to create and place their products on the internet fast and cheaply. See also linear editing.






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