Monday, February 25, 2013

New Media - Cell Phones/Smart Phones

The reading can be found here.

I seem not to have notes for this week, which is strange. But I think I can still guide the discussion, however brief it might be.

First of all, what do you think of Shiga's paper? Discuss.

Second, do you have a cell phone or smart phone? What does it do for you?

Third, what do you see as the future of mobile technology?

That is all.

Note that next week is Reading Week. There will be no blog entry next week.

1 comment:

Phil Wiebe said...

"The telephone offers one of the most convincing illusions of unmediated communication" (1) - in theory, yes; in practice, I find that telephone conversations are a token of impersonality or even dread to the people I know. A quick poll of 10 people in my immediate vicinity suggested that most people either dislike or are ambivalent to phone calls; the only person in the group who felt truly comfortable on the phone was someone who worked at a tech support call center. The illusion of face to face, unmediated contact is a poor illusion - it pulls the conversation out of its physical context yet keeps it in immediate, spoken words that require instant feedback. This is not to say I am against phone calls, I just think they are an awkward 'in-between' with real conversation on the one hand and textual conversations on the other. Shiga mentions telephone etiquette, and the development of such a code in the first place suggests that telephones mediate conversations much more than we think they do. On the phone, suddenly pauses are so much more noticeable, and more awkward, and everyone seems less eloquent. Even in a gnostic era, we recognize that physical presence is far superior (when given the opportunity, friends prefer to meet in person rather than over Skype or the phone or a Facebook chat group even where their desired activities to not necessitate physical presence).

Rimbaud: The case of Rimbaud is interesting on several levels that mirrors the progress of cell phones and wireless technology. First, we see him creating music with 'found samples' sheerly for the novelty, the whimsy, of it, rather than for the sake of excellence. Early adopters of wireless tech, I think, were motivated primarily by the 'cool' factor. Second, his act is a subversive act not in essence but in the fact that it demands that the act be condemned - he wanted to raise awareness of the 'violation' of privacy by 'violating' privacy. Third is a possible, cynical conclusion: there is no such thing as privacy beyond what the government legislates (and often does not enforce), and by willingly choosing insecure media we are co-agents in the violation of our own privacy.

In the end, the control and manipulation of technology will never be able to compete with the aesthetic and communicative magnificence of an unadulterated act of creative will arising solely from the human spirit. That said, I too have been minorly involved with scanner culture, but for different reasons. On lonely nights, I find a strange sense of comfort and voyeuristic thrill from tuning in to police radio. It gives you a sense of connection to something bigger than yourself, and yet something you have no responsibility to involved with.

I own a cell phone. It's an LG Rumour or Banter, I forget which, and is completely unremarkable in terms of feature set. It has the only things I require of a phone: a 'candybar' format keyboard and an intuitive texting interface. For mininum dollar, I get unlimited international texting and 150 minutes of talktime a month, of which I use 10 max. It lets me text anyone in the world as much as I want, and easily; this is all I require of a phone.

The future of mobile technology is integration with the human body. That is all.