Thursday, October 27, 2005

A quick question for Luke or Kevin

Is there any chance of our final marks being available on cecil before the exam?


Remote-Controlled Human

Check out this link here, i find it quite disturbing actually that this is even possible..


Wednesday, October 26, 2005

The end is nigh...

It's great to see people carrying on the conversations even after the assessment deadline: so the blog has been more than just a chore, then? Don't answer that - I know it's been hard work, but hopefully also enjoyable for some of the people some of the time.

This is just to let you know that the blog will be de-activated in the next 24 hours or so. Although it's quite an informal forum, it's still got an official status as part of a University of Auckland course, so it's been important for Kevin and myself to monitor it carefully throughout. But with the onslaught of marking and exams, we cannot continue to do this indefinitely...

I hope it isn't too much of a trauma for anyone who has become a blog junkie this semester (we know who you are!). So get in soon with any final pearls of wisdom or wit... and then go and set up your own blogs! This one will be archived online for posterity for as long as those tremendous human beings at Google see fit. Thanks for keeping me and Kevin busy and for making this blog a really interesting place to hang out this semester.

Best of luck to all with your exams.

Over and out...

Exam Summary

For those who missed out (ie. me), could somebody please summarize what was said about the exam in the last lec?

I've revised all my notes, but i'm just keen to know the format/structure of the exam.


Tuesday, October 25, 2005

light hearted read..

Did anyone see this piece in the sideswipe (NZ Herald) a few days ago, it made me laugh, I thought I might just post it up on here, despite the deadline having come and gone, purely for a bit of light hearted reading in your study break, or maybe to help you along with procrastinating instead of studying. Anyway have a read, and I sincerly hope that no-one from this course has EVER done this, or possibly would not having done this paper. Enjoy.
Following yesterday's ludicrous exchange between a help desk and a luddite, here's a transcript that resulted in the firing of the tech support person: Caller: I'm having trouble with WordPerfect. Operator: What sort of trouble? Caller: Well, I was just typing along, and all of a sudden the words went away. Operator: Hmm. So what does your screen look like now? Caller: It's blank; it won't accept anything when I type. Operator: Are you still in WordPerfect, or did you get out? Caller: How do I tell? Operator: Can you see the C: prompt on the screen? Caller: What's a sea-prompt? Operator: Never mind. Can you move your cursor round the screen? Caller: There isn't any cursor. I told you, it won't accept anything I type. Operator: Does your monitor have a power indicator? Caller: What's a monitor? Operator: It's the thing with the screen on it that looks like a TV. Does it have a little light that tells you when it's on? Caller: I don't know. Operator: Well, then look on the back of the monitor and find where the power cord goes into it. Can you see that? Caller: Yes, I think so. Operator: Great. Follow the cord to the plug and tell me if it's plugged into the wall. Caller: Yes, it is. Operator: Follow the cable for me, and tell me if it's plugged securely into the back of your computer. Caller: I can't reach. Operator: Even if you maybe put your knee on something and lean way over? Caller: Oh, it's not because I don't have the right angle - it's because it's dark. Operator: Dark? Caller: Yes - the office light is off, and the only light I have is coming in from the window. Operator: Well, turn on the office light then. Caller: I can't. Operator: No? Why not? Caller: Because there's a power failure. Operator: A power ... A power failure? Aha, Okay, we've got it licked now. Do you still have the boxes and manuals and packing stuff your computer came in? Caller: Well, yes, I keep them in the closet. Operator: Good. Go get them, and unplug your system and pack it up just like it was when you got it. Then take it back to the store you bought it from. Caller: Really? Is it that bad? Operator: Yes, I'm afraid it is. Caller: Well, all right then, I suppose. What do I tell them? Operator: Tell them you're too bloody stupid to own a computer.

Broadband by balloon?!

In case someone still reads this blog I would like to forward this article. Maybe an option for New Zealand? Anyway, an exciting technology with good broadband speeds.

Broadband by balloon completes successful trial in Sweden

10/21/2005 3:30:24 PM, by Jeremy Reimer

A group of researchers in Sweden have completed a successful trial this week, launching a 12,000 cubic meter weather balloon at an altitude of 24 kilometers. The balloon transmitted a steady data link at a transmission speed of 11Mbps.

This test is the latest in a series of efforts to prove that transmitting broadband Internet via lighter-than-air craft is not only technically feasible but economically practical. Ultimately, the goal is to launch balloons that can transmit at speeds that are much higher. Dr. David Grace, the projects' lead scientific officer, explained:

Proving the ability to operate a high data rate link from a moving stratospheric balloon is a critical step in moving towards the longer term aim of providing data rates of 120Mbps.

The team that launched this balloon consists of 14 different partners worldwide, including the research wing of British Telecom. The radio link equipment was designed by engineers at the University of York in the UK. The effort is being partly funded by the European Union (EU).

Is there really a need for transmission of broadband Internet by a fleet of balloons? The idea conjures up visions of a retro-futuristic world, a kind of Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, where giant swaths of airships plow the skies in pursuit of Gwenneth Paltrow. But the idea has some practical merit. Wired connections aren't always available, and if they are, they can often be limited by the bandwidth of existing telephone cables. While many high-speed fiber-optic cables were laid down in the heady days of the dot com boom, they still reach only a fraction of the people who might want to use them. Satellite transmission, while fast and available over a large geographic area, has other issues. Satellites are extremely expensive to launch, and suffer from latency issues due to the speed of light. Anyone who has ever placed a transatlantic call over a geosynchronous satellite will have experienced the frustrating lag that disrupts the flow of conversation and can wreak havoc with online gaming.

Stratospheric balloons, on the other hand, cost less than a tenth the amount for the launch and communication infrastructure compared to satellites. They suffer none of the latency problems associated with satellites. Also, one airship could conceivably support more than a thousand times as many users as a satellite. Alan Gobbi, the marketing manager of the York Electronic Centre explained some possible applications for the technology:

One business model could be an alternative to wired access in suburban areas where costs of roll out are high. It could be offered on high-speed trains and in remote areas.

The next trial of the technology is scheduled for Japan, sometime next year.

Monday, October 24, 2005

I live in the internet life

Just few hours before, my internet suddenly could not be connected for a few hour. Then I realised that how important the internet is in my life. In that few hours I just wonder around my room and got nothing to do... We know that internet is a important thing, but never though that it became a part of my life. I really felt so bored and empty for a moment! So I was starting at my computer screen and thinking what is I don't have a internet? There were so many things went through my head. Firstly I cannot post this on the blog; I can not check my emails about the time of a meeting; I cannot transfer the money to my boyfriend, so that he can pay our phone bill tonight; I cannot download the notes from the cecil to study and I will not able buy those pretty clothes online!! etc... Internet became another world that I live in. I have my internet friends and it's just like real life friends. They are divided in different social group, and I talk about different topics with different people. This network is amazing! I actually get to know lot of new information from the internet more than the really life I am living in. I realized, in the real life I ofen say that 'let me check on the internet'. I relay internet so much, but never realising it. I was actually thinking that what if one day the electricity is gone, computer can not be turn on and internet can not be used. How am I going to live? Most times I live in that imagined internet society, I think it's actually kind of scary that the technologies is slowly manipulating my life.

Saturday, October 22, 2005


I have not used my hotmail account for quite some time I had forgotten that if you do not use it within approximately 3months your account is de-activated. I find that very frustrating, because I realised that everything that I had saved is all gone. I didn't know that when they deativate my account I was going to lose everything, I thought that it just stops other e-mails coming through or that I only lose the things that I haven't saved into the draft folder. Very annoying and quite sad because I had saved e-mails from very close friends. Well it's all gone. I admit I am so use to using the university e-mail that I have forgotten at times about checking or using my hotmail to keep contact with friends that are either still in NZ or overseas. I realised there are still people posting even after the due date of blog entries. Anyway, I'm not very fond of my hotmail account as I use to be because it is not very long lasting with the things I have saved, that meant a lot to me.



I was reading section C on the herald yesterday and its reference to Armageddon. The headline suggets what kind of crowd could be expected, one being geeks and the other being peeks. Don't know what one you fit into, don't worry to much its just a genralisation, I've seen some famous sports stars at these events so if they go to it I guess we can too.

I have actually gone to a couple of these events, and there not to bad, besides the bad B.O and overused disco lights they are actually quite entertaining and interesting. It seems that Armageddon is an event where age, class, race, and social backgrouds are irrelevant, that Armegeddon brings together subcultures of people, which overall make a whole brand new subculture for the 3 days that it is on. I'm guessing the majority of people are peekers wanting to know whats coming to our shores. If I recall correctly there should be the trailers or some sort of preview for the new PS3 and Xbox 360, which should gather some people to the event.

Armageddon seems like a place where people are forced to touch and fiddle with stuff, unlike the malls, where "do not touch" or "break it, you buy it" is the policy. It looks like its a chance for producers to gain a market or niche, or if your a Playstation company to reinforce your market with the latest console. It is a place where particaption is encouraged and then taken aboard by consumers, who seem bundled with advertisemenst and trash talk, and some how it works, because you end up buying rediculous stuff sometimes.

However it is also a place where technology meets consumers, and where consumers are wow'ed with the latest and brightest technology, and besides the blanket of advertisers some are actually there to know the future of technology.

So Armageddon is place for society, producers and technology to develop a relationship that will help economically and socially towards the future, this could mean through educating consumers with bad or good technolgy, or with helpful tips in internet and so on. But if you don't want to be covered in B.O, I suggets you don't go, but it is a great experience and suggest you do go its cool.

Cyber China

The digital addiction is worldwide and a frantic race to connect and to catch up takes place at almost all developmental levels. China, my homeland ,for example, could be considered a 'third generation tiger',but the scale and the pace of the digital interconnectivity involves in the country seems set to eclipse the rest of Asia - and perhaps the world.

Under the political, social,cultural and technological deep freeze that was China in 1979 there were only about 2 million telephones for the population of almost abillion.By the end of 20th century, the number of telephones had increased to 100 million, and by 2002,this had doubled to 200 million with 65 million of these being mobile phones!
This surging and seemingly unstoppable grouwth in telephony is only one small aspect of China 's grouth in cinnectivity.The Internet has been also diffusing rapidly and extensively throughout China.5000user in 1994 grew to over 80million by 2004. IF the groeth rate can be sustained at anywhere near this level, in several years China will; have more Internet users than any other country on earth.a big part of the "IF" is the chinese one-party rule over the country. For example Chinese users love the Google search because it reads Chinese characters. In 2002,the chinese government blocked access to Google and also tried to limit access to the CNN aND bbc websites.Censoring the Internet 's content, especially its political content, seems set to be a constant rearguard action for the government.

Given the enormous potential of the Chinese economy, and its obvious attraction as a market for world-wide companies,the resolution to this particular dilemma is going to be one of the most important and interesting aspects of the wired world in the years to come.

Vodafone's Free Text Weekend - The Gift and The Curse

I love Vodafone's free text weekend for many reasons, mainly because I can send an unlimited amount of text messages to my friends who have vodafone mobiles for the whole weekend!! It's a great way of keeping in touch with people I don't really see often or who live in other cities.

However, the free text weekend also means that I receive useless forwards, texts from friends I don't contact for a reason, and although my phone has substantial memory, I still have to delete a lot of texts.
Because texting is free, texts arrive so frequently, that I end up having three conversations via text at once, and because I'm so busy, I don't even need to watch tv or listen to music because I won't be paying attention. Texting becomes an activity and entertainment for the whole weekend, since it's free.

Oh, and PXT is now just 20c vodafone to vodafone, and 50c vodafone to telecom. How do I know this? Because I am forced to listen to this pre-recorded message every time I call customer service to check my balance, top up my account etc. It can't be fast forwarded, so in effect Vodafone is making me listen to its current promotions.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Internet Pics

A 21 year old christchurch man has appeared in court, charged with reckless driving after he posted pictures of what he had done on the internet. The pictures clearly showed dangerous driving and people from both here and overseas complained to police. The police found it easy to track the driver down as his car registration number was visible in the pictures he posted. The driver pleaded guilty and was disqualified from driving for 9 months and community service. This shows the way in which whatever you put on the internet becomes part of public space and inturn there can be both positive and negative effects such in this case.

Advertising and Technology

With the internet, mobile phones, video games systems, on-demand cable, DVD's, DVR's and other technologies consumers are not as accessible for mass market advertising as with television and print. People are continually being informed through technology such as the internet. Consumers how get information from a larger number of sources. They are not acccessible they have such opportunites as switiching between many channels of satellite television and make quick cell phone calls during the commercial breaks. This has lead to people wanting to engage with products rather than being given sales pitch. There has being a move away from invasive advertising that is often anoying and relies on a captive audience. Consumers are no longer tolerating this form of advertising and inturn there has been a change towards a more personal strategie with in advertising becoming very appealing to online networked consumers. Advertising has changed due to our use of technology. It has changed to audience friendly and making the product personal this creates a postive experience.

Free Internet?

You're going to have to move to San Fransisco, California. San Fran is apparently behind Philidelphia but the concept is still revolutionary. The Mayor of SF has been behind launching a project to supply the entirety of the city with free wireless internet, wi-fi.

The image behind this is the importance of the internet in job progression, information and knowledge. They see it "spurring economic growth" and help low income citizens use the internet.

This ideal was wonderfully appalling to me. If the internet is free, the possibilities and potential of its use world wide increases ten fold. Right now Google is one of the leading bidders. Google would not be losing money as much as picking up a lot of profit on localized advertising.

( "San Francisco Weighs Wi-Fi Plans"

Tiger's Gizmondo- another addition to the world of mobility

Specification List:
  • ARM9 400 MHz processor
  • GSM tri-band/GPRS Class 10
  • SiRF GPS
  • TFT screen @ 240x320
  • WAP 2.0
  • Multimedia messaging/SMS
  • MP3 playback
  • Polyphonic MIDI
  • MPEG-4 playback
  • JPEG camera
  • SD flash card reader
  • Bluetooth
  • Stereo headset socket
  • Windows Media Player 9
  • Airplane Mode

  • Check out IGN's preview here:

    Next-generation DVD war is coming soon.

    There is a DVDs war coming soon between HD DVD and Blu-ray. They are both high-definition video and store much more data than today’s DVD. As a result, tody’s DVD will be soon replaced by the HD DVD and Blu-ray. After the DVD’s capacity increases, the content in the release DVD will also increase. The film is always about 1-3 hours long, so as the increasing in the capacity of the DVD, the extra text will be increased. Consumers consumer the DVD, in some reasons, because they are more like to see the extra text, they wonder to know what is behind the scene. With the increasing of the extra text, the promotion of the DVDs will make a great success in the market.

    Free file hosting

    Has anyone ever tried hosting files on an online server, for others to download? I go to a forum site where everyday members post up full albums, full movies etc. What they do is rip a CD to MP3, then zip all of the MP3s into a single .zip file and upload them to a hosting site like FileFront. Then they post the link at the forum site and you simply click it and go through the process of downloading the .zip file. Then you open the .zip file and it expands out again, giving you the album's worth of MP3s. It's a pretty handy way of getting music and sharing your music with others. That said, you can do the same for any files, and you don't have to necessarily zip them first.

    It's free to sign up to FileFront if you want to upload something for your friends in another city or country to download. And I think the file size can be unlimited.

    FileFront website =

    Free Information, Free Speech and the Internet

    Propaganda has been a problem for a long time. Many governments have sought to control their people through the promotion of lies and skewed images in the media. There is no difference today, especially in the United States and especially with the US war in Iraq. There is however a new component to free information and free speech. Instead of anonymous flyers and paper hand outs, there is the internet. A plethora of opportunities to project new opinions and information into local and global discourse through pod casting, blogs, live journals and websites. A US Supreme Court Justice in the 1960's said that if everyone is allowed to speak in the media that there will be a lot of lies but eventually the truth will prevail (regarding corporate ownership of more than one media company). The internet is safe guarding this concept we hold so dear in our societies, the truth. There are a lot of lies out there, but no one can silence anyone else - and therefore the truth will prevail.

    pirate radio?

    I used to have a bit of an interest in pirate radio once and came across an interesting site that outlines how to use your iPod Mini and an iTrip Mini to create an ALMOST pirate radio station...

    First you have to increase the range at which your iTrip Mini can transmit, which you achieve by removing the protection at the top. Underneath is an antenna which you can extend out using your fingernails or tweezers. The people at the site reckon it increased their range by 20 - 30%

    Next you install all the stations on the iPod dial to broadcast on, so you can switch the frequencies if you need to later. You should be able to transmit the music from your iPod in a 10-30 foot radius.

    Now you're ready to go and play pirate... e.g. when you're sitting at the lights and the car next to you is blasting the radio reeeeally loud (how bout Queen St on a Friday or Saturday night), you identify the radio station, set the iPod to the frequency and transmit your music instead, overriding what they are playing. With the iPod you it doesn't have to be music, you could easily load on some mp3s or .wavs of you talking, some fart noises, whatever.

    Also, if you invest in the Griffin's iTalk, you can record your voice onto the iPod and make recorded 'pirate' messages
    on the fly...

    I haven't tried any of this yet, but once I get my hands on an iTrip mini i'll be sure to give it a go. Here's the link for more info:

    Post or email ?

    Today as I opened the letterbox to check in anyone loved me and I was pleasantly surprised to find that a whole two people did even if one letter was to tell me up pitiful my bank balance was looking, but it didn’t really matter because I had gotten a tangible letter. Don’t get me wrong I couldn’t live without my email of msn but the significance of receiving an email is lost to technology, which we often take for, granted! Whilst this a commonly discussed topic, I figured with this being my last blog it was a good way to recap on just how much technology has affected the everydayness of our everyday

    Advertsing and the Internet

    Are we as consumers being constantly exploited? If you owned a major corporation, like Coca-Cola Co., how much money would you pay to know where on the internet people were going and what interested them? Or, what people spend their money on?
    To some companies marketing products, this information is near invaluable. It is used to advertise the product in such a way that no only is it seen by the most people but it appears to be more attractive. A good cyber example are the advertisements on the sides of the google search page or the yahoo. Credit card companies sell the information of how much money is spent where including what general demographic spends it. The biggest problem is, is this information private? Do you want companies to bombard you on every aspect of the internet and for all of your information to be freely handed out without your consent?

    DVD Formats

    I was looking through for inspiration and found this particular gripe from a consumer who had purchased a Sony Handicam DVD recorder. I dug further and found a history of this happening to Sony’s customers, both on the public on professional spheres. In an interview with a broadcast engineer, Mr Shearer, I discovered a long history of Sony trying to go their own way and not succeeding.

    Basically the problem comes from Sony making sure that their products can not be mixed with products from different companies, or even form earlier versions of their own systems. When you buy the DVD Handicam recorder from Sony everything insure correct operation you need to have updated all of your entertainment appliances with current technology. This includes the DVD disks used to record images and the DVD player that you watch the images through. This is because Sony has usually tried to go in its own direction with media formats or systems. When Sony produces a line of DVD’s for example they will use the +R format over the –R DVD format. This means when you fork over your hard earned $1000 dollars to buy the entry level Sony Handicam DVD recorder the DVD produced will be very limited in its application. Until you can locate a DVD player with the +R format you will not be able to view your creative visual master piece. Either that or you will have to buy the latest version DVD player which can play both formats.

    Going in their own format direction is called being proprietary. Sony has wanted to be proprietary since the beginning of the home entertainment era with the Betamax format instead of VHS or more recently Sony’s Blue-Ray DVD technology. Neither where picked up by the majority of major movie production studios. Instead VHS dominated the early market and more recently instead of Blue-Ray System’s, studios like New Line Cinemas and Universal have again gone for the competition HD-DVD range created by Toshiba. Arguably both Betamax and Blue-Ray are superior formats but content security and market intractability are better served by the HD-DVD System.

    Just ask anyone in the industry about a similar effort made by Sony with its XD Cam Blue-Ray DVD System for the broadcast and professional market. In order to use the Sony XD Cam format studios would have to change their entire production suits to be compatible. Many production studios just cannot justify the cost or explain why they need to change their whole production process for minimal gains. The XD Cam Blue-Ray System has only found use in very specialised areas while rest of the industry has looked to almost any other manufacturer to supply next generation of production equipment.


    Based on a Telephone interview with a broad cast engineer Mr B. Shearer. 21 October, 2005.

    Armageddon Pulp Culture Expo

    Not related to the course really but seeing its the last day of blogging and it is somewhat related i thought i would post about it anyway :p For those of you who do not know what the expo is check out their homepage

    The expo runs from October 22nd-October 24th and XBOX 360 is going to be there! Although they are showing limited entry demo's behind closed doors.. still you never know, you might be lucky and get picked. There is also an animation screening room and sci fi celebs, also a king kong panel with some guys from Weta (on the sunday), PSP is being promoted, Age Of Empires 3, and a whole heap of other games.

    Also John Rhys Davies (LOTR), Matthew Lewis (Neville Longbottom in Harry Potter), Cliff Simon (Stargate SG1), Tom Buchanan (Survivor Africa/Survivor Allstars) are some of the stars in attendence.

    There is also a Brotown panel, Premier showing of the Stargate Atlantis pilot, Madman will be there with a heap of discounted anime dvd's.

    Entry cost - Adult one day $15
    Adult - 3 Day Pass - $42

    Location - Aotea Centre, Sat-Mon

    Just thought i would post it up as there is the chance to see some of the latest gaming technology and also a chance to see the latest developments on the King Kong movie.

    Good luck for exams everyone!


    Why Computer games are a phenomena that primarily interests males.

    I recently read an article that was talking about how males become immersed in computer games when to a large extent females are exempt from the industry proportionatly. It suggested that the main reason was a biological one and this was basically because the part of the brain that controls hand eye coordination was larger and therefore men in general were better at things such as computer games and the part of the brain that allows people to multitask was smaller and this allowed for males to fully immerse themselves in the games. This may be the reason that for the most partt games have masculaine narratives setting and themes and video game producers have tapped into the male market more effectively and are yet to capitalize on nearly half of the population.

    Xbox 360

    I have just read that Xbox 360s worldwide release date is supposedly going to be December 2nd. This is several months before the release date of its main competitor in that console gaming market, Playstation 3. This good be a good marketing strategy for Microsoft as traditionally the earlier released "next generation" consoles have been able to greatly outsell those that are released later on and therefore take a longer amount of time to be embraced by people in the market place. However, Games that are on the consoles are often the most compelling reasons for people to buy a console over another and Playstation 2 had less processing power and worse graphics but was viewed by many to have far superior games to the Xbox and that fact that it was a more established console led to much greater sales worldwide and it will eb tough for Xbox 360 to outsell Playstation 3 as well.


    I tried the search engine at the top the blog on the left and it states there are 13 matches but only 11/13 is shown and I know myself that I have posted more than what it shows. I'm a little confused like most of the other students in this course. I hope it all works out in the end about this confusement. I have to admit, I'm getting addicted to blogging, I'm suppose to be doing some revision for my courses and here I am posting a blog, (it's a conspiracy, what have you done to me Luke?). I think that maybe it is to do with the fact that today is our last day for blogging by 4pm, which by the way brings me to one question, can our blogs still get through after today incase we need to post questions regarding about the exam or course notes, reading, or fielding for help from classmates etc?

    Even though technologies are all around us, and everyone uses them, I never knew how much I need technology around me until one day I was left alone in my friends room. I needed full concentration with no disturbance. There was no T.V, no Radio's or stero and the internet had no connection just when I was in the middle of doing some research. Sure I wanted no distraction of t.v or people, or music etc but no internet that was just frustrating. When I needed a break from my essay say atleast for 10minutes there was really nothing else to do in there so I relied on the internet atleast, and little do I know somehting is wrong with the internet, first it was slow and took minutes after minutes, then around 1pm a few weeks ago was unable to establish any connection, it was strangely odd, because everyone else in that unit had access to the internet. There was nothing wrong with the wires or plugs. Anyway, without the most essential items that mark our daily routines I think most of us would become pretty bored. There really isn't much time to do other great activities especially near the exam time or essays to be handed in. But for little breaks listening to some music would help for some relaxation at the time of my breaks. From now on I intend to carry a little FM/AM radio around me. That way I can still keep up on the music, the news or events that are happening around say auckland or the world. A great cultural tool it is!

    The Beauty in Imperfection

    Considering it was the end of semester and we'd all be stressed out about exams I thought an interesting blog on an area of century old tradition that is being modified and changed by technology would be appealing. To most people they are heard at emotional times-wedding, funerals, ANZAC day parades, and while many may not be excited about their exceptional volume and tendency to jump out of tune at will, the humble bagpipe hold a special place in all our hearts.

    I am no exception to this rule, in that I have been playing them since I was about 13. While I can personally vouch that they are a great instrument indeed, they do have their shortcomings. Firstly they are quite hard to get sounding decent (although playing actual songs is fairly simple), added to this is the volume, which over years of use is not to healthy for the ears not to mention the next door neighbours who have to put up with the daily screeching as they are warmed up(and also, did I mention the handmade price starting at about$1500 a set).
    It is in acknowledging these shortfalls, that technology has moved in with an answer- the electronic bagpipe. While filling a small market the electronic bagpipes have never been as effective as other instruments such as the electronic keyboard in emulating the success of the original instruments (which is illustrated by the fact that traditional bagpipe sales still far outweigh those of the modern electronic bagpipe). Why is this? As a bagpipe player I can totally relate to the appeal in electronic bagpipes in defeating the problems that have always been evident with my bagpipes. The appeal of playing a perfect song every time, knowing that my bagpipes would not fail me is obviously great. But there’s something about a traditional bagpipe, with all it’s faults, thatfor me makes it vastly better than it’s electronic version. It is in it’s faults that lies it appeal. When I don’t know that a song is going to come out perfect, and it does the feeling is immense which is something that the electronic bagpipe cannot offer.

    This problem with bagpipes raises wider questions for all areas of technology, as it is in their abilty to be perfect (eliminate noise could be a way of describing it) that they can loose their appeal. In the case of the bagpipes their beauty lies in their imperfection, and technology, in the form of electronic bagpipes, eliminates this imperfection and thus their beauty. So next time you hear a set of bagpipes going out of tune, don't block your ears but rather take a moment to contemplate the fact that you that you have just witnessed what makes the bagpipe what it is- imperfection.

    Popular music and digital network.

    Timothy Taylor asserts "Digitization is the most fundamental change in the history of western music since the invention of notation in the ninth century". Digitization complicates distinction between production and live text - whereby many technologies of production are 'reproduction'.

    1. Music production, distribution texts (the music itself) and consumption.
    2. The lines are blurred between these categories.
    3. Music Industry versus File sharing networks. Files being exchanged through MP3 format (in the last few years major labels have been finding ways/models of file exchanging while still reinforcing consumption of legal downloading or purchasing.

    This therefore highlights the copyright of music within digital network. In a western captialist system copyright for music is divided in different rights, primarily the right of author of composition and the musical involvment within the composition. Do recordings belong to the public domain - that if they are well known and generate wealth - dont they become public domain rather than property (economic property) to any individual.

    However, while music and digital network can become hostile towards each other music genres such as hip hop, techno and dance music rely on previous samples of music to construct some musical element within the composition. Therefore digital technologies become an integral part of the music in these particular genres.

    Intimacy with technology and internet.

    Over the course of this paper i have found that my use of the internet has gone from, weekly to daily. I have become a internet junkie, surfing the net almost everyday, going through links upon links upon links. One can almost say that my internet use has turned into a somewhat excessive routine. This therefore raises a host of issues, most importantly the issue of 'intimacy with technology'. We as users of the internet have become more and more dependent on the the internet in that our daily routines are either run or influenced by the media. Through our daily dosage of emails to our viewing of current events, our daily routines are constantly becoming more mediated through the media and are exercised through the internet. Our intergration with technology has been defined by the internet. Particularly for myself, the internet provides a world of limitless opportunities where i can surf, search, research and find things that, in the library perse' would be a definite challenge to find. This website shows the amount of 'active internet' users around the world per month, whereby the technology capital of the world, China has 99.80 million internet users and New Zealand has 2.34 million internet users. While both statistics have a huge differential gap, the numbers alone are beyond measure and is an indication that the internet around all parts of the world has become a viable source in everyone's lives.


    Hi All,

    After a stressful day yesterday, I thought I would watch a movie while I was having my dinner, little do I know I ended up watching 2 movies than expected. Both movies had Jet LI in it, the movie title is "Leathal Weapon 4" and "Hero". Both in which Jet LI dies and he plays as a bad guy. However what disturbed me Hero. I admit this was my first time watching the film Hero directed by a fomous Chinese director Zhou Yi Mou. Most of his films are tragedy and serious, not much humour etc. The use of digital technologies such as the use of computer-generated imagery, the wireless removal system made it possible for the flying effects and running on water etc. The speed of the bow arrows in some way seems unrealistic but realistic at the same time. This moive is based on cultural knowledge obviously. Most people may be already well aware of China's history, such as the ruling Dynasty's. A very long history. Qin Dynasty of course, is one of the strongest of the 7 Dynasties left, over took the other six. According to China's history, China still has not become a whole country yet, because of course war broke out again, became 3 dynasty etc, the last dynasty was Qing. Which ended before Mao Ze Dong came into power turning the China into a communism one. Anyway, Hero at some point was very confusing, later I managed to grasp the plot, there was three different versions of the story that was told between the Qin King and the assassinator from Zhou. I admit I liked the free look of the costume worn by the females when they were fighting. Despite the well acomplished digital techniques accomodating the spectacle levels for the audience, I found the storyline at first a little confusing and not actually sure if the storyline is completely true about the Dynasty between Zhou and Qin. For those who know about Chinese history (such as the dynasties) and have seen the film Hero please do comment to let me know if there really is 3 assasinators after the King of Qin and if the reason for killing him was true or not in the film. Near the end of the film, how the assassinator (Jet Li) decided not to kill the king becasue he to wants mankind of human peace and that Qin king was the most capable and intelligent King of all the other dynasty then why was it not then that the king changed the law for example, not to kill those who had attempeted to kill him, because the assassinator had changed his mind not because he truly failed to kill the king. In the end the Kill still gave permission to the army to kill the assassinator (Jet Li). In the film it states that Nameless was killed/died as an assassinator but buried as a Hero. I just thought after all those spoken words about having peace, the King could have changed and speared the one that let him live. It was unjustice, I know I know it is history, and nowadays our views are different etc etc. Overall, the film isn't too bad. According to an in interview that I have read, I know that Zhou Yi Mou would like to do something a little more different in his films now, like incorporating humour, but no doubt he is a great 5th generation director.

    Music Consumption

    The idea of music consumption as primarily social and cultural raises a host of ideals persuading the debate on the economy of digital music. Throughout the discussion, social and cultural activities differentiate immensely towards the economic activity, which is more so vested within the interest of generating money while social activity is constructed around consumption as means of expressing ones’ identity. Nevertheless it is essential to “remember that social and cultural factors complicate any economic analysis of music[1]” and more so of music consumption. The social and cultural activity is subjected around consumption as means of identity and securing a place within the social order. In response to the current debates on the economy of digital music, this social and cultural activity allows the economy of digital music to take a stance on the very aesthetic of music. The act of consumption can be viewed as “the creative activities through which individuals and groups make sense of or ‘decode’ these meanings[2]”. However the influences of pirating and downloading have bruised the physicality of consumption, in that people download the files without generating any profit whatsoever. Nevertheless social cultural activities help to inform the economy of digital music, in a way that defines the social identity of one self and on the other, the reality of the influence of technology.

    [1] L. Goode, and N. Zuberi, Media Studies in Aotearoa/New Zealand, Pearson Education New Zealand Limited 2004. P.215.
    [2] M. Lister, J. Dovey, S. Giddings, I. Grant, K. Kelly, New Media: A Critical Introduction, Routledge 2003. P.230.

    TV on your mobile

    With the inclusion of video and audio features to the 'third generation' mobiles it was just a matter of time before television programming jumped onboard this 'mobile entertainment'.

    Both Vodafone's 3G and Telecom's T3G offer streamable video highlights of news, sport and wheather. But also available are made for mobile television episodes called "mobisodes". A good example of the "mobisode" feature is "24:Conspiracy" which is a spin off of the actual TV series 24, and features an entirely new cast and situation independent from those on the TV series. It consists of 24 mobisodes of 60 seconds in length and was made to coincide with the broadcasting of the fourth series (currently being screened on TV3).

    As I do not have a third generation mobile I checked the Vodafone and telecom websites to see what both networks have to offer. On each website their is a schedule of what is available, when, and also some sample clips to view. It seems that at this time "mobisodes" are only available on Vodafone's 3G network, with Telecom focusing more on entertainment such as music videos, E! channel clips and the universal sport,wheather, and news highlights.

    benefits of computer games

    after writing my blog on marketing computer games last week and actually playing one for the first time i decided to actually do some research into computer games to see whats really happening there..they seem to be continually evolving and advancing into new realms to increase and enhance the game experience for players.
    while surfing the web looking for information on computer games i found some interesting reseach that was focussed on the benefits on "shoot-up" computer games like counter strike. although most people stereotypically associate these games with enouraging violence in their players, this research showed that in fact these games, when played for upto 8 hours a week can in fact improve young players' attention span, hand-eye co-ordination, memory, maths skills and their ability to multi-task. it was seen however that there was a rapid drop-off in these abilities for anyone who played for over 8 hours a week. the researcher hoped this research could be used to help computer game designers to plan their games and what they should consist of and to demonstrate to parents what benefits computer games could provide for their children. he also believed that computer games could be used for people with learning difficulties, motor skills problems or for those needing rehabilitation after an accident or stroke (though i'm not exactly sure how shoot-up computer games could help all of these people).
    he reckons that "Like it or not, computer games are here to stay,".

    Web Design

    The web represents a new point in popular culture in that it reflects our experimentation with space and how we negotiate and navigate with space. Web design is simply not just a 'decorative' term but it is a combination of pushing boundaries artistically. Therefore the web design is defined as web intrinsically spatial media, that puts us as users to explore space.

    The lecture on Web design: Aesthetics and the Politics of Space, mentioned a website which played on the metephor of organised space and highlights how space capulates mediation. It also delved with putting narratives into small spaces. This website was really interestiny, the whole concept, design and overall look was quite stunning.

    On MSN they have a host of accounts that one could activate from hotmail to msn messenger. One of the accounts, which was and still is popular, is MSN People and Groups which is where one can design a website and invite friends, who are also on the MSN network, and post up pictures, comments, web pages among many other limitless things. During my high school years, my friends and i designed a site, (which has been deleted due to lack of interest) and from this site we developed our own little community with other students within the Auckland region. This site was abumdent with photos and countless blogs which ranged from "that fight that happened on friday" to "who's going to the ball" and eventually developed to "Yeah! Bursary is nearly over". These group sites can placed under the 'network media' which is part of the Liquid Architecture. The network media, which also includes blogs and social networking, is defined by the crossing of expreience and personal experience of the member who belong to the site and it is not so much a medium of meaning. It is a personal and intimate space that anyone can design.

    My friend has a website which is a site that caters for the 2003 class of her school *which shall remain nameless*. This is site has photo galleries, forums and discussion boards that are somewhat only allowed access to particular members. This links with the 'sterile enviroment' whereby analougs to emails are constructed around a gated community. This gated community can also be found within sites such and

    Web design is an intrinsic part of new technology and media.

    digital music awards

    I came across an interesting article about the recent BT Digital Music Awards. I didn't even know such a thing existed, but it is apparently in its fourth year. It's refreshing to see the recognition of technology within the scope of music.

    The article focuses on Coldplay winning several of the awards, including Best Digital Marketing Campaign. As we know, the Intenet has become a great tool for marketing. It's relatively cheaper than conventional marketing methods, potentially targets more people and the right people, enables use of impressive visual effects, and perhaps most importantly it presents the option of interactivity with the target audiences.

    The Coldplay site itself is quite cool ( and even has an interactive radio component, which also won an award (for Best Digital Music Community).

    No surprise to see that iTunes was awarded Best Digital Music Store. Anyway, here's the article if you would like to read more:,16559,1595231,00.html

    -Shannon Doherty

    Will it be our department's new name "Home Theatre, TV and Media Studies"?

    With the development of technology of home theatre system, there is lower box office attendence for film industry all over the world. How comfortable it is to watch an interesting film at your cosy home but not crowded and stifling public cinema theatre. Therefore, in my eyes, home theatre system is a big threat to film industry. It is possible that some years later Cinema theatre will disappear and the whole film industry will just work for Video and DVD shops. I think the name of our department will be mutated into "Home Theatre, TV and Media Studies" at that moment! Haha! Do you believe that?

    Here, I paste an article that support my view well. After reading it, you will maybe believe what I said above.

    A new era in home movies

    By David Maida

    The rise in the quality and affordability of home theatre systems is one of the reasons given for the decline of box office attendance. If you can watch what you want in the privacy of your own home, then there's not much point braving the crowds only to find yourself sitting behind someone with a Marge Simpson hairdo. In selecting your own private screen, there are a few options. Plasma screens are considered better quality than LCD screens, depending on the brand, once you start getting into the larger sizes. LCD pixels can also die or become locked up. And the price of plasmas has been plummeting. You can buy a 42-inch Hundai for around $3000. Even a 42-inch Sony is just $4500. But as the prices have been dropping, the technology has been evolving. Rear-projection televisions have improved in leaps and bounds. And they are not as expensive as the traditional bulkier screens. A Samsung 43-inch is around $2000. If you're looking for real home theatre, you'll probably want a larger screen. A 62-inch rear projection Toshiba is about $8000. Kevin Andreassend, managing director of Ice AV, says that if you want better value for money, choose a frontal projection unit. Projectors have traditionally not been the best quality. But Adreassend says that has now changed. "If you use a projector and you want to get an image that you cannot criticise or fault, you have to put it into a dark room. "Use that same projector with one of our screens and you can actually use that projector in a fully lit room and you'll get an image that you cannot fault." The screens are concave, so they reject light from the centre of the curvature. There is no reflection or glare. The screens range from 40 inches diagonal up to 103 inches diagonal (2.3m). With the larger screens, you would probably need a dedicated room because they need to be a reasonable distance from the projector. But Andreassend says this is not the trend. "People want to have entertainment, no matter what it is, but they want to have it in a normal type of environment, rather than having a dedicated room. Of course those who have the budget or the spare room and those sorts of things can obviously afford the luxury of I guess what you'd call a dedicated home theatre room." To put content on that big screen requires a powerful projector. They vary in quality and price from $1500 to $48,000 with most less than $6000. As with most products, there is less difference in quality once the price reaches a certain point. The more expensive projectors may provide a larger image with better quality, but you will need extra depth of space to create that larger image. Most input devices for home theatres are DVDs with the humble video recorder on its last leg. "Phillips have dispensed with them. They don't manufacture them anymore. It's a technology that's pretty much on its way out." But not gone forever. "It will be a legacy piece of equipment because we've all got videotapes that we need to play." The big drop in price for a DVD player has seen them spreading everywhere. But for home theatre you will want to have a good one and have it connected properly. "Ideally you should use composite video because it is a step up and it's the next less expensive format to use. It's a step up from RF and it's a bit better quality. But it's by no means the best you could do. The best you could do is actually put it on a network and, in terms of video, running it all in terms of a XGA signal. It's substantially improved-upon composite video." With audio, home theatre enthusiasts strive for that perfect surround sound. This generally consists of the 5.1 system which includes speakers in each corner of the room and a subwoofer. "People have to decide in their mind, 'are we making a 5.1 room?' and then 'do we have to distribute audio around the place?"' A 5.1 system with full audio immersion is one of the things which makes a television room into a home theatre. "Some people are still quite happy just having a stereo to watch a movie on, but for a home theatre you really do want to have that surround-sound experience." And to keep your great movies, you can either store them on DVDs or use a hard-drive recorder. Hard-drive recorders have been are dropping in price. They offer a limited amount of storage capacity with instant access and Adreassend doubts they will be as popular as DVD recorders. "The thing I would always think about is how much are you going to record on to in any media? "If you are going to do a lot of recording on to a hard drive - eventually it will get full. So, you're going to have to spend the same amount of time, capacity-wise, in either dumping [the stored programmes] on to disks that you can remove and store on a shelf, or deleting them. I guess human nature is that we like to collect things." As our home entertainment system expands, so does the collection of remote controls. Adreassend says a lot of remote controls can beconfusing. "It can be quite intimidating for people. People don't want to feel like they don't know what they're doing." Advanced universal remotes are on the market now which can handle multiple functions through the push of one button. "They can be programmed so that they have a macro. So you might press a button that's labelled DVD for example, and you know that when you press that button it might also turn the television on or the projector on.

    Oct 20, 2005, Retrieved from NZHerald

    Researching on the net

    I have just finished reading Jen M's post titled 'Online info...good or bad?' and again, i totally agree with the idea of not being able to trust everything thats published on the world wide web.

    For my assignments and essays for uni, i constantly finding myself scanning the page for something regarding authenticity. There are so many sites out there and many are incorrect and simply established by people who think they know what they are talking about!

    When searching on the net, there are many pages that come up and are totally irrelivant, but the huge amount of information available across the world wide web is amazing. Most of the time there are several important and accurate ideas or pieces of information avaliable, but i still think we have to be careful with regard some sites and their content.


    Another belated addition to the ‘internet is life’ topic.

    I was listening to National radio and they were discussing the effects of media in general in lives and how people construct their time around media outlets such as TV, internet. Apparently, due according to the research doen in the states an overwhelming majority of people surveyed spend more time using media then sleeping.
    I think this is an interesting point if we are too examine questions regading how connected we are in day to day life and how technology is constructing society.

    Also, regarding being connected. According to latest news, Telecom is looking to experiment with wireless “Hotspots”. Locations around the city where you can connect to the internet. Yet another step towards a global network or at least a truly mobile network system.

    It will be interesting to see if it is practical, also how it will affect day to day life, build community.

    A recent article in Rolling Stone magazine discussed the US music industry sueing illegal music downloaders. The article stated that over 11000 downloaders had been sued by the Recording Industry Association of America, while some of the dowloaders who were sued were liable for up to US$500 000 those that could afford to settle out of court had to pay a few thousand dollars in fines peer to peer services such as Kazza and Grokster were targeted. The article surprised me a little as I had never really thought of downloading as illegal. I guess to some extent it is unfair on the record industry and the musicians to download or burn CDs. In the case of burning CDs I think it's unaceptable to copy the music of local musicians, the New Zealand music industry is so small that we need to support local talent and buy their music rather than obtaining it for free.

    Independent Media

    I study the importance of Indymedia on the local global and political world as well as the growth processes of specific indymedia groups. Independent media is crucial to getting a different perspective of what is going on in the world into public discourse. During my case study on Boston Indymedia ( I found that what I would have expected was not reality. If you peruse the website you will notice that there is alot of information and activities on it. The group (Boston IMC) appears to be a good number of people and well organized. In fact, the website is run by one man who also organizes the other 5 or 6 people who work with Boston IMC. No one is paid and therefore their paying jobs often conflict with their indymedia objectives.
    Because of technology and the use of technology, Boston IMC, although it has gone through a huge decline of membership and participation, has been able to maintain its status as a reliable source of producing independent media. Instead of a big group of people putting out paper newsletters, it is on man behind his Apple G-4.

    The Facebook

    After our class discussion of The Facebook, I started thinking of some of the implications of pop-culture/media-culture networking. The Facebook is interesting to look at because of its rapid widespread use. It is free to join and create a profile. It is easily navigatable and you can search for anyone in your University or anyone in the global realm of the facebook (this is particularly useful in the US where so many students attend universities away from their home - as well as there are so many universities). There are facebook groups with fun and catchy titles. The first thing American in New Zealand do is add each other to their facebook friends. What is particularly interesting is that the facebook is like a protected community. Your university email is necessary for becoming a member and in order to get a "facebook friend" you have to be approved by them after you find them.
    Because of the transformation of society and economy to the organization of the global network, networking has become an imperative skill. I know it is something that all of my advisors stress. The Facebook is creating a platform for an extended network of people. There are people who I would never have talked to again (simply becuase we are in different places with different lives) who now I would go and stay with if I was in the area. That is a good college student parallel, just think about what it means when we enter the business world.

    go to: and request that they add auckland university to the facebook!

    Crafty Use of Blogs

    So by now the whole New Apple I-Pod thing is old news, so here is a bit of a different spin. Apple have released an ad featuring Eminem to promote the new i-Pod, which is causing a bit of a stir. This is because the ad is pretty much a derivative or more precisely a blatant copy of an ad done in 2001 for a shoe brand called Lugz, done by New York CGI firm "Psyop." They two ads bear an uncanny resemblance.

    What makes the whole thing interesting from the FTVMS 203 point of view is the dissemination of information throughout various forums. Blogs are now being used by reporters to stay on top of cutting edge news or hype surrounding products which are likely to be used by bloggers and the like. So even though this story hit the New York Post, it's roots lay in the blogging community. Innnnteresting.

    Here is the address of one of the original articles, and from there you can see both ads:

    Charlotte (yehaaa last blog, have enjoyed reading everyones blogs)


    To further comment on the post ‘life without internet,’ I would agree that internet access and usability is definitely something I take for granted. Really stopping to think about it, being on the computer is a huge time-filler; whether just for time wasting purposes or actually working to get things accomplished. So when asked in lecture the other day whether or not this class has increased the amount of time spent browsing the internet, I don’t think it has necessarily increased my time, but more so put the time spent dinking around to use in different ways.
    Since being away at uni I have not been living at home within the past three years. With this, my television watching has decreased immensely since I don’t have the same amount of access to a t.v. as when I’m at home; now discovering that my computer has filled in the role.
    My lap top is conveniently a source of entertainment and at the same time it is definitely a valuable tool in getting through day to day. That may sound real computer-dependent, but thinking about it, internet access and computer use is a necessity; at least seemingly so in the life of a student.
    In terms of uni involvement, the internet is a necessity in maintaining caught up and informed in classes, for submission of assignments, scheduling purposes, and much more. Other day to day networks created through its (my) use include music/file sharing (getting sweet music, movies, and tv series), then watching those sweet movies and series, email contact, instant messaging communication, blogging (of course), internet browsing, mindless games (solitaire, hearts, etc.), and tons more.
    Just thinking of the day to day use, the boundaries are virtually limitless.
    Therefore overall, the internet continues to broaden as a basis to so much, from academic production and tasking to social networking (i.e. family and friend communication) to consuming; and yes, all the while engaging in some form of a mind broadening experience! Perhaps more than one could say of sitting on the couch simply watching commercials and shows for hours throughout the day.

    Mobile phone

    Traditional media are losing the market share to those so called new media, such as mobile phone. As a new media, Mobile phone develops faster than the other traditional media. But I think mobile phone still has some weak affects to improve. First of all, I think mobile phone has its own terminal restriction. Because only those are able to support colorful TXT may read “mobile news” and receive other mobile advertisements. But the percentage of such mobile phone is not high enough which means only a few consumers are enjoying the convenience brought by mobile phone. Secondly, the initial experience of reading that kind of “Mobile news” decides the consumer’s attitude. The development of “mobile news” is still in the first stage. As a result, those “Mobile news” cannot match some certain features of mobile media, such as speediness and directness. So the production of “Mobile media” still has a long way to go. Lastly, the reception of mobile media is comparatively small. The majority of the reception are highly educated and from middle or high class of the society. So the coverage rates for the mobile media are not as high as the traditional media such as TV. But I still believe, maybe several years later, mobile phone will become one of the most powerful media and communication tool.


    The Matrix: Prelude

    I was walking through an office building yesterday while on a business errand, something I've done many a time before, but this time I took a harder look at what was going on around me. It was fairly quiet, reminding me of the library, except for the constant tapping of fingers on keyboards.

    Almost every single person I could see was attatched to something. Keyboards, headsets, phones, photocopiers. Everybody seemed to be an extension of some sort of technology, rather than the computers and phones being tools for the users. Now, I have an avid imagination, so it's no surprise that when I started to notice these things I may have begun to exaggerate them in my head, but it really did seem to be some sort of prelude to The Matrix. The keyboard tapping made it almost eerie.

    Later on I was walking to the bus stop and as I passed an internet cafe I looked inside to see more people attatched to computers. They were all hunched over their computers, staring straight ahead, with their fingers on the keyboard and headphones over their ears.

    The subject of humans becoming slaves to the technologies they use has been mentioned before, and it is quite an interesting topic. As I say, my imagination can sometimes run wild, but these people really did remind me of zombies, engrossed in their own realities.

    Perhaps the Wachowski brothers had a similar experience to this before they wrote The Matrix...

    Thursday, October 20, 2005

    Mobile Phones and Technology

    It seems that once a new technology has become culturally incorporated into our everyday working and social lives, it can be almost impossible to turn back the clock.

    A pertinent example of course is mobile phones, which have gone from being brick sized novelties for the rich in the 1980’s, to being an essential social tool of not only the majority of young adults but now of primary school kids too.I think it is bad enough that adults are slaves to a particular technology, that is, slaves by choice, without such devices being unleashed upon small children as young as five.

    Everyday I face the internal struggle, where a part of me is acquiescing and tolerant of this technology as communication tool, and a distinct part of me that wants to smash it into little pieces. On the one hand mobiles are indeed very useful and provide convenient communication on the go, 24 hours a day, where-ever you may be, and on the other hand I feel this deep resistance, as if something quite unnatural has taken such an important place in my life.

    Indeed I find the whole Idea of “cyber” humans to be more of a threat to our humanity, then some futuristic novelty. Sure there has always been fear of technology, and indeed some of it irrational, but surely the line has to be drawn somewhere, doesn’t it?
    Now I am not arguing that we are all on the brink of a futuristic nightmare world, where useful functions are eventually replaced by technology, to the point where our existence becomes irrelevant, however such a future is certainly possible. The road ahead is of course, ours to pave.

    We should be mindful however, as we enter this new digital techno-spectacle era, of whether certain technology is indeed serving our long-term interests, or whether the interests of humanity has been replaced by the interests of machines and technological development, in what has become a self perpetuating cycle with a life of its own, and where our interests and identities are subsumed into the greater digital-technological whole.

    Wax Mail

    Wax mail allows you to reply to your outlook express emails by using your own voice. It enables the recording of your voice based on MP3 format to be added to the reply and sent with it. This is a useful tool for any busy communicator, it is not the first of its kind but has being the first produce the feature in a effective functional way. It does so by having a small, easy to use tool bar which becomes apart of the microsoft outlook express interface. Wax mail is ready to use no matter how busy you are due to the recorder window being well designed for great usability. It blends into the background and getting your task done is managed by two simple buttons always at your disposal. It is a simple and effective feature. This is an example of a space on the web that has being organised so that it is easy to navigate. It works well for the genre as its purpose is to be purely functional.

    Google Video

    One of the latest branches of the rapidly growing google net empire, which includes google earth and google mail among others. With google video, anyone is free to upload video files, provided they have copyright ownership, and these are then available for anyone to download, after a content screening process. The owner of the video is free to let anyone upload their work for free, or they may choose to charge for access to their content, of which google video gets a cut.

    The process seems simple enough, and I was able to start uploading one of my films this evening, after a quick sign up process and having to download the required “windows uploader” software. In a sense, by uploading content to the web you are surrendering the control you have over it while it remains in the analog plain. From now on, anyone will be able to watch my film as they choose, until the time that I take it down that is. In any case I thought it would be interesting to have my film seen by random people, potentially over the globe.

    It is in spaces such as these that would seem to promote a more democratic relationship between producers and consumers, as anyone is able to upload videos as well as download them. The only dominant player here is google, who owns the site and the controls access etc, but users of the service are more or less equals.

    It will definetely be interesting to see how similar such spaces develop in the near future, as the line between producer and consumer on the internet continues to be blurred, at least among what I’ll call, for lack of a better word, “internet and media enthusiasts”.

    My film is still uploading as I finish posting this, looks like it will take a while (7/312mb uploaded), so as always there are technical limitations to all such developments

    The technology revolution.

    During the course and this semester or since I started Uni for that matter, I have noticed just how interconnected everything is and how technology is the front-runner for discussion. Yesterday I had to finish a journal article for my European 100 paper, and as sat down to write it, I realized that even as I talked about Europe and its evolution from an empire to solitary states and back to a politically and geographically united Europe, technology was somehow involved. From the industrial revolution in the late eighteenth century to the French revolution, where equality was fought for and identities were created all because of the rise of a coffee houses, print media and the social aspect and new political ideologies that were established and which are very much still continue in today’s modern society. Technology regardless of its shape or form whether it is primeval or contemporary has been important not only academically and economically but socially as well. Because with great inventions there has been pessimism but more importantly a sense of optimism and discovery, which allows us to create new inventions through a process of trial and error, and before we are aware another technological gadget has been created. One example of this is Alexander Graham Bell’s invention of the telephone, which was the beginning of a communication revolution and still continues today with wireless Internet connections.

    Spyware, Adware and viruses my constant menace.

    It is interesting to view taht spyware and adware seem to target one of the two computers that I own over the other, both computers are relatively the same age and contain similar processors and both have many antiviruses spyware and adware sites, however one is primarily used for games, surfing etc and one is used for work and uni work only. After this it is possible that it generates thoughts that simply because I am accessing sites with lots of spyware adware on them, however it is the computer that I almost solely use for uni work that is constantly infected and requires reformatting, i have 5 or 6 antivirus/ spyware removal programs and these do not seem to work properly and increasingly bad performance is occuring for this computer. I have no idea where this is coming from but it is causing me constant problems rather then being a minor hassle as it is on mmy other computer.

    applications of text messaging

    When text messaging first came about it was a bit of a novelty, but quickly caught on and is now immensly popular. Although highly popular for young people communicating with friends, it is interesting to note the other applications of text messaging and how the medium has made an impact elsewhere. Here are a few examples I came up with (including both ‘incoming’ and ‘outgoing’ forms):

    - Text voting on TV shows such as NZ Idol
    - Radio competitions and song requests
    - Requests for information, free samples...
    - Daily jokes, messages...
    - Ads on radio and TV with text numbers rather than (and as well as) phone numbers
    - Notifications of sport results, weather...
    - Text parking
    - And heaps more........

    Text messaging in such forms seems a good alternative to conventional methods requiring use of a telephone because of the ease for the user and relatively short nature of content. Even businesses such as banks have advertisements incorporating a text message component, which is a good way to attract youth viewers. We didn't even notice these integrations into different media forms, probably because they were gradually introduced as text messaging become more popular. Such methods of communication are obviously beneficial for the user, but are no doubt raking in the money for businesses who employ this new method of connection to consumers and gain the ability of interaction with “prosumers”.

    It is also interesting how the concept of text messaging differs between countries. For example, as some have mentioned on this blog, text messaging in the US is secondary to phone calling (the opposite of here). Such differences are of course due to costs. This makes me wonder though, does the US have such a large integration of text messaging applications in the media as is evident in New Zealand? If not, does that make us more technologically advanced than America in this context?

    -Shannon Doherty

    Teen Driving and GPS

    Teaching a young person how to drive? Are you nervous about there ability and respect for the road in your car?! Worry no more, many companies have come out with GPS and other tracking systems so you can monitor your teenagers driving. ( The systems will monitor the speed and distance travelled and depending on the model, where the car has been. This is the same technology that has been used to find stolen cars. This is also the same technology that has been the catalysts for laws regarding the extent of control rental car companies have over their clients. In the United States it is now illegal for rental car companies to inquire as to where the client is going as well as fine them for speeding violations detected by a gps system.

    Semantic webs and interruptions

    I liked the interfaces we saw in yesterday's Web lecture. The talk of cascading style sheets (CSS) that split content (the information) from presentation (the mechanism by which we see and manipulate it) put me in mind of where things could go, so I thought I'd get speculative with my last blog.

    In terms of content there is the Semantic Web. This seems to be the equivalent to CSS but for content. It's Tim Berners-Lee's idea for the web where information is no longer buried in a lot of HTML documents on web servers around the world but, via yet more protocols and languages, is held in a form that makes sense to machines. It is the ultimate in distributed databases but of meaningful information rather than just data. Today you search for information based on key words either in, or (in the case of Adwords), associated with a site. Well the Semantic Web takes this a bit further by having a descriptive language that summarises the ideas and concepts (the developers call these ontological dictionaries) expressed in the web content. This means that searching for that film clip you saw will get a whole lot easier because you just need to describe it rather than remembering a file name or title.

    Back on the interface side, Microsoft are researching ways to make their operating systems more responsive to the way people in the real world want, rather than have, to use their computers. Some possibilities are described in The Life Hackers which looks at the way our increasingly interrupted lifestyle is being studied with the intent to mediate the interruptions. For example one of the researchers went into space to study how to interrupt an astronaut dependent of the real urgency of the message. Then there is the way that highly productive geeks get all that work done when they live in an interruption driven world of email, IM, phones and open plan offices (the solutions seem wonderfully low tech like post-it notes as a stacked to-do list). In a way they are taking a hypermediated lifestyle and trying to make it more transparent by controlling the interruptions for us. I am a bit wary of this, as the article points out, it is a little too HAL-like, part of the experiments is for machines to adapt by observing our behaviours and optimising its mediation of interruptions for us. This is all something the researchers call interruption science.

    Put the Semantic Web together with interruption science and it is possible that observation of our behaviour could be used to drive semantic searches from behavioural need to, say, ordering food or collecting information we might need soon. Science fiction, probably, but it is moving into the realm of possibility. Of course putting the bits together is the real trick but it may happen. Personally I find it a bit too creepy but for people brought up with it, it could be as natural as using a mobile phone.

    Mobile Phones and technology

    It seems that once a new technology has become culturally incorporated into our everyday working and social lives, it can be almost impossible to turn back the clock.

    A pertinent example of course is mobile phones, which have gone from being brick sized novelties for the rich in the 1980’s, to being an essential social tool of not only the majority of young adults but now of primary school kids too.I think it is bad enough that adults are slaves to a particular technology, that is, slaves by choice, without such devices being unleashed upon small children as young as five.

    Everyday I face the internal struggle, where a part of me is acquiescing and tolerant of this technology as communication tool, and a distinct part of me that wants to smash it into little pieces. On the one hand mobiles are indeed very useful and provide convenient communication on the go, 24 hours a day, where-ever you may be, and on the other hand I feel this deep resistance, as if something quite unnatural has taken such an important place in my life.

    Indeed I find the whole Idea of “cyber” humans to be more of a threat to our humanity, then some futuristic novelty. Sure there has always been fear of technology, and indeed some of it irrational, but surely the line has to be drawn somewhere, doesn’t it?
    Now I am not arguing that we are all on the brink of a futuristic nightmare world, where useful functions are eventually replaced by technology, to the point where our existence becomes irrelevant, however such a future is certainly possible. The road ahead is of course, ours to pave.
    We should be mindful however, as we enter this new digital techno-spectacle era, of whether certain technology is indeed serving our long-term interests, or whether the interests of humanity has been replaced by the interests of machines and technological development, in what has become a self perpetuating cycle with a life of its own, and where our interests and identities are subsumed into the greater digital-technological whole.

    Home Entertainment

    Media like television, music, movies, games, home video, and still photographs are available in various electronic forms including digital which is the most modern and prolific. Because of this compression into one versatile form it has become possible for information storage manufacturers like Maxtor to diversify. Not only will Maxtor provide internal and external computer storage devices for computers but now also entertainment systems based upon stand alone hard drives.

    This means that the consumer will have all the benefits of a huge storage space for their digital information without the need for a computer. This device a ‘Shared Storage Plus Drive’ advertised by Maxtor called a will hold from 200GB through to half a Terabyte (!) of digital information depending on how much you are prepared to spend.

    The recommend retail is US$300 for the 200GB and US$500 dollars for the 500GB model. This is very inexpensive considering that this will also run satellite screens and sound systems in various rooms of your house completely independent of one another. You can be watching a recorded television programme in one room and listening to music in another room and the source for all of them will be this one device. Maxtor rightly describes this as their ‘digital home entertainment server’ as the information can be picked up wirelessly like personal computers on a server network. But unlike these networks no active P.C. is required. The programmes required for this system can be updated for free on the Maxtor website.

    Downloading Television.

    I've recently began downloading the first few episodes of the second series of LOST off a torrent website and began thinking about whether or not it really is illegal. Firstly, when most television shows screen on New Zealand television they are usually on free-to-air channels and therefore we do not have to pay to watch them. Secondly, we are able to record these programmes off TV (e.g. VCR, DVD recorder) without breaking any copyright laws (to my knowledge).
    What I plan to do is keep downloading the latest LOST episodes as they become available and then convert about 4 or so onto a single DVD to watch on my TV. Aside from the fact that I do not have to wait several months to see the series, there are also many other positives. Such as no commercials (which for LOST there always seems to be many!), the ability to watch them any time I want and have the ability to control playback, and (depending on the chosen file downloaded) superior image and sound quality than a free-to-air broadcast.

    The only real negative aspect from this that I can see is the fact that it may detract from sales of actual retail versions of television series box sets, which usually become available within six months of a show's broadcast in any given global location. As New Zealand free-to-air networks broadcast TV series quite a while after their 'initial' broadcast (e.g. in USA, UK etc) the box sets will consequently take a lot longer to arrive here. So one could either wait about a year to get their favourite TV shows on DVD; order the sets as they are released overseas; or do what I find myself doing at the moment and download and convert episodes onto DVD maybe a couple of days (at the most!) after their 'initial' broadcast.

    As with the shift for music CDs to contain extra materials (e.g. posters, music videos etc) to battle music downloading, I believe that the type of television downloading that I have been discussing may eventually lead to TV box sets to contain even "specialer" special features to make them worth the wait.

    technology updates

    Hi All,

    I cam across something on the internet about Samsung a970 being the latest version V-cast phone. This newest phone is capable of recieving multimedia content like #D games, music videos, and other kinds of programming. It also features a 2-megapixel camera with optical zoom including video camera, an MP3 player, a T-flash memory card slot, a colour screen, voicemode, a speech-to-text technology. I am pretty amazed by the availablity this Verizon phone. It seems like not long ago that the telecom GH3(I forgot the name) that features video calling a few months ago remember? anyway samsung invented a even beter broader more extravagant phone, I don't know any other cell phone that has these sorts of feature incorporated into the phone.

    Hi all,

    For those of you who experience many virus on your computers I recommend using the new AntiVir Personal Edition. It is free and easy to download. It provides more security for viruses, worms and Trojan. The functions include Adware/Spyware detection, fully automated update function, pop3-scanner, exclusive download server, new graphic user interface, scan function for directories. Here is the website for those who want something with great quality at no cost.

    Site Navigation Could Cost Marks.

    After Luke’s last lecture, and the assessment method used for this course, I feel that this blogg title is relevant. The lecture was on the net navigation and the sites which have gone against the normal conventions associated with exploring the web. These conventions have come about through the languages or formats available to create sites with (html for this site, click on view menu, select source). These have become the ‘norm’ for most casual internet users like myself, I find them easy to extrapolate information I require from sites using these conventions.

    The design of this particular site, regardless of the format used to create it, is not the greatest. Not that it should be an issue but I have tried to find out how many bloggs that I have published over the last twelve weeks and it does not appear to be possible.

    This concerns me. What happens when it comes time for the tutors to assess the bloggs that other class members and I have submitted? A search that I performed earlier will tell them I have only posted two bloggs for this whole semester! I presume that being the creators of the blogg that they have access to areas that we do not. Even so, when my course marks depend on this site I think that my concerns are valid. The ability, or lack of ability, to navigate this site, using the conventions I am used to, should not cost me course marks.

    Pros and Cons of music downloading.

    We live in a society where culture is defined by the media and technology. The music industry is constantly using the media to help cater to the demand and needs of the consumer market. The media helps to elevate the profile of a musician and their material, whether it be on a local or global scale. The music industry use the media in all its forms to help create a worldwide interest for their artists, such as music television series (S Club 7), music videos (MTV), franchise and of course the internet. They (music industry) relies on the power of the media, in hope that the accessibility and constant mediation of the artist will help generate a greater profit.

    The Big Five corporations (Universal, EMI, BMG, Sony and Warner) have become increasingly relient on the media, and in particular new technologies. Sony have constructed MP3 players into the samsung cellphones - that way the domestic can access music where ever and when ever, giving them that extra personal gateway to their own personal favourite music. The downloading of music, whether it be through ringtones or through direct music files, raises a host of issues. Most importantly is that the downloading of music has become a huge phenonmena amongst consumers in that they download music without having to physically pay for it, therefore the music lables loose out of profit. The intergrity of the artist is violated and their music is exploited. The major music corporations have therefore turn hostile towards internet companies. In New Zealand, the act of illegal consumption of music has been hammered from many of our local musicians. Artists such as Che Fu have become advocates against burning of music online. It raises the issue that, we should not do something remotely bad to one of our own. Supporting our local musicians is something we must value.

    However, while there are many downsides to the illegal consumption of music, there are SOME benefits. Benefits, not so much as in profit, but as in worldwide awareness of the artist. Downloading music allows the domestic consumer, local and global, have access to any music they want and for an emerging artist this is a bonus, in that the struggle to tackle the consumer market and radio listerner demographic is made easier. Furthermore, an artist can propell to a larger audience through the internet that initially would seem impossible to target, when the challenges of consumer markets and radio air play can hinder a artist.

    Nevertheless, while the pros and cons of music downloading hold both benefitial and threating qualities, at the end of the day we must support our local artist! Go Fat Freddy's Drop.

    the soundtracks to our lives

    So I would be willing to state that ipods have overtaken the student population, and then some. Doubtful that it’s just the people I hang around with; because they are literally everywhere- physically and within conversation.
    I’m sure we could all write (or have written) some insightful blog with our two-sense on some aspect of the ipod.
    Walking back from class the other day, a girl took a huge dive, tripped, and fell practically flat on her face. She created a domino effect of people falling over her from behind. She got up and didn’t attempt to dust off or search for scrapes, rather immediately grabbed her ipod and frantically started pushing its dial to make sure it was still functioning. I mean, she had real concern, dusting off the screen and turning it over to investigate, heaven forbid any damage.
    Even those seven remaining people in the world who don’t indulge in the wondrous companion are immersed in the craze. One of these, a technologically-inept friend of mine, swore he’s better off without. Claimed he was waiting around for the greatest model yet: the implantation of the ipod within the person (admittedly unfortunate it would have to be done matrix style in the back of the neck). Give a twitch of the nose: oh, there’s some Marley playing. A tug on the ear lobe: alright, there’s some Clapton. Features including a screen down over the back of the eyelid when your eye is shut for viewing options. In other words, the possibility of a continuous soundtrack to your life! All this talk until the release of the nano happened. Then he discovered the sweet black color option, and is now set on purchasing.
    Out for a boat cruise last weekend with about 20 friends, there were at least 13 or 14 ipods scattered throughout the boat, easy. Playlists would run throughout the day and dj wars between people would take over at night. It was a big deal: your next play either being a sweet crowd pleaser or a recipient of boo’s from the masses.
    Yeah, it’s all a bit ridiculous, but I’ll be the first to admit I have mine with me on a daily basis. Just shows how much of a social force and personal interest music has on us all today!

    Down With Telecom.

    The past few weeks have seen the death keel of mighty Telecoms monopoly in the New Zealand market. Unfortunately for them, but fortunately for all New Zealand internet users, they have been attacked on a number of fronts. The most important of which is their monopoly on communications access into the kiwi home.

    Woosh wireless ( (the consumer brand of the US communication company Walker Wireless) began to offer their internet and phone wireless deal in the last month. This deal threatens the one asset that Telecom has built and maintained it supremacy upon, the fixed wire network in around New Zealand. The reality is that it can never be commercially viable for another player in the NZ market to invest in a duplicate wire network of their own. Recent advances in wireless technology have meant that the copper wire is fast becoming obsolete.

    Possibly more concerning to Telecom is the imminent government-driven objective which would force them to provide completely unrestricted access to the fixed wire network to all companies (paying at cost) to the fixed wire network. As I said before, this is the network this massive company made it fortune with. This threat has already forced Telecom to give much better access to other smaller companies, many of whom have been fighting hard for the last few years to get equal access for themselves and thus level the playing field.

    Orcon ( and Ihug ( internet service providers have started to offer actual broadband (2Mb + connection speed) internet to the New Zealand public, which match, or better, the seemingly forced offerings from the NZ giant.

    I think this represents a turning point for NZ communications. Finally the NZ public will begin to see real competition in a number of areas; all of which for years have been held back by the monopolistic greed of the stubborn behemoth that is our traditional provider.

    My 2 cents on the Video I-Pod

    With all the posts about Apple and their new Video I-Pod, I’ve decided to put my in 2 cents.

    Personally, all the hype for the product seems to be nothing more than the typical over-hyping of a “hot” item. The Video I-Pod, when compared to other portable multimedia devices, seems to be extremely restrictive. Apple have ensured that only files purchased off their I-Tunes site can be viewable on the device (as well as raw .mpegs, I think). So, apart from the cache, what is the point in owning the new Video I-Pod? None, in my opinion.

    Going for the myriad of other portable multimedia devices (that also play videos, and aren’t as restrictive) seems to be a better option. Besides, who actually wants to watch something on that tiny screen?

    At any rate, I’m sure Apple is going to sell a truckload of these in the holiday season. Hurrah for marketing.

    Thursday Humour

    A friend of mine gave me a link to a canterbury police press release about some chump who posted videos on google video of him driving around in a WRX on the streets of christchurch, only to be found out because people on the net knew the street and the police could use the video footage to get the guys registration and then do him for reckless driving, now he is disqualified from driving and has to do 120hours community work.

    Ah, some people...


    Press Release

    NZ Herald Story

    Cookies/Liquid Architecture

    Now, I don’t know much about cookies (the internet kind), apart from what I quickly perused at How Stuff, but after the lecture I was wondering if they could be associated with the “liquid architecture” that was discussed yesterday.

    Quote from How-Stuff-Works: “…cookies provide capabilities that make the Web much easier to navigate. The designers of almost every major site use them because they provide a better user experience and make it much easier to gather accurate information about the site's visitors.”

    If liquid architecture is about creating a constantly-evolving structure, which is almost intuitive towards the users needs (which is what I got from the quote) wouldn’t cookies be a step towards achieving this?

    By recording a users preferences/history, doesn’t it make it easier for a designer to create a space that is intuitive to what the user needs, with regards to what they have done before.

    But the argument against cookies is the privacy issue. In regards to the internet, is it even possible to create a liquid space without breaching a users privacy? Without knowing anything about a user, how can something be created that caters towards them?

    Maybe my whole argument is flawed by my lack of understanding of the “liquid architecture” concept.