A history of media technology scares, from the printing press to Facebook.

By chronicling a history of responses to technological developments, Vaughn Bell in his article “Don’t Touch That Dial!”, attempts to address anxieties about the introduction of new communication technologies and their effects on cognition. It’s an interesting reminder that we have been worrying about these issues for a long time and the article also makes for some interesting parallels but there are far more differences than similarities between the way we consume information today than in the past.

A respected Swiss scientist, Conrad Gessner, might have been the first to raise the alarm about the effects of information overload. In a landmark book, he described how the modern world overwhelmed people with data and that this overabundance was both “confusing and harmful” to the mind. The media now echo his concerns with reports on the unprecedented risks of living in an “always on” digital environment. It’s worth noting that Gessner, for his part, never once used e-mail and was completely ignorant about computers. That’s not because he was a technophobe but because he died in 1565. His warnings referred to the seemingly unmanageable flood of information unleashed by the printing press.
Worries about information overload are as old as information itself, with each generation reimagining the dangerous impacts of technology on mind and brain. From a historical perspective, what strikes home is not the evolution of these social concerns, but their similarity from one century to the next, to the point where they arrive anew with little having changed except the label.

I think he’s missed the literature detailing internet addiction and the effects of multi-tasking on IQ and data retention.
Slate: Don’t Touch That Dial!


Enigmatica

Enigmatica acts as an experimental platform for the combination of light, sound and space in order to develop immersive synthasthetic environments.
A series of suspended frames diminish in size down the length of the gallery acting as a canvas for the display of surface specific projected visual sequences.
By positioning the frames in a perfect series, and developing visualisations that are isolated to these frames, I aim to create a work that does not exist entirely in one or two dimensions but a form of synthetic hybridized space.
It is this constructed inter-dimensionality and the development of freely flowing abstract visual and sonic sequences that aims to demonstrate the potential for new forms of digital sculpture.


Curious Displays

The project explores our relationship with devices and technology by examining the multi-dimensionality of communication and the complexity of social behavior and interaction. In its essence, the project functions as a piece of design fiction, considering the fluctuating nature of our present engagement with media technology and providing futurist imaginings of other ways of being.


Experiencing Abstract Information

How can you increase the immersion of data? The bachelor thesis “Experiencing Abstract Information” by Jochen Winker and Stefan Kuzaj introduces theoretical principles and shows them with some interactive examples.
There are four essential parts in making abstract information experiencable: information itself, relevant senses, fitting emotion and a direct reference of the presentation to the information. With our method you can not only design fitting media, but also check existing media for its potential.
To demonstrate the systematics, we built three interactive installations. By using them you become an interactive diagram in a virtual mirror, cause virtual water-pollution in a water-basin or compare the time you have to work in different countries to buy a big mac or some bread. All of these installations show a different approach of immersive data transfer.


Girl Running (excerpt from Inharmonicity)


Milan/Rome based Matteo Milani and Federico Placidi are sound artists whose work spans from digital music to electro acoustic improvisation. Unidentified Sound Object is born from the desire to discover new paths and non-linear narrative strategies in both aural and visual domains. U.S.O. is a continuing evolving organism.


Don Norman: The Design of Future Things


Sit back and grab lunch as this is a long one.

February 9, 2007 lecture by Don Norman for the Stanford University Human Computer Interaction Seminar (CS 547). In this talk, Don discusses his latest book, The Design of Future Things, which is about the increasing intrusion of intelligent devices in the automobile and home with both expected benefits and unexpected dangers.


Women & Mobile: A Global Opportunity

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Women & Mobile: A Global Opportunity is a study on the mobile phone gender gap in low and middle-income countries.

Mobile phone ownership in low and middle-income countries has skyrocketed in the past several years. But a woman is still 21% less likely to own a mobile phone than a man. Closing this gender gap would bring the benefits of mobile phones to an additional 300 million women. By extending the benefits of mobile phone ownership to more women, a host of social and economic goals can be advanced.
The Women & Mobile report is the first comprehensive view of women and mobile phones in the developing world. This report, sponsored by the GSMA Development Fund and Cherie Blair Foundation for Women, explores the commercial and social opportunity for closing the mobile gender gap. The report builds off of a survey conducted with women on three continents to show their mobile phone ownership, usage, barriers to adoption and preferences. The report shows how mobile phone ownership can improve access to educational, health, business and employment opportunities and help women lead more secure, connected and productive lives. It also includes ten case studies highlighting the strategies and tactics that both mobile network operators and non-profit organizations across the globe are implementing to increase the usage and impact of mobile phones around the world.

Download study (.pdf). Via Putting People First.


Designing Products Your Customers’ Customers Will Love


From Stanford’s 2004 ‘Entrepreneurial Thought Leader Speaker Series’.

The Hiptop founders designed the product in the way that was the most appealing to them. They had strong convictions about what the product should look like and the things it should do, which were not necessarily the same ideas the carriers had. However, the innovative design won them over.


Keep Meetings Short: Anna Wintour

R.J. Cutler sums up what he learned about business from Anna Wintour, the editor of Vogue, during the making of his film The September Issue.

I work in the film business, where schmoozing is an art form, lunch hour lasts from 12:30 until 3, and every meeting takes an hour whether there’s an hour’s worth of business or not. Not so at Vogue, where meetings are long if they go more than seven minutes and everyone knows to show up on time, prepared and ready to dive in. In Anna’s world, meetings often start a few minutes before they’re scheduled. If you arrive five minutes late, chances are you’ll have missed it entirely. Imagine the hours of time that are saved every day by not wasting so much of it in meetings.

Before coming to Taiwan I was largely saved from the meeting culture that seems so prevalent in many organizations here. Hours wasted in meetings that have little to no relevance to you and unpaid overtime to make for the loss in productivity. The meeting culture at Vogue is a refreshing change from this experience.
Via Kottke


Chronomops by Tina Frank

The doors of perception, electronic style. Tina Frank’s Chronomops opens doors to truly different dimensions: different than digital art’s reductionist studies so common today, different than the serially laid out minimalist images, and different than the omnipresent filtering and layering experiments. Chronomops opens up a shimmering, colorful space that is simultaneously an excess of color, frenzy of perception, and pop carousel. An abstract architecture of vertical color bars is set in endless rotation, whereby the modules and building blocks fly around themselves—and the entire system likewise rotates. The forced movement forms a digital maelstrom whose suction pulls the observer deep into it.