When Screens Touch Back

“As students of media, however, we are (rightly) trained to be suspicious of technofetishistic and deterministic narratives. Instead of grounding our analysis in what tactile touch screens promise to do later, we should rather try to understand them for what they are being asked to do, to understand the desires embodied in the various attempts to give touchscreens a dynamic tactility. The following questions then come into view: what economic imperatives are steering and configuring this project of making tactile? What sensations does the screen allow into the tactile field, and which ones does it shield the user from? What sensations are desirable, and which are to be marginalized? What sorts of new intersubjective contacts are opened up? When the screen can touch us, whose touch is it acting as a surrogate for? (Or, “who penetrates whom” through tactile prosthesis?)” (David Parisi, FLOW)

Also check out the Popular Science clip on “Haptics” that Parisi references.

Image: Immersion Corporation: TouchSense® 5000

Image: Immersion Corporation: TouchSense® 5000

NTU scientist invents pocket living room TV

NTU scientist invents pocket living room TV

Image: Nanyang Technical University

“Named the “Social Cloud TV”, this system allows you to watch TV programmes and online videos with your family and friends at the same time. The system leverages a cloud backend for media processing (e.g., video transcoding), such that the same video can be streamed into devices in the most suitable format.  When viewing a TV show or perhaps a live soccer match, you can invite family and friends to join your session, from either your phone book or social networking contact lists.” (Nanyang Technological University)

How We Talk About Media Refusal, Part 1: “Addiction”

How We Talk About Media Refusal, Part 1: “Addiction” - FLOW

Image: Phillip Toledano, The Atlantic

“Practices of media refusal, as well as statements by media refusers about their choices, could be seen as implicit indictments of the norms of media culture, the most basic norm being that everyone ought to be a consumer of media. Yet media refusal is usually understood and practiced individually (though there have been a few campaigns aimed at getting people to collectively) unplug. This individual response to a collective problem is typical of contemporary “lifestyle politics” in which resistance tactics are arguably more effective at generating further consumption (of self-help magazines, for example) than actually altering objectionable aspects of consumer culture.” (Laura Portwood-Stacer, FLOW)

The Way We Read Now

The Way We Read Now - NYTimes.com

Image: Jeffrey Fisher

“I still prefer to consume sentences the old-fashioned and nongreen way, on the pulped carcasses of trees that have had their throats slit. I can imagine my tweener kids, in a few years, beginning to picket me for my murderous habits: ‘No (tree) blood for (narrative) oil.’

It’s time to start thinking, however, about the best literary uses for these devices. Are some reading materials better suited to one platform than another? Does Philip Larkin feel at home on an iPad, and Lorrie Moore on a Kindle? Can I make a Kay Ryan poem my ringtone? Will any gizmo make “The Fountainhead” palatable?” (Dwight Garner, NYTimes.com)

FTC Urges Apps For Kids Must Disclose Data-Collecting Practices

FTC Urges Apps For Kids Must Disclose Data-Collecting Practices - Wall Street Journal

Photo: AP

“The agency released a report Thursday that criticized developers and app marketplaces for not doing enough to disclose the data-collection practices of apps geared toward kids. It said it will conduct a six-month review to determine whether such apps violate the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act.” (Matt Jerzemsky, Wall Street Journal)

Is America at a digital turning point?

Is America at a digital turning point? USC Annenberg

USC Annenberg

“The year-to-year comparisons in the Center’s Digital Future studies involve more than 100 major issues concerning the impact of online technology in the United States. Among the highlights of the findings, along with predictions by Cole for digital directions to come, are these nine major issues:

  1. Social media explodes – but most content has no credibility.
  2. The meaning of “E-Nuff Already” continues to expand.
  3. The desktop PC is dead; long live the tablet.
  4. Work is increasingly a 24/7 experience.
  5. Most print newspapers will be gone in five years.
  6. Our privacy is lost.
  7. The Internet’s role in the American political process is still a question.
  8. The Internet will continue to create shifts in buying habits, at the expense of traditional brick-and-mortar retail.
  9. What comes next?

New voting tech innovations for 2012

New voting tech innovations for 2012

AP Photo

“In Oregon, where disabled residents used iPads to cast ballots during a pilot test for the special election earlier this month, officials say they are ready to deploy the tablets again in January […] There are also new programs on tap for the back end — in Long Beach, Calif., for example, officials will track the city’s polls and their contents with radio frequency identification chips, a kind of high-tech barcode. Throughout election night, the location of the polls and whether the results there have been reported will light up on a bingo-type board and show if the ballot boxes are securely in transit or scanned and at the dropbox center, City of Long Beach clerk Larry Herrera said.” (Mackenzie Weinger, Politico)