Aspect Jumping

Aspect Jumping FLOW

Image: J.D. Connor

“The sort of deeply meant aspect jumping we see in TDK is almost absent on television, where shifts from 4:3 to 16:9 and back happen far more often. At some level that isn’t surprising. Hollywood cinema has managed to fret publicly over medium specificity as part of its assertion of cultural primacy even in an era where an ascendant television has made stronger and stronger claims to quality, even superiority. There is a reason that Keanu Reeves can get excited enough about the digital turn that he wants to talk to everyone about it, as he does in the documentary Side by Side (Kenneally, Tribeca, 2012).

But if aspect jumping in film is an occasion for obsession, it has been all but neglected in television studies, and that, too, seems almost natural. Ask yourself: what was the last 4:3 tv show you watched? You probably know that The Master is in limited 70mm release and that it is likely one of the very last films in that format. You probably cannot say what the last 4:3 television series on ABC was. (It was Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.)

Some blame for this ignorance falls to us as scholars. But surely the larger share belongs to television industry itself, which has a vested interest in downplaying epochal events in its own technological history because its industrial organization makes a hash of any such historical breakpoints.” (J.D. Connor, FLOW)

My Dissertation Now Available

Greetings everyone…My dissertation “Network of Knowledge: Wikipedia as a Sociotechnical System of Intelligence” is now available here on the blog.

It will be permanently downloadable from the About Me page, but I also wanted to put it here on the front page in hopes that it might spur questions and comments.

A huge thanks to all of the bot operators and Wikipedia contributors who participated in the study. I plan to continue this research (once I get the IRB approval at my new institution) and would love to chat with other WP bot operators and people involved in the creation, maintenance, and governance of automated and semi-automated tools. Please email me if you’re interested.

Washington Post article on the invention of email stirs debate

V.A. Shiva Ayyadurai: Inventor of e-mail honored by Smithsonian - Washington Post

Photo: Donna Coveney

The Washington Post posted this note during the debate: “Clarification: A number of readers have accurately pointed out that electronic messaging predates V. A. Shiva Ayyadurai’s work in 1978. However, Ayyadurai holds the copyright to the computer program called“email,” establishing him as the creator of the ‘computer program for [an] electronic mail system’ with that name, according to the U.S. Copyright Office.”

History’s Worst Software Bugs

History's Worst Software Bugs - Wired

Wikimedia Commons: User:B4

“With that [Toyota] recall, the Prius joined the ranks of the buggy computer — a club that began in 1945 when engineers found a moth in Panel F, Relay #70 of the Harvard Mark II system.The computer was running a test of its multiplier and adder when the engineers noticed something was wrong. The moth was trapped, removed and taped into the computer’s logbook with the words: ‘first actual case of a bug being found.’ ” (Simson Garfinkel, Wired)

Digital Media: Hot or Cool?

“Without cooling technologies, digital media exhibit a death wish. They will generate so much excess heat that they inhibit their own operation. Without the heat sink in a computer, the processor would quickly overheat and burn out (if you wanted to, you could cook bologna on it before it does, see video below). If one were to shut off the air-conditioning at a data center (where our internet content is stored), the servers would overheat and our information would disappear. At times more energy is needed to cool the systems – to offset the production of heat by computer processors – than is needed to operate the computers themselves. Indeed, it is this cooling process, and something as seemingly unimportant as air conditioning, that constitutes a significant part of digital media’s environmental impact.” (Nicole Starosielski, FLOW)