April 30, 2008

Johnny Mnemonic - "Information economy"

Check out the movie trailer for a brief but effective summary of the plot of Gibson's tale.

One of the most immediately relevant sections of the story:

We're an information economy. They teach you that in school. What they don't tell you is that it's impossible to move, to live, to operate at any level without leaving traces, bits, seemingly meaningless fragments of personal information. Fragments that can be retrieved, amplified... (Gibson, "Johnny Mnemonic," Writing Material 171)

I'll discuss this quote and a few other key passages from the story during my oral presentation, but I wanted to post something brief for everyone to look at.


April 29, 2008

Forward Motion ♦ Portfolio 3 ♦ History and Future of the Book

Hi. My name is Chris Ulicne, and I'm a senior at Seton Hill University (SHU). As part of my education at SHU, I have been blogging regularly about my developing appreciation for the history and future of the book, one of the most influential technologies ever invented.

This portfolio is a collection of links to all of the most thoughtful and insightful related entries I've published since my last portfolio. Please feel free to browse through and leave comments on topics that interest you. I'd love the opportunity to engage in further discovery with my readers. If you have any questions or comments you'd like to send to me directly, you can contact me at cecil.chris@gmail.com.


The future of the GUI in gaming - In this entry I discuss the use of text and graphics in user interface design for video games. (Coverage, Timeliness, Depth)

A well-annotated timeline - Here I briefly explain how I developed an appreciation for history. (Coverage, Timeliness)

Peer Presentations - Slot C - In this entry I respond to my peers' presentations on "Conformity and Knowledge in the Mechanical Era." (Coverage, Timeliness, Depth, Interaction)

Racing towards new digital storage solutions - Here I relate a reading about digital storage to a report about the development of a new storage technology. (Coverage)

In digital culture, size matters - In this entry I explain how the size of digital storage devices can affect human behavior. (Coverage)

The basic building blocks of virtual life - Here I relate a reading to a metaphor discussed in class that drew a connection between the building blocks of matter and computer code. (Coverage)

The "illusion of immateriality" - In this entry I briefly describe a possible thesis for my term paper inspired by a reading. (Coverage)

The separation between private and public life in new media - Here I connect a hot debate on another blog to the effects of new media on social perceptions. (Coverage, Depth)

Memory as a currency of power - In this entry I explain how memory empowers in digital culture. (Coverage)

Preserving information: links between digital and oral culture - Here I mention a connection between oral and digital culture. (Coverage)

Disillusioned in Doctorow - In this entry I respond to the notion of understanding "magic" and how it ruins the illusion. (Coverage)

"Robbing from your future self" - Here I ponder the characters' ability to distinguish between their present and future selves despite immortality in Doctorow's Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom. (Coverage, Interaction)

Here are links to some good discussions related to the topic on my peers' blogs in which I participated:

Kayla Sawyer - Aarseth
Jeremy Barrick - EL-336 Aarseth Cybertext Video Texts
Rachel Prichard - EL 336 - Turkle
Daniella Choynowski - The conversion
Rachel Prichard - EL 336 - Kirschenbaum chp1 and 2
Leslie Rodriguez - Kirschenbaum (Preface, Introduction, Ch 1, Ch 2) Informal Reflection...
David Cristello - Hitchhiker

April 28, 2008

"Robbing from your future self"

He boggled. "You can't just take dope for the rest of your life, son. Eventually, something will happen to this body--I see from your file that you're stroke-prone--and you're going to get refreshed from your backup. The longer you wait, the more traumatic it'll be. You're robbing from your future self for your selfish present. (Doctorow, Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom 162)

This almost sounds like a conversation between a parent and child (the doctor does call Julius "son," after all). It reminds me of the kind of talk a parent would have with an irresponsible child who is 'throwing his life away' by refusing to grow up and take responsibility for his own wellbeing. It's strange, because you'd think there's no sense in distinguishing between your present self and your future self in Doctorow's fictional world--you never die--but for Julius, it's a distinction that makes all the difference. The doctor, too, seems like he's drawing a division between the two, but it's only for the sake of convenience; it really has nothing to do with the two very different lives of who Julius is now and who he might be when his fresh upload is complete.


April 24, 2008

Disillusioned in Doctorow

I was more than a century old, but there was still a kind of magic in having my arm around the warm, fine shoulders of a girl by moonlight, hidden from the hustle of the cleaning teams by the turnstiles, breathing the warm, moist air. ... It was one of her favorite duties, exploring every inch of the rides in her care with the lights on, after the horde of tourists had gone. We both liked to see the underpinnings of the magic. Maybe that was why I kept picking at the relationship. (Doctorow 18)

Unfortunately for Julius, learning the secrets behind "magic" usually ruins it. Once you know how it works, it's not magical anymore.