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Kirschenbaum (Preface, Introduction, Ch 1, Ch 2) Agenda Item...

Agenda Item: " Though normally invisible to human eyes, the magnetic recording on such a card is indisputably an inscription, as is apparent after the aerosolized ferrite oxide which makes the tracks and data patterns visible," (Mechanisms 31).

I mean I never really thought of a magnetic strip on a card to be of any significance other than to swipe me into my dorm room or other places, but there is a definite presence of technology on them. The figure in the book makes this point much more apparent. The fact that we cannot usually see these marks delves into the world of man vs. machine in a sense. This is information that we are not privy to because we are not computers. Technology is exclusive in this example.

Wow. Ok. Reading this first part of the book (the preface) regarding William Ford’s “Agrippa” was just insanely bizarre. I even went on to Wikipedia searching for answers about what the poem’s significance was and the definition for mechanisms. As of right now I have grasped the concept that this book is going to be about electronic textuality.

A mechanism is both a product and a process and apparently Wikipedia is a mechanism (xvii). Frankly I am not enjoying this book at all so far. I think it is a little too complicated and at this point I am having a hard time comprehending as well as getting into the content. It is kind of like mush in my brain right now. I am not giving up on it yet, but I am going to need a break from this reading.

Assignment Link

Comments (8)

Kayla Sawyer:

Yeah, I know. It goes in depth about a topic we haven't even scratched the surface of.

I don't want to sound like Debbie Downer, but this is too much and I really dislike the book so far. I didn't care much for the G-Burg Galaxy either. Same kind of reasoning.

Daniella Choynowski:

The book made me think of the importance of that little strip and all the abuse it goes through-scraping and scratching, de-magnetization by cell-phones. I can't tell you how many times I have been somewhere and my debit card doesn't work. I've been stuck in Cleveland, Disney World, the mall, New York, Daytona Beach, King of Prussia, as well as Wal-Mart. I really depend on that 1/4 inch thick piece of plastic.

I wouldn't survive without my card and my u-drive. Portable storgae is essential to modern society.

Just because I understand the book doesn't mean I enjoy it. I find it very dry, just like the last one. Not all books can be fun, although that Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom one sounds interesting.

My head hurts with the thought of all the impending reading I have to do. 4 more weeks until Paris

Indeed, this is complex stuff, but Dani has the right attitude. I did try to pick a mixture of books that inform and books that delight. Because we've read plenty of sources that inform, we'll be better prepared to recognize what we're being taught in the books that put story above analysis. If there's a specific concept that puzzles you, we can spend class time going over it, if you like.

I don't know right now if it is any specific concept that I find puzzling, but I just feel like I may have different expectations for this book. I am sure we will address everyone's preconceptions about Mechanisms today in class.

Stormy :

I agree, there are a lot of things to look up in this book. I think there are a lot of points made that we can relate to better than in previous texts more focused on the non-digital era of book studies.

For some reason, the whole man v. technology thing baffles me because man created technology. How can we be pitted against (not necessarily in a negative way) technology when it is us who demands for and continues to grow it?

I just take comfort in knowing there's somebody out there who knows how my motherboard talks to my PC, or how the brakes and the engine in my car function separately yet together to ensure I'm alive. Just for a couple examples.

The movie War Games comes to mind when talking about the man vs. technology deal. We spoke briefly in class today about the fear that computers were going to take over in the 80s and I think that is pretty evident in that movie. I also think about Short Circuit as well. The take over of machines is something that we have been thinking about as a society for a long time.

Hi folks,

I enjoyed reading through this sequence of posts and the comments (really!). If anyone wants to ask specific questions about things in the book I'd be happy to try to answer them (just drop me a note via email directing my attention to the thread).

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