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Kirschenbaum (Preface, Introduction, Ch 1, Ch 2) Informal Reflection...

The first chapter of the book caught my attention when it introduced screen essentialism, which is a very cool term! It refers to the prevailing bias in new media studies toward display technologies that would have been unknown to most computer users before the mid -1970s. I assume that screen essentialism applies to all types of visual technologies. For example; those self-check out touch screens at Wal-Mart, airport e-ticket machines, and of course computers. People that are not part of the screen essentialist era are likely dependent on written technologies.

I wonder if being a member of the screen essential movement would make someone prone to constantly check their cell phone because of a need to see what time it is and know if they are being contacted. I probably check my phone at least every 5 minutes when I am in class. I get ‘phantom vibrations’ with it as well. This is when I think I have gotten a txt or it is ringing, but it actually hasn’t moved at all. I would say that it is a compulsion, but I am sure not the only one out there that does it.

On pg 32, Kirschenbaum shows a picture of the old time 5 ¼ inch floppy disks that brought up a very distinct memory for me. When I was in the 7th grade I went with my family to New Jersey to visit my Dad’s sister and parents. I had to stay in my cousin’s room and in there was this old Macintosh computer that took these 5 ¼ inch floppy disks. At this point I had already been using computers since the 2nd grade, but this mini-screened alien creation was a mystery to me. I believe I got to where it would turn on and read the disk, but this was long before I knew anything about command prompts.

I can imagine some people liking the big bulky storage disks for the sheer reason that it was a familiar size, like a record or even a file. The trend was to go smaller. 3 ½ floppy disks were all that I used in middle school and then CDRWs became popular when I entered high school. Now I simply use a 2.0 GB flash drive that works better for storing information then any of the previous methods. I just now also thought about the way in which we mesh the digital and written culture by writing on the floppy disk labels.


I commented on Kayla Sawyer's blog entry about this reading. I wrote that I agree about the use of handy gadgets being a large part of new media. If I could just pull a Jerz for a moment and give you an anecdote. I recall a time when Stormy used a blue tooth headset while conducting an interview over the telephone. It proved much easier then having to quickly scribe (or type)out the answers with one hand and balance the phone between her neck and head. Not to mention the fact that on a cell phone there is a function for recording calls. This was a very good use of these new 'fangled' gadgets. lol.

I also commented on Rachel Prichard's blog. I wrote I really find computer forensics interesting as well. You would think with the popularity of television shows like NCIS and CSI that there would be one completely devoted to computer crimes and the study of hard drives. I have seen “To Catch A Predator” more times then I can count. Interestingly enough I recently read about a new kind of software that was showcased at an invention convention that allows a person to scan e-mails to tell whether they are from someone that is actually the gender they are claiming to be.

The e-mail analyzer will determine whether the person you meet in the chat room is not a man pretending to be a woman or the other way around. The computer program developed by a Malaysian university professor analyzes e-mails according to the number of words, exclamation marks, emotions and compliments to determine if the sender is male or female. Women tend to be more expressive than men, said Dianne Cheong Lee Mei, but she refused to go into detail about how the program unveils the gender of the unseen Internet partner. Now that is something to think about.

And finally I commented on Jeremy Barrick's blog entry on the reading. I wrote that having a hard drive save files after they are deleted from the bin can sometimes be a good thing. When I was in New Media Projects I accidentally deleted some gaming files for one of my projects and could not retrieve them from the recycling bin. I was using a computer in a lab on 3rd Maura and was sure they were gone. Upon e-mailing the IT department the files were recovered and my butt was saved. This was one time I was happy that the hard drive was "holding" the files.

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Comments (2)


I know what you mean about the "phantom vibrations," Leslie. I get the same thing on my phone.

I don't usually check my phone to see what time it is (I have a watch I wear everywhere for that), but I do check for new messages (and to make sure I have service) often.

See I stopped wearing a watch a long time ago and that is one reason as to why I am so phone conscious. I also check for service to make sure that anyone trying to get a hold of me can. Today I was even complaining that no one had tried to contact me in a two hour period and I felt unloved. Isn’t that weird that is how people gauge their feelings of love and acceptance?

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