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Articles

January 21, 2010

Articles

I’ve read the 3 articles assigned for this week and have several comments to make. In Framing Conversations about Technology, the writer points out how new technologies have changed our lives for centuries yet the majority of us tend to accept these new technologies with little or no question. We’re “mystified” by them and tend to believe that our lack of expertise in such matters precludes us from questioning them. I guess I never really thought of it along those lines but how true! When I think of every major technology I use in my life, I know little about how it works or the impact it has on the rest of the world; and I tend to accept these new technologies as “inevitable forces of nature”…that they are inevitable. This article explains how they are not inevitable. In fact, some new technologies (i.e. cloning) are just plain bad ideas.

Creating Convergence, although written in 2000, still makes several key points that are still true today. I think it also makes the best argument as to why we do accept new technologies without questioning them…THEY’RE JUST TOO COMPLICATED! Give me a BlueRay player and an IPOD and a laptop that work and do all the neat things I want them to do. Don’t bore me with the details or get me involved in the myriad of problems that need to be worked out among manufacturers and nations in order to make them compatible. Makes me think of the “old days” when the technology wars were between VHS and Beta technologies.

This article also discusses copyright protection. Personally, it’s kind of cool that we can download music and movies for free but then I think of the people who created this music and these movies and know full well that they are not being fairly compensated for their hard work.

This article also discusses the mergers that have been occurring in order for these large conglomerates to “control” the material that we are able to view/hear on our PC’s DVD players and IPODs. It wasn’t too long ago that my family paid a phone bull, and Internet access fee (dial up, no less) and a cable TV bill. Now 1 company controls all 3 of these things plus on demand movies and entertainment and broadband Internet connection. Is that a bad thing? It seems very convenient but it does place an awful lot of power in the hands of one company.

Powershift, written in 1990, further details the difficulties that technologies face in regards to standards, but it also highlights just how far companies, even nations will go in order to be the leader in the creation of standards. It discusses the forethought and genius that some companies have displayed in order to fulfill their vision but also describes pains (sometimes illegal) to maintain their advantage. Japan rigs things so US computer companies can’t compete for their business; Germany conveniently labels all non-German beers impure and won’t allow them into the country and likewise Italian sausage.

This reminds me of how the importing and exporting of American and Japanese cars seems awfully lopsided in Japan’s favor. How can American cars compete when the cost of employee medical benefits have to be rolled into the price of every American car while Japanese cars need not include such a cost due to nationalized healthcare. I never really cared about these things before…but I guess I better start.

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