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Which clippings match 'Black Box System' keyword pg.1 of 1
03 JANUARY 2014

Interface functions: conceptually similar operationally different

"I am going to argue that 'media independence' does not just happen by itself. For a technique to work with various data types, programmers have to implement a different method for each data type. Thus, media–independent techniques are general concepts translated into algorithms, which can operate on particular data types. Let us look at some examples.

Consider the omnipresent cut and paste. The algorithm to select a word in a text document is different from the algorithm to select a curve in a vector drawing, or the algorithm to select a part of a continuous tone (i.e. raster) image. In other words, 'cut and paste' is a general concept that is implemented differently in different media software depending on which data type this software is designed to handle. (In Larry Tesler's original implementation of the universal commands concept done at PARC in 1974–5, it only worked for text editing.) Although cut, copy, paste, and a number of similar 'universal commands' are available in all contemporary GUI applications for desktop computers (but not necessarily in mobile phone apps), what they actually do and how they do it is different from application to application.

Search operates in the same way. The algorithm to search for a particular phrase in a text document is different than the algorithm that searches for a particular face in a photo or a video clip. (I am talking here about 'content–based search,' i.e. the type of search which looks for information inside actual images, as opposed to only searching image titles and other metadata the way image search engines such as Google Image Search were doing it in the 2000s.) However, despite these differences the general concept of search is the same: locating any elements of a single media object–or any media objects in a larger set–to match particular user–defined criteria. Thus we can ask the web browser to locate all instances of a particular word in a current web page; we can ask a web search engine to locate all web pages which contain a set of keywords; and we can ask a content–based image search engine to find all images that are similar in composition to an image we provided. ...

Against these historical developments, the innovation of media software clearly stands. They bring a new set of techniques which are implemented to work across all media. Searchability, findability, linkability, multimedia messaging and sharing, editing, view control, zoom and other 'mediaindependent' techniques are viruses that infect everything software touches–and therefore in their importance they can be compared to the basic organizing principles for media and artifacts which were used for thousands of years."

(Lev Manovich, 2013, pp.113–124)

Manovich, L. (2013). "Software Takes Command", Continuum.

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TAGS

1974algorithm • black box model • black box system • black box theory • content-based • content-based search • continuous tone • cut and pastedata typesdesktop computer • findability • general concepts • Google Image Search • GUI applications • high-level designimage identificationimage searchimage search engine • implemented differently • keyword search • Larry Tesler • Lev Manovich • linkability • low-level implementation • media independence • media production • media software • media-independent techniques • media-independent techniques from different implementations • metadata • polymorphism • raster imagesearch algorithmsearch engine • search phrase • search toolsearchabilitytechnology affordances • text document • text editing • text selection • TinEye • universal commands • vector graphicvisual searchweb search engineweb searchingXerox PARC

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
04 DECEMBER 2013

Kano: A computer anyone can make by Kano

"A computer and coding kit for all ages, all over the world. Simple as Lego, powered by Pi. Make games, learn code, create the future."

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CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
11 SEPTEMBER 2013

World's first ethical smartphone to launch in UK

"Fairphone, which is described by its makers as 'the world's first ethical smartphone' is set to launch in London. The first prototype of the Fairphone, which has been developed by a team in The Netherlands, will be shown at the London Design Festival next week. Fairphone's makers say they use conflict–free materials and aim to ensure that every worker in the phone's supply chain receives a fair wage."

(Angus Montgomery, 10 Sep 2013, Design Week)

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TAGS

2013 • Action Aid • AmsterdamAndroid OSapplied research • Bas van Abel • black box system • Closing the Loop (programme) • conflict-free • conflict-free materials • Democratic Republic of Congodesign responsibilityDesign Weekethical consumption • fair wage • fairer principles • fairness • Fairphone • Fairtrade • Jelly Bean OS • London Design Festivalmademobile phoneNetherlands • non-profit organisation • Peoples Republic of Chinaphoneprototype • raise awareness • recyclingresearch projectresponsible designreuse • Schrijf-Schrijf • smartphonesocial enterprise • social values • South Kivu • speculative designsupply chainvaluesWaag Society • wages • workers

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
31 MAY 2010

Confronting the Challenges of Participatory Culture: Media Education for the 21st Century

"Most public policy discussion of new media have centred on technologies–tools and their affordances. The computer is discussed as a magic black box with the potential to create a learning revolution (in the positive version) or a black hole that consumes resources that might better be devoted to traditional classroom activities (in the more critical version).Yet, as the quote above suggests, media operate in specific cultural and institutional contexts that determine how and why they are used. We may never know whether a tree makes a sound when it falls in a forest with no one around. But clearly, a computer does nothing in the absence of a user. The computer does not operate in a vacuum. Injecting digital technologies into the classroom necessarily affects our relationship with every other communications technology, changing how we feel about what can or should be done with pencils and paper, chalk and blackboard, books, films, and recordings.

Rather than dealing with each technology in isolation, we would do better to take an ecological approach, thinking about the interrelationship among all of these different communication technologies, the cultural communities that grow up around them, and the activities they support. Media systems consist of communication technologies and the social, cultural, legal, political, and economic institutions, practices, and protocols that shape and surround them (Gitelman, 1999).The same task can be performed with a range of different technologies, and the same technology can be deployed toward a variety of different ends. Some tasks may be easier with some technologies than with others, and thus the introduction of a new technology may inspire certain uses. Yet, these activities become widespread only if the culture also supports them, if they fill recurring needs at a particular historical juncture. It matters what tools are available to a culture, but it matters more what that culture chooses to do with those tools."

(Henry Jenkins, Katie Clinton, Ravi Purushotma, Alice J. Robison, Margaret Weigel, MacArthur Foundation)

[2] Jenkins, H., K. Clinton, et al. 'Confronting the Challenges of Participatory Culture: Media Education for the 21st Century', MacArthur Foundation.

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TAGS

affordancesblack box systemblackboardchalkclassroomcommunityconvergence • cultural communities • cultural contextcultural formsdigital media and learningdigital technologieseducationengagementFacebookFriendster • game clans • Henry Jenkins • institutional context • learning revolution • MacArthur Foundation • message boards • metagaming • MITMySpace • new media literacies • participationparticipatory cultureparticipatory learningpedagogypencilpracticessharingsocial constructionismtechnologytransformationuser

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
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