culturshock

sizing up media, technology, and society

Looking for a new home

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This is an open call to any web designers/blog virtuosos looking for opportunities to help out humble writers like myself as I try to squeeze life back into my writing routine and transform this blog into one I can be proud of. I’ve secured employment for now to handle post-university life, but am committed to pour every ounce of my energy into this outlet. I love writing and am deeply saddened by how far I’ve let it fall by my life’s wayside.

As part of the rebirth, I am looking to move this blog to a hosted service while sticking with the WordPress platform, and would welcome any recommendations as to what would suit my needs. While I enjoy the designs available at wordpress.com, I find them increasingly inflexible as my online life expands and becomes evermore integrated. So an integration-friendly, powerful, and professional design would be right up my alley. Consider it a chance to showcase your skills, help out an aspiring writer, and be part of what we can turn this into.

Please leave a comment with your info (I have to approve it so it won’t be disclosed publicly) or send me a message on twitter

Can’t wait to hear from you!

Written by jon.

February 13, 2009 at 2:15 pm

Posted in Updates

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The Next Web

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This article hit the upcoming section of Digg earlier today, and I thought I’d post my 2 cents here after leaving them in the comments.

It asked, “What will replace the Internet?”, and in my humble opinion, is quite colourful and speculative in answering.  While I think some of the ideas have merit, I opted for a shorter term, less sci-fi take on the future of our beloved WWW.

The Internet was initially developed @ CERN for the purpose of facilitating scientific data transfer. It later trickled down into corporate and public uses, where its technology was built upon (the WWW), expanded, and participated in on worldwide scales.

Internet -> The Grid, developed @ CERN to facilitate collaborative processing in order to manage the massive amounts of data being created by the Large Hadron Collider. It won’t just use the information present on the network, but the computational abilities of the members of the network itself (processors, storage, I/O). Imagine the Web that we could build on a system like that.

It will be cloud computing in the truest sense yet, and will be to information processing what the social media explosion has been to traditional modes of circulation: computers won’t be dumb terminals of data, but active participants in the whole process.

I would venture that the development and implementation of the Grid’s next-gen WWW platform would give rise to and/or facilitate the semantic web, as information processors would finally have access to new perspectives and massive statistical banks to help distinguish how different pieces of information are related to one another.

These perspectives would go beyond the number of link hits and keyword searches, and allow critical evaluation of the relationships between data through the conversation enabled by the Grid’s collaborative protocols.

This is why I liken the Grid’s introduction to the social media revolution: look at what conversation has done to us (as info processors), our information, and our information habits.  We may not *actually* be any smarter, but information networks like the Internet have made us far more resourceful, and continue to accelerate our ability to find, understand, and apply knowledge.

I am treading into some future post material, so I’ll stop here.  Stay tuned.

What do you think?

Written by jon.

January 30, 2009 at 10:21 pm

A Wee(zer)Mix

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Always a tongue-in-cheek group of musicians, Weezer has released the video for their latest single, Pork and Beans, and it bleeds remediation like no other.  A collision of viral internet personalities, memes, and parodies, the video delights as much as it speaks for the “don’t give a hoot about what you think” theme through the lyrics.  Valleywag is putting the video allusion count at 24, albeit with a few possible misses.  Check it out below.

It certainly got me thinking about the role of producers, remix culture, and branding.  By referencing all the memes, and adding their music, Weezer has succeeded in creating something that is both familiar and unique.  The song’s product-placing lyrics mocks the promise that consumer culture makes us: the power to reinvent ourselves in accordance with our own desires.  What actually transpires, however, is a cross-breeding and mish-mashing of particular brand identities that again, produces something familiar and unique.  While the realm of the music video limits itself in time and content, the remixing of consumer identity is a far more complex domain, and one always worthy of further thought.

How do brands mediate your day to day existence? In the last ten minutes, what brands have you encountered? Were they obvious/non-obvious to others?  How and what are the privately mediating brands (of shampoo, contact lenses, email provider, etc) interacting with your self-image? How about the publicly mediating brands (clothing, shoes, beer)?

jon.

Written by jon.

May 24, 2008 at 5:20 pm

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Decompression Sickness, Distributed Knowledge

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hey all,

there will be more coming on what i’ve been up to during the absence (which mostly involves a lot of moving, working, and sleepiing), and the exciting changes in store for culturshock in the near future.  For now, I want to jump right into a topic that I’ve spent a few days pondering about.

It’s no secret that technology has changed the very fabric of our world, how we interact with it, how we model it, and how lives are built around it.  The original example I came across while chatting with a friend was transportation. Namely, how the transportation technologies that have permeated our existence have radically altered human perceptions of distance.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by jon.

May 20, 2008 at 10:14 pm

CBC Net Neutrality & Media Charter

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In light of the imminent debate on CBC’s Spark on Net Neutrality, I have made a public copy of the Media Charter of Rights & Freedoms available. Initiated by a Media Studies class at the University of Guelph, this document has been one of the projects that has emerged, willingly, from the collective voice of our classroom. Please feel free to contribute suggestions, clauses, or thoughts, whether independently or in response to the CBC Radio discussion.

Google Document: Media Charter of Rights & Freedoms

Please also check out my previous post on NN: Net Neutrality: The Crash Course

jon.

Written by jon.

April 14, 2008 at 11:59 pm

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An Experiment in Remediation

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First off, after all my rants about design and interface really mattering to me, WordPress goes ahead and updates their dashboard. Horrah!

Second, enclosed here is an experiment for you to take a gander at. It is what I’ve called an “enhanced” version of my term paper, complete with colour, formatting, pictures, and typos! So check it out and see if it does anything for you. By that I mean, does the hypermediation of my term paper in any way assist, facilitate, augment or detract from the subject matter? I thoroughly enjoyed designing the experience of the words, and hope at the very least, that you enjoy reading it.

Newseum & Remediation (Enhanced)

jon.

Written by jon.

April 4, 2008 at 4:48 pm

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The Triadic Media

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Hey all

I’ve done some thinking lately in making connections between the hectic media landscape that we currently occupy and what I consider to be an incredibly useful theory that I learned about in a cognitive science class. It’s called the tri-level hypothesis, and while originally applied to information processors and found in cognitive research, its theoretical basis helps to frame incredibly complex systems in a way that simultaneously preserves their entirety and divides up the constituents that make it possible. It is most easily illustrated by way of the metaphor of chess.

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Written by jon.

April 3, 2008 at 2:24 pm

Posted in Uncategorized