Category Archives: 1.pleaseorganiseme

I Still Make Mixtapes (CDs), Does That Mean I’m Outdated?

This past Christmas I gave my college roommate a mix CD with all of the songs that we jammed out to in the past semester. It was a beautiful mix of catchy pop tunes, rap songs (the ones that I would blast and she would awkwardly try to dance to), and a couple of Nickelback songs. Don’t ask me why, as I’m still trying to understand why she likes Nickelback as well. Point being, I like making mixtapes. There has never been a time in my life where sent someone a playlist via Spotify or 8tracks. As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, I like having to take the disc out of its case and pop it into my laptop/car CD drive/CD player. But the world doesn’t revolve around me and it’s becoming more popular to ditch the mixtape* and to create digital playlists.

I think the transition from making your own mixtapes/CDs happened when we were introduced to the mp3 player and its shuffle function. This new technology let us listen to our music without feeling like we were overplaying or over-listening to it (Brown & Knox 2014). Now services like Spotify are on the rise. It’s much easier and faster to gain a wide range of genres of music than it was in the past. Spotify is not just a place to listen to music, but it is a social network. You create playlists and you can share them with your friends, or people can follow your playlists. But what gets me is that with Spotify you can create a playlist, throw in a bunch of songs that you like, and then hit shuffle. You can even put multiple playlists in a folder to create a combined-genre/mood playlist. With the mixtape, you have to listen to the possible songs that go on the tape or CD; once you have your set songs, you then have carefully compile them in the order or play (Skågeby 2011 pg. 14). To me, that seems more intimate and personal than getting a notification that someone sent you a playlist.

Which brings me to my next point, according to Brown and Knox (2016) “A quarter of all songs listened to on Spotify are also skipped in the first five seconds (Guardian Music, 2014), which highlights that consumers are not simply listening to anything.” Let me repeat that. Consumers are not simply listening to anything. That leads me to wonder, if our modern day technology is supposed to make our lives easier/enhance our thinking/listening/seeing experiences, then how come we’re “not listening to anything”? We’re listening to fives seconds of this and five seconds of that until we reach a song that we can sit through its entirety. I admit I’m one of those people who will skip to the next song within the first one to two seconds of a song if I’m not feelin’ the vibe. It may seem like I’m bashing Spotify and the playlist, but I’m not. I use Spotify all of the time! But after reading that quote, it made me really think. Compared to the mixtape, the playlist seems like some cold-stone product of our “creativity.” Now I may be digging my own grave here, but anyone can throw some songs in a playlist and hit shuffle. There’s no craft to that! With the mixtape, you have to carefully plan out the songs, the tracklist, the mood/vibe of the mix. There’s more thought/feeling/time that goes into a mixtape than a playlist.

Our society is so go, go, go. We don’t really take the time anymore to actually take in our surroundings and fully appreciate them. This can be said the same thing with music and the playlist. We moved from carefully choosing the right music to go on a cassette or CD to hitting the shuffle button. So maybe we should try to retract from our fast-paced, plugged in culture at least once and dig out our blank CDs/cassette tapes and make a mixtape…

*Let me just clear this up now: there are two different uses of a “mixtape”. There’s the home-compilation of songs that are put onto a cassette tape or CD. Then there’s the “mixtape” that many hip-hop artists use as a “promotional tool packed with exclusive freestyles to an actual album-before-the-album…without labels at the helm” (Horowitz 2011). Just the other night I downloaded Chance the Rapper’s Acid Rap and on April 1st, Hamburger Helper (an American packaged food product of General Mills) dropped their five-track mixtape on Soundcloud. For this post, I will be focusing on the first use of the mixtape.

 

 

References:

Brown, S.C. and Knox, D., 2016. Why buy an album? The motivations behind recorded music purchases. Psychomusicology: Music, Mind, and Brain26(1), p.79-86.

Horowitz, S 2011, The Economy of Mixtapes: How Drake, Wiz Khalifa, Big K.R.I.T Figured It Out (Listen), Billboard, viewed 5 April 2016 http://www.billboard.com/biz/articles/news/1168371/the-economy-of-mixtapes-how-drake-wiz-khalifa-big-krit-figured-it-out

Skågeby, J 2011, Slow and fast music media: comparing values of cassettes and playlists, Transformations Journal of Media and Culture, p.14, viewed 5 April 2016

Hacktivism: Getting Political

B. Jones

a-brief-history-of-online-activism-2fe2f12439

After phone phreaking, hacking began to become a lot more serious. In the 1990s hacking began to become a tool of protest and new era of demonstration had begun. In 1994 an activist group known as the zippies used denial of service attacks and launched an email bomb. This was aimed at the then Prime minister of Britain John Major, they were specifically targeting his Criminal Justice and Public order act which was going to begin outlawing outside raves.

The DDOS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks took down many British government websites for up to a week. This protest to the British government became known as the “Intervasion of the UK”. Although according to some the intervasion did not shut down government websites for weeks as there were not that many at this stage. The DDos was done by targeting a host service provider which all government email had led…

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How They Look v How They Live

In both the Transhumanism and the Neo-Luddism movements, what we see portrayed or discussed in the media are often extreme examples.

Victor
Cyborgs in Dollhouse Season 2 http://dollhouse.wikia.com/wiki/Anthony_Ceccoli
simpsons_14_19_p1
Amish in Simpsons Season 14

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So with such an extreme dichotomy in the way we discuss these two differing approaches to life, my questions turned towards the principles of each movement. My interest is with how each philosophy affects ones happiness, and so my research turns towards the day-to-day experiences of Transhumanists and Neo-Luddites.

The principles of Transhumanism, on a basic level, are to use technology to enhance human experience. “Transhumanists recognize that their bodies are a kind of machine – one that can be studied, understood and subjected to hacks.” – Dvorsky, 2008

For some Transhumanists, it’s a solid 3 minutes of taking vitamins to extend, using smartphones to enhance efficiency, using recording devices to make up for a lack of memory power. For others, it’s bio-hacking with implantable chips or designer drugs.

The Notes Toward a Neo-Luddite Manifesto point out a few simple principles of a modern approach to Neo-Luddism. First, hat it is not anti-technology, but “opposed to the kind of technologies that are, at root, destructive of human lives and communities.” Secondly, it recognises that all technology is political, that is “consciously structured to reflect and serve specific powerful interests in specific historical situations.”

In the day-to-day, this might mean refusing to use social media, or even just having scheduled device-free hours, or buying handmade or locally grown produce instead of going to supermarkets.

 

For my project, I aim to create a transmedia project that will reflect the daily experiences of each group. This format is most suitable to accommodate both philosophies in a way that can still be presented easily as an assessment task.

Human Happiness: Transhumanism vs Neo-Luddism

As technology becomes more ubiquitous in our day-to-day, more and more people are concerned with how to switch off and re-engage with the real world. We can see examples of this in the growing popularity of the ‘digital detox’, where participants aim to go device-free. More often, we have university lecturers instituting a no-device policy in classrooms, to encourage students to engage with the classroom environment. Workplaces encourage employees to disconnect for periods of time to encourage creativity and inter-personal interaction.

In my personal life, I’ve found myself confronted with these issues more frequently. Do my phone and Facebook genuinely make me happy? Or does my joy and wellbeing come from taking it slow, and just enjoying life?

For my DIGC335 research project, I will aim to investigate these issues by comparing examples at each extreme of these arguments.

Transhumanism is a movement that is interested in using technology to enhance humans and further overcome the limitations and capacities of the human condition. It seeks to use technology to extend life span, to improve quality of life, and to change the parameters of our experience.

In practice, this looks like RFID chips implanted under the skin that can act as a key. It looks like prosthetic and cybernetic artificial limbs that can be controlled by thought. It’s gene therapy, replacing a ‘malfunctioning’ gene that causes a disease with a new, working one.The Transhuman agenda is to use technologies such as these to ‘redesign’ the experience of being human.

On the other side of the spectrum are various anti-technology groups, such as the Neo-Luddite movement. At the heart of these movements is the concern that technology is being used to control, not enhance, our lives and experiences as social beings. Looking at the long lines of people waiting to shell out hundreds of dollars on the latest iPhone (despite its lack of improvement or innovation in the overall smartphone field) it’s easy to believe that technology is contributing to the rat race, rather than helping us overcome it.

iphone-6-launch-lo_3044263b
Thousands queue for the release of the iPhone 6 http://www.telegraph.co.uk/men/the-filter/11109023/Why-was-it-only-men-who-queued-for-an-iPhone-6.html

My research this semester will be primarily concerned with a critical analytic comparison of the Transhumanist movement and the Neo-Luddite movement as competing theologies of how to live a happy and fulfilled human life.

 

 

 

Fantasy Football

Before winter sports season has starts, we are bombarded with ads spread throughout newspapers, across and billboards and televisions, asking us would we like the chance to a ‘Super Coach’. SuperCoach allows fans of different sporting codes within Australia to create their own team, compete against other fans and strive for premiership glory.

DIGC335, has given us the opportunity to research, create and explore the idea of Cybercultures. I don’t have an extensive knowledge or a keen interest in the type of matters surrounding Cybercultures, but I’m hoping this will change this semester.

Our major assessment is to create a digital artefact around the topic of Cybercultures. For this assessment I wanted to undertake something that I had an interest in but something that I could also learn more about. I’m a massive sports fan, I will watch any type of competitive sport. With that in mind I’ve decided to take…

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DIGC 335 – Music Technology Post 2

christhompson42

I’ve found a lot more direction and done a lot more research since my last blog post. Initially I was pretty keen to look at how musician’s can succeed in the modern world, independent of a record label although this is a difficult topic because in the modern industry there are blurred lines as to whether a musician is truly independent or not and many larger artists eventually need a record label, even just to help manage their workflow. In short, record labels do still hold power within the industry although diminished. (La Rocca, 2014)

My main focus is looking at how technology has enabled modern musicians, specifically the internet as well as music software/ (such as DAW’s) hardware (such as samplers).

The internet has given musicians an unprecedented ability to network with other musicians and have an organic reach to a varying fan base. (Baym, 2010) Although, in recent…

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Cyberethics: Open for Discussion

Media Tear

Cyberethics is fragile, controversial, and variable. In a sense that one groups idea of what is ethical and moral is likely to completely differ to another groups. Its a matter of perspective and what people want out of Cyberculture. Consider the viewpoints on on Torrenting, unauthorised streaming and downloading – all illegal within many countries including Australia but that has not stopped people from doing so and many people do not agree with those laws.

There are multiple viewpoints on the issue. Firstly, the “fundamentalist protectors” against piracy. Where pirating equates to stealing a car. A consideration to make is the people involved in the production process, whom some believe deserve the credit, appreciation and to be paid for their work. Some suggest that piracy is lowering the incentive and desire to produce new and innovative entertainment.

Alternatively, there are the “fundamentalist libertarians” that believe that information and content should be…

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Data Visualisation For Dummies

michellewrites2

So in my last blog, I briefly explored the proliferation of data, and examined how humans interact and process all this information. Going on to explore how data visualization has emerged as people seek to find ways to interpret complex information and translate it into a format that is easily understood.

This week I dove into the topic of data visualization more methodically, in the aim to answer this question: “What is data visualization, and why does it matter?” In this I examined the historical and academic origins of the practice; examine its use in society and lastly explored and analyzed key examples of data visualization.

While some might think that data visualization is a new concept, and only emerged with the introduction of Web 2.0, computers and developments in statistics. In actuality, graphic representation of quantitative information has deep roots. According to historian Michael Friendly (2006 & 2008)…

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