Week 4

While reading "Technologies of the Third Mediamorphosis," by Roger
Fidler, I started thinking about how prevalent email as the predominate
tool for disseminating information and communicating in an office
environment has become. I remember working in the office when
information was circulated around an office with a sticky note attached
to it that you had to initial to show that you had received the memo
and then you passed to the next person. Now, nearly everything is
electronic. I have an email inbox full of stuff. I am afraid to delete
most emails because I just know that somebody somewhere might deem a
deleted email very important and I will be asked my thoughts or opinion
of it. I wonder how we ever got along without email.

I found it
amusing that when people were shown demonstrations of Bell’s
“audio-telegraph” that audiences were filled with dread by the eerie
sounds and voices that came out of Bell’s machine. However, I it gave
me a better picture of why new inventions can take time to become
adopted. I know that VoIP is a technology that, while people may not be
afraid of it, can certainly create a sense of uncertainty about how
this technology will impact them. Uncertainty with new technologies is
still real today.

The Winston readings this week, in parts,
really dragged me down. The depth of detail about firing tables (a
guide to the ranging of artillery pieces) made me cry “Enough!” While
it is certainly interesting to read about the first computers, the
acronyms and detail can really slow things down in my opinion. On the
other hand, there are some fascinating accounts of the British
government’s Code and Cipher School (CG and CS) charged with the
challenge of breaking encoded German messages created on the Enigma. A
machine called the Bombas (originally constructed by the Poles) was
used to reverse Enigma. The effect on the world of this invention no
doubt altered history. The supervening social necessity for these
machines was driven by war.

Brian B

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Comments

  • Heather King  On 25 October 2005 at 3:12 pm

    Wow. I would have not survived in the inter-office mail system of passing notes! At times I receive inter-office mail, which sits on my desk for weeks unopened. Somehow it seems less urgent than an email just because of the way it was sent… hmmmm.

    I think Winston could have made his detailed history of warfare and computing interesting by including a couple photos!

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