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Monthly Archives: December 2004

Powerbook

I thought I’d give a quick update on how I’ve been getting on with the powerbook over the last month. I love it. I really do. The simplicity of it, the speed of it (not just processor-wise, but also in terms of booting up and shutting down). And it sleeps like a baby – you put it to ‘sleep’ (equivalent of ‘hibernate’ mode in windows xp) and it goes into low power mode. This happens almost instantly. The power consumption is next to nothing – I put it to sleep the other day at 3pm, and didn’t boot it up again until 10am the following day and it still had 90% battery power. The same could never be said of my Windows XP laptop (if indeed it would resume at all after being put to sleep).

All the little features that you only notice the more you use it, are great too. One of my faves is the catch when you close the laptop up. The catch on the top of the screen sits flush, and there’s no obvious way that you can see how it locks shut. Then as you close the lid, a magnet on the opposite catch pulls out a latch just at the last moment and hey presto! Simple thing, but made me smile. My housemate, a lifelong windows-user, couldn’t see the point of me spending so much money on a computer. As he uses it more and more, he’s becoming more and more tempted…

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Convergence

I’m reading the opening chapter to Lev Manovich’s “The Language of New Media”, and I’m learning some stuff I never knew about the origins of the computer and the amazingly close links with cinema and the “old media”. The thing that I wanted to share in this post is about the first ever digital computer. Not the first computer – that was invented by Charles Babbage, or arguably J.M.Jacquard. The first ever digital computer – processing binary inputs and outputs – was created by a German engineer called Konrad Zuse. He created it in his parents living room, and used punch tape to provide the input mechanism. The tape that he used was old abandoned 35mm film. Manovich writes about this in such a way as to show the amazing metaphor of cinema becoming a slave to the computer, in the way that Zuse’s computer wrote over the film for it’s own purposes. The computer engulfs cinema, digitizing it, and so bringing it from the world of old media to the domain of the new.

I’ve had the Language of New Media on my desk for some time now (in more than one way – since my computer could be seen to also contain the language of new media), and I’ve dipped into it at various points, and I’m always amazed at how clearly Manovich writes about the subject, in such a way that gives me renewed interest and motivation to investigate the field more.

Update

What have I been up to since the last post? I’ve been getting used to a new laptop and OS, both of which are a pleasure to use. I’m sure I’ll post some more about my experiences. I’ve been doing interviews still for my PhD, although not nearly as many as I would like. I’ve had a couple of practice sessions with the band for a charity gig later this month – gradually feeling a bit more optimistic about this! And this weekend I’m heading down to Brighton for an unofficial uni reunion – will be good to see everyone again, haven’t seen some of them for about 3 years.