~e; new electronic mediaworks
human being <email@example.com>
Sun, 29 Jun 2003 23:21:15 -0500
A few recent developments in personal computing signal
a potential future for the industry that has not existed as
readily, but may have existed in mid-90s prior forecasts
of faster technological investment and broadband usage.
While this message will mention the Apple Macintosh and
related equipment, it is not limited to this platform, nor to
the PC alone, but will be related to this for convenience.
-- Articles are coming out on what the 64-bit multi-processor
desktop (and laptop) computers may mean for the existing
32 bit computer chips and related software. Apparently the
64 bit consumer market may challenge graphic workstations
used for more intensive graphics and computation. Plus, the
networking of these multi-processors in clusters may also
impact the super-computing market using these new systems.
This may mean that the consumer market may become better
prepared for 3D and other graphics and high-performance
work, which may be for consumption and production of media,
such as video, 3D animations, sound, multitasked HDTV even.
-- With the introduction of high-quality audio-visual chat (such
as Apple's iSight camera) and eventually more productivity-
based applications (such as a common white-board feature,
multiple users, etc) in a chat program (possibly iChat AV) the
integration of this refined technology makes remote work and
networking a possibility for a huge consumer market. The wish
for videoteleconferences outside the corporate world (of internal
networks configured to work together, worldwide or nationally)
still exist in 'room setups' dedicated to around-the-table video-
conferences, from what has been observed. There are few if
any mentions of cafes with videoconferencing software in
active use even in the era of broadband cafes. Yet, with wi-fi
and a laptop, or a cellphone modem, it may be possible to sit
in a park and chat with someone on another continent, or so
this is the vision now being sold by Apple's latest technology.
This is not just writing about the novelty of audiovisuals but
their integral relation to other technologies. First, though, it is
worth noting that private video or business over unsecured or
unencrypted networks is basically giving someone a live feed
of one's private communications, the more relevant the content
to someone else, the more likely it is of value to some snooper.
Say one wants to do a video-chat and send files about a private
work project, in a competitive or political environment... this is
equivalent to making one's thoughts a channel for Cable TV,
as technically it is unlikely it is any more difficult to grab this
data than it is other existing streams of e-mails, URLs, etc.
And there may be good money in it, if it is made to pay off.
That is why not only the encrypting of computer hard-drives
and password management and proxies should be built into
computers, but they are of little use if one is only going to be
encrypting worms, trojans, or viruses injected through other
weak points in the communications networks. Therefore it is
imagined that without security, the barriers to invest and also
to trust such platforms for working will prevent or hinder their
development beyond entertainment. Also, without security in
broadband networks and modems and hardware, with regard
to these issues, their adoption could hinder new innovations,
such as telework centers, telecommuting, wireless field work.
It is mentioned in the news how camera-phones are becoming
popular in areas like real-estate, to show houses or in other
fields. Consider this with streaming audio-visuals and full
computer access, which is also possible, but the data that is
vulnerable seems to also increase, maybe it is related to how
one networks, if it is outside a secured virtual network or if it
is in the open-air to be sniffed. Basic security networks would
help adoption of such technology, as the wider or more open
the networks that can exchange data, the better, it would seem,
for use in the cross-pollination of ideas, and networking people.
An interesting point was made by Apple in their keynote, which
I happened to watch at a local cafe via wi-fi because the power
had gone out. It was streamed from San Francisco via Quicktime
and was of a poor quality due to the available bandwidth, yet
hearing the presentation and reading the followup, the part that
was of interest seems to be getting little press. That is, with the
broadband connection and the new software, free long-distance
calls can be made (and received, if using a 56k modem) with
out a dial-tone, when using the iChat AV software. It has been
said that many 'phonecards' for temporary long-distance calls
is sent over the Internet, and the quality is at times noticeable.
Yet, if one were to have quality broadband, and this type of a
new network were to begin adoption beyond specific software,
then the computer and its mutli-processors and such may even
rival a small business phone exchange system, again lots of
audio-visual data, caller-ID, voicemail, which may be connected
with a computer. That this would be opposite the phone company
model is of note, as is the exorbitant cost and quality of broad-
band, which hinders any such developments, even competition.
Yet even further, when one sends a camera-phone picture or
has voice-mail recorded, it is 'somewhere else', when the trend
in many other areas is to have these systems miniaturized into
the home network. Consider Movie Palaces and DVD Home
Theaters. It may be transformational, the maturing of certain
technological developments, or their control, such as with the
broadcast media networks and centralization of information.
With broadband, not only telephony changes, and video-
conferencing, but also narrowcasting and net-casts could
be better realized by web-ready production and reception
systems (software and hardware) which exist on the edges
of the current network, to redistribute information. Not in one
way broadcasts alone, but also video-conferences where the
forums now existing in e-mail and around certain disciplines
could be further developed as working forums, activated by
audio and video technologies and speed, to enable greater
collaboration at-a-distance, and materialization of efforts.
For instance, a 'conference' would no longer require a plane
ticket and hotel but could be conducted by GMT scheduling,
and private audio-visual communications, beyond current
efficiencies of typed text (and the lost files associated with
challenges of managing fast information in slow mediums).
This is to say that, considering the technology of the audio-
visual chat, and the improved and standardized web-cam,
and many secured broadband wired and wireless networks,
that these new electronic medias could begin working in the
ways once envisioned during the optimistic 90s futurism. It
is to connect the dots between a cellphone that current can
web-browse and take a video-feed over a broadband network,
or even just a snapshot with full voice and text capabilities, and
to relate this to the issues of free long-distance calling from a
main or primary computer system, in addition to the sharing
of both instant messaging and remote video-teleconferencing
capacities that the computer and cellphone may not only be
useful for syncing data, but for calling eachother, and even
as a videophone, or a work meeting while in the field. This
is somewhat different than the visions heard so far in news
about these developments, if only because it may not be
immediately realizable, outside of highly-controlled and
configured and managed corporate computer networks.
And even then, it may not be possible yet, it is not known.
What is known is the potential of this to usher in an era of
increasing importance and necessity for the development
and securing of broadband voice and data networks, and
their affordability in relation to the markets they already are
serving and how the costs of such basic services may be
hindering the entirety of electronic media developments.
If there were monopolies existing in areas of telephony,
or radio, or cable, and their core markets were going to
be affected by greater openness in communications it
would be interesting to know if this would stop these new
advances in flight, just to keep control of the markets. In
the US today, broadband costs ~60-80 month with dial-
tone it seems. And one is penalized if not keeping the
service for 12 months straight (bad for renters) which
costs 100-150 dollar service charge for dropping it. If
anyone is has a website they develop, one can add to
this the cost of domains and webspace, often another
30+ dollars, which is just for dial-tone and dial-up and
a website using broadband, at roughly 100+/month,
which makes producing information quite expensive
for those who do it without support. If one were to add
in this price, free phone calls, free long distance, and
the use of audio-video chat and teleconferencing it is
still expensive but begins to make sense. The cost for
dial-tone could even be removed, eventually. it seems.
Over the phone company's dead body, it would appear.
Yet, to add another basic device, such as a wi-fi PDA
or a web-capable phone, adds another section, and
for those who TIVO, eventually this electronic access
may cost more than financing of new car payments.
The payoff would be if there was some return on the
investment in audio-video chat, some big gain which
it seems there could be. For instance, if a video-phone
and computer service were bundled it would enable
remote teleconferences, and even phone calls. This
public 'utility' aspect of the infrastructure is becoming
more evident, if only it were considered as such. The
other devices now emerging for audio-visual hand-
helds, such as the portable Archos videoplayer, or
the iPod .mp3 player seem to be limited in current
applications. Yet, considering an improvement in
base computing power and also broadband and
connectivity between devices, an iPod data-storage
device (or media server, for that matter, such as the
networked drives used by advertisers to store their
commercials and video on networks, for sale on
the fly) can become a way to carry a copy of an
event, say it is a lecture from a professor across
the world, or an HDTV show, or a rental movie.
One could plug these devices into a TV, a monitor,
an LCD projector, a computer, a radio system, or
other devices and gain access to the content. It
could be a slide-show from Keynote/Powerpoint,
it could be a local band's DIY video of their sounds,
it may be a poetry or a video card awaiting sending.
It is this data storage device that, when combined
not just with .mp3 music, or even the traditional
aspects of e-commerce, but as audio-visual data
storage, in addition to the aspects of streaming of
conferences, ideas, meetings, presentations, and
personal messages, calls, conversations, that it
shows another utility, recording archival AV records.
So if one is sitting at a terminal, on the network, and
has a headset for privacy they may be able to work
across the world with many people from all over, to
meet in similar (but different technically) webplaces,
to gather, discuss, share, work, think, invent, discover,
and some may arrive via text, some phone, some by
video, it may be any variety of formats, it could be
distance education, it could be business meetings,
interviews for a job, meeting with relatives over the
holidays, a live concert, a narrowcast performance.
Some of it already exists, but neither ubiquitous or
outside of networks already configured for this, or
so it seems to be this way.
There are other things that can be added, such as
the use of HDTV and radio-signals and GPS and
other technologies in relation to these issues and
also independently. Yet, peer-to-peer networks and
broadband make possible DIY education and also
university courses, outside of traditional structures,
much of which is still tied to the landline institutions,
air travel, and other ways of connecting with ideas.
Yet if the value of content, and the realization that
its value is often determined in external relations,
would be to break a core tenet of current networks
that are tied to traditional initiatives and controls.
Independence of exchange, and entrepreneurial
aspects of audio-visual broadband connectivity
with computers that can leverage this much further
than where things are today, could bring a new
revolutionary aspect to internetworking ideas and
communities around the globe, in proximity to one
another as necessitated by the needs to evolve
the current design's communications bottlenecks,
in hardware, software, platforms, and networks.
The demographic shifts, seen when people are
not bound by the local communities when they
are able to be online and pursue their ideas, is
possibly capable of much greater expansion into
realms of voice, visuals, and sharing of information
that is not determined by record companies or
movie studios or broadcasters, but by initiatives
to share and organize in new electronic mediums.
That's a guess. Without affordability, security, and
recognition that the expansion of the network will
allow much greater opportunities for much larger
amounts of people, this all remains in the future.
the electromagnetic internetwork-list
electromagnetism / infrastructure / civilization