Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Week 4 Reading

Donald Norman makes a strong point in his essay, "Being Analog," that I agreed with: He says that, "people do best with signals and information that fit the way they perceive and think, which means analogous to the real world. Machines do best with signals and information that is suited for the way they function, which means digital, rigid, precise." It's true that people do not function in a rigid, precise manner. People do not want to be slaves to accuracy, so perhaps people function better with information analogous to the world, opposed to digital information.

Norman goes on to talk about the technological evolution. His discussion of games and how technology greatly speeds them up is a very interesting point. Using war as an example, he explains how technology has made war (as a game) unfit for humans.

"Introduction to Internet Architecture and Institutions," by Ethan Zuckerman and Andrew McLaughin attempted to show how the internet is really a very simple process. Well, it may be for people like Zuckerman and McLaughin. But for the rest of us, reading this article was nearly as difficult as reading Chinese. Though the authors did raise an interesting point about how it can take up to 70 computers just to send an e-mail. Also interesting in this paper was the discussion of the internet in developing countries. Technology has advanced so far in the last decade, but Americans likely take for granted this ease with the internet and electronic media. In many nations, such as those in Africa that were mentioned, connecting to the internet is not as simple as it is for us.

Discussion Questions:

1. Explain some ways people have adapted to the evolution of technology.

2. Will future technology make computers more human-like (creative, less rigid, etc.)?

3. Before reading this article, what was your conception of the process of sending an email?


At 4:22 PM, Blogger Jana said...

Thanks to the number of communication classes that I have taken at the UW, I had a good idea of the process of sending an email even before reading this article. However, even though I understand the system, it still puzzles me how the signal can travel so quickly across such vast distances. My family lives in the Czech Republic and so we often communicate over the Internet. On a typical Saturday, I spend a couple of hours talking to my family over Skype, a proprietary peer-to-peer Internet telephony that was founded in 2003 in Sweden. It allows me to talk to my family in the same quality as over the phone, while, for example, sharing pictures over email or browsing the Internet together. Recently, my sister was showing me a sample of wedding dresses that she had looked at, and together we were searching for other options on the Internet. Knowing that we were not the only people communicating over the Internet at that time, and that, in fact, there were potentially millions of other people connected to the Internet, it makes the whole process just a little bit more difficult to grasp.

At 12:44 AM, Blogger Nicole Black said...

Zach your reading reflections are tremendously insightful. Although I agree that some human beings are not rigid, precise and do not want to be slaves to accuracy I also know some human beings that are exactly this way. I happen to very “analogous” but I have a really close friend that to me acts more like a computer than a human. I also thought the article that explained how the internet works was way better than many articles and books I have read in the past about how the internet works. I picked your blog to comment on because I thought it was interesting how different our viewpoints were about the articles and thought it would be neat to point it out.


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