Posts filed under ‘being digital’

Additional digital notes

Additional notes from Being Digital by Nicholas Negroponte

p. 190 in a Jules Verne manuscript dated from 1863 found in 1994 he mentions the phototelegraph.

Western Union’s automatic telegraph was hard-wired point-to-point email.

p.209 In the future, the concepts of being lost will be as unlikely as being “out-of-print.”


October 9, 2006 at 12:57 pm Leave a comment

More Digital Notes

More notes from Being Digital by Nicholas Negroponte

p.105 In the same way that the bit is the atomic element of information, a pixel is the molecular level of graphics. (I do not call it the atomic level, because each pixel is usually represented by more than one bit….Red, yellow and blue as we are taught in grade school, are not the three primary colors. The three additive primaries( i.e. in television) are red, green, and blue. The three subtractive primaries(as in printing) are magenta, cyan and yellow.

p.109 “Palaces of the mind” as a means of remembering long speeches, Simonides of Ceos. These examples involve navigating in three dimensional space to store and retrieve information. Some people are good at this, some are not. In two dimensions most of us are uniformly more capable. Consider the two-dimensional facade of your own bookshelf. You probably know how to find any book by simply going to “where” it is….leads to spatial data management systems.

p.153 A different twist on the personal newspaper – newspaper is read very differently on Monday morning than it is on Sunday afternoon. At 7 a.m. on a workday, you browse a newspaper as a means of filtering the information and personalizing a common set of bits that were sent to hundreds of thousands of people. Most people tend to trash whole sections of newspapers….

p.154 The fact that the TV Guide has been known to make larger profits than all four networks combined suggests that the value of information about information can be greater than the value of the information itself. [metainformation?]

p.155 When I want to go to the movies, rather than read reviews, I ask my sister-in-law. We all have an equivalent who is both an expert on movies and an expert on us. What we need to build is a digital sister-in-law. [This reminds me of Richard Hunter’s/Herbert’s Mentats again.]

p.257 Books mentioned: Minsky’s The Society of Mind (1987), Resnick’s Turtles, Termites, and Traffic Jams (1994).

p.158 Interface agentry will become decentralized in the same way as information and organizations….you will dispatch agents to collect information on your behalf. Agents will dispatch agents…. Our interfaces will vary. Yours will be different than mine, based on our respective information predilections…. Pre-echoes of Stross’ Accelerando, and Vinge’s Rainbows End.

September 20, 2006 at 9:07 pm Leave a comment

Digital notes

More notes from Being Digital by Nicholas Negroponte

p.13 regarding books and replacing books with digital versions: “Right now it is hard, if not impossible, to compete with the qualities of a printed book.  A book has a high-contrast display, is lightweight, easy to ‘thumb’ through, and not very expensive.  But…45% of the cost is inventory, shipping…and a book can go out of print.  Digital books never go out of print.”

I was thinking about how Kurzweil mentions CDs are the real replacement for the vinyl record, not audio cassettes which were the false pretenders, or how e-books are false pretender replacements for “real books.”  Really, I think CDs are pretenders too, as evidenced every time I throw away a scratched disc.  Instead I think solid state storage like USB drives in MP3 players are the true replacement technology.

p.29 This is true of almost any new medium in the hands of a beginner.  Beginners don’t understand “Less is More….”  There really are some natural laws of bandwidth that suggest that squirting more bits at somebody is no more sensible or logical than turning up a radio’s volume to get more information.

p.37 In ch.3 Bitcasting (predating podcasts!) Negroponte relates that research directed at the advance of television is aimed precisely at refining the display as opposed to the artistry of content.

p.40 Nice quote: “Saving face, I fear, is to have two of them.”

p.56 Discussing newspapers, the entire conception and construction of the newspaper is digital, from beginning to end, until the very last step, where ink is squirted onto dead trees.  This is where bits become atoms.  Now…imagine that the bits are delivered to you as bits.  You can FAB your own newspaper if you desire.

p.69 While a book may be randomly accessible and your eyes may browse quite haphazardly, it is nonetheless forever fixed by the confines of three dimensions.  In the digital world, this is not the case.  information space is by no means limited to three dimensions.  An expression of an idea or train of thought can include a multidimensional network of pointers to further elaborations or arguments, which can be invoked or ignored.  The structure of text should be imagined like a complex molecular model.  Chunks of information can be reordered, sentences expanded, and words given definitions on the spot.  These linkages can be embedded either by the author at “publishing” time or later by readers over time.

This is a more elegant description of the NeoBook concepts I’ve been imagining.

p.71 Today multimedia is a desktop or living room experience, because the apparatus is so clunky…do not lend themselves to being very personal information appliances.  This will change….

The medium is not the message in a digital world.  It is an embodiment of it.  A message might have several embodiments automatically derivable from the same data….These same bits can be looked at by the viewer from many perspectives.

p. 85 The information industry will become more of a boutique business.  Its marketplace is the global information highway.  This sounds a lot like ‘Long Tail.’

p.95 Find Licklider “Man-Computer Symbiosis” and the term narrowcasting.  Huh, looks like an interesting site,

September 15, 2006 at 1:03 pm Leave a comment

Being Digital

I’m reading Being Digital by Nicholas Negroponte, and find it very interesting so far how many things he discusses (in 1995) that have worked their way into other people’s books and passions.

For example he talks of ‘squirting’ digital data. This phrase was used several times in Cory Doctorow’s book I just read, Eastern Standard Tribe.

Anderson’s Long tail described as “The information industry will become more of a boutique business”

Discussion of copyrightand spectrum ala The future of Ideas, Lawrence Lessig, and The Anarchist in the Library– Vaidhyanathan

The whole bits vs. atoms discussion revisited in Scrolling Forward and A new kind of Science, and The Singularity is Near.

September 1, 2006 at 1:12 pm Leave a comment

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