Can We Say Adios To Old Tech?

nintendo through the years

It’s quite common for people to have old tech lying around that they still frequently use. I personally still have my Gameboy Advance that I will occasionally pick up, if my boredom is that real. I’m sure there are better versions of the games on the AppStore that I could play, but the nostalgia of it all makes it worth keeping. As technology continues to evolve, we have come to understand that nostalgia is a very strong emotion. I have found this recent forum talking all about keeping old games and devices for the sake of old memories. Bröcker (2015) believes that “no matter how high-tech the Oculus Rifts, Microsoft Kinects, IBM Watson or 3D printers become, there is a love for the mechanics of a pocketwatch and the auditory staccato of a typewriter keyboard”.

This video goes through the specs and design features of every ‘successful’ iPad Apple has ever made. EverythingApplePro starts off by looking at the iPad One and mentions that, to this day, it still has an outstanding battery life. As an owner of an iPad mini, whose battery life is questionable, I thought this information was very interesting. Devices seem to be getting thinner and thinner, so it battery life being sacrificed for this? Sherr (2015) has concluded that “the problem with chemistry is that making it smaller doesn’t always make it better. Think of it like a drink: if you put less beer in your mug, you just have less beer.” Are companies starting to sacrifice key features just so they can produce a new device that rivals its competitors?

The notion of nostalgia and older technologies will be examined through the ‘USED’ and ‘HAND-ME-DOWN’ categories of my photo essay. The owners of these devices will be asked about their attachment to each item and their reasoning for keeping them for so long. This, in turn, will create a comparison between newer advanced technology and technologies from an older generation.

References:

Bröcker, Bernadine. “Nostalgia, Stability And Human-To-Human: What Futurists Can Learn From Old Tech”. Medium. N.p., 2015. Web. 

Sherr, Ian. “Why Does My Battery Suck?”. CNET. N.p., 2015. Web. 

Managing The Mass-Produced

The-evolution-of-the-iMac

As much as a large majority of people hate everything to do with Apple products, it’s hard to ignore what they’ve done for the world of tech today. They have completely changed the game with what mobile phones can be used for. No longer were mobile phones just for phone calls and text messages. Never before had the average consumer been able to hold, in their pants pocket, a computer that rivalled the capability of a laptop. Since 2007, Apple has sold more than 30 million iPhones. They also introduced the world to the iMac in 1998. It was the first product of the new Apple era that Steve Jobs envisioned. Up until then, “Apple McIntosh were a minority player compared to big brother Microsoft” (Kerr, 2015).  I think it’s very interesting to note that when these came out, they lacked a floppy disc drive. Fast-forward eighteen years and Mac products now lack a CD drive. That is just one example of how fast technology moves in today’s day and age.

I have yet to mention my digital artefact because I’m finding it so difficult to relate it to the topic I’ve chosen.This time around I will be producing a photo essay, looking at how people personalise their mass produced devices and how the devices themselves have evolved over time.  Through random-selection, there will be a focus on both the old, the new and the hand-me-downs. I will be finding out this information through a series of questions that lets the audience get to know the device being photographed. I’m interested in seeing how apple users get around the closed nature of their devices compared to android users and their absolute freedom to personalise as they please.

On a side note, check out this little video I made for DIGC202 comparing some of the features of an LG G4 and an iPhone 6

References:

Weinberger, Matt. “The Whole ‘Mac Vs. PC’ Thing Is So Over, And ‘Android Vs Iphone’ Is Close Behind”. Business Insider Australia. N.p., 2015. Web. 

BRUCE, KERR. 2015. “PC vs Mac? The debate goes on.” Morning Bulletin, 2015. 33. Newspaper Source Plus, EBSCOhost

Why Do We Anthropomorphise?

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Anthropomorphism is ‘considered as the attribution of human characteristics and the qualities to non-human beings, objects or natural phenomena’. Giving human characteristics to animals and inanimate objects is a natural human trait. Today we find that anthropomorphism is used increasingly in films, cartoons and books aimed towards children. We grew up with Humphrey B Bear, and A Bug’s Life. Children now have Dora The Explorer and Go Diego Go.

Like anything, this humanisation of animals can be quite dangerous for people and their environment. In some cases, audiences have become so sensitised to this new, false image of animals that they question why animals attack. People are so used to the humanised versions of animals we see in film that they start to forget that animals are in fact animals. This idea is shown through the attacks at SeaWorld from the captive orcas. As mentioned in Brereton’s Environmental Ethics and Film (2015) ‘wildlife films can (intentionally in some cases, unintentionally in others) provide viewers with heavily mediated but potentially transformative modes of access to the emotional lives of our non-human kin’ (Wlling in Weik von Mossner, 2014). After visits to SeaWorld, a lot of young children dream of being an animal trainer when they grow up. They see the trainers at the time being allowed to kiss and swim with dolphins, and that inspires them. This dream doesn’t become a reality for a large majority, once the find out what is actually going on behind the scenes. BlackFish (2013) went against what Brereton (2015) describes as the norm and introduced audiences to the reality of training sea animals. While in the moment, audiences don’t always stop and think that the animals on show are usually beaten and harmed when they don’t cooperate. The documentary detailed experiences about how animals were starved if they couldn’t perform tricks and the orcas were racked if they underperformed.

Continuing with education about animals, films such as Finding Nemo ‘contain a very explicit moral fable against removing reef fish from their habitat’ (Brereton, 2015). “Fish are friends, not food” wasn’t just thrown in there for comedic relief. The film criticises the idea of keeping wild animals as pets to portray to the viewer that captivity is harmful. There are actually many positives when it comes to anthropomorphism. The experience, through films and television shows, isn’t always a negative one.

While in the anthropomorphic imaginative state, we learn more about other animals while experiencing feeling very similar to theirs. This makes us want to help the animals in any way we can to minimise their levels of suffering. These animals, created for media purposes, possess emotions of happiness, sadness, fear, etc. The animals in Disney’s Cinderella can talk and interact with human characters and can clearly show emotion. This can teach younger audiences that animals do experience the emotions most would only identify as human. While still trying to push the point across that some animals in particular are dangerous, they are still capable of feeling hurt, distress and happiness.

The use of anthropomorphism proves to be successful for entertainment and educational purposes. The message may not be noticed by younger audiences during one viewing, but as time goes on and education about animals increases, the message almost always reaches the target audience.

References:

Brereton, Pat. Environmental Ethics And Film. 1st ed. Routledge, 2015.

“Anthropomorphism Of Animals: Types, Pros And Cons – RHEG”. Raymondinegypt.tripod.com. N.p., 2016. Web.

Blackfish. Gabriela Cowperthwaite, 2013. Film.

“‘Blackfish’: The Documentary That Exposes Seaworld”. SeaWorld of Hurt. Web. 

 

Out With the Old, In With the New

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Australians generate more than 140,000 tonnes of e-waste annually, most of which ends up in landfill. Rapid changes in technology and media forms are two of the main reasons for electronic waste around the globe. Nowadays, we spend a good portion of our lives efficiently using different forms of technology. There’s really no way to escape that. We watch television at all ages, use the school computer labs throughout primary and high school, learn how to read and write with iPads and apps, and even document our experiences using mobile phones and cameras.

Nothing lasts very long though, which can be a cause for concern when users don’t know how to properly dispose of these products. For tech-lovers who just have to have the latest gadgets, recycling and ‘re-homing’ can be very beneficial. More often than not, parents will hand down their old phones, iPads, etc. to their children or hand them over to their slightly tech-challenged parents.

Dumping e-waste can be really hazardous for people and the environments we all live in. Some devices contain copper and platinum, which can be reused and recycled, while televisions and computer screens contain toxic chemicals, which can get into waterways if incorrectly disposed. By recycling our devices in the correct way (there are companies who will come and collect from your house, or drop off bays hosted by cities) we can prevent health issues and reduce green house gas emissions.

As fun and clever as new devices are, we have to be careful and clever when thinking of what to do with our old gadgets. It’s quickly become an issue that users have to stay on top of, and with regulations in place, there’s no reason we shouldn’t be able to keep the risk to a minimum.

Reference:

Hieronymi, Klaus, Ramzy Kahhat, and Eric Williams. (2012).  E-Waste Management

#SelfieNation

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A ‘selfie’ is a self-portrait, typically taken on a smartphone and shared via social media. Selfie’s dominate most social media feeds and can be used for promotion, and to showcase self-identity, worth and mood. Selfies allow us to control and dictate how others view us.

As popular as it is, selfie taking has developed quite a negative stigma. Take a photo of your own face? It’s narcissistic. But get someone else to take a photo of your face? It’s not the same, apparently. Somehow, these two different photo styles evoke a world of different responses. Does the effort of capturing, editing and posting selfies take away from the legitimacy of the photo? Why are people still being shamed for sharing them? These self-portraits today are very similar to what was being presented in the past. It’s not a particularly new ideal. They’re a way of us controlling how we are being portrayed in the online world. Herring (2015) states that “self presentation is generally considered to be motivated by a desire to make a favourable impression on others…”. Herring’s current research is concerned with how teenagers present themselves through social media. It considers the implications of social media use, profile constructions, visual and textual self-presentation, profile visibility, truthfulness, and other facets of teens’ self-presentation in relation to their gender. As much as we don’t like to admit it, we are constantly judging and monitoring others on our social media feeds. Social media and selfies are being used to gain status and carve the identity we always wished we had.

It’s still quite a new concept but status on social media is a big deal to some people. To Youtube and other online stars, it’s their livelihood. There are still a lot of people out there don’t care about their follower count at all but there are others who will delete photos from Instagram and status’ from Facebook if they don’t get over a specific number of likes. These people get trapped into thinking that their follower count reflects who they are in real life and how they are represented. Katrin Tiindenburg introduces us to the idea of a popularity paradox. These individuals feel the need to provide an excess amount of pictures and selfies, or perform in a particular way to gain more likes and followers on any given social media site (Tiindenburg, 2015). This kind of lifestyle contributes to their anxieties and nervousness of underperforming for their audience and not meeting their expectations. Tiindenburg (2015) argues that self-shooting, of selfie-taking, is a therapeutic act. While this may be the case, have we, as society, taken it too far?

A very recent example of this is Australian micro-celebrity Essena O’Neill. O’Neill was a very popular Instagram personality who has become an influential voice on the fakery that is Instagram. In 2015 she did an exposé on the lies behind every single one of her posts and what was required of her from companies. What once started as an innocent account to share photos, it quickly blew out of proportion. She had created, what turned out to be, a very fake and misrepresented online version of herself. O’Neill was being paid by companies to promote their products to her ever growing audience. She was living the ‘perfect life’. She has since gone back and changed the captions of posted photos to reveal what really went on behind the scenes.

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Reference:

Herring, Susan C., and Sanja Kapidzic. “Teens, gender, and self-presentation in social media.” International Encyclopedia of Social and Behavioural Sciences. 2nd ed. Oxford: Elsevier (2015): 1-16.

Tiidenberg, K. and E. Gomez Cruz. “Selfies, Image And The Re-Making Of The Body”. Body & Society 21.4 (2015): 77-102. 

Outmoded Technologies

cd

I think the generation I was born in is one of the last to know what it’s like to have a childhood without a phone in our hands and apps for anything and everything. During my primary school years, I would only ever use our household computer to print off information for homework research tasks. Nowadays, kids are mastering iPads before they even start pre-school.

I stumbled across this video at the start of the semester and it kickstarted a whole train of thought of outmoded technologies. I was so dumbfounded while watching this video- a majority of the kids didn’t even know how to turn on the computer! Do most people own laptops these days? I just didn’t understand the initial confusion. Don’t PCs still have to be turned on that way? Even though this video is about an operating system, I couldn’t help but think about the devices we use today.

I’m still a big fan of buying CDs and DVDs but technologies today are starting to limit that for me. I use my MacBook Pro for everything. And I mean everything! I don’t have a TV in my bedroom, so I watch all of my movies and TV shows on my laptop. Ninety-five percent of the time, that means I need to utilise the disc drive my laptop still has. If something were to happen to my current laptop (touch wood), I wouldn’t be able to use it how I currently do (until I buy an external disc drive, that is). Companies are making it easier for consumers to move away from ‘older’ media formats like the CD and DVD and make way for us all to go digital. (Is this what it felt like for people to convert all of their VCRs to DVDs??)