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{Wednesday, September 17, 2003}

on resonance and messaging

Don Tapscott looks further ahead to a wireless digital jukebox: [via blogcritics]
"Instead of clinging to late-20th-century distribution technologies, like the digital disk and the downloaded file, the music business should move into the 21st century with a revamped business model using innovative technology, several industry experts say. They want the music industry to do unto the file-swapping services what the services did unto the music companies - eclipse them with better technology and superior customer convenience.
Their vision might be called "everywhere Internet audio.'' Music fans, instead of downloading files on KaZaA - whether they were using computers, home stereos, radios or handheld devices - would have access to all music the record companies hold in their vaults. Listeners could request that any song be immediately streamed to them via the Internet."

We Got Rhythm; the Mystery Is How and Why [via INReview]
"Dr. Dunbar believes that the much larger human groups, of 150 members or so, overcame the grooming barrier by developing a new kind of social glue, namely language. Group singing, or chorusing, may have been an intermediate step in this process, he suggests. He has preliminary evidence that singing in church produces endorphins, a class of brain hormone thought to be important in social bonding, he said in an e-mail message."
Nicholas Wade - The New York Times - 16 September 2003

With E-mail Dying, RSS Offers Alternative - Steve Outing [via Gil Friend]
"How does it work? Simply, RSS allows potential readers of a Web site to view part of its content -- typically headlines and short blurbs -- without having to visit the content directly (unless they want to click through to it). Viewing is done with a piece of software separate from the Web browser, the RSS aggregator, which the consumer uses to subscribe to "feeds" produced by favorite Internet publishers. The feeds are constantly updated as the publishers add new content."

Forget Work, IM Is for Scheming, Flirting, Gossip - Bernhard Warner
"Flirting with colleagues, scheming against the boss and gossiping about co-workers are among the most common Instant Messenger, or IM, missives circulating around the office, according to a new survey ...
Because many users believe it cannot be monitored by the boss, many freely fire off messages ranging from cruel cracks about a colleague's hair to sensitive information about major corporate projects.
"Businesses don't really monitor IMing," said Nigel Hawthorn, European marketing director for Blue Coat Systems, a Web security firm that conducted the survey of over 300 firms in the United States and Britain, the world's two largest IM markets.
"If you're leaning forward and typing away at your machine, who's to know what you're typing about," he added.
The preponderance of personal chatter leaves companies open to sensitive corporate leaks and even lawsuits, Hawthorn said.
In the UK, 65 percent of the 204 respondents said they use IM for personal purposes during work hours, the survey said.
Half the UK respondents admitted to peppering their IMs with abusive language; 40 percent used IM to conspire on colleagues during conference calls and nearly one-third confessed to "making sexual advances" in the easily disguised dialogue box ..."

*In a comment on the Warner report Dina Mehta says: "What hit me as i read this - more than the statistics - is the tone ... which suggests that the organization management and the survey company are both operating out of fear of loss of control. Can you really stop employees from flirting, or gossiping or scheming by telling them they're monitored - they're bound to find other ways of doing it. Can you stop the water filter or canteen buzz? Can you really stop someone who wants to leak company information? Or make a personal call? Or take a couple of hours off to get some personal work done, or quickly meet a date?
And if you attempt it - are you not perpetuating closed systems that are so contrary to the way the world is moving today. Some years ago, could you have said no telephones for employees to ensure no-one was scheming, gossiping or flirting? Some years ago could you have said no email access or connectivity? Look at the new generation of employees - they're growing up on these systems, including IM. Are you saying to them "toe the line ... or else"? Are you also implying they cannot be responsible employees without policing?
Sometimes we forget trust begets trust, responsibility begets loyalty.
And then this letter, in a different context - Don't kill P2P because of a few bad eggs .....
a sigh of relief ..."

Skype and social networking
Jim Ley writes: "Stuart Henshall thinks Skype could be a good online social networking tool, I don't agree, Skype is a one at a time (currently one to one) communication mechanism. You can only talk to one person at a time, and whilst you're in that conversation you're out of communication with everyone else, even if they develop an answerphone system, you'll still have to listen to each message. Speech is a very slow medium of communication, and it requires full attention."

Skype: Voice vs. Text
Ulises Ali Mejias says: "I want to address Stuart's question of whether or not "we should talk", in other words, whether or not we should adopt voice (Skype) over text (IM) as the foundation for online social networking technologies.
Does it have to be either/or? We are talking about two different technologies with two distinct sets of characteristics, and potentially two different uses. Expecting that people will "leave AIM, Yahoo and MSN for Skype" is overlooking some of the features that text-based IM affords that voice-based communication doesn�t. For example ..."

New VOIP App. Profiled - Slashdot

Stuart Henshall comments further: "What's inspired me to keep plugging away and digging deeper on Skype is it's base architecture. All the other systems use some form of centralized directory. Centralized directories create control and incur costs. Decentralized directory systems and input systems appear to create new markets. eBay never decided what should be auctioned, only how to auction it. eBay facilitates connectivity between buyer and sellers - flow and thus trade. I suspect if Skype or an open source substitute comes along it too will facilitate connectivity and create new markets around new very low cost voice exchanges.
If nothing else Skype is changing perspective on VoIP."

Acoustic Cyberspace
"... the larger environment of electronic arts or information culture ... remains for the most part centered on the lingering dreams of visual space ...
Typically, people relegate acoustic dimensions to the "background" -- a soundtrack or score that "accompanies" a primary visual experience. But in an immersive acoustic environment, you might hear all the sounds you would hear on a street corner, spatially organized in real time, surrounding you. This is much, much, stronger than a visual experience, which tacitly distances you, places you in a transcendent, removed position, rather than embodying you at the center of a new context."
Erik Davis

Feedback - fUSION Anomaly
Daybreak topped off my mug with more tea. "When the Buddha spoke of control, he wasn't talking about clamping down on our urges, but about cultivating a homeostatic sense of feedback, an ethics of constant modulation. Shakyamuni once compared meditation to a musician constantly tuning a string that keeps going flat or sharp. That's the trick -- constant negative feedback. A Buddhist gun-freak I knew likens zazen to the flight of F-14s, which are aerodynamically unstable. Computers must constantly adjust the surfaces of the plane's wings and fuselage in response to atmospheric conditions in order to keep the plane aloft. That's the Middle Way. The trap is the vicious escalation of positive feedback, whether it's a barfight or the arms race or consumer culture. For Buddhists, satisfying ordinary desires is like a thirsty man drinking sea-water. More positive feedback. But what if we introduce a minus sign into the loop? What if we become the minus sign? Rather than respond to anger with more anger, what if we can realize that there is no human being there to be angry at, just the resonance of countless molecular machines producing the complexity of life?"
Selections from the notebooks of Lance Daybreak -
curated by Erik Davis in 'Shards Of The Diamond Matrix'

Replay: The Recall of Experience
"Replay is more than a toy, a trick we perform with a piece of tape. Instant replay is, in fact, one of the more important developments in human history.
In pre-literate societies, tale-telling was the earliest form of replay. But tale-telling was slow and subject to distortion, since whoever repeated the tale was apt to embellish it or forget significant incidents. Then came the epic poem, the liturgy, the lay of the minstrel, and the ballad, all of which acted as mnemonic devices. Rhythm or rhyme in a poem or ballad helped ensure accuracy in subsequent retellings. "Columbus sailed the ocean blue in fourteen hundred and ninety ... seven"?
The printed word makes accurate replay possible for anyone who can read. Rereading (that is, replaying) a series of words on a page, we can go over the same thought or message as many times as we please, savor passages that engage us, ponder over a complicated idea, or discover in the words nuances that we missed on first reading. The ability to replay the printed word made possible great leaps forward in science and history.
We are largely unaware to what extent replay has enriched our lives. Don't think of replay only as television repeating a shot of a third baseman miraculously spearing a line drive. All records, photographs, movies and videotapes are replay. We see most of the news on television in the form of replay. The retail clerk who takes your credit card uses a form of instant replay in checking your personal credit standing through a telephone data bank."
Tony Schwartz - 'Media: The Second God' (Doubleday, New York, 1983, page 20)

Acoustic spaces can create different subjectivities
"What made early radio so exciting, in terms of the technical, the social, and the imaginative, was its openness: it was a space that wasn't entirely defined, wasn't totally mapped. More than that, I think, it was an acoustic space, which opened up a different logic. And that's happening again: the acoustic dimension of electronic media, and particularly of the Internet, offers an opportunity that is very different than simply providing more information, or making more web sites, or more entrancing animations. Or even making cheap phone calls."
Erik Davis

Joris Evers - Kazaa's Makers Turn to Net Telephony
Skype developed a new "Global Index" technology to enable IP telephony and IM on a decentralized peer-to-peer network in which computers drop online and offline without notice. The Global Index technology sets up a multitiered network of hubs, or supernodes, on the peer-to-peer network to mimic a central directory, according to the Skype Web site.
Skype routes calls through the most effective path possible and keeps multiple connection paths open, preventing call interruptions when a node on the route signs off. All calls are encrypted, preventing eavesdropping by nodes the call passes through, according to Skype.

Roots and Wires: Polyrhythmic Cyberspace and the Black Electronic
Erik Davis (abstract of speech from the Fifth International Conference on Cyberspace - 1996)
As we grope for models of cyberspace that elude the Cartesian coordinate system, we should recall Marshall McLuhan's distinction between visual and acoustic space. For McLuhan, visual space was a linear, logical, and sequential environment constructed by alphanumeric characters and, more recently, by Western Renaissance perspective. We know it from Descartes and William Gibson: the simultaneous appearance of an objective grid and an individual controlling subject.
McLuhan believed that electronic media were subverting visual space by creating "acoustic space": a psychic and social environment that resembles the kind of space we perceive we hear: multi-dimensional, resonant, invisibly tactile, "a total and simultaneous field of relations."
... Though any pat generalizations about "Africa" are dangerous, the structural properties of most African drumming -- polymeter and cross rhythms -- are an excellent and overlooked model for the kind of distributed, multi-centered, hybrid consciousness associated with the networked mind.

Resonance - fUSION Anomaly
"Resonance" can be seen as a form of causality, of course, but its causality is very different than that associated with visual space, because resonance allows things to respond to each other in a nonlinear fashion. Through resonance in a physical system, a small activity or event can gain a great deal of energy; for example ...

Art-Void: Textual Supplement
History is recorded. The method of recording will influence what is remembered.

Is Ma Microsoft calling? - CNET News.com - 12 June 2003
Jim Hu writes: "This summer, Microsoft will unveil its much-hyped server software ... officially joining the race to give office communications their biggest makeover since the arrival of e-mail.
Microsoft will begin by offering corporate instant messaging and "presence" features, competing with longtime rivals such as IBM and Sun Microsystems in a hot new communications niche. Presence technology lets IM users detect whether or not a contact is online and is moving onto other platforms such as wireless devices."

Message in a bottleneck - CNET News.com - 13 March 2003
Jim Hu writes: "A couple of years ago, Sprint's information services department was thinking about blocking streams of instant messages that were punching holes in its corporate firewall and causing headaches for PC technicians.
Until some of the telecom giant's top executives intervened.
"A number of execs and upper management were using AOL Instant Messenger. They viewed it as a tool to communicate with peers, board members and to communicate with one another because e-mail was too slow," said Doug Utley, who was on the information services team at the time and is now product manager for Sprint's Web services conferencing unit. "When that started happening, it became more acceptable."
To Sprint and many other companies, instant messaging has evolved from a teenage fad to a valuable communications tool that is central to everyday business. Companies are using IM not only to send real-time messages, but also to collaborate on projects, exchange data and create networks linking all types of Internet devices."

What's all the hype with Skype?

"In auditory-based cultures, the flow of information is analogous to the dispersal pattern created by dropping a pebble in a bucket of water."
Tony Schwartz

Voxilla.com - A user's guide to the communications revolution - 'Rebels Without Cause'

"In the oral tradition, the myth-teller speaks as many-to-many, not as person-to-person. Speech and song are addressed to all ..."
Edmund Carpenter

Shirky on Henshall on Skype as a social platform

"Language is a storage system for the collective experience of the tribe. Every time a speaker plays back that language, she releases a whole charge of ancient perceptions and memories. This involves him [or her] in the reality of the whole tribe. Language is a kind of corporate dream: it involves every member of the tribe all of the time in a great echo chamber."
Edmund Carpenter - They Became What They Beheld
(Outerbridge & Dienstfrey, New York, 1970)

Where do you stand?

"By the same process whereby [we] spin language out of [our] own being, [we] ensnare [ourselves] in it; and each language draws a magic circle round the people to which it belongs, a circle from which there is no escape save by stepping out of it into another."
Wilhelm von Humboldt

Marshall Soules - Resonant Media
"Tony Schwartz addresses the limitations of the transportation model [of communication] ...
With the advent of electronic media, we experience a return to an auditory-acoustic communications environment reminiscent of oral cultures. In this environment, communication strikes a "responsive chord."
Both Schwartz and McLuhan ... assert that ... electronically-mediated information is patterned like auditory information ...
With film, the brain does not "fill in" the image on the screen -- it fills in the motion between the images. [We interrupt this post to link to Glancing & Gazing]
... A listener or viewer brings far more information to the communication event than the communicator can possibly put into the program, commercial, or message. In communicating at electronic speed, we no longer direct information to an audience, we try to evoke stored information out of them, in a patterned way. The contemporary person has a huge psychic reservoir of impressions that can, in effect, be played like an instrument."

"Technologically, video has evolved out of sound ... the video camera bears a closer original relation to the microphone than to the film camera ...
Synaesthesia is the natural inclination of the structure of contemporary media. The material that produces music from a stereo sound system, transmits the voice over the telephone and materialises the image on a television set is, at the base level, the same. With the further implementation of digital codes ... there will be an even more extensive common linguistic root."
Bill Viola - 'The Sound of One Line Scanning' - 1986, in: Dan Lander and Micah Lexier (ed.), "Sound by Artists", Toronto, Banff, 1990.

Utopia and Thanatos
Agnes Ivacs reviews the book 'Radio Rethink - art, sound and transmission'
"Two of these ... I think, represent the dualistic character of radio: a paradox described rather poetically in an essay by Gregory Whitehead: "I have been struck by radio's profoundly split identity. Into one ear plays the happy folk band of Radio Utopia, brainwaves and radiowaves mixed into a grand electromagnetic community. Whilst into the other ear, a different band marches on, the trigger-finger crash band of Radio Thanatos, straight into oblivion. Most forgotten are the lethal wires that still heat up from inside out, wires that connect radio with warfare, brain damage, rattles from necropolis. When I turn my radio on, I hear a whole chorus of death rattles: from voices that have been severed from the body for so long that no one can remember who they belong to, or whether they belong to anybody at all."
The cherished dream of the avant-garde imagined radio as a force that creates a universal community on the basis of freedom. Brecht saw radio as a Babelian confusion, as an agora in virtual space where everyone can send and receive messages. Khlebnikov thought that radio would be the central tree of mankind's consciousness, and the main Radio station, where clouds of wires cluster, should be protected by a sign with a skull and crossbones in order to avoid any disruption which might produce a mental blackout all over the world. In his manifesto La Radia, Marinetti anticipated a network of live broadcasting that would unite the world through which the language "liberated" from syntax, the utopia of the wireless imagination could be realized."

Do different writing systems involve distinct profiles of brain activation?
A magnetoencephalography study
(ScienceDirect - Journal of Neurolinguistics - July-September 2003, Pages 429-438)
Receptive language-specific cortical maps have been repeatedly verified through normative and clinical magnetoencephalography studies. However, different writing systems may entail distinct neuro-anatomical substrates, hence different brain activation patterns for reading the various types of script. The project presented here is an attempt to describe the brain mechanisms mediating printed word recognition in languages with complex writing systems, such as Japanese, in view of the implications for a neurolinguistic model of language processing.

The Glory of the Human Voice
The human voice in every form, song, speech, screaming, whispering, purring, overtones, tones from the larynx, traditional, experimental, popular, unknown, undiscovered ... a subjective selection.

Resonance - VoiceOver: Anthology
"Palongwhoya, travelling throughout the earth, sounded out his call as he was bidden. All the vibratory centres along the earth's axis from pole to pole resounded his call: the whole earth trembled: the universe quivered in tone. Thus, he made the whole world an instrument of sound, and sound an instrument for carrying messages, resounding praise to the creator of all."
Hopi Indian myth of the creation of the First World
from Bill Viola - 'The Sound of One Line Scanning'

Wireless == great jukebox in the sky?
"While aggregated wireless music collections won't provide everything to everyone everywhere, they do have some interesting qualities that are worth exploring."
Robert Kaye
Anonymous concludes a comment with the thought: "Canarie, who developed Canada's Ca*Net3 network, have done experiments making an optical network act like a nation-wide optical storage device, 8000km in diameter. Rather than storing data on traditional hard drives, the data is kept spinning around the network at the speed of light.
I wonder what the RIAA would make of files which are simultaneously everywhere and nowhere?

Remembering Walter Ong

posted by Andrew 9/17/2003 05:04:00 PM