Monthly Archives: October 2012

Remixes

I have just watched Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4 video series of ‘Everything is a Remix’ by Kirby Ferguson. He defines ‘Remixing’ as an act of combining or editing existing material to produce something new, a process of collecting material, combining and transforming it.

Technology companies, Musicians or Film production houses have in their creativity used an idea or sample or scene from other companies, musicians or previous films in order to create their own product. In legal terms one’s idea is regarded as an intellectual property which deserved certain rights. So this usage of other people’s ideas to create your own product can be regarded as copying or plagiarism in courts of law and lawsuits begin to happen.

On one hand, I clearly understand the whole idea of taking someone to court because of plagiarising your work and proceeding to making their own product out of your creativity. Usually if it is a tangible product, the copy is likely to be cheaper since there is a production stage that has been missed, the invention stage’s overheads, therefore the end product is cheaper compared to the original. On the market, the original product may suffer in terms of profit, hence the process of taking each other to court. However on the other hand as Kirby Ferguson explained in one of his four part series;

“Nobody starts out original, we need copying to build the foundation of knowledge and understanding…”

I agree to this statement because almost all creativity has developed from what has come before. It is funny how, when one is ‘Remixing’ the work of others, they justify it but when others remix their work then problems begin. Steve Jobs (1996) the Co-founder of Apple Inc. once said;

“We have been shameless about stealing great ideas…”

according to K. Ferguson, on his ‘Everything is a Remix’ series, Xerox created its first computer in the early 70’s called the Alto and in 1981 created the Star 8010 two and three years before the Apple’s Lisa and Macintosh (a follow up of Lisa) respectively. All these creations had graphic user interfaces. Apple’s creation had a one button mouse and other graphical functions perceived to be better engineering compared to Xerox’s Star 8010. Not just a better creation, Apple’s Macintosh creation was cheaper at $ 2500 compared to the $17 000 Star 8010. Even though Apple may have used Xerox’s creativity , Alto is an evolutionary branch of the NLS system which used windows and a mouse to sketch pad drawing application and this system used the work of Mamax (resembling the modern PC) a decade before. So using work of others to create a new or better product has been happening for a long time. This ‘interdependency of creativity’ is still happening today and Android, like any other creator may have used Ferguson’s ‘Collect, Combine and Transform’ theory and this is what happened;

“I am going to destroy Android, because it’s a stolen product. I’m willing to go thermonuclear war on this.” (Steve Jobs 2010).

As Ferguson pointed out, in this day in age, we are struggling to deal with the interdependency of creativity legally, ethically and artistically. Please enjoy the video.

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Blogging

The power of the Internet

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I have been blogging for a few days now, mainly because this is an assignment for one of my modules Research in Emerging Technologies and I am going to be assessed on it. For fun’s sake I wanted to find out if there is anyone out there checking my blog out apart from my classmates and my Tutor Helen, surprise surprise I have 149 hits from different countries across the world. Now it may be nothing to a regular blogger or some but for me, it is fascinating. This may just change my whole thinking about Blogging. I may have been waffling about boring subjects but i am hoping that among the 149 who took time to open and maybe read the content on my blog, they have picked one idea that is beneficial to them.  Thanks to the people who have viewed my blog, now that I know people are viewing my content, i will continue to post regularly. 🙂

Interdisciplinary research

In preparation for my main Dissertation, I have a mini research I am carrying out with another student as mentioned in my earlier Blogs. Dr Marianne Patera, my tutor, organised a speaker, Dr Bill Davies, to come and talk to us about Interdisciplinary Research. This is the kind of topic I have not gone into depth during my 1st degree course. We discussed about how to formulate a research question and make a hypothesis. To evaluate this discussion, we went into small groups to form a research question then make a Hypothesis. Clare Wells, Sharon George and I discussed about the use of disposable foam ear plugs provided by employers in Clubs and Pubs for their staff. We thought up to what extent are their ears protected from the loud sounds they are subjected to during their hours at work. This is an issue Claire discussed with her friends who raised concerns about how they think their ears are being damaged at their work place. Well for us this seemed like a good research topic to make a hypothesis for. Now we looked at the methodology for data collection that will result in us concluding if this group of people are having their ears damaged or not first. We found out that for more accurate results, this research was going to be carried out once per three months for a longer period or years even, with the same staff, in the same club with the same kind of PA system, same acoustic environment and possibly same music with same dB output. Straight away we knew this will be a very complex research considering staff rotation, different kind of music played every time, number of punters in the club changing the acoustics of the room and so forth. Now for me this was a very good lesson and it has changed my approach to how researches are done and what one has to be wary of before engaging in any research. I’m definitely will not be researching on how club staff ears are being damaged regardless of them wearing protective foam ear plugs in my 3rd semester :).

Dr Davies went on to discuss the Epistemologies that we could try on our research. This is a broad subject and can take a long time to write about. I will just mention them for the benefit of those who will want to research and maybe, find out more on the subject.

Positivism This is normally an Objective approach resulting in Quantifiable Data which can be gathered through measurements for example by carrying out Listening tests on “subjects” or acoustic measurements.

Exploratory
This is normally a Subjective approach that result in gathering of Qualitative Data by Interviewing “Participants”.

Artistic
This is a Relativism approach normally based on Individual experience.

To end the lecture Dr Davies explained why it is important to focus on more methods of Data collection, simply because every method may present different and interesting results for example, surveys , interviews, test and measurement. A the end of the day the Research question normally will determine which kind of methodology to use

The Ethics of Internet Research

“The Internet is the most comprehensive electronic archive of written material representing our world and people’s opinions, concerns and desires” (Eysenbach and Till, 2001).

Since the Internet started, there have been a lot of information posted by Governments, Companies, Religious organisations and even individuals. To date there is an unbelievable amount of data on possibly every subject on earth, even questions on almost anything that comes to anyone’s mind. A million dollar question will always be there; ‘How much of this Data on the World Wide Web is credible?. Even after knowing how credible certain information is, how then can it be used in Academic Research.

On another hand, any Researcher can carry out an Internet Research. In many countries across the world, almost anyone can access any information by the click of a button, fair enough, with papers, e-books and journals, one has to reference when such information is used for academic research but when it comes to using Social Data, there are a lot of controversies involved. My tutor Helen Keegan explained to us in today’s lecture how important it is to get an Informed Consent before one can use any information gathered from individuals through the internet. This lecture has come at a very good point on my studying when my research partner Sharon George and I have to send out an electronic survey to participants on our Research; ‘Is Stereoscopic 3D the future of Film-making?’. With the consent, we are basically letting our participant know; the purpose of the study, possible benefits or harms of participation, how we are going to use the content and how we are going to protect their identities as well as clearly indicating how one can opt out of this participation. There is a lot that goes beyond this informed consent, the fact that we have to assess the risks we may be putting our participants in, if there are any and how we intend to protect them against such risks. Seems fair on both parties really, not mentioning being legal in this part of the world.

Academic Research

For my course, MSc Digital media: Video, Audio & Social Technologies, one of the modules I am studying requires me to undertake a mini project. I was presented with 11 topics to choose from. Now my background is Audio Production and I would rather involve myself in other fields of the industry, therefore I chose the film-making project supervised by dedicated tutor Dr Marianne Patera  @Maz_Pat. The research question is, ‘Is Stereoscopic 3D the future of film-making?’. This research project is about analysing the view of both supporters and non-supporters of the mentioned question. I should include a brief explanation of the technology involved in Stereo 3D film making and films that have been the milestones from the early stages until today. I should discuss the advantages and disadvantages of stereoscopic viewing and further verified by conducting a survey to gauge the general public’s preferences. I have watched a few 3D movies and have loved them. I do not understand much about the whole process of stereoscopic 3D, so it means I have to start working and finding answers.

Now for me this is a challenge coming from an Audio background. I have started creating a list of sources I think will be necessary for this academic research. Thanks to my Tutor Cristina Costa @cristinacost, i can now save all my bookmarks on Diigo. What a fantastic and neat way of saving all relevant sites and accessing them from any computer. This is so much better, I have got rid of pen and paper 🙂

 

Digital Identity

Second week into this Msc Digital Media. I have gone through the induction, very good and informative, now comes the important part, assignments and lectures. I must say, the past lectures on Social Technologies module have been quite informative, at least for me. I have learnt how important the use of social sites can be beneficial in terms of being recognised by prospective employers and of course socialising among friends, family and colleagues. Therefore the digital identity I posses on these sites is of paramount importance. The footprint I leave on the world wide web may be accessed by anyone, so remaining as ‘clean’ as possible is very crucial.

Just remaining ‘clean’ is not good enough, presenting one’s self out there with not just a name but a brief biography will help with identification. For example there could be more than one person with the same name, what distinguishes the name searches are the brief descriptions of what each one on the individuals stand for. So for me this was like a wake up call and I have started editing my profiles on all my sites towards creating a professional digitalidentity.