Through the MCDM

February 24, 2009

Last group of questions

Filed under: Questions — Tags: — captainchunk @ 9:53 am

1. Why shouldn’t governments/colleges/institutions keep every record possible?

2. Should the US government control other methods of communication like it does with the radio spectrum? Why or why wouldn’t this be in the interest of US citizens?

3. Does new technology actually degrade the family unit or is it just the usage that degrades the family unit? Why is this a recurring theme with technology?

Media Monoploy: You Landed on the Television Industry, Rent is…. Your Soul

Filed under: Reflection — captainchunk @ 9:38 am

Mr. Bagdikian isn’t a very happy individual, at least he doesn’t seen very happy in his article The Media Monopoly (1997). Saying that he is critical of the media (specifically the television) industry, is like saying cars go “vroom vroom.” He attacks the government as being inefficient and ineffective by not taking a stronger hand in how the television industry operates. He cites other countries around the world as successfully supporting commercial-free television and how the government should adopt a similar stance in America. I don’t agree with the author that America could just be like the United Kingdom and the BBC. The qualities of American society that make us different than our international allies, also make our American broadcast system different. Commercial television is here to stay. I do think that there is more opportunity for commercial-free programming on the internet. With the extremely low cost of distribution, advertising revenue is not needed to make commercial-free programming.

A portion of the article is devoted to the American family and the television. His pessimistic attitude shines once again, as he supports the decaying family unit with evidence such as, “a limes Mirror poll in 1993 showed that 53 percent of Americans want less violence and 80 percent agreed that TV violence is harmful to society.” I question the validity of the data that births those numbers. People want to think of themselves as generally good people. It is one thing to say that violence on TV is bad and quite another to be entertained by it and watch it. The author says that people could have turned off their televisions, but they didn’t. Why not? Perhaps people liked the programming, or maybe they preferred the ease of staying at home and being entertained instead of dressing up and going downtown. Whatever the reason, they obviously liked it and pushed television to become the dominate form of entertainment in the household to this day.

I agree that watching 18 hours of television a day is a bad thing for Americans. Has the typical American family dynamic changed because of the television? Yes. He would have said the exact same thing about the internet and how it turns everybody into an anti-social internet user. I don’t agree that our media industry is in the state of shambles that Mr. Bagdikiam probably thinks it is in. To be honest, I don’t care if commercial interests are backing my televised programming or even news programs. The beauty is that I get to choose what I watch. Even if people don’t turn off their televisions like the author wants them to, they still can. The day that I can’t choose my programming, what channel I watch or if I want to turn off my television, is the day that America will be in a crisis.

February 3, 2009

Patents and Patents

Filed under: Reflection — captainchunk @ 10:27 am

Looking at the history of the telephone, it is obvious that understanding how to work the United States patent system is critical in the process of being recognized for an innovation. Should you invent the perpetual motion machine, but have no desire to gain credit for that innovation, then you are all set because you won’t have to do anything. But more often people want credit and the ability to make money from their invention which is where the USPTO comes in. Just based on the story of the telephone, it seems as though if you don’t have the right lawyers and a solid strategy for the patent office, you are going to have an upward hill to climb. In the case of the telephone, Bell used the patent office to better effect than Gray.

I am curious about how inventions are now worked on in our current technological world. Back in the 1800s and earlier, you could have inventors doing their work in relative isolation due to the limited communication available at the time. So you have competing technologies being developed at the same time with, I would guess, not as much crosstalk amongst the inventors about their inventions. I wonder if this isolation is good for the initial innovation? Do innovators try to work isolation today? The initial innovation would probably be a very different process from post-invention in wanting to use the ideas and work of other innovators.

Reading Winston’s account of the telephone development, the entire innovation process is extremely convoluted as opposed the more “common” ideas of how something is invented. I am not sure where the concept of a person working on an idea and then they just invent something came from, but it doesn’t look like it happens that way. The telephone development process of starting with an idea that doesn’t really work very well, or is in the wrong direction, or is complicated, or is really an entirely different innovation altogether is probably how innovation happens in almost every case. How innovators must work around existing patents in order to get their invention cleared with the patent office. The patent system really has two opposing goals. One is to protect the inventor and their invention so they can make money from their work and the other is to foster innovation. Maybe they are not entirely opposing, but they don’t seem to be in perfect harmony either. It is unlikely that the US patent system will be changing anytime soon which makes it all the more important for innovators like Bell and Gray to fully understand the system in order to get the credit they want.

February 2, 2009

Questions for class

Filed under: Questions — Tags: — captainchunk @ 10:55 pm

1. Is the US patent system a good way to protect innovation? If not, what would be a good way to protect innovation and what impact would this have on innovation and the innovators?

2. Are disruptive technologies bound to succeed? Could the telegraph have done more to stop the telephone? Why does it seem like some technologies are inevitably going to succeed?

3. Can old technologies still have a place in current society like the turntable? Why would this happen?

Leading the Discussion

Filed under: Reflection — captainchunk @ 12:05 pm

On the topic:

The story of the telegraph was surprisingly interesting to me. Part of that came from the unexpected similarities between what happened with the telegraph and what is currently happening with the internet. I am a big fan of Old West history and I think the telegraph had more of an impact on changing the development of the West than it had on the already more developed Eastern United States. It is difficult to think about what it must have been like to have instant communication with people thousands of miles away, which is maybe why it is fun for me to think about something that I have never experienced… not having instant communication.

On the PowerPoint:

I really loved how my PowerPoint turned out. I felt that it captured the story and the importance of the telegraph in just a few slides. I am not totally sure why I chose to do the entire PowerPoint in black and white, but it just felt like the right way to present the story. While the slides are simple in design, it took me quite a while to find the right images I wanted to use. I started with 3×5 index cards to organize my slides, I already knew the quotes I wanted to use to bookend the presentation, but I sat there with three empty cards. I didn’t want to use numbers because I wasn’t sure I could make them emotional, so I went with photos. I think the difficult thing to do with PowerPoints is to take the freedom of creativity into a more structured environment of a business.

On the discussion:

People really seemed to get the importance of the telegraph as well as the uncertainty of the time and technology. The audience was engaged and asked interesting questions and added some insightful commentary. I was really pleased with how the discussion went and I tried to throw in some interesting anecdotes to reinforce the concept of uncertainty with technology. I hope my next presentation will be just as exciting to me and my audience.

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