Monday, 20 February 2017

Digital Age

It has been a matter of much comment as of late, both in the public prints as well as, perhaps fittingly, the digital context, that much of today's world is moving into the digital realm. From motorcars right on though to private correspondence and medical files. Though an area into which few still would have thought or expected such modern, mechanization to venture, is that of traditionally acoustic musical instruments. Certainly electrified guitars and even pianos have been in existence long enough that they no longer cause consternation, there do still remain a good deal of what, for place if a better term, be referred to as 'traditional' instruments, that have been taken into to the electrical fold as of late. Most like the first off headway the violin. Whilst it remains still somewhat odd in both aesthetics and sound production, the 'electric' violin has, none the less, been making a place for itself in the greater musical culture. A much newer arrival, is the the 'eletric' iteration of the upright bass. Modelled upon the general design of an old-fashioned, and some would argue 'proper', double bass, the electrified upright bass, such as those reared by the musical instrument producers Palantino and BSX, sound much more like their vibration-based brethren than some other, similarly electrified instrumentation, whilst possessing a shape less obtrusive and size, less ungainly than the wood and wire variations. Stretching out much further into the digital realm than many mere mortals could readily comprehend, the stunners of traditional logic at Yamaha have recently released upon an unsuspecting world, the first known electric trumpet. 

Saturday, 18 February 2017

On the Radio

The history of technological advancement is strewn with examples of innovations that subsequently fell out of favour. Or 'died' to use the personifying dramatics employed by so many. 
The manual loom is an example of such obsolescence, as is the mechanical typewriter and all the myriad iterations of personal computing device that brought the human race to its current juncture. 

There is one innovation, however, that while it has undergone a few alterations in the name of efficiency, remains much the same in the contemporary epoch as it did during the period of its initial iteration. Based up on the work of the Italian Marconi, the primary developer of wireless communications, 'wireless being a descriptor that would persist for some time, the 'radio' is, in some ways, as old an invention as the telephone, both of them being based upon much the same principle. Yet, despite being one of the forerunners of the current age of information, it has also remained essentially unchanged interns of format and function. 

All new automobiles come with a radio included. Some more recent accouterments have been been added in recent years but the radios remain the same. The transistor form of radios still available in all manner of shops and the is not shortage of clock-radio hybrids in the world. More than this. If the wide dissemination of audio based broadcast material over the Internet can be described as 'radio' as many have done and continue to do, then radio has scarcely been more popular than it is today. It is a comfort to know that some things do not change.  


Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Cyberpunks 2.0


One of the key principles of any engagement, be it military or otherwise, is to know ones opposition. The history of the human species is littered with examples, and more often than not, the corpses of those who did not understand their opposition and therefore underestimated them. From Xerxes in Sparta, to Britain to Afghanistan and the United States, yes the United bloody States, in Upper Canada and Vietnam (clear loss in one case, stalemate draw in the other). Knowing one’s opponent is a basic lesson that one would have thought, or at least would hope, would be widely known and closely held. Alas, ego is not considered a human failing for nothing and can too often blind one to what would be apparently obvious to others. Despite his apparently affinity for Twitter, given the nature of some of his recent Executive Orders, one cannot help but conclude that the sitting President of the United States holds little affection for his nation’s technology sector. It has swiftly gotten to the point that the leaders of that very sector, known in the contemporary parlance as ‘Silicon Valley’, have begun to respond. At this point the response has been limited to donations to the American Civil Liberties Union and some responses in the media. If fortune smiles this is as far as things are going to go. Because it could all get very much worse. Something that the President seems to lack the reflection to be able to consider is a fairly basic question which nearly anyone else in his position would ponder a good long while before acting. Is making an enemy of a group of billionaires with a documented history of anti-authoritarian views and, in some cases, known hacker and cracker skills, really the wisest course of action one can undertake?

Monday, 13 February 2017

How One Plays the Game

It is a basic truth oft observed that there are few traits more noble in human activity than that of sporting spirit. Rare is the man who can honestly claim not to have a quickening of the blood whilst witness to a feat of gaming prowess. Whilst such pronouncements may be easily and popularly made with regard to what might best be thought of as 'practical' gaming pursuits, a similar advocation could also be presented in the case of digitized entertainment forms, many of which have been able to incorporate more practical involvement in their participation.

Digitized interactive pastimes, or 'video-games' to use the common parlance, have been the unwitting targets of ire from all ends of the socio-political sphere. With the apparent ability to to give umbrage to all and sundry, detractors of the medium count among their number Christians of dogmatic and distinctly Conservative disposition and Women's Right Advocates of pronounced Leftist views. Whist in the course of the day-to-day said groups have had a tendency to get along with the approximate ease and harmony of Loyalists and Fenians, the calamitous folly of the use of 'video-games' by the general populace has been a point upon which they have historically agreed. Much as how up until the later portion of the 1990s, these otherwise acrimonious tribes were in curious accord with regard to the damaging and horrid effects of of 'comic books'. Not a shred of corroborating evidence being needed or, in fact, sought, so resolute were they in their convictions

How interesting it is then to note that all such objection ceased and politically driven actions such as the United States Senate Sub-Committee hearing which propagated the implementation of the Comics Code Authority and the trial which lead a young chap by the name of Mike Diana to literally be convicted of drawing, essentially disappeared at the beginning of the 21st century. Which incidentally coincided with the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund making great strides in terms of legal recourse for creators and the San Diego Comic Book Convention - currently abbreviated to 'ComicCon' - becoming one of the premier events of Western Culture. A fascinating coincidence to be sure.

Saturday, 11 February 2017

Of Trolls and Straw-men

In the Year of Her Majesty Two-Thousand and Ten, the old order of purpose built and driven web-sites was put asunder and slowly, like ice cubes melting into a fine Scotch, elements from the fringes began to seep into mainstream, usurping into dedicated platforms where they were never really meant to be. It is to the point, in this day and age, that the term 'Tumblr Feminist' has come to denote the sort of young lady who posts an image of herself proudly displaying the hand she broke whilst striking a chap who said something with which she took umbrage. 

The atmosphere has gotten so egregious as of late that the old alliances and loyalties are in no way clear and the most popular style of coat appears to be 'turn'. Perhaps the most famous case is that of the new found acrimony within the Atheist/Skeptic 'community'. Particularly following the induction of the 'Atheism+' iteration, which attempted to combine elements of social justice  with Atheism. An action akin to attempting to introduce the principles of Peace, Order and Good Government into the doctrines of Anarchism. 

What appears to be lost amongst all the sound and fury that constitutes the contemporary Internet, particularly the 'social media' quarters, is that such attempts to engage opponents and sway hearts and minds through shouting, derision and other forms of vulgar insult is as effective as angry kittens hissing at one another. 

Dire as the situation may now seem, it has not yet become irredeemable. All that is really required is for a basic sense of decency and restraint to enter the conversation. Or, to paraphrase Lord Wil of Wheaton: One shan't be a prat. 





Friday, 10 February 2017

Apologies

Most sincere apologies for the abrupt disruption to my regular dispatch. Events arose to which tending was required and have since been rectified. The continuance of this publication will therefore commence immediately with new material added at its usual juncture.

Monday, 30 January 2017

In Praise of Slow

It can be truly perplexing the illogical with much many modes of technology are utilized. Some far surpassing their intended purpose with others fall well short of their potential applications. The culprit behind many such misapplications, whether deliberate or otherwise can traced in most cases, back to a general unpredictability when it comes to priorities. Alexander Graham Bell could scarcely have predicted a thing such as the internet when first developing telephone technology. It is also generally agreed that holographic technology is not all that it might have been. In a somewhat similar vein is the realm of automotive technologies. For all the advancements in speed, design and engineering, there have been comparatively few developments in therms of safety precautions. There were, in fact, concerted efforts made by many of the larger automobile producing enterprises to cover up various and egregious issues of safety pertaining to their vehicles. It was only by an equally concerted an lengthy campaign by those involved in the field of consumer advocacy that the companies making the automobiles admitted that such an attempt at cover up was launched in the first place. This could well serves as a ready explanation as to why, despite the available technologies, little to no effort has been made with regard to the intrinsic risks associated with motor vehicle operation. Why, for example, with modern engines basically being computers and there being cameras of ever shirking size, is there not a mechanism by which a posted speed limited sign could be read by a camera, that would then link directly to the engine and set the maximum speed of that engine and the posted speed limit. Such a moderation of automobile speed is already being done with prototypes of the forthcoming driver-less automobiles and excessive speed is the main cause of fatalities associated with driving motorized vehicles.