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Thursday, April 21, 2011

The purpose of this assignment was to discuss Comment on Murray’s four properties of the computer and give examples for each. Murray’s four properties of the computer, encyclopedic, participatory, procedural, and spatial.

Murray’s four properties of the computer
The assignment was to discuss the four properties of Murray’s view of properties of the computer. Without headers listing the four properties, I found more than four, therefore I will engage all that I read and give examples of what I believe that the author speaks of.
In the beginning, the author speaks of confusion as to where digital medium is headed. She speaks of “enhanced video games and television.” Then she compares this to the vast variety of formats that are now available, and without stating it directly, questions as to where this is going? The Internet is now used on an iPad to watch TV, on an Xbox to compete against other warriors in fictional characters across the world, but is also used as an agent to learn, seek information, both current and historical. When the automobile was first invented, it was done so to seek an alternative to horse pulled carriages, but soon developed into crude race cars. One idea came from another and they were developments spawning from the same invention, as is the Internet. I believe that no matter what the invention is, there will be offspring that was not thought of in its inception, but developments that will bring many hybrids of the same design.
Murray then discusses the fact that the traditional library with books is being greatly outpaced by the Internet. She discusses that the library very may in fact be an obscure or even extinct entity due to the technology that exists on the Internet. Both Borges and Bush do not think of the computer as a replacement to the library, but instead it must create a change in how our minds think in relevance to how we seek out information. That we are looking for short cuts to gain this information as fast as we can.  I remember when I was younger; our town had an evening newspaper. The town was not small by averages of other towns in the U.S., but it was the only paper. Therefore, for this paper to go to print, it had to begin early in the A.M. As this paper was phased out and the entire countywide area gravitated to a paper owned by a large conglomerate, it became an A.M. paper available at most newsstands by 5 A.M. This meant that all of the information that was printed could have been reported up until late the evening before, giving an entire day’s head start on the evening rival. Eventually the evening paper closed and we are now left with still one local paper. The Internet though has beaten the current paper hands down. With an RSS feed, a text message can be sent from a murder scene describing the details within 30 minutes of the reporter receiving notification. Did I need to know this information this quickly? When the evening paper came out I didn’t, but now that I can receive an RSS feed on my SmartPhone, I can’t live without it. I believe this is what Murray describes in the differences of Borges and Bush.
A very interesting point that is bought up is about how information is pooled by many people via the Internet, making us smarter people. Not just in current and potential future events, but in historical events such as WWI and WWII, seemingly putting us in the midst of the battle with its descriptions and pictures. All of this done with a mouse and keyboard instead of looking through an endless sea of books and references. Although I personally am not a gaming aficionado, I imagine that many of the games that are sold now that simulate war, both on foreign soil and domestic gang fights give the user the same type of experience without actually being there.
The article ends with how in the 1960’s, the computer was used primarily for scientific and economic uses of extremely large databases. Murray likens the time when Douglas Englebart (who had devoted his lifetime work and career to developing the computer for everyday use), to that of Michelangelo, seeking what he deems as a “computer renaissance.” Instead, early in the years of computers and without the time needed to develop what we have today, Murray likens Englebart to DaVinci with much work to do, but left incomplete due to lack of time. Murray also believes that it might be possible one day that we in fact will have outthought ourselves and our humanity with the further advancements that computers may take.  (Murray)
Murray, J. H. (n.d.). Inventing the medium, Retrieved 2011, from from CTU doctoral library.