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'Dead Media' Never Really Die

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the except-hddvd dept.

Media 85

joabj writes "A streaming music service was available 100 years ago by telephone, through the Teleharmonium. A primitive version of Photoshopping was possible with Black Mirrors in the 18th century. While technologies and media platforms go obsolete at an ever more rapid pace, the ideas they engender never really die. They get absorbed by newer technologies, or are at least preserved by hobbyists (carrier pigeons) or niche markets (Morse Code), argued NYU postdoctoral researcher Finn Brunton at the USENIX conference. Myself, I'm waiting for an update to the visual cortex-stimulating Dream Machines of the 1960s."

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This just in... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36475754)

This just in: CmdrTaco has a tiny penis! Film at 11.

Re:This just in... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36477552)

Don't you mean Microfiche?

GLAAARDGHHGHGHGHW! (1)

For a Free Internet (1594621) | more than 3 years ago | (#36475770)

Vaginal secretions have a distinctive aroma, yo.

Re:GLAAARDGHHGHGHGHW! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36476608)

How would you know?

Re:GLAAARDGHHGHGHGHW! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36477018)

I suspect it's from repeatedly licking his mother's cooch.

Ugh (4, Insightful)

Anrego (830717) | more than 3 years ago | (#36475798)

Brunton questioned whether any media is "truly dead," except in rare cases, such as the Rongorongo tablets found at Easter Island, which no one now knows how to read or even decipher the reason they were created.

This whole 4 page article came off as a bunch of gum flapping over semantics. If I say something is a “dead technology”, I generally mean that very few people are using it.. not that it has completely disappeared from the face of the earth. I think the same is true of most people. Was the whole point of this to say that for most technologies, someone, somewhere, is still using it? If so it took a long damn time to make that point.

Also the fact that an older technology is somehow embodied in the new technology that supersedes it is a pretty damn obvious statement. We invent new things to do old things in a better way. Of _course_ my word processor incorporates the same concepts of the typewriter, it was designed to be a replacement for it!

Re:Ugh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36475900)

bunch of gum flapping over semantics.

that's academia in a nutshell
 
personally, I work in the private sector. They expect results.

Re:Ugh (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36475954)

You must not work in the defense industry.

Re:Ugh (1)

ConceptJunkie (24823) | more than 3 years ago | (#36476770)

Agreed. I had a short stint at a defense contractor where they, in so many words, admitted it they had no interest in my ideas to significantly improve efficiency because there was no absolutely reason to get the work done faster than the contract stipulated, and the contract was padded in the extreme. Needless to say, I wasn't very popular there.

Re:Ugh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36476788)

Of course not. If you get your work done too quickly they can't charge all the hours that have been set out in the contract and thus they lose money.

Re:Ugh (1)

ConceptJunkie (24823) | more than 3 years ago | (#36480064)

Precisely. I also wasn't so popular when I was doing the same amount of work with 1/3 of the code. I remember interviewing with one of the supervisors who said "We're sort of a garage shop here." I took that to mean they weren't particularly formal in their development process (presumably because they knew what they were doing and were good at it), which is what I was used to at other places, but I soon figured out that what he really meant was, "We have no idea what we're doing." exactly the opposite of how I took it.

Re:Ugh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36476254)

I add so much value to gas by speculating that it's price will go up, thereby causing hardship to millions. I also created big results as a toxic asset trader!

Re:Ugh (2)

Mister Whirly (964219) | more than 3 years ago | (#36476424)

No, they expect a profit. Any actual results are purely coincidental.

Re:Ugh (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | more than 3 years ago | (#36477878)

Well, generally profit implies that youre doing something right; if youre not, generally that profit disappears in short order.

Re:Ugh (1)

Parlett316 (112473) | more than 3 years ago | (#36477442)

You never studied.

Economies of scale (4, Interesting)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#36475936)

This whole 4 page article came off as a bunch of gum flapping over semantics.

Perhaps we can define a "dead" technology as one that no longer enjoys economies of scale [wikipedia.org] . Hobbyists and niche markets often pay a premium for the technologies they use.

Which brings me to another question: Often participatory media die and are replaced with consumer media. For example, video game consoles replaced 8-bit microcomputers with TV output, Compact Disc replaced cassette, DVD replaced VHS, and walled-garden tablets have begun to replace laptop computers. These media create a barrier between those who can produce and those who can only consume, and one must pay dearly to surmount this barrier.

Re:Economies of scale (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36476406)

Surmounting those barriers is as easy as having a computer with an internet connection. I'm not going to predict what the future holds, but today it is easier than ever to get into any form of media production. The software to produce video used to cost thousands. Now it comes with the computer. Audio production? Drop a few Hamiltons on a breakout box, or just a USB mic. Or stick to Line In. Photography? GIMP and an average P&S can produce results that will wow people. Programming? The tools for every major platform are free. Publishing is as easy as uploading.

Again, I'm not going to predict what the future holds, but end-to-end production of just about anything can be as cheap as the price of a low-end desktop.

People who own a tablet instead of a PC (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#36481614)

Surmounting those barriers is as easy as having a computer with an internet connection.

True, if you own a PC, you can switch from consuming to creating by downloading and installing an application. But as people start buying tablet appliances instead of PCs, watch people not be able to switch so easily.

GIMP

...is available only for PCs, not tablets.

Programming? The tools for every major platform are free.

Do you mean "iOS is not a major platform"? The tools for that cost $600 for the Mac plus $99 per year.

as cheap as the price of a low-end desktop

Unless it becomes uncommon to buy a low-end desktop, after which point the major companies will stop making low-end desktops. Then the low-end desktop becomes "dead technology" by my definition.

Re:Economies of scale (1)

Kemanorel (127835) | more than 3 years ago | (#36476472)

While I won't argue your point about 8-bit mircocomputers vs. video game consoles, I fail to see how CD's, DVD's, and tablets have in any way created barriers. In fact, I would argue that while the creation tools for each of the earlier level technologies in your comparisons were less expensive by the time of the new technology's introduction than the new creation tools, CD's and DVD's both offered considerable improvements in the quality that a hobbyist producer could create. The creation tools also had a continual drop in price over time, usually while keeping the same higher quality compared to the previous generation. With regards to the walled garden tablets, if I recall correctly, the Andriod tools are free and the iOS tools are $100 a year (I could very well be wrong on that one). I hardly see that as paying dearly, especially given that to create for any system, one must have a version of that system to test on or an emulator running on more comprehensive hardware.

CD before CD-R was invented (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#36476962)

I fail to see how CD's, DVD's, and tablets have in any way created barriers.

How much did it cost to get a low-volume CD pressed before CD-R was invented? Or a low-volume DVD authored and pressed before before DVD-R and DVD+R were invented?

the Andriod tools are free

I wasn't including Android in "walled garden" seeing as how every Android device supports adb install and usually even "Unknown sources". Even AT&T plans to push out updates [sleetherz.com] to restore "Unknown sources." I was referring mostly to iOS and Windows Phone, which leads to the next point:

the iOS tools are $100 a year (I could very well be wrong on that one).

Plus the cost of a Mac if your current PC happens to have come with Windows or Linux, or if you currently don't own a PC in the first place (iOS 5 can run without iTunes). And if Apple rejects your application on some dubious grounds, your users also have to pay $99 per year to use it. Finally, I've read rumors a couple weeks ago [slashdot.org] that as iOS matures, Apple may discontinue the iMac and MacBook (not Pro) in favor of iOS-based products, meaning one would have to buy at least a MacBook Pro to create works for publication on iOS.

Re:Economies of scale (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36476492)

This whole 4 page article came off as a bunch of gum flapping over semantics.

Perhaps we can define a "dead" technology as one that no longer enjoys economies of scale [wikipedia.org] . Hobbyists and niche markets often pay a premium for the technologies they use.

Which brings me to another question: Often participatory media die and are replaced with consumer media. For example, video game consoles replaced 8-bit microcomputers with TV output, Compact Disc replaced cassette, DVD replaced VHS, and walled-garden tablets have begun to replace laptop computers. These media create a barrier between those who can produce and those who can only consume, and one must pay dearly to surmount this barrier.

The media do not create those barriers. Anybody can burn a DVD, or skip it altogether and just upload the file from their digital video camera to youtube. Also, it's as easy now to download free compilers to create games and programs for computers and tablets as it ever was. (with respect to the "garden-wall", you can either shell out 100$ to roll your own, or just jail-break your device - big whoop). the only new barriers are that it's more complex to create some of these programs. As to be expected, since games are now a little more complex than pong

Re:Economies of scale (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#36481680)

Anybody can burn a DVD

This wasn't true between when DVD players came out and when DVD-R became popular. Nor is it true for video game consoles that use DVD-based media; all games must still be digitally signed and then pressed with specific screwed up sectors.

or just jail-break your device - big whoop

Nintendo has been suing those who enable jailbreaking on the DS. Likewise Sony on the PS3. And even on platforms where suing isn't yet common, such as Wii and iOS, updates to the firmware occasionally come out to disable existing jailbreaks. (See, for example, Wii Menu 4.2 and 4.3.)

Re:Economies of scale (2)

ultramk (470198) | more than 3 years ago | (#36476824)

1984 called and they want their complaints back. Seriously, when the original Mac came out there was no end to the wailing and gnashing of teeth because it didn't boot into BASIC like the Apple ][, but into a GUI without a CLI at all. "How will I write a program? How can anything be accomplished on a machine that's so locked down and sealed up!?!" Of course, anyone who cared could get into it fairly easily, as evidenced by the explosion of shareware and freeware on the Mac

Jump forward 27 years and it's the same pious caterwauling about tablets. Yes, you can't really develop for a tablet on a tablet. You need another machine to actually do the work on, but those are hardly rare. I saw a couple of machines being turned in for recycling yesterday that would be perfectly adequate to develop on.

Besides, programming--while important--is not the be-all/end-all of creativity. Things I've personally witnessed being created on tablets: books being researched and written, artwork drawn, websites designed, music written AND performed live, video edited and published, photographs edited and retouched, numbers crunched, slide presentations put together... and it just goes on and on and on.

Technology is here to make the things we do easier and better. For the vast, vast majority it isn't an end in itself.

Re:Economies of scale (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#36481752)

You need another machine to actually do the work on, but those are hardly rare.

For one thing, you also need a certificate that expires. For another, as I mentioned in another comment [slashdot.org] , there are rumors that a Mac to actually do the work on might actually become rare.

Re:Economies of scale (1)

yarnosh (2055818) | more than 3 years ago | (#36476878)

These media create a barrier between those who can produce and those who can only consume, and one must pay dearly to surmount this barrier.

Nonsense. The new media simply bring mature technologies to those who would only consume regardless of the media. It doesn't put up any new barriers. Ok, it might be more difficult for me as an individual to produce a game for a console, but there's still PCs. Video game consoles didn't replace 8-bit microcomputers. They created a new market for people who didn't care about all potential uses for a general purpose computer. As for DVDs replacing VHS, sure it is more complicated to burn a DVD, but it is certainly not out of reach for the average consumer if they were so inclined. And now with services like YouTube you don't even need the physical media at all. This is one area where the barrier to entry has gone down. Any schmuck can now post his home videos for the world to see with the click of a button.

WIth any new media, you're going to see an initial barrier if only due to the price, but eventually it will trickle down to the consumer in some form or another. As long as there is a demand for consumers to produce content, there will be a medium for it. Even if that means retaining the old technology until the new one becomes generally available.

PC on TV; DVD prior to DVD-R (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#36481820)

You make a good point about YouTube,

Ok, it might be more difficult for me as an individual to produce a game for a console, but there's still PCs.

A PC doesn't* display on a television. This makes it more difficult for two to four players to fit around the monitor of the family's gaming PC to play a multiplayer game. This is why most notable PC multiplayer games tend to be online, requiring a separate PC for each player even if all players are in one household.

[Locked-down video game consoles] created a new market for people who didn't care about all potential uses for a general purpose computer.

And hurt the market for video games developed outside the mainstream video game industry, as console makers refused to deal with developers operating out of a home office.

As for DVDs replacing VHS, sure it is more complicated to burn a DVD

Was DVD-R available when DVD players first came out?

* I mean "doesn't", not "can't". A PC with a VGA or DVI video output can display on any HDTV with a VGA or HDMI input respectively, but in practice statistically nobody uses that feature. For one thing, few people that I've talked to appear to know it exists, and for another, people don't want to have to cart the family PC back and forth between the TV cabinet and the PC desk.

Re:PC on TV; DVD prior to DVD-R (1)

yarnosh (2055818) | more than 3 years ago | (#36482188)

A PC doesn't* display on a television. This makes it more difficult for two to four players to fit around the monitor of the family's gaming PC to play a multiplayer game. This is why most notable PC multiplayer games tend to be online, requiring a separate PC for each player even if all players are in one household.

I mean "doesn't", not "can't". A PC with a VGA or DVI video output can display on any HDTV with a VGA or HDMI input respectively, but in practice statistically nobody uses that feature. For one thing, few people that I've talked to appear to know it exists, and for another, people don't want to have to cart the family PC back and forth between the TV cabinet and the PC desk.

So what exactly is the problem? Everyone one still has a PC. It isn't like they all just gave up the PC for the gaming console. There's plenty of room for the Indie game developer. Especially with Flash on the web and Steam for the PC. Not to mention that consoles are opening up more the ability to download titles from online stores. Hell, look at indie title Minecraft making it to the Xbox 360. Who would have thunk..

And hurt the market for video games developed outside the mainstream video game industry, as console makers refused to deal with developers operating out of a home office.

Oh please. Game consoles never took away market from the PC. They they created their own market. Most of the 8-bit computers that plugged into TVs were used almost exclusively to play out-of-the-box video games anyway. It was only natural that someone would create specialized hardware to play games, and games only.

Was DVD-R available when DVD players first came out?

Like I said, it takes time for new technologies to become available to the masses. Meanwhile, nothing was stopping people from continuing to record their videos VHS. What exactly is the problem? And how would you solve it?

You can't deny that, in the long run, personal/home digital video has become *much* more accessible to the average person.The delay between DVD and DVD-R was just a hiccup.

Re:PC on TV; DVD prior to DVD-R (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#36482260)

So what exactly is the problem? Everyone one still has a PC.

The problem is that PCs haven't been strongly marketed for set-top use since the 8-bit days, and a desktop PC can't play certain genres of games. I'd hate to develop and self-publish a game only to have people in the audience tell me "I'd buy that if only it were for something other the PC."

Especially with Flash on the web

A Flash game can't read gamepads. It can read only player 1's keyboard and mouse, not the gamepads that players 2 through 4 are using.

Re:PC on TV; DVD prior to DVD-R (1)

yarnosh (2055818) | more than 3 years ago | (#36483278)

The problem is that PCs haven't been strongly marketed for set-top use since the 8-bit days,

So what? It isn't like consoles stole this market. They created a new market while general purpose computers advanced to the point where a TV was inadequate for display purposes.

and a desktop PC can't play certain genres of games.

So play to the strengths of the PC.

I'd hate to develop and self-publish a game only to have people in the audience tell me "I'd buy that if only it were for something other the PC."

If something as silly as that i stopping you, you've got other problems. Seriously, you're making a big deal out of nothing. Fact is there's a healthy enough market for good self published games on the PC. Probably more now than there ever was. Now you have the internet and services like Steam. No relying on local BBSes or whatever to get your game out there.

A Flash game can't read gamepads. It can read only player 1's keyboard and mouse, not the gamepads that players 2 through 4 are using.

Then don't develop Flash games. Fuck, dude.

Re:PC on TV; DVD prior to DVD-R (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#36484522)

It isn't like consoles stole this market. They created a new market while general purpose computers advanced to the point where a TV was inadequate for display purposes.

If an indie developer has a design document for a game that would best work in this new market, how should the developer proceed?

So play to the strengths of the PC.

How can somebody who has never been a fan of first-person shooters and real-time strategy "play to the strengths of the PC"? As I understand it, the strength of a PC is its lack of organizational requirements as a prerequisite to distribute software, but the biggest weakness of a PC that I can see is its physically small monitor. (In one sense, a 32" 1366x768 pixel TV is "bigger" than a 20" 1600x900 pixel monitor.)

Fact is there's a healthy enough market for good self published games on the PC.

Even games in a genre whose multiplayer mode traditionally uses multiple gamepads?

Re:PC on TV; DVD prior to DVD-R (1)

yarnosh (2055818) | more than 3 years ago | (#36485240)

If an indie developer has a design document for a game that would best work in this new market, how should the developer proceed?

I don't know, I'm not in that part of software development. I get it. It is difficult to publish games for consoles. But I already acknowledged this much in my original comment to you. Why are you harping on it? I'm sorry that you so desperately want to publish a game that plays on a TV and uses multiple gamepads but can't. I don't know what else to say.

Re:PC on TV; DVD prior to DVD-R (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36511072)

The problem is that PCs haven't been strongly marketed for set-top use since the 8-bit days, and a desktop PC can't play certain genres of games. I'd hate to develop and self-publish a game only to have people in the audience tell me "I'd buy that if only it were for something other the PC."

This might be because in the 8-bit days TVs and computer monitors (especially computer monitors) were expensive so having a computer that plugged into the TV for output was a big marketing point, today they are cheap so people would rather separate them which means marketing that they can plug into your TV will only get few extra sales.

Re:Economies of scale (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 3 years ago | (#36476880)

Which brings me to another question: Often participatory media die and are replaced with consumer media. For example, video game consoles replaced 8-bit microcomputers with TV output, Compact Disc replaced cassette, DVD replaced VHS, and walled-garden tablets have begun to replace laptop computers. These media create a barrier between those who can produce and those who can only consume, and one must pay dearly to surmount this barrier.

Except - only two of your examples (the first and last) even remotely support your thesis because on the others, content can still be created by anyone that cares to. (And one need not pay 'dearly' to do so. A few hundred bucks tops.) But arguably even those two are irrelevant because a) the vast majority of their users aren't creators anyway, and b) neither of the things you claim to have been replaced have actually been replaced (or are even close to being so).
 
So, what you've said here is pretty much nothing but FUD that doesn't stand a moments scrutiny. (That you started with "another question" and then subsequently fail to actually ask a question says it all really.)

The firmware doesn't allow them to be creators (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#36481844)

But arguably even those two [video game consoles and walled-garden tablets] are irrelevant because a) the vast majority of their users aren't creators anyway

They aren't creators because the devices' firmware doesn't allow them to be.

and b) neither of the things you claim to have been replaced have actually been replaced

As for consoles: What do you mean they haven't have replaced personal computers connected to televisions? Nowadays, statistically nobody has a home theater PC, and I can cite several comments by CronoCloud and others to back up this assertion. Shall I dig up links to these comments?

As for tablets: Low-end laptops haven't been replaced yet, but some analysts claim the proverbial writing is on the wall. Please see my other comment [slashdot.org] about iOS.

Re:The firmware doesn't allow them to be creators (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 3 years ago | (#36483746)

But arguably even those two [video game consoles and walled-garden tablets] are irrelevant because a) the vast majority of their users aren't creators anyway

They aren't creators because the devices' firmware doesn't allow them to be.

They weren't creators before either.
 

and b) neither of the things you claim to have been replaced have actually been replaced

As for consoles: What do you mean they haven't have replaced personal computers connected to televisions?

Oh, I see now. You're playing a narrow minded and ignorant semantics game. Only devices attached to televisions count, the explosion of PC's not connected to televisions that replaced PC's connected to televisions is irrelevant.
 

As for tablets: Low-end laptops haven't been replaced yet, but some analysts claim the proverbial writing is on the wall.

And you'll just ignore the majority of laptops that aren't low end because their existence is inconvenient to your thesis. You'll ignore the fact that the users of low end laptops aren't creators for the same reason.
 
When you have to twist facts and ignore others to support your thesis, that's prima facie evidence you have a problem in your formulation.

Are you sure you'll never want to create? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#36484552)

the vast majority of [console/tablet] users aren't creators anyway

because the devices' firmware doesn't allow them to be.

They weren't creators before either.

A walled-garden device may be ideal for people who are sure that they'll never decide one day to become creators before the device breaks. But when people who "weren't creators before" decide one day to become creators, it is a lot more expensive for them to do so if all they own is a walled-garden device than if they own a general-purpose PC.

Only devices attached to televisions count

As I understand it, only devices attached to monitors the size of televisions can be used for playing multiplayer games with multiple gamepads, as opposed to having to buy a separate PC and a separate copy of each program for each player.

And you'll just ignore the majority of laptops that aren't low end because their existence is inconvenient to your thesis.

No, I ignore them because I happen not to see them in my daily life.

Re:Are you sure you'll never want to create? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36511362)

As I understand it, only devices attached to monitors the size of televisions can be used for playing multiplayer games with multiple gamepads, as opposed to having to buy a separate PC and a separate copy of each program for each player.

There is nothing inherent in the design of the PC which precludes playing multiplayer games on it, I played multiplayer games on a 14" TV in my youth, so the size of the screen shouldn't be a major barrier. It is perhaps the design of the games that is an issue, as to why the games are designed like this I am not going to bother to speculate.

Re:The firmware doesn't allow them to be creators (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36511164)

As for consoles: What do you mean they haven't have replaced personal computers connected to televisions? Nowadays, statistically nobody has a home theater PC

8-bit computers could never be classed as a home-theater PC, so when exactly did a significant number of people ever have a home theater PC? AFAIK they have always been the preserve of geeks and a few rich people who pay lots of money for someone to set up a home-theater for them.

Re:The firmware doesn't allow them to be creators (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#36511244)

8-bit computers could never be classed as a home-theater PC, so when exactly did a significant number of people ever have a home theater PC?

Perhaps my point is that there was nothing open to replace 8-bit computers as set-top gaming devices once they died off, and therefore there was no medium for a small, home-based ISV to make and publish a set-top video game.

Re:Economies of scale (1)

mianne (965568) | more than 3 years ago | (#36477974)

And?

8-bit computers replaced hobbyist built 4-bit machines which were NOT a mass consumer item. Cassettes replaced 8-tracks, vinyl, and wax -- none of which were easily recorded to by consumers. Yet recordable CD and DVD media is readily obtainable. VHS (and Betamax) replaced nothing really, unless you wanted to set your 8mm video camera on a tripod in front of the television. or watch a film on a home movie projector/screen. I don't really see tablets as a replacement for laptops, which are still widely sold. I'd consider them more as an offspring of a laptop and a PDA, as opposed to a smartphone which is the child of a PDA and a cellphone.

True, user created content is nowhere near as easy with latest evolution of these technologies, excepting CD-R/DVD-R which could hardly be simpler. Also a large percentage of the populace now has a video camera of some sort, be it their phone, the dying Flip-type pocket camcorder, or a more conventional camcorder. None weigh 10+ pounds as they did in the late 80's, and only the most professional quality ones come close to the cost of an entry level one from that era. What's more, with the ability to post videos to YouTube, it has seriously democratized the creation of A/V content.

Yes, the **AA organizations will continue to try and keep technology manufacturer's in check, making it as difficult as technologically and legally possibly to duplicate commercial content and balancing that with not making it too difficult for license holders to view/use said content (Refer to any of thousands of /. articles on this topic) But I believe we are in a golden age of democratic content creation. See also: Wikipedia.

In the early days of CD (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#36481798)

Yet recordable CD and DVD media is readily obtainable.

In the early days of CD, CD-R media was not "readily obtainable". Nor was DVD-R media in the early days of DVD, as I understand it.

VHS (and Betamax) replaced nothing really

I agree that the VCR was a step forward in participatory media. So was CD to CD-R, and so was DVD to DVD-R, and so was DVD-R to YouTube. I was pointing out the steps backward to remind people that such steps backward have happened, where a medium becomes "dead technology" in favor of a less participatory medium.

I don't really see tablets as a replacement for laptops, which are still widely sold.

Apple has announced that iOS 5 will no longer need to be connected to iTunes. Instead, it will receive its updates over the air (don't know whether this means only Wi-Fi or also 3G). This means some people will own a tablet and no laptop, just as a lot of people bought a video game console and no PC.

Re:Ugh (1)

Score Whore (32328) | more than 3 years ago | (#36476004)

Even if you want to accept that even a single existing example of some kind of "media" proves that that "media" is not dead, I cannot understand how anyone could possibly hold the idea that for every single type of "media" that ever existed there exists at least one sample. Really?

Re:Ugh (1)

pz (113803) | more than 3 years ago | (#36476144)

This whole 4 page article came off as a bunch of gum flapping over semantics.

Agreed. It also had a tone of free association. There's no evidence presented that the 18th Century idea of Black Mirrors can be traced to the creation of Photoshop. There's no clear link between the Teleharmonium and streaming music services. And the idea of shaving Edison cylinders morphing into voice mail? That's an easier sell, but still not convincing. The first photographs were painterly because the exposure times limited subject material to those that would be indefinitely still, not because that's all we knew (and meanwhile, the artistic field of painting reacted by exploding into a sequence of genres that is likely the most creative periods ever, but I digress). The article sounds either like someone who has done serious research whose work has been journalistically compressed into sound bites, or someone who sees similarities and assumes causality. I hope it's the former.

Re:Ugh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36476150)

It's like the guy read the Slashdot discussion from February and just pulled out a piece of it he figured nobody could disprove. http://ask.slashdot.org/story/11/02/01/1555217/Do-Tools-Ever-Die [slashdot.org]

Re:Ugh (1)

Hijacked Public (999535) | more than 3 years ago | (#36476372)

It read very Friedman-esque to me, in that here is some self absorbed pseudo geek who 'discovers' that hobbyists are still using Morse Code and that becomes an epiphany for him. And the mangled example of black mirrors being a 'primitive version of Photoshop'...that is an idiotic claim by itself but it doesn't actually support what the guy is claiming because it is a forward progression of technology.

Regardless, someone somewhere hangs on to about anything. Apart from the fact with enough mental gymnastics you can tie 'technology' to about anything humans have ever developed, the desire some people have to hang on to the past isn't limited to technology and media. There are still people riding horses. Still people making daguerreotypes. Knapping flint. Making fire with two sticks...etc etc.

Not at all... ie - farming equipment (1)

Kamiza Ikioi (893310) | more than 3 years ago | (#36477868)

I remember listening to an NPR tech podcast where they had (I think) a Wired contributor who bet the host that he could not name a single technology in the last century no longer being made. By this, he meant farm equipment. And it's not semantics. They literally make the EXACT same equipment, same name. They used a turn of the century catalog as their guide. And sure enough, no matter what piece of equipment they looked for, they found someone who made it today.

Now, you say, farming hasn't changed. Well, with the exclusion of the Amish, farming has changed, a lot. There aren't too many horse drawn seed burying at variable depth devices being used... or are they? They still make them, and you can still buy them.

So, this story is really a rip off of that, but it's still true, even in the pure sense.

Re:Not at all... ie - farming equipment (1)

N0Man74 (1620447) | more than 3 years ago | (#36479008)

I listened to this broadcast as well, and he didn't mean just farm equipment. It was "Tools" in general.

It was an interesting piece, check it out: Tools Never Die. Waddaya Mean, Never? [npr.org]

Re:Not at all... ie - farming equipment (1)

Kamiza Ikioi (893310) | more than 3 years ago | (#36479100)

Mod up parent... and thanks for finding the link!

Re:Ugh (1)

Em Adespoton (792954) | more than 3 years ago | (#36479004)

I tend to define "dead media" the same way I define "dead language" -- sure, it still exists and is still used, but it is no longer living. It doesn't grow or change to reflect the current social situation. You could argue that RFCs 1149 and 2549 imply that carrier pigeon media isn't dead, but I'd argue that morse code is definitely not just "dead media" but also a dead language... and was such almost from the moment it was invented (and on purpose, too!). It's been a long time since someone's come up with a new way to use it AFAIK.

Re:Ugh (1)

Anrego (830717) | more than 3 years ago | (#36479712)

Totally agree, though I'll point out that morse code is still used a fair bit in the ham radio community, sometimes even in novel ways.

Stone tablets (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36475804)

My collection of stone tablets disagrees with this.

5 senses say it all (1)

Twinbee (767046) | more than 3 years ago | (#36475806)

Good, I'm glad to hear than the 5+ senses we each possess are not degrading!

Claude glass? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36475854)

How on earth is a Claude glass ("black mirror") anything like photoshop?

Re:Claude glass? (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 3 years ago | (#36476308)

Being that you needed two hands to use it. It is disliked by Gimps?

On Dream Machines... (1)

dimethylxanthine (946092) | more than 3 years ago | (#36475876)

Myself, I'm waiting for an update to the visual cortex-stimulating Dream Machines of the 1960s.

There is a whole spectrum of these gadgets available, and I imagine many of them are quite good. Still, the best dream machine is the one that will lie next to you and excite some circuits you never thought existed... Shagadelic, baby!

A primitive version of Photoshopping was possible (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36475910)

In this mysterious place called a dark room, perhaps people have heard of them.

Audio Visual Stimulation (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 3 years ago | (#36476034)

Myself, I'm waiting for an update to the visual cortex-stimulating Dream Machines of the 1960s.

It's called AVS (Audio Visual Stimulation), also known as AVE (Audio Visual Entrainment). Basically, they're visual bio-feedback machines that use data from an EEG recorder. You can find many products online. I personally don't use them so I can't vouch for their build quality and/or effectiveness. At the very least, it's just snake-oil. At best, the placebo it provides is therapeutic.

Re:Audio Visual Stimulation (1)

ultranova (717540) | more than 3 years ago | (#36480788)

It's called AVS (Audio Visual Stimulation), also known as AVE (Audio Visual Entrainment). Basically, they're visual bio-feedback machines that use data from an EEG recorder. You can find many products online. I personally don't use them so I can't vouch for their build quality and/or effectiveness. At the very least, it's just snake-oil. At best, the placebo it provides is therapeutic.

You do realize that flashing lights can actually kill people with epilepsy, right? And make non-epileptic people extremely uncomfortable and disoriented? And sometimes even cause the first seizure in people who didn't have epilepsy before?

Calling these effects "placebo" seems rather odd to me.

Re:Audio Visual Stimulation (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 3 years ago | (#36482538)

That's a very good point. Epileptic seizures can be deadly. However, some will claim success to their usage of an AVS device. I'll chalk that up to the placebo effect. But who am I to judge their happiness as long as it doesn't hurt anyone else?

Makes me wonder if any one of these manufactures got sued for inducing a seizure or any other bad symptom.

shitty article (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | more than 3 years ago | (#36476160)

almost entirely quoted from a 1995 talk, doesn't really say anything interesting, draws some pretty far out conclusions, and page 4 is just a credit

but they sure shoved in 18 tons of ads

Re:shitty article (1)

NixieBunny (859050) | more than 3 years ago | (#36476718)

There's a link at the bottom of the first page called "Print this", that removes all the junk.

And why aren't you using AdBlock Plus if you don't like ads?

Re:shitty article (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | more than 3 years ago | (#36476832)

I don't totally believe in ad block plus since a portion of my income comes from ad's, but of course the site I work for does not rephrase a 17 year old talk nor do they make the last page less than a paragraph just to sucker another 100 ad's on one page (we run 3 per page)

yes I know this is the way the rape the net companies like it and its been around forever, but it does not mean I need to praise it either, hence the warning

Re:shitty article (1)

Pope (17780) | more than 3 years ago | (#36478430)

The only ad blocker anyone needs is a Flash blocker. That takes care of 95% of the most obnoxious ads.

SSSSHHHH! (1)

pandrijeczko (588093) | more than 3 years ago | (#36476184)

I understand Apple have patented iTeleharmonium so keep quite or it will be patent hearing for you, young fellow me-lad!

Morse code is very not dead. (1)

Zeek40 (1017978) | more than 3 years ago | (#36476260)

VHF omnidirectional radio range radio's are used for navigation by basically every aircraft in the sky, and the signal sent out by each airport is just it's IATA Identification code, broadcasted as Morse code.

Dead media never really die. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36476268)

Soooo.... we're facing a media zombpocalypse?

Joabj's "update" is here and it's called... (1)

macraig (621737) | more than 3 years ago | (#36476300)

... meth.

News Flash (1)

Registered Coward v2 (447531) | more than 3 years ago | (#36476336)

While technologies and media platforms go obsolete at an ever more rapid pace, the ideas they engender never really die.

Gee - people have a range of activities that brings please, facilitates work, allows them to be creative, etc.; and they adapt and adopt newer technologies that allow them to continue to do those things. When they discover the newer technology is better (with a wide definition of "better") at providing them what they want they stop using the old in favor of the new. Except for a few, who for whatever reason, prefer the old.

Hmm, if you can get post doc funding for the above, maybe I should get a grant for my proposal to determine "old technologies will come back into vogue, even on a limited basis, when it is discovered they can do specific things in different ways or better than the new.

Film. or at least presentation of my paper, at 11.

Sure they do (1)

Maximum Prophet (716608) | more than 3 years ago | (#36476534)

All the media that no one remembers, die. I'm sure Ogg the caveman scratched marks into a boulder that meant something to him, but nobody else knows how to decipher it.

There could easily be media sitting in someone's attic that can't be read on any working hardware. (Or a farmer's barn, I've seen old computers gathering dust on a farm)

Re:Sure they do (1)

gatkinso (15975) | more than 3 years ago | (#36477084)

That is now known as Vorbis you insensitive clod!

Technologies die when their infrastructure does (1)

Animats (122034) | more than 3 years ago | (#36476762)

Some technologies die because they require a substantial infrastructure to sustain them. Kodachrome is a recent example. The special dyes, the factory that made then, and the elaborate, specialized processing labs are all gone now.

Steam locomotives are getting there. They require a major overhaul [youtube.com] every 100,000 miles or so, and the massive infrastructure needed for that is long gone. There are people restoring the things as hobbyist projects, but they're taking a decade to do a job that a proper shop once did in a week. (Yes, I know about Tornado. [a1steam.com] It took them 19 years to build one locomotive, and when it had a boiler problem, they had to ship the thing to Germany for repairs.)

There's a lot of dead technology in the amplifier area. Before electronic amplifiers, there were decades of kludges, built to desperately try to make a big signal from a little one. The Teleharmonium in the original article was an example. They couldn't amplify audio, so they had to generate enough power at the head end to drive every speaker in the system. Each note had its own sizable AC generator, which is how they got to 200 tons of gear. Edison's "chalk telephone", the electromotograph [wikipedia.org] , was an early amplifier Bell Telephone used electromagnetic speaker coils driving resistive carbon button transmitters as amplifiers. There are a number of mechanical amplifier types based on friction clutches. There were amplifiers based on electrical rotating machinery, like amplidynes and Ward-Leonard drives. All of these sucked so bad that they were discarded once tubes and power semiconductors became available.

(OK, Ward-Leonard drives live on. If you get into an elevator, and it's not moving but you hear a sizable motor running, that's a Ward-Leonard speed control, 1890 technology. It's an AC motor driving a DC generator, with the field current on the DC generator being adjusted to control speed. This has the advantage that the flywheel on the drive provides some of the energy for starting the elevator, and peak current is reduced.)

This is why (1)

boristdog (133725) | more than 3 years ago | (#36476800)

I put all my important records on clay tablets and store them in a cave by my house.

Floppies! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36476888)

Yeah, we use 3.5 inch floppies (AKA the "hard disks" of the early 90's to the unwashed masses) as door stoppers.

This title strikes me as odd (1)

immortalpob (847008) | more than 3 years ago | (#36477224)

Does this title make anyone else think "ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn" or is it just me...

Re:This title strikes me as odd (1)

not-my-real-name (193518) | more than 3 years ago | (#36479920)

I certainly hope that it's just you. That would be the last thing that we need...

The Telharmonium isn't really dead, either. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36477410)

Although the concept of an instrument being played real-time by a musician and piped into public venues is archaic, the base technology of the Telharmonium is still well-known to numerous rock and R&B musicians. The tonewheel-generator, additive synthesis concept was miniaturized into what is now known as the Hammond B3 Organ. They even engineered a rudimentary percussion component into the organ; one of the best examples of this in use is the mid-song interlude in Sugarloaf's "Green Eyed Lady."

Hammond also created a completely electronic subtractive synthesis instrument, the Novachord, in the 30s. The trouble was, given the musical abilities at the time, no one really knew how to use it to its full potential and few were made. There are some really good samples of a Novachord being played by a modern keyboardist on Youtube.

Words have meaning (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36477664)

The author of this article doesn't seem to understand the talk he's describing, much less the meanings of certain large words, such as "canonical".

Dream machines (1)

sixteenbitsamurai (1070810) | more than 3 years ago | (#36477938)

Myself, I'm waiting for an update to the visual cortex-stimulating Dream Machines of the 1960s.

Those weren't machines, those were drugs. And believe me, they have been regularly updated with new mind-bending versions.

Tools never die (1)

utkonos (2104836) | more than 3 years ago | (#36477942)

This is somewhat akin to the argument made a while back on an NPR show by Kevin Kelly, the founding editor of Wired Magazine: that tools never die. No matter what tool you can think of, it is still in active use somewhere on Earth by someone: http://www.npr.org/blogs/krulwich/2011/02/04/133188723/tools-never-die-waddaya-mean-never [npr.org]

This is extremely insightful and valuable research (1)

obarthelemy (160321) | more than 3 years ago | (#36478696)

and guess what, with very little expense (wire money to the author, paypal accepted), it could easily be applied to other areas:

- Dead technologies never die ! People are still riding horses, using manual looms, blowing glass, handcrafting watches...
- Dead languages never die ! People are still studying Greek, Latin, even shooting films in Aramaic !
- Dead ideas never die ! People still consider non-whites, women, gays... inferior !
- Dead OSes never die ! People are still using OS/2, BeOS, AmigaOS, Plan9, and Windows XP !

Film at 11, 11:30, 12; 12:30...

Complete non-headline.. (1)

drb226 (1938360) | more than 3 years ago | (#36479012)

apparently nowadays common knowledge = slashdot headline.

Dream Machines (1)

CODiNE (27417) | more than 3 years ago | (#36479698)

Myself, I'm waiting for an update to the visual cortex-stimulating Dream Machines of the 1960s."

That's a DIY project that's been around for years now, the open-source Brian Machine [makezine.com] by Mitch Altman. There's also lots of iOS and Android apps that simulate the same behavior with flashing colors on the LCDs while you lay your phone over your eyes.

potential value lessons in old media (1)

peter303 (12292) | more than 3 years ago | (#36479766)

Maybe some old media "failed" because they they required too much creative imagination to figure out usefulness. Or they were not technologically robust enough and still clumsy. Holograms are an example of the latter. Everyone expects "floating Princes Leah" dynamic holograms in the future. The first single-image holograms used lasers, camera, and a lot of expertise. But its expected you could compute the diffracted wavefield in real time without needing a laser or camera once computers were fast enough. The late MIT professor Steve Bennet had experimented with this in 1990s. And Disney Research was should clever things you could do with multiple pre-photographed or pre-computed holograms at the last SIGGRAPH. At some point we'll cross the feasability threshhold have have something clever.
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