Category Archives: Week 9

Wireless Charging Bowl

The discussions on mediation and hybrid media in the readings mainly focus on software and visual technologies. I happened to see a new device that might offer the other aspect to see mediation. Since a “deep remix” can be on at multiple levels simultaneously (Manovich, 2001). A linked system can be built not only on the visual level, but the infrastructure level.

It is always annoying to carry chargers or rush for sockets. What’s more, the number of wearable devices is growing. It has become a bothersome task to match all the devices with charging cables. Many people have a habit of dropping cellphone, iPod or camera together to a certain place when arrive home. It will be fortunate that if the place where we put all our devices can also charge them for us. Intel recently activated a bowl that has this potential capability. Right now, the wireless charging bowl is not as smart to charge all the devices we own. It now merely pairs with Intel’s newly announced smart headset, which will charge automatically as soon as it is dropped into the wireless bowl. But the company has ambitious plan of expanding this technology to make the bowl accommodate a wider array of devices, including phones, tablets, and Ultra books (Bell).

Screen Shot 2014-03-19 at 1.23.23 AM

People might think it is just an Intel thing, however, it is a new standard. Device manufactures would need to adapt their designs to support the bowl and it will not take long to modify products to support the system (Lanxon). The Alliance for Wireless Power (A4WP) is a not-for-profit organization that formed in 2012. It includes leading brands from a wide range of industries including consumer electronics, mobile services, wireless technology, automotive, furniture, software and more. They are working cooperatively to build a global wireless charging ecosystem based on Rezence™ technology (“About A4WP”). Rezence technology makes it possible to charge multiple devices simultaneously without precise placement.

Even though it is mainly an innovation of hardware, if we deblackbox (actually deblackbowl) the wireless charging bowl, we can still find the double logics of mediation. We produce the chargers and sockets not to use them directly. They don’t have interfaces. We just rely on them to maintain our interaction with other digital devices. Since they are not our ultimate purpose of media, they should be erased. The material “redundancies” are going to be invisible; the media will be more transparent. They are all attempts to achieve immediacy by ignoring the presence of the medium (Manovich, 2001). We are also trying to erase the boundaries of different media although we tried hard to multiply them before. This hypermediacy also support immediacy. People can grab a digital device to use as naturally as a primitive guy grabbing a stone tool.

Methods discovered in one medium provide metaphors that contribute new ways to think about notions in other media (Kay, 1977). The black bowl is just a starting point. The technology will be used to turn almost any surface into a wireless charging surface capable of powering any Rezence-enabled mobile device. Examining the specifics and understanding how “dead” things can be mediated into new network of modern life, one big step of technology progress can be unfolded. Our notion that some things are alive and some others are lifeless might be fundamentally changed soon. In the near future, our furniture, household necessaries and other devices will become more sensible and have deeper interactions with us.

Works Cited

“About A4WP.” Rezence. Web. 19 Feb. 2014.

Bell, Lee. “CES: Intel’s wireless charging bowl replaces your cereal with gadgets”. The INQUIRE. Web. 19 Feb. 2014.

Lanxon, Nate. “Making Nike’s FuelBand charge wirelessly in Intel’s Smart Bowl took one hour”. Web. 19 Feb. 2014

Kay, A., & Goldberg, A. (1977). Personal dynamic media. Computer, 10(3), 31-41.

Manovich, L. (2001). The language of new media. MIT press. P11,P15


The Cultural Integration of the iPhone with Social Life

Estefanía Tocado

According to Lev Manovich, “cultural software” refers to certain types of software that support actions we normally associate with “culture” (21).  Some of these actions are accessing, appending, sharing, and remixing artifacts online such as watching a video or posting comments on a blog as well as communicating with other people (23).  An iPhone provides these actions to any user who directly has access to this cultural software anytime and anywhere.  As Manovich states, all media has been liberated from its physical storage, the cinema, and the word interface to freely mix in the virtual reality (The Language 83).  It is interesting to point out, as Bolter and Grusin affirm, that when one medium is represented in another it is called remediation (45).  The act of remediation in a smart phone is making available many of the features that a user would have in a PC in a lighter, portable, and accessible with one hand device.

Despite giving us the illusion of being of transparent immediacy, that is to say that the virtual reality is immersive and therefore the medium is meant to disappear and be “interfaceless,” the iPhone is very much a hypermediated device.  Although the buttons are tactile and Siri provides voice activation and data searching on the web, the user still has the need to work with menus and categories to obtain information.  As the union between image and the word, the iPhone represents one of the latest implementations of the marriage between TV and computer technologies in a most accessible and portable way (Bolter and Grusin 31).  The promotion to access multiple ways of communication, such as facebook or twitter, at any time and the integration of the iPhone in our everyday life create the illusion of continuous unmediated access to the virtual world.  As Frederic Jameson would say, it would support the idea of living in a “perpetual present” in which there is not a clear borderline between the real space and time to that on the web.  Another interesting factor is the bodily incorporation of the iPhone.


For many of us it is quite common to walk around campus holding our phone while texting, emailing, or chatting with friends on the web.  It could be argued that it is a cyborgian extension of our hand and arm which provides a physical medium, that of the material iPhone itself, but moreover it seems to be very much a bodily device that has been incorporated as well as socially and culturally merged and accepted.  According to Bolter and Grussin, the logic of hypermediacy expresses the tension regarding the visual space mediated and as a “real” space that lies beyond mediation.  However, as they also assert, present technology does not search for transparency any longer because it is not felt as necessary or subtracting from the authentic and “real” (I would call it “hyperreal” in Baudrillard´s terms) experience (41).  Therefore, the integration of the iPhone and other related devices such as tablets have been culturally socialized to be an integral part of our everyday life, erasing the boundaries between the real and the virtual worlds.


Works Cited

Bolter Jay David and Richard Grusin. Remediation: Understanding Media. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2000.

Manovich, Leo. Softare Takes Command. NY: Bloomsbury, 2013.

—. The Language of New Media. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2001.

The Ipad, Digital Media and the user.

We live today in a world of technological advancements.  Technology keeps moving forward in an accelerated pace so it can catch up with all our needs and demands as a society. There have been a lot of technological milestones since Steve Jobs first introduced the Macintosh in 1984, making computers “accessible” for every person on the planet has affected profoundly the way we consume content and produce media.



1984: Young Steve Jobs introduces the Macintosh.

With a simple click, the Macintosh introduced people to software that gave them the ability to draw pictures, make text documents.  People were now able to make their own content and share them with others.  We were producing our own new media.

Popular definition of new media identifies it with the use of a computer for distribution and exhibition rather than with production. (Manovich, New Media 43)  In a sense, Apple opened a box full of creative possibilities, and with each product they release they keep pushing the envelope; trying to revolutionize more of today’s media industries.

But Apple wouldn’t be in the spotlight without people who paved the way for Steve Jobs and his ideas.  People who built the “Star 8010 Document Processor” in XEROX looking to introduce the first personal computer to people, as well as developing a Graphic User Inter phase which allowed the user to interact with a computer easily.


This race for smaller, easier to use devices is what drives people in the technology industry to develop new and exciting products like the “Ipad”.  This tablet represents what Apple has stood for through out the years: innovation in design and new, fresh revolutionary ideas. It is interesting to consider the fact that the Ipad has a great potential for Variability.

As a new media object, something that is not  fixed once and for all but can exist in different potentially infinite versions; (Manovich, New Media 56) an Ipad can be as different as each user’s imagination.


The Ipad was introduced to the market as a hybrid that had a lot of potential.  It could be a new way to read books, or it could be considered as a way to have a small computer to take to meetings.  For many years, it has been a tradition to attempt to cure our society´s ills through technology.  Unfortunately, most of these “cures” are no more than paint than rust.  (Kay, 1)

While it comes in handy, the device doesn’t reach its whole potential because it limits the interaction it has with the user.  We cannot generate new content while using the Ipad, we are limited to the boundaries set by the device since we first press the “on” button.

The ability to “read” a medium means you can access materials and tools generated by others. The ability to “write” in a medium means you can generate materials and tools for others. (New Media Reader, 392)  A touch screen interface, easy to use applications, and the use of our hands dont necessarily make this a revolutionary tool because it only makes our life more “automated”.   

Technology has yet to give us a tablet that boost our creativity or make artistic expression easier. Maybe we can create our own apps to suit our own personal needs?  Or maybe we can re-write the code for an application when we need it do an specific task?


People have accepted tablets rather easy into their lives.  Our technologically embedded society has made tablets a part of our daily routine, with some people even considering this as a possible solution or enhancement for children’s education.

New media today can be understood as the mix between older cultural conventions for data representation, access and manipulation and newer, conventions of data representation, access and manipulation. (Borges to HTML, 13)  For a device to succeed where the Ipad has fail, it has to enable interaction, manipulation and constant feedback with the user. We are looking for a device that can help us work harder, not to do all the work for us.

We are constantly seeking for this revolutionary idea that can change our lives, but we should be looking for an idea that can help us be better in our line of work.


Alan Kay and Adele Goldberg, “Personal Dynamic Media” (1977), excerpt from The New Media Reader, ed. Noah Wardrip-Fruin and Nick Montfort. Originally published in Computer 10(3) (Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2003),

A short History of the GUI and the Microsoft Vs Apple Debate

Lev Manovich, The Language of New Media (excerpts). Cambridge: MIT Press, 2001.

Lev Manovich: “New Media from Borges to HTML.” Introduction to The New Media Reader. Edited by Noah Wardrip-Fruin and Nick Montfort. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2003, 13-25.

Alan Kay : “A Personal Computer for Children of all Ages.” Palo Alto, Xerox PARC, 1972