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The Secret War Between Downloading and Uploading: Tales of the Computer as Culture Machine

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As we hurtle into the twenty-first century, will we be passive downloaders of content or active uploaders of meaning? The computer, writes Peter Lunenfeld, is the twenty-first century's culture machine. It is a dream device, serving as the mode of production, the means of distribution, and the site of reception. We haven't quite achieved the flying cars and robot butlers of As we hurtle into the twenty-first century, will we be passive downloaders of content or active uploaders of meaning? The computer, writes Peter Lunenfeld, is the twenty-first century's culture machine. It is a dream device, serving as the mode of production, the means of distribution, and the site of reception. We haven't quite achieved the flying cars and robot butlers of futurist fantasies, but we do have a machine that can function as a typewriter and a printing press, a paintbrush and a gallery, a piano and a radio, the mail as well as the mail carier. But, warns Lunenfeld, we should temper our celebration with caution; we are engaged in a secret war between downloading and uploading--between passive consumption and active creation--and the outcome will shape our collective futures. In The Secret War Between Downloading and Uploading, Lunenfeld makes his case for using digital technologies to shift us from a consumption to a production model. He describes television as the "the high fructose corn syrup of the imagination" and worries that it can cause "cultural diabetes"; prescribes mindful downloading, meaningful uploading, and "info-triage" as cures; and offers tips for crafting "bespoke futures" in what he terms the era of "Web n.0" (interconnectivity to the nth power). He also offers a stand-alone genealogy of digital visionaries, distilling a history of the culture machine that runs from the Patriarchs (Vannevar Bush's WWII generation) to the Hustlers (Bill Gates and Steve Jobs) to the Searchers (Larry Page and Sergey Brin of Google fame). After half a century of television-conditioned consumption/downloading, Lunenfeld tells us, we now find ourselves with a vast new infrastructure for uploading. We simply need to find the will to make the best of it.


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As we hurtle into the twenty-first century, will we be passive downloaders of content or active uploaders of meaning? The computer, writes Peter Lunenfeld, is the twenty-first century's culture machine. It is a dream device, serving as the mode of production, the means of distribution, and the site of reception. We haven't quite achieved the flying cars and robot butlers of As we hurtle into the twenty-first century, will we be passive downloaders of content or active uploaders of meaning? The computer, writes Peter Lunenfeld, is the twenty-first century's culture machine. It is a dream device, serving as the mode of production, the means of distribution, and the site of reception. We haven't quite achieved the flying cars and robot butlers of futurist fantasies, but we do have a machine that can function as a typewriter and a printing press, a paintbrush and a gallery, a piano and a radio, the mail as well as the mail carier. But, warns Lunenfeld, we should temper our celebration with caution; we are engaged in a secret war between downloading and uploading--between passive consumption and active creation--and the outcome will shape our collective futures. In The Secret War Between Downloading and Uploading, Lunenfeld makes his case for using digital technologies to shift us from a consumption to a production model. He describes television as the "the high fructose corn syrup of the imagination" and worries that it can cause "cultural diabetes"; prescribes mindful downloading, meaningful uploading, and "info-triage" as cures; and offers tips for crafting "bespoke futures" in what he terms the era of "Web n.0" (interconnectivity to the nth power). He also offers a stand-alone genealogy of digital visionaries, distilling a history of the culture machine that runs from the Patriarchs (Vannevar Bush's WWII generation) to the Hustlers (Bill Gates and Steve Jobs) to the Searchers (Larry Page and Sergey Brin of Google fame). After half a century of television-conditioned consumption/downloading, Lunenfeld tells us, we now find ourselves with a vast new infrastructure for uploading. We simply need to find the will to make the best of it.

51 review for The Secret War Between Downloading and Uploading: Tales of the Computer as Culture Machine

  1. 4 out of 5

    Lawrence

    FALSE

  2. 5 out of 5

    Nico Macdonald

    Recommend by Nick Durrant.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Gordon

  4. 5 out of 5

    Rob Brogan

  5. 5 out of 5

    Adam

  6. 4 out of 5

    Chris

  7. 4 out of 5

    Erkan Saka

  8. 4 out of 5

    Darren

  9. 4 out of 5

    Daniel Samson

  10. 5 out of 5

    Neal

  11. 4 out of 5

    Amanda Woodward

  12. 4 out of 5

    David Hill

  13. 5 out of 5

    Marie-Pier

  14. 4 out of 5

    Dylan

  15. 5 out of 5

    Oscar

  16. 4 out of 5

    Jonathan Chambers

    I essentially enjoyed this book, but it was really a ramble, and the title is misleading.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Peter Rittweger

  18. 5 out of 5

    Marius

  19. 5 out of 5

    Chloe Cattle

  20. 4 out of 5

    Raymond Maxwell

  21. 4 out of 5

    Carolyn

  22. 4 out of 5

    Mariel

  23. 4 out of 5

    Mohsin Ali

  24. 5 out of 5

    Travis Todd

  25. 5 out of 5

    Ned

  26. 4 out of 5

    Tricia Klapprodt

  27. 4 out of 5

    David Takarai

  28. 4 out of 5

    John

  29. 4 out of 5

    Beth

  30. 4 out of 5

    Jetti Allen

  31. 4 out of 5

    Emily

  32. 4 out of 5

    David

  33. 5 out of 5

    Gary Musson

  34. 4 out of 5

    Jacob Wren

  35. 4 out of 5

    Max Renn

  36. 4 out of 5

    Kristina

  37. 5 out of 5

    Toon

  38. 5 out of 5

    Søren Lindbo

  39. 4 out of 5

    James

  40. 5 out of 5

    Stephen Wake

  41. 4 out of 5

    Ian

  42. 5 out of 5

    Ahdavidson

  43. 4 out of 5

    Margaret Heller

  44. 4 out of 5

    Kieran

  45. 4 out of 5

    Paul

  46. 5 out of 5

    Siddartha

  47. 5 out of 5

    Denim

  48. 4 out of 5

    Dominic

  49. 4 out of 5

    Miguel Caetano

  50. 5 out of 5

    Zack

  51. 4 out of 5

    Eli

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