Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘programming’

To Own or be Owned: A Virtual Reality Check

Amazon’s electronic reading device known as Kindle is not exactly as “Green” as it is cracked up to be, but now we have another reason to reconsider the merits of paper-based reading: Censorship.

Kindle users may not have anticipated it, but Amazon can recall an e-book purchase at the push of a virtual button. Need those annotations for a book report? If your digital reading material is recalled, Amazon removes those too.

Tough luck.

Amazon claims they are working to amend a hasty retraction process that resulted when an allegedly unauthorized source made available a number of e-books to which the lawful copyright holder objected, reports the New York Times in “Amazon Erases Orwell Books From Kindle Devices“. Refunds for the illicitly encoded material are on the way, but the questions have only begun. And well they should.

In an ongoing series on the transformative impact of high tech, the Social Critic aims to explore the lesser known consequences of the virtual world. In this instance, we find a stark reminder that in the digital universe the price of “virtual” amounts to easy come, easy go. You can’t share an e-book. You can’t recycle an e-book reader — at least not in the Green manner one might have hoped [see “GreenSmart vs. GreenDumb”]. And you can’t take for granted that you “own” anything in the virtual realm in the same physical manner it is possible to own DVDs, books, magazines, newspapers and the like.

What this article doesn’t touch upon is disturbing in its own right: The questionable health effects, particularly on the eyes and brain, of exchanging the tangible for an imperceptibly flickering digital view screen. Over time, exposure may blunt brain development in children, promote sleep and attention disorders, lead to career-limiting repetitive strain injuries to the spine, elbowswrists or fingers — or more commonly still, eyestrain and headaches — all while aiming electromagnetic radiation at our craniums (of which cell phones and CRT monitors are among the worst EMF offenders). None of this, however, takes into account the fastest growing concern of all: the controversial notion of Internet addiction. Until recently, in fact, China took a very heavy-handed approach to digital addicts: electroshock therapy.

(more…)

Read Full Post »

If you own a DVD or VHS recorder purchased before March 2007 it may contain an analog “NTSC” tuner. Why does that matter? Because when the FCC’s long-anticipated analog-to-digital deadline arrives June 12, 2009, your DVD recorder or VCR may not work the way you are accustomed to: set the program, load a blank DVD or VHS tape and let the recorder’s built-in timer tune to the station on which the program airs. That’s not the only change consumers should anticipate, either. As of February 17, 2009, cable subscribers who do not have high definition television sets or compatible recording devices will either end up with a temporary analog feed, effective through February 17, 2012, or an all-digital feed necessitating digital-to-analog conversion boxes designed for cable subscribers who use analog components.

If all this sounds confusing, it gets worse.

After the switchover, those who intend to use a DVD, DVR or VCR recording device containing an analog tuner in conjunction with a newer HDTV or HD-enabled satellite or cable box may be in for more heachaches than anticipated. Depending on a component’s date of manufacture and whether or not a digital-to-analog converter is used, the option to record onto an analog-style device may no longer exist. (more…)

Read Full Post »