Semester 2, Yo.

Oh my.

What a first semester! Never thought I’d have been so enlightened in such a short time!

Well, after a long break in which I indulged in doing pretty much nothing, it’s time to get back into the swing of things, with Semester 2!

This Semester I only have one subject which I need to post to doyouevenbcm for! Not sure if happy or sad though. . .
ANYWAY! The subject for which I will use this blog as the primary place to track my development throughout is BCM111 or International Media and Communication! YAY!

Also also also! I’ve decided that one of my other subjects is worthy of gracing doyouevenbcm. THIS, DESPITE IT NOT BEING A SUBJECT WITH THE CODE BCM! You know something’s got to be absolutely mint, if it can make doyouevenbcm without even being a subject with BCM in it’s name.
Therefore, I present the news that this Semester PHIL106 will also get a run on the blog! YAY^2

It just seems like such an interesting subject! Hopefully it makes my opinions on the media seem more coherent. It probably won’t though. You’ll all sit there like. . . “Wtf, last semester his position was this, and now it’s this. Why. How. Ugh”
Yes, those responses are what I’m expecting.
Alas, this is what happens at University it seems. . . . .
“Oh hey. Here’s all your existing beliefs and preconceptions, and here’s the list of subjects you have this Semester. Watch what happens when we mash them together!”
Yep. Exactly what Semester 1 felt like. Believe me.

Should make for an interesting 16 weeks though!

So! That’s the news, and the update on what’s happening now!
Looking forward to Semester 2!

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The Internet is the Enabler.

The web was to remix culture what the wheel was to transport.

An enabling factor.

The web, is a distribution technology. The idea that technological advances in music distribution brings about shifts between genres is that of Dr Andrew Whelan.

His argument makes a lot of sense, and in regards to the web, has spawned the growth of an entire genre come industry dependent upon the progression of remix culture.

DJing.

DJing has come a long way over the past decade. Certainly, it is a more complex art than it ever was, and now encompasses the idea not only of “mashup”, but of musical production. To be an exceptional DJ in 1999 was to be brilliant at finding tracks with a similar chord progression, with the ability to weave them together to create a patchwork of musical harmony – or chaos, depending on your preference! Here’s one of my favourites of all time, Love Don’t Let Me Go (Walking Away) – David Guetta vs. The Egg. A mashup of Love Don’t Let Me Go by David Guetta and The Egg’s Walking Away.

DJing in 2014? It’s so much more. DJ’s are now producers. The mashup? A mere tool in the belt of the new dance floor virtuoso. A good mate I went to High School exemplifies this. His name is Trey-V and he started out using a mashup app on his iPod Touch, remixing songs in his room after matches for a state hockey tournament in Bathurst. Now? He’s an up and coming producer/DJ in Sydney, with residency at Hostage X in the ‘Gong, Candy’s Apartment and 169 Oxford Street in the City, The Roxy in Parramatta as well as Hype Fridays at Macarthur Tav in Campbelltown and a once a month residency at Moose Heads Nightclub in Canberra.

But how did all of this happen? What enabled the change from mashup master to production pro?

Trey-V says, “Without the internet I wouldn’t really be able to succeed.”.

He distributes his music through SoundCloud because it is “The most accessible and practical way to access and find and download music”, while using production programs like FL Studio and Ableton, to complete his work. All accessible through the internet.

Dear Editor…

Every day, letters roll into the offices of Fairfax Media intended for publication in the Sydney Morning Herald’s Letters to the Editor. And every week, a controller of some sort, decides what will make the cut into one of Australia’s most recognised Mediated Public Spheres (MPSs). The SMH’s Letters to the Editor is a great example not only of a mediated public sphere, but of a contemporary text which has the capacity to cause debate within itself.

The SMH is supposedly one of Australia’s last remaining publications attempting to present truly unbiased, balanced and fair coverage of news and opinion to it’s readership. Based on that, one would assume that as MPSs go, this would be one of the best. It should be published the way the rest of the SMH is meant to be – balanced, fair, unbiased and “Independent. Always”.

 

SMH Masthead

 

But, can something which is guarded by a gatekeeper ever be truly balanced? That’s the debate this text, as a MPS, provokes.
Letters to the Editor are meant to reflect the varied and differing opinions of the public, who are the readers of the SMH. But, gate keepers are meant to withhold certain information and make things fit the way they want, or need them to.

Further, MPSs like the SMH’s Letters to the Editor a merely a product of the readership. If the readership slants left or right, would it be unreasonable to expect that the Letter’s also lean left or right?

I trust Fairfax to present the balanced thoughts of their readership. The point is merely to recognise that this is still not the cleanest version of a MPS we can get. Even when it is from the organisation widely regarded to be one of the most balanced publishers in Australia, I think we still need to look for better.

 

References:

Fairfax Media, 2014, SMH Masthead, image, Screenshot, viewed 8 April 2014, <http://www.smh.com.au/>.

 

Give them a voice. Give them Convergence.

Project Ara and Nokia X are both dialogic technologies. And, considering their intentions, they are about to contribute to the conversation immensely.

For non-followers of the BCM112 category of this blog, the two media platforms followed on doyouevenbcm.wordpress.com are both intended for use in the emerging markets of China, India, et al.

Two dialogic technologies, entering markets where the potential for conversation is varied.
An interesting situation to observe.

China may present issues for these devices, as demonstrated by Gordon (2007), through it’s Golden Shield. The huge Chinese censorship effort largely limits the ability of dialogic technologies to exercise the participatory elements they encourage.

On the flipside is India. While there have been instances of Internet Censorship in India, the nation does not hold the same philosophy as China or engage in any large scale censoring similar to the Great Firewall of China or Golden Shield. Which makes the society ripe for the introduction of dialogic technology for the purpose of prosuming, and participatory culture.

The power of this tech is unbelievable, and for the citizens of third world nations, is revolutionary, and that is plain to see just from observing the achievements dialogic technology has already attained.

An entire revolution occurred in Egypt. Not solely because of the use of social networks – But they certainly helped. Ali (2011) describes Facebook as an “accelerant” to the revolution while Twitter and Youtube are deemed as “amplifiers”.

Giving the power and abilities of convergent technologies to people right around the world through economical devices aimed at emerging markets is only going enhance the conversation. Participatory culture is huge in the Western World, despite the attempts of Copyright owners to diminish it’s spread. Dialogic technology is spreading, fast. And that will only add to the conversation.

References:

Project Ara 2014, Project Ara, projectara.com, viewed 3 April 2014, <http://www.projectara.com/#project-ara&gt;.

Nokia 2014, Nokia X Products, nokia.com, viewed 3 April 2014, <http://www.nokia.com/global/products/nokia-x/&gt;.

Sam Gustin 2014, Social Media Sparked, Accelerated Egypt’s Revolutionary Fire, wired.com, viewed 3 April 2014, <http://www.wired.com/2011/02/egypts-revolutionary-fire/&gt;.

Open takes the lead.

Does the unanimous decision of Nokia and Google to fight the Emerging market war using open weaponry spell the end of the closed ideology?

Nokia X and Project Ara. Two completely separate products which will, when released, compete for the same market share.

In an interesting PLOT TWIST, both devices will be open. . . .

Google’s Project Ara is the most open of the two. The entire product is brimming with the ideology of Openness. The idea of a modular smartphone has been taken by Google, and put through their intense ideological pressing machine.

Google have invited a wide variety of developers and hardware companies on board to help them build this product, and the modules which it’ll use. This won’t be a closed product, like any purported Apple modular smartphone – Or even Nokia X.

Nokia X, is a product which is confusing at first. A (soon to be) Microsoft company, using the OS of it’s main competitor to sell phones in the emerging markets? Hmmm. Make no mistake though, Nokia have totally embraced Android through X, despite their new overlords pushing the closed message through Windows Phone – Yes, that’s right. FROM THE COMPANY THAT BROUGHT YOU THE OPEN PC, HERE’S OUR NEW CLOSED SMARTPHONE! *EXCITED* xD

Seriously though, X is entirely open. Here and here, are examples of the phone operating in just the way Android should. Side loaded alternative app launchers, shown by Phone Arena (2014) and even talk of loading custom ROM’s, courtesy of Android Guys (2014) – This is android as it should be. Open.

So what does this mean for closed?

Wouldn’t the thinking be, that when introducing a technology to a new market, taking a closed approach would be far safer? Then your customers get a secure, enhanced and consistent experience. Maybe. But perhaps that thinking is out-dated. People want to customize things, and they want to learn by doing. Not by being told what to do.

Emerging Markets Scoreboard

Open 1-0 Closed

References:

Dan Bartram 2014, Nokia X gets rooted bringing custom ROM and Google Services, androidguys.com, viewed 1 April 2014, <http://www.androidguys.com/2014/03/01/nokia-x-gets-rooted-bringing-custom-rom-google-services/&gt;.

Victor H 2014, Can the Nokia X run a custom Android launcher? Yes, and here is a video proof, phonearena.com, viewed 1 April 2014, <http://www.phonearena.com/news/Can-the-Nokia-X-run-a-custom-Android-launcher-Yes-and-here-is-a-video-proof_id53227&gt;.

Phone Arena, 2014, Apex Launcher running on the Android powered Nokia XL, (online video), 26 February, Youtube, viewed 1 April 2014, <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YHIae6ZxviA&gt;.

Undiluted Cordial.

Has anyone ever been faced with this situation?

You’re thirsty. VERY THIRSTY. And you’ll drink whatever is available. The plumbing is shot, so there’s no chance of water. 

You go to the fridge, there’s no water. No juice. Nothing. Hmmm. The pantry? Nothing. Oh, wait. Well, there’s some cordial. Undiluted though. You could drink it. You probably shouldn’t. But, you really need something to drink! Ugh. You take a look at it. On the bottle it says “Highly Concentrated”. It’s supposed to be diluted, but THE PLUMBING IS SHOT! ARGH. 

Dilemma. 

Do you drink it? No. 

Is there any other option? No. 

Do you drink it? Yes.

Well, Australia’s plumbing isn’t quite shot. And there’s some water, chilled in the fridge in two bottles – One labelled ABC, and the other labelled SBS. There’s cordial. Lot’s of cordial. 7 bottles of it! Various colours, all appetising to look at! These are labelled Seven West Media, Fairfax Media, News Corp Australia, Nine Entertainment Co., Southern Cross Media Group, Win Corporation and Network Ten. 

So, two basic options. Water and Cordial. 

We know the water is better for us. Preservative free. Additive free. All nat-u-raleeeeeee. And we know the cordial isn’t great for us. But man, those colours. . . . 

Most Australian’s end up drinking too much cordial, and with that, they ingest lots of additives. These take the form of ideas, values & opinion. All valuable nutrients, when part of a balanced diet, WHICH INCLUDES BORING, PLAIN, UN-FLAVOURED WATER. 

Okay, enough of the symbolism and metaphorical language. 

Most of Australia’s media is controlled by just 7 corporations! Highly Concentrated (just like undiluted cordial (; LAST ONE FOR A WHILE I PROMISE)

Now, that is an interesting situation. But what does it mean?

Well, the Media is trusted to be a reliable source of information – It serves a specific purpose within a democratic society, which is to facilitate the decision making of the constituency through information communication which is efficient, accurate and reliable – Most importantly, it must do all of this free of bias.

When Media ownership is concentrated like it is in Australia, interests begin to compete against each other. So much to the point that journalistic standards drop, and bias is apparent and perceived by the audience – Evident through the 2013 Election Bias Scandal. As a result of this some publications can leverage the poor journalistic standards and perceived bias of their opposition as a competitive advantage. A prime example is The Sydney Morning Herald through it’s masthead statement “Independent. Always.”

SMH Masthead

A clear strike at The Daily Telegraph and it’s 2013 Election coverage. Hmmmm.

I think this means I’m getting close to an answer. Who owns The Tele? News Corp Australia. Who owns News Corp Australia? News Corp. Who/What is News Corp? Murdoch, Rupert Murdoch. (James Bond reference, anyone?)
If you were to only read The Tele for your daily news digestion, you’d be exposed to only the school of thought that Murdoch’s company chooses to press through that particular publication. Many are of the opinion that if this were the case, you’d vote, 1. Liberal.

Of course our own political standpoint and opinions come into the equation, but the media is certainly powerful. When we let the media get too concentrated, we lose diversity of ideas. When a convergence of ideas saturates the society, it isn’t difficult to envisage the end result – A lack of personalisation in the way we think. A set ideology. Australia is a multicultural, diverse nation – One set of ideas is not supposed to define us. We are by definition, diverse.

So, we have Seven. Seven commercial broadcasters pushing their values. Is that healthy? Yes and No. Australia’s public broadcasters – the ABC and SBS – have tremendous engagement. But do they balance out the equation? To some extent.

There are positives to the current setup – Production values can be quite high, and we certainly get some quality entertainment from our seven media corporations.

But, news is the important thing here. The delivery of information. In a democratic society, the delivery of factual, accurate and unbiased news is a must. But competing commercial interests brought about through cross media ownership as concentrated as undiluted cordial doesn’t allow this to always eventuate. Defeating the purpose of a democracy. 

Cordial is great. As part of a balanced diet. 

So it’s probably time to get some of that chilled water out of the fridge.

Oh, and to save ourselves from having to drink undiluted cordial in the future, let’s dilute it while we still can.

 

References:

Fairfax Media, 2014, SMH Masthead, image, Screenshot, viewed 28 March 2014, <http://www.smh.com.au/>.

 

 

Third World Convergence

CopyrightAccessibility

 

 

 

                        vs.

 

Project Ara and Nokia X will bring the third world into widespread mass media convergence.

Leading to prosumption. Lots of presumption.

So what are the effects of western copyright laws and third world convergence, on each other?

Let’s answer the first one. Has copyright law managed to stop “the flow of content across multiple media platforms”? (Jenkins 2006) No. It has made it more difficult through DRM and other technologies, but it has not stopped convergence.

Based on that, I can’t say the third world would be stopped from experiencing the power of convergence, either.

Globalisation, and new technologies through platform convergence have brought down the barriers to the flow of content from person to person, device to device – right around the world.

Convergence will only continue as we knock down those last barriers and bring the third world into the present state. But what does this mean for Western copyright law?

It might be beneficial for everyone. Can anybody imagine trying to continually fight the fight for copyright owners while the entire world is now enabled and willing to use copyrighted works in the same way their western counterparts do? Just try and take in the job that we’d be asking people to do here – It’d be almost impossible.

Will there be a relaxation of the legislation straight away? I doubt it. Will the laws be more likely to be relaxed in the future if it’s too difficult to actually control this flow of copyrighted content as tightly as the copyright owners would like? I believe so.

The more that people prosume copyrighted works, the harder it’ll be to stop – And with the introduction of a large portion of the world to the Western media landscape through accessibility advancements like Project Ara and Nokia X, these works will be used increasingly – and the legislation will have to change to accommodate that – Otherwise, we’re all living against the law (Lessig 2007).

References:

Commonwealth Government of Australia, Unknown year, Accessibility, image, design.gov.au, viewed 26 March 2014, <http://design.gov.au/files/2013/04/Accessibility.jpg.> 

Unknown, 2012, Copyright, image, Wikipedia, viewed 26 March 2014, <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Copyright.svg>

Jenkins, 2006, Welcome to Convergence Culture, Confessions of an Aca-Fan: The official weblog of Henry Jenkins, weblog post, 19 June, viewed 26 March 2014, <http://henryjenkins.org/2006/06/welcome_to_convergence_culture.html&gt;

Lessig, 2007, Larry Lessig: Laws that choke creativity, online video, 15 November 2007, Youtube, viewed 26 March 2014, <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Q25-S7jzgs&gt;.