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Showing posts from February, 2009

Dipping into the stream of media

From The Daily Star:

After writing last week about my secret longing to stumble upon the occasional Christmas program, I started thinking about intentional versus unintentional consumption.

I don't mean "unintentional consumption" like realizing you've eaten an entire box of Girl Scout cookies in one sitting. I mean leaving the TV on after your favorite program is over and watching whatever comes next, or putting the radio on just to have a little background noise. This is the cultural experience I still associate with TV and radio: an ongoing stream of content I can dip into at will.

My current experiment with on-demand viewing has made me realize, however, that this is an increasingly archaic idea. Thanks to the Internet and devices such as digital video recorders, fewer people are dipping into this ongoing stream of content. Instead, like myself, they are siphoning off their own selective streams that contain only the content that interests them.

I can't deny that…

Book review: "The Greenwich Time Lady"

From PopMatters.com:

With its brusque opening lines ("What time is it? It’s a simple question and this book looks at some of the ways we have tried to answer it over the last couple of hundred years"), Ruth Belville: The Greenwich Time Lady plunges the reader headlong into a densely packed gem of a history—one that author David Rooney, curator of timekeeping at the British Royal Observatory, is uniquely qualified to tell.

The book’s eponymous heroine was the last in a short line of Belvilles who made their living in a unique manner: they literally brought time itself from the Greenwich Royal Observatory to a London subscriber base that included shopkeepers, shipping firms and clockmakers. Through a tenuous and complex arrangement with the observatory’s Astronomer General, the Belvilles were granted weekly entry to the observatory, where a clerk would adjust their steadfast watch (nicknamed “Arnold” after its maker, John Arnold) to the correct time and provide a certificate den…