Technological determinism

We had to listen to three hours of this subject today and discuss it. It’s amusing how the discussion focused on the iPhone, iPods, and what apple, in general, was doing.

Several years ago I was downloading music and copying it to minidisc in the days before the mp3 player and iTunes. It was a time when bandwidth constraints were greater therefore patient people would get the content they desired. Over the years bandwidth increased and BitTorrent and other software came which made the experience much faster.

I-tunes came along and gave one of the legal alternatives to access music. They also sold the player. Did they create a revolution or simply see that there was a market and take this as an opportunity to specialise in that? Now members of the older generations would say that Steve Jobs had a wonderful idea of providing this service and that he was innovative.

Others, such as myself, are more skeptical. I believe that the mp3 format made the sharing of music without too much loss in quality much easier and smoother than it had been before. As people had more and more music in this form they began to see the need for adapted players like the minidisc and earlier mp3 players. More efficient ways were found but it was the realm of early adopters, power users. Those for whom technology is as easy to use as the pen to calligraphy.

Apple did nothing more than realise there was a market and offer what people had been demanding.

In the US apple TV is a great product because you’ve got the content to purchase and view. In Europe, the market is still too far behind on this particular issue therefore the device is not interesting.

How soon will it be before Europeans can legally buy the most recent American shows? in two months or two years? With today’s media infrastructure we see everything that’s going on everywhere therefore the old way of dividing the world into media zones has to be rethought.

By the way, I’ve finally understood McLuhan after my lecture today. It took a while and since no one had explained it to me so clearly I had been under the wrong impression.

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