Ebook questions

Questions about eBooks

Compare the first book ever printed with the first work ever turned into an eBook.  What do they have in common?  (Hint:  Use your handouts from Monday)

They both had words, linear, they were both religious works.

The first publishing house of print books was established in 1472; the first publisher of eBooks, in 1985.  Observations about the time frame?  Format?

The ebook took 1 year after computers becoming very public, while the print books took 20 years after being printed.

Note the various formats digital books have been published in since their introduction.  What can you say about this period of eBook development in light of what you have learned about pBooks?

The period of ebook development has developed a lot quicker than print books. There is no standardization for ebooks. They are continually changing

Born digital works have been around since the 1950s but Stephen King raised their profile with the release of his novella in 2000.  Go to http://www.pcworld.com/product/947815/stephen-king-s-riding-the-bullet-.html.  What observations can you make about the book and its readership of this book today?  What obstacles did King face 14 years ago when he released this work?

King was publishing work that wasn’t as easily accessible as his print books. The readers back then were ahead of the trend towards eBooks.

What do you think drove Random House and HarperCollins to begin selling the print books in digital versions?

The materials to use digital versions became more available and popular. They had no option if they wanted to sell their materials.

We see Kindle released in 2007 and Nook in 2009.  No mention is made of iPhones in 2007.  Why?  What bias is showing in this “history”?

iPhone was not intended to be a reader. The Kindle and Nook were intended as just readering changing the print book to a digital format. The iPhone is bias toward being a communication device and not a educational tool.

The history ends in 2010 with the release of the iPad and eBooks overtaking the sale of pBooks.  Where are we in 2014?  Where are we headed in book technology?

In 2014 ebooks have become more popular and killing the print book market. eBooks will become the standard form of reading what was once print material.


Rushkoff’s _Program or be Programmed_ Ch8-10

Chapter 8: Fact- Tell the Truth

This chapter dives into the truth about the content that is being shared online and the importance of these truths. In the past people were reliant on word of mouth to communicate truthful messages about new ideas. As industries were created  corporations became the main communicators to the masses. The idea of truths got lost and marketing plans compelled customers to their product. Stories were created in these marketing plans that were neither fact or relevant to the product. As the internet was born communication between everyone became more accessible again and this allowed people to discern fact from fiction once again.

Chapter 9: Openness- Share Don’t Steal

Chapter nine discusses how the world of Digital Technology is set up for sharing content, but often this get mixed with stealing. Much of the software online is open and available to anyone with access to it. The content that is being creating on this software has become the real issue. The line between what is stealing and what is sharing is very grey. Paying for content online when it can be free is also a huge dilemma that is leading to questions of stealing or simply just using a shared copy. We are constantly bombarded with media and streams of information that it is hard to produce ideas that are our own. Rushkoff suggests our species is moving toward collective consciousness.

Chapter 10: Purpose- Program or Be Programmed

The final chapter on this book focuses on Programming and its importance. In modern american society programming has lost importance with the use of programs. Using these already programmed devices is easier and creates content. Rushkoff feels the US is falling behind with our lack of importance toward coding ability and that it should be integrated into education systems Countries that are teaching programming are going to surpass us with new forms of digital technology. Each tool that is made is important in the development of the world and knowing how to program is important to develop these new technologies.



Rushkoff’s _Program or be Programmed_ Ch5-7

Chapter V. Scale, “One Size Does Not Fit All”

1. What does the term “abstraction” mean?

  • In this book abstraction is about finding new ways to market your business. It is a tool of knowing what is next and using that to create success.

2.  What does Rushkoff mean when he says that “[d]igital technologies are biased toward abstraction?”

  • digital technologies function to create new abstractions and want to push forward into what is next.

3.  What example does Rushkoff use for highlighting the idea that the “net has turned scalability from a business option to a business requirement?”

  • He uses a music shop that decided to go digital and abandon the physical space. In this example he explains how scale grows when you go to the net but if your business is not set up for that it will not thrive the same way a business that is willing to become international would.

4.  What is a “vertical” and “horizontal” approach to business?

  • vertical- to do everything for one industry
  • horizontal- offer a service that can cover all industries

5.  Why are neither vertical or horizontal approaches perfect because of digital technologies?

  • Both vertical and horizontal approaches face competitors and are easily undercut by the next.

6.  How did scaling up result in a loss of manufacturing, according to Rushkoff?

  • You cut your cloud and become some thing to all people or all things to some people. By scaling up your product may be popular to a specific group or just an object to everyone.

7.  Rushkoff writes, “What all this abstraction does accomplish here on earth, however, is make everyone and everything more dependent on highly centralized standards.”  Can you give a concrete example of what he means?

  • People start to become nostalgic of the things in life that are stable. Without these standizations people become lost, for example: search engines.

8.  Rushkoff backtracks a bit from his argument against the biases of digital media by including all media in the problem with abstraction.  He cites language as an example.  Explain.

  • Language is an abstraction that became standard. Once language was a new concept but once it became standard everyone was able to use it.

9.  What makes digital technologies “one further removed from what we think of as reality” than other media?

  • Digital Technologies are a virtual space because you can not physically be in them they are abstract.

Chapter VI.  Identity, “Be Yourself”

1.  How are our “digital experiences” “out of body?”

  • People feel disconnected when being digital. Behavior is depersonalized and our identity is lost as if whatever is being produced is anonymous or not accountable.

2.  What makes anonymity dangerous and “identity” a “liability” in online spaces?

  • People lose their identity and feel that they can post what they want even if it is illegal or unethical. Anonymity can promote mob or crowd behavior. When people don’t think they need to be accountable for their actions online they become a liability for themselves and their image.

3.  Give one example where someone using digital media many “act without personal consequences.”

  • Trash talking someone close to them, comments on youtube videos are examples that people don’t think about their consequences.

4.  Rushkoff connects conduct in online gaming environments with Asperger’s Syndrome.  What is Asperger’s Syndrome and why does he connect it to this form of digital technology?

  • People who struggle with Asperger’s Syndrome have a very low pick up on social cues, facial expressions, meaning of body language and tone. This is similar with online gaming and any form of online communication. There is no emotion with just text, and interpretation is open to the reader.

5.  What are the “real costs” of anonymity on the net?

  • Content on the net is permanent and traceable so there may be consequences. People seem to think they are not responsible if they try to stay anonymous.

 Chapter VII.  Social, “Do Not Sell Your Friends”

1.  What does he mean by “the coevolution between people and technologies?”

  • Similar to technogenisis, in How We Think by Hayles, people evolve with technology and technology with us.

2.  What was the original intent of the internet and why did it catch on beyond this intended use?

  • The original intent was for the defense department of the military, but scientist found them selves using it more for social purposes. They were sharing content of new ideas and discoveries. The social aspect caught on over the military needs.

3.  “[C]ontent is not king––contact is.”  Cite an example that makes this point clear.

  • The dot-com boom crashed and people began to use the net to blog, comment and connect. Businesses that were creating content for people were not as popular. But when people could create their own content and share and respond to each other the use of the internet felt more important to them.

4.  How do social media cause us to monetize and exploit our friends?

  • Businesses are using people to create a larger network for themselves to be social. They are turning people into currency through likes and follows. Instead of having people in their network communicating with each other they are using people to increase their numbers.

5.  What then is the driving force behind our use of social media, really, according to Rushkoff?

  •  The need for communication and socializing with each other. Contact with other is the driving force.


Rushkoff’s _Program or be Programmed_ Intro-Ch1


1.    Does Rushkoff say we have to learn to program?  What does he say we need to do?

  • Rushkoff’s answer to this question is Yes, but he says that it may not be the real answer. People can get by without knowing how to program. He says that we do need to know that programming exists. We need to be aware that the devices and programs we use everyday have been made by people, for people.


1.  Why does Rushkoff believe that we “really have to learn to program?”

  • People that know how to program are part of shaping our world. They are the people creating the content for people to use.

2.  So, then what does the title, Program or Be Programmed, suggest?  How about suggest grammatically?

  • The title of the book suggest that if you are not the one programming you will be programmed. Being programmed in this context means that you are not shaping the way technology works but just falling into place with the content that is already made.

3.  Why is the book subtitled Ten Commands for the Digital Age?

  • The book divides into ten separate chapters with ideas that allow us to think about how we will interact with technology. These commandment provide food for thought between the connection and balance of the physical and virtual world.

4.  What are the 10 commands meant to provide us?

  • Rushkoff wants to provide us with a code of how to use digital technology.

5.  What then is the point of the book?

  • The point of the book is to teach readers how to use the code with digital tools to create a world that can balance technology and our culture.

Chapter 1 Time, “Do Not Always be On”

1.  Introduce the notion of Synchronous and Asynchronous

  • Asynchronous refers to how people used to interact with the internet. People could only connect through phone lines at seperate times, when it was convenient. Because of this the internet functioned at a slower pace. Communicating was more like sending mail through the Post Office. Now that everyone is constantly connected to the internet we have become more synchronous. Connected together rather than separately.

2.  What does he say about “multitasking”

  • Rushkoff believes that we are not actually multitasking but going from one task to another. He says that that reduces the quality of the tasks being accomplished.

3.  Why is it problematic, according to Rushkoff, that our brains are more and more “putting our mental resources into active RAM?”

  • Rushkoff is saying that we are loosing skills because we have computers carry out tasks for us along with remember things. Once we know the computer can perform the task we don’t need to remember how its done, just how to get the computer to do it. According to Rushkoff we are using our brains as processors and not hard drives.

Hayle’s _How We Think_ Ch.3

Three Types of Reading: The Merchant of Venice as Case Study

1.  Hyper-Reading ”Reader-directed, screen-based, computer assisted reading.”

What is the relationship between Portia and Bassanio?

  • Portia and Bassanio have a complicated relationship. Portia thinks she has feelings for Bassanio but she is unsure if his feelings for her are genuine. They have a limited time to understand what the terms of their relationship are. So she is willing to make her self vulnerable for him and help him pass the test. He wants her to trust him and have a friendship in their love as well and doesn’t want her to question his feelings.

What is Bassanio being asked to do?

  • Bassanio is being asked to take a casket test that will decide his future. If he chooses wrong he will be banished and never allowed to marry. If he passes he will get to be with Portia. Portia is suggesting that she help him learn how to make the decision, but he wants to do it on his own.

Explain the Visualization:

  • The machine reads how many times people are talked to or about. It shows the frequency in the test and forms it into a web to understand the relationship between characters in the story.

Hayle’s _How We Think_ Ch.2

1.  What can you say about the method of educating and the course content over the last 2500 years in the Western World?

  • In the last 2500 years there have been shifts in the education system. The method has reflected the culture of society at the time. While the church held power it was able to decide what was important in education. They put a lot of importance into the power of the mind. As culture changed education changed with it to sustain the advancing culture. As industry developed education methods had to adapt to the new forms of technology. The creation of universities and special schools created a factory like education that fit with the industrial society. The importance of course content changes as society changes into new paradigms.

2.  What is Hayles suggesting that may be different or similar?

  • Hayles talks about universities today. She suggests that many schools are still in a “factory” system. They are teaching students content, having them write papers and pushing them them out into the real world with a diploma. Hayles then shows insight to how the education method may be shifting again. The difference with these new methods is not a factory system but is turning students into makers. She talks about new programs that are turning students into creators. By using collaboration and working together on big projects students are being prepared for real life job opportunities.

Hayles _How We Think_ Ch. 1

1. What concept does Hayles say the book addresses?

  • In the introduction of the book Hayles adresses the overall concept that new technologies form with humans as they advance. She states “We think though, with, and alongside media” (Hayles,1).

2. Why is this idea important for the Humanities, at this moment in time?

  • Sciences and quantitative social sciences have already gone digital. and humanity studies need to catch up with what is turning into the status quo. It is important that humanities finds a way to communicate with each other digitally.

3. What is meant by a paradigm shift?  What paradigm shift is Hayles talking about?

  • A paradigm shift is the transition from one technology to another. A paradigm shift  is known to shake up the norm of society. The example that Hayles is referring to is the shift of print to digital media.

4. What scholar’s idea does she challenge, and why?

  • She challenges Nicholas Carr’s argument that new function from technology are causing people to become distracted and decrease their intelligence. It is reducing our ability to concentrate leading to superficial thoughts. Hayles doesn’t agree with this, believing that technology can increase productivity.

5. What does she mean by “embodied” (3)?  How is it associated with “extended cognition” (3)?

  • Embodiment means that mind and body go together, using the body as a vessel to the mind. She combines embodiment with extended cognition meaning a physical object becomes an extended part of the body. She used examples of a phone, mouse or key board having a physical effect of the body and becoming an extension of it. Once someone becomes comfortable with using a computer tool is becomes part of them.

6. What are the three levels of engagement that Hayles suggests?

  • The first level are simple functions of technology like email or creating files. This could be linked with knowing. The second level is researching and creating knowledge, or also  referred to as using. The third level would be using creating databases and allowing for collaboration. This would be liked with conceptualizing.

7. What is the Humanities?  What is Digital Humanities?

  • The Humanities consist of Literary, History, Philosophy, English and the arts. Digital Humanities use the same subjects but with the use of computers and research and create education.

8. What does she mean by “media upheaval” (6)?  What is the outcome when we ignore it?

  • Hayles means media is in flux. As people transition from print to computers they are becoming more computer literate. People that are ignoring this transition will fall behind and loose knowledge. She also argues that people should be using both print and digital to multitask and draw knowledge from both forms.

9. She argues for a “Comparative Media Studies” (7)program.  What does she mean by “making” (9).  How is what you are learning in the CMDC like what she suggests?

  • A program that provides students with strategies to solve a specific problem and think for themselves on how to solve it. Instead of just traditional english dept, with history (periods, genres) not preparing student for real world just providing content. The concept of making combines humanities and digital humanities allowing for different skills and research and teaching in different environments. Students are able to collaborate with different skills.

10. What does she mean by “technogenesis” (10)?

  • She means that humans and technology have evolved together.

11. What are the three reading strategies that she introduces? (Hint:  See pages 17-18).

  • The three stratagies of reading are Hyper (quick scanning), Close (deep attention) and Machine reading. Used together she believes that all of these strategies should be used together to fully understand text.