Ceruzzi Chapters 4-6

Chapter 4

Integrated circuit : All of the units of a circuit combined into what we now know as a microchip. Upon the beginning of the invention of the integrated circuit, the technology was used by the Minutemen and by NASA to assist in bringing us to the moon

Texas Instruments: A tech company where Jack Kilby worked and helped develop the integrated circuit

Silicon Valley: A hotbed of innovation, where many of the original tech companies and their employees settled and could work for different

Chapter 5

RAM: A computer’s internal memory that has the highest access speeds and often at less capacity than a slower disk

ROM: The portion of a computer’s memory that stores data that can be read but not changed by the user

Algorithm: “A finite set of rules, which gives a sequence of operations for solving a specific type of problem”

Chapter 6

World Wide Web: A platform that allowed seamless sharing over the internet, developed by Tim Berners-Lee and Robert Cailaiu

Browser: A program the people downloaded and installed onto their computer in order to decode and properly display information transmitted over the Web

Web log (blog): A specialized web site that allowed users a space to type text in reverse chronological order and contained links on a sidebar. One key feature is that user do not have to learn HTML, making it more accessible and causing users to gain large followings

Ceruzzi Chapters 2 and 3

Chapter 2

Konrad Zuse: A German mechanical engineer that created the beginnings of concepts that would help create the computer (calculation, storage, control, transmission of information)

Apps: A third-party application program that can be put in devices

Ada Lovelace (called Ada Augusta in book) :Sometimes called the “World’s First Programmer.” Is credited for recognizing that a general purpose calculator is nothing like a machine or special purpose device

Chapter 3:

IBM 701: IBM’s first large scale electronic computer, originally marketed as a “defense calculator” but later considered as a general purpose computer

Transistors: The first successful solid state switching or amplifying device

COBOL: Stands for “Common Business Oriented Language.” COBOL became one of the first standardized languages that would run on different computers made by different vendors and produce the same results

Ceruzzi Introduction and Chapter 1

Term Definitions


Digital Paradigm: The idea that all information and computation can be boiled down into a binary form containing 1’s and 0’s. This sole notion set the foundation for all of the technological advancements that we have been able to to make in past years.

Convergence: This term encompasses that fact that technology is made up of a large amount of separate inventions and pieces that all have their own path of formation. These separate inventions then come together on one device to create the technological inventions we know today such as the smart phone.

Human-Machine Interface: The way humans interact with technology through a user interface. This term also brings about questions regarding the blurred lines around how humans are using technology as a replacement for knowledge or in a way they are in sync with it.

Chapter 1

Bit/Byte: A bit is a binary digit of either 1 or 0. A byte is a group of 8 bits, so a sequence of 8 containing 1s and 0s.

ARPA: Stands for “Advanced Research Projects Agency.” A research agency established by the government not specifically tied to a defense system.

Tabulator: The early tabulator kept record of how many cards has a hold punched in its columns. The tabulator is significant because it paved the way for devices that hold different amounts of information.


Rushkoff Reflective Essay

The main message I received from Douglas Rushkoff’s book Program or Be Programmed was one that sounded more like a warning or disclaimer in regards to the way people interact with technology today. There is no denying that technology today has woven itself into our existence as humans and that the divide between humans and digital literacy has taken strides towards closing. The message is clear. Either learn how to be a creator and manipulator of digital technology or fall victim to those with the ability to do so. Technology is not going away and those falling behind or currently in denial will be forced to adapt. We are at a peculiar place in time when sides are being chosen between the creators and consumers. My concern in my own life lies with those who do not have as much access to technology as others. The ones with limited funds to spend on technology seem to gravitate towards mobile devices,  which makes the most sense to me. It is one of my pet peeves when certain people will look down on the less fortunate for having cell phones. A basic cell phone allows people to put phone numbers on job applications, to research nearby food sources and to look up city transportation schedules. People sometimes expect the poor to conform to their ideal of what a poor person looks like or is allowed to own which is not the case.  I know that my phone would be truly the last of my possessions that I would give up because it is necessary to have to function in our society, it is, as I have heard it said, an unattached appendage to the body. While it is more difficult to learn skills like coding or graphic design on a phone, it would be interesting to see more programs or apps solely for the purpose of teaching and increasing digital literacy on mobile devices. I feel a different population could be reached.

Some thoughts that come to mind are the connections between Rushkoff’s book and the need to increase digital literacy which is what #nextchapter focused on last year. I would definitely support the idea for this in our community, especially with the younger generations. If I weren’t looking to go into multimedia communications with my DTC degree, I could see myself at a high school teaching technology classes on coding and social media. The more time I spend in the DTC program and especially after reading Rushkoff’s book, I realize the need to help level the playing field  in society. The commands regarding choice, bias and living in person especially stuck out to me in the text.

Overall, I would take the time to encourage others to read this book and to be aware of what exactly is happening around us concerning technology in this information age. A large number of our population is still blind to the choices we have or will be forced to make.

Summaries Chapters 8-10

Chapter 8

Chapter 8 is appropriately titled, “Tell the Truth.”  A large point to take away from this chapter is that the truth will come out on the internet regardless because that is the way the internet is biased. If one person lies, it is likely the truth will be uncovered with the sheer amount of users and facts on the internet. Rushkoff explains that the nature of the internet changed the way we act due to the peer to peer communication and contrasts that with how knowledge used to be achieved, involving simply accepting the information given by the media/

Chapter 9

Chapter 9, “Share, Don’t Steal” talks about how the lines have increasingly blurred on the internet when it comes to infringement and copyright. The fact that the internet is biased toward sharing and a more open platform contributes to this significantly.This is a relatively new problem we are facing and Rushkoff mentions that it is time for people to learn and agree on ways to solve this problem.

Chapter 10

In Chapter 10, “Program or be Programmed,” Rushkoff hammers home his solution to overcoming these technological biases, and that is to understand the technology we are using and learn to program or we risk being programmed ourselves. According to Rushkoff, this is essential for the 21st century and in school curriculum.

Questions for Rushkoff’s Program or Be Programmed Chapters V-VII

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


  1. What does the term “abstraction” mean?

“Bringing up and everything out to the same universal level.”


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

Digital technologies have the capability to function as an equalizer in our society.


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

Often times, small business are forced to upgrade or be overshadowed by large scale, international businesses. With the “net,” there is a more equal playing field when it comes to reach for businesses.


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

Rushkoff describes it as,”being all things to some people or some things to all people.” Essentially choosing whether or not to have a widespread reach of audience or offerings and which route to go to.


  1. Why are neither vertical nor horizontal approaches perfect because of digital technologies?

Because of competition and between businesses. It is easier for businesses to be hurt or damaged by different fluxes in price.


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

Because the laws of supply and demand do not apply in the digital realm. The importance is focused on scale and not connected to commodity.


  1. 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?

He is saying that people are now forced to conform to a standard whether they like to or not. An example of this would be Facebook. People complain about Facebook and some don’t but regardless of that, people are forced to use it to connect with other people and maintain and online presence.


  1. 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.

He is saying that everyone has to agree on a set standard.


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

Because it takes “games and math,” which are abstractions of reality and abstracts those ideas themselves into what is technology.

Questions for Rushkoff’s Program or Be Programmed Chapters II-IV

Chapter II. Place, “Live in Person”


  1. What example does Rushkoff use as an example for NOT living in person?

A popular high school student that has a big presence online but not so much in real life. She is “always on” and tuned into documenting her life in social media but not interacting where she is physically at.


  1. What does he mean by “the bias of the networks were absolutely intended to favor decentralized activity”?

The networks weren’t originally created to bring people together physically, it works better at creating approximations of human interaction from a distance.


  1. What is the problem with this bias for human beings?

The promotes big name manufactured brands over local, human resources and makes it so that people have to be apart, just to come together.


Chapter III. Choice, “You May Always Choose None of the Above”


  1. The shift from analog to digital has resulted in loss.  What example does he give to illustrate this concept?

The difference between the way records and cds are created and how records capture a moment in time and cds preserve a set of numerical values equating to a song.


  1. What is wrong with binary, the “discrete, yes or no,” according to Rushkoff?

Because Rushkoff states that, “A forced choice is no choice at all.” With how technology is structured digitally, people are forced to make choices to continue on, which isn’t really freedom but can be the illusion of it.


  1. What is wrong with “tagging,” according to Rushkoff?

Rushkoff seems to be more in favor of tagging, if anything. It can be a way of categorizeing that allows for more democracy than other “top-down” choices.


Chapter IV.  Complexity, “You Are Never Completely Right”


  1. What is one of the main problems with the bias toward “a reduction of complexity,” according to Rushkoff?

It minimizes the depth of knowledge in that all of it can be found at the surface.


  1. Why is the “democratizing” aspect of digital media a positive outcome of digital media?  What does it allow for?

Democratizing in digital media is positive because it allows for more depth in human decision making and a collective voice to be heard, versus having to accept for make choices determined by a top-down system.


  1. What is “experimental learning” and how is digital media eradicating it?

Experiential learning recreates learning with the emphasis on the process of learning. Digital media in a sense takes away from this because it is often about learning or finding one fact then on to the next one without taking to time to learn additional information.


  1. Define “data point.”

A single, point of information.


  1. What is the downside of a data-point?

It doesn’t come with context.


  1. What is the positive aspect of a data-point universe?

Collaboration. The sharing of data points can result in the more immediate exchange of ideas and people working together to share what they have the achieve different goals.


  1. What does Rushkoff mean when he says, “[r]eading becomes a process of elimination rather than deep engagement.”

This idea is touching on the idea of hyper-reading mentioned in How We Think. Quickly pulling out necessary bits of information instead of deeply evaluating text.


  1. In what ways are our digital technologies getting to be “more complex” while our experiences “more simple?”

In a sense we are dependent on our technologies to carry the burden of being complex for us, we favor simple, intuitive interfaces and lives where we don’t have to think about certain things that we are used to having done for us by technology.


  1. Give one example Rushkoff uses to illustrate “the brilliance and importance of . . . simulation technologies.”

Rushkoff mentions a German study that showed that young people cannot hear the sounds outside of mp3s and their parents still could, showcasing how simulation technology might effect human capabilities.



Questions for Rushkoff’s Program or Be Programmed Preface, Introduction and Chapter 1



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

No; We need to learn that programming exists.






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

Because it is the next step we have to take to evolve with our digital reality


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

Program or Be Programmed suggests that the reader has one of two choices, there is no other option. We must choose to become creators or consumers in the digital age.


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

In the book, Rushkoff includes key pieces of information necessary for the digital age.


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

A list of simple, key standards to follow based on Rushkoff’s views 


  1. 5.    What then is the point of the book?

To push the reader to choose to be on the side that creates and programs or risk being programmed themselves




Chapter 1 Time, “Do Not Always be On”


  1. 1.    Introduce the notion of Synchronous and Asynchronous

In chapter 1 Rushkoff uses the example of an online conversation so introduce the concept of “asynchronism” which can be a method in which to exchange ideas but not entirely at the same point in time, which allows the participants to choose when to even reply. Synchronous would be “in sync,” so happening at the same time. For example, a face to face conversation were one cannot simply walk away to form their thoughts for an argument and reply later would be more synchronous than a Facebook comment conversation.


  1. 2.    What does he say about “multitasking”

Multitasking is not really multitasking but rapidly switching between tasks, and multitasking diminishes our ability to complete tasks accurately


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

Because we lose the ability to call upon the skills it takes to complete tasks. If we rely on technology to remember not only bits of information for us but skills as well, we lose those skills because we know we will not exercise them if we have a machine to do it for us.