Thursday, June 26, 2014

June CommQuote

This month's quote comes from Wired Magazine's profile piece on Oculus Rift, The Inside Story of Oculus Rift and How Virtual Reality Became Reality (May 20, 2014) by Peter Rubin.

"...Beyond that, though, the company and its technology herald nothing less than the dawn of an entirely new era of communication. Mark Zuckerberg gestured at the possibilities himself in a Facebook post in March when he announced the acquisition: “Imagine enjoying a courtside seat at a game, studying in a classroom of students and teachers all over the world, or consulting with a doctor face-to-face—just by putting on goggles in your home.” That’s the true promise of VR: going beyond the idea of immersion and achieving true presence—the feeling of actually existing in a virtual space. That’s because Oculus has found a way to make a headset that does more than just hang a big screen in front of your face. By combining stereoscopic 3-D, 360-degree visuals, and a wide field of view—along with a supersize dose of engineering and software magic—it hacks your visual cortex. As far as your brain is concerned, there’s no difference between experiencing something on the Rift and experiencing it in the real world. “This is the first time that we’ve succeeded in stimulating parts of the human visual system directly,” says Abrash, the Valve engineer. “I don’t get vertigo when I watch a video of the Grand Canyon on TV, but I do when I stand on a ledge in VR.” Now Oculus is hard at work on its long-awaited headset for consumers, which the company predicts will be released later this year, or more likely early next year, or perhaps even not so early next year. Whenever it comes, we’ll finally have something that has eluded us for more than 30 years: immersive, affordable virtual reality. And we’ll all know what Brendan Iribe knew standing in that room outside of Seattle. 'I’ve seen five or six demos that made me think the world was about to change: Apple II, Netscape, Google, iPhone … then Oculus...This is going to be bigger than we ever expected.'" 

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Thursday, June 19, 2014

New Books Network Podcasts: Media and Communication

A both interesting and entertaining way to keep informed about new books in the field is with New Books in Media and Communication podcasts. Part of the New Books Network,* New Books in Media and Communication is hosted by Jeff Pooley, associate professor of media and  communication at Muhlenberg College, and John L. Sullivan, professor of media and communication at Muhlenberg College. With these two scholars at the helm, what's not to follow?

Say this blog was a camera...it's fitted with a wide angle lens, featuring books in communication, media, and technology most broadly defined. Recent titles range from Patrick Burkart's Pirate Politics: The New Information Policy Conflicts to Noise Matters: Towards an Ontology of Noise by Greg Hainge, from Obama, the Media, and Framing the U.S. Exit from Iraq and Afghanistan (Erika G. King) to Robert Darnton's On the Future of Libraries.  The most recent podcast is devoted to David Hesmondhalgh's Why Music Matters. The hosts produce "hour-long interviews with authors that allow them the time and freedom to discuss in detail what makes their books exciting, interesting, and important."

*Other NBN channels include Digital Culture, Film, Journalism, Popular Culture, and Sociology.

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Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Media Industries Journal

The Media Industries Scholarly Interest Group (MISIG) has launched the inaugural issue of its multi-media, open access journal Media Industries.

Journal statement from the editors:
Media Industries "promotes critical studies of media industries and institutions worldwide. We invite contributions that range across the full spectrum of media industries, including film, television, internet, radio, music, publishing, electronic games, advertising, and mobile communications. Submissions may explore these industries individually or examine inter-medial relations between industrial sectors. We encourage both contemporary and historical studies, and are especially interested in contributions that draw attention to global and international perspectives. Media Industries is furthermore committed to the exploration of innovative methodologies, imaginative theoretical approaches, and new research directions."

The first issue includes an opening essay from the members of the journal's "editorial collective." Additional articles include:

Dirt Research for Media Industries

Charles R. Acland

The Menace of Instrumentalism in Media Industries Research and Education

David Hesmondhalgh

On Automation in Media Industries: Integrating Algorithmic Media Production into Media Industries Scholarship

Philip M. Napoli

There Is No Music Industry 

Jonathan Sterne

The Case for Studying In-Store Media

Joseph Turow

I may not have clicked into all the articles but I didn't find one that was over four pages of text; brevity seems to be an unspoken rule, at least for this first issue.   

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