Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Digital Oubliette

The Camera
As much as the above typecast is critical of digital media, I must confess excitement over a new piece of technology that allows me to easily create digital media. Most of our classrooms have documents cameras. These pieces of 21st century technology allow a book, page, or document's contents to be displayed on an overhead projector. The document cameras we have use a regular video camera at a very low resolution. They are nice, but the low resolution makes using them difficult. Newer versions use digital cameras to increase the resolution and improve image captures in low-light situations. The new one I recieved is a digital one. The most useful part is that I can use it as a scanner. The above typecast was digitized using the HoverCam. It really is a neat piece of technology. It also has a futuristic look about it.


  1. Dude, multiple DVD-ROM backups stored at different locations plus staggered backups to external drives. The great thing about digital is you can make infinite copies without quality loss.

    Plus, you do know that there are companies that will print out your pics on photo paper for pennies, right?

  2. Infinite copies without loss ignores the importance of originality. I can digitize "Un dimanche après-midi à l'Île de la Grande Jatte" by Seurat so that each point of each dot of paint's outline is visible. I can take billions of datapoints of the painting and recreate it on a rapid prototype machine. I could even make it out of Lego, but it would still be a digital copy without originality and soul. A download of the above painting is a short-term fix for the original. People still want to see the original.

  3. 1) please DO make it out of Lego. Because that would be awesome.
    2) I thought I had reached the pinnacle of digital typecasting awesomeness when I finished typing a post, then stood on a chair with my Nikon and snapped a picture of it. Not so?

  4. I would like to hear more honest discussion of the costs in resources and attention to preserve digital media. One of the first things I learned in Library School about this was that while paper can survive "benign neglect" digital media can't. You have to look to the preservation of the physical media, migration and maintenance of the data and metadata through the constant upgrades of software, operating systems, hardware . . .

    It costs money to buy the devices. It takes people's time to use the devices, it takes people's time and the earth's resources to keep making more of these devices and to dispose of the old ones. This all has not only economic, but political meaning.

    Every technology does, even paper and pencil, of course. Paper used to be made from people's old clothes, then people started cutting down trees . . .

  5. No, not all of us can be a Buckmister Fuller. We don't need archives of our lives.

    When you're read everything about digital permanence, then read a post by a geek about backing everything up. Long story short, make lots and lots of backup of important things that matter to you.