The Personal computer-A Post Post Modern Society| Chapter 8| The Death of the Gods and the Revolt Against Reason

In June 2015 with Vanity Fair’s, cover of Caitlyn Jenner launches the post-postmodern era. Like the postmodern era. The change in the information landscale onto a scale free network. Took time to manifest in the geist. The birth of the postpostmodern society, starts in 2007. With Steve Jobs, introduction of the iPhone. The iPhone, just being the latest expression of the geometry of computing. The successor, to the personal computer. Altough, social media use predates the iPhone. Having constant access to a personal computer has caused it’s use to increase exponentially.

The personal computer, as an information technology, was not mass adopted until it replaced the calculator and the typewriter. With the introduction, of word and number processor programmes. Replacing the previous information technolgies of the calculator and typewritter.

Although, the usefulness of the personal computer is independent of the internet. It was the network effects of the internet, that caused computing to explode as an appliance. The Internet is a natural successor to the information of the telegraph. As, a means of distributing information. The computer is a natural successor to the typewriter and caluclator. As, a means of symbol creation and manipulation. Artificial Intelligence is a natural extension of the printing press. As, a means of automating a repetitive human process.

The Rise of CyberSpace

What the Wachowskis, meant by the word Matrix. In the movie The Matrix. Is really, better described as cyberspace. Cyberspace– the inside of the computer. The Matrix, really refers to the matrix of binary digits. The size of cyberspace is not the total memory available to computers. But really, the total time humans attent to it. In constrast to, the rest of reality. The density of cyberspace is increasing with Moore’s law.

The Personal Computer Revolution:

Although the mass commercialisation of computing, occurred in the years preceding. These pionerring computers, were mostly hulking mainframes. Only accessible, with computer code. Demand curves, being downward sloping. This limited the number of people, who could interface with them. As a result, computers were secluded to large institutions. Not individual consumers.

The Desktop Interface Macintosh-Insanely Great

The personal computer, is squarely an American phenomenon. Like all good American phenomenon, involved dudes tinkering in a garage (usually their parent’s). As the cost of storing a bit decreased, computers became more accessible to hobbyists. One such hobbyist, was the shy Steve Wozniak. Who along with his other friend, Steve would start a process that would change the world. Apple’s first computer were just pre-assembled hobbyist type computers. These pre -assembled computers, would increase in sophistication. Eventually culminating in the first modern personal computer the Macintosh in 1984.

Fundamentaly, the Macintosh is the commercilisisation of the concept of the Memex contrived by Baneever Bush. Which were expounded upoin by Douglas Engelbart, the most important consumer designer of all time. It was Engelbart who introduced the mouse, the idea of a visualised computer objects and the absraction of a desktop. the computer being the latest extension of the image machine the television. Bitmaping, is to the computer what algebraic geometry is to mathematics. A codification of the points in space onto a numeric index.

When it comes to the argument if Windows copy Apple. Steve did not simply copy paste the work of Xerox PARC in a very in a viable commercial computer. He, added to the design. Additionally, like Steve explained in his legendary Stanford address, Microsoft copied the size of the spaces between the letters. The only unfortunate thing is that bill did not copy Steve more, a mistake Google will not do.

Like Steve said, the thing about Windows is that they have no taste whatsoever. Instead of calling it Windows, they should have just called it boxes, Microsoft boxes. The reason why Apple products have rounded edges from apps to appliances. Comes down to Steve Jobs’ genius as a computer designer. It is easier, to detect a change than a smooth surface. When the edges are square, they’re startling to the eye. As the rate of change is too great. When a circle, the rate of change at any given point is too great. To solve this Steve Jobs literally squared the circle.

The Laptop computer

Steve Jobs, would not be alive to see his laptop designs mature into something astounding with 2012 Macbook Pro. The laptop industry increasingly resembling that of the television industry, where the differences between generations are becoming increasingly decreasing.

Microsoft

Microsoft, would represent a fundamental shift in the computing industry at large. With the balance of power shifting from hardware to software, with hardware components becoming increasingly commoditized.

The Internet-Shared Cyberspace

ARPANET

The next significant achievement in the computer revolution was the establishment of a coherent network of communication between machines. The ARPANET, the precursor to the internet, established a proof of concept for the internet. An ability to share information from one large scale institution to another.

An Online Bulletin Board

Prior to the World Wide Web (www.) the internet was restricted to online bulleutin boards (BBs). These were for the computer enthusiast of the world. Still for them BBBs provided much of the same experiences afforded to current Social Media..with computer games and other salient information being shard on mass.

The World Wide Web (www.)

It was not until the establishment of the world wide web (www), did Internet culture become mass culture. The exact inflection point, is in 1996. with the biggest disaster in Everest history being reported in real time on the internet.

Altough like ARPANET the point of the web was academic in nature. The purpose of the early web to scale the ARPANET to anyone with an Internet connection by Tim Berners Lee at CERN. Since its inception, however, the web was used mostly to share pictures, not academic papers.

Google-Indexing Cyberspace

As shared cyberspace got denser, it became increasingly valuable to navigate it. Google, made its first dollar by selling the views received from advertisers to users who wanted to use their search service. Their ability to organise cyberspace, as it turns out, is extraordinary valuable. Google, however, far from the first search engine, was just the best. The dominance of Google, highlighting the winner take all effect of internet markets (fat tails). Google, unlike its competitors used unique and increasing complex algorithms to organise data. The sheer volume of cyberspace makes it impossible for anything but a computer to sort through.

As Google’s founder put it, Google’s goal is to organise all of the information on the internet. Not to tell Google’s founders about their business model. But Google organises insofar as they index unscructured data in cyberspace. What first started out as an index of the most relevant websites on the on the web. Then ended up as an index of just about everything. Google Photos, Google videos. After indexing shared cyberspace, Google would start indexing the real world as well. The creation of Google Maps. Part of the greater societal trend to map space onto cyberspace.

Web Browser- A Portal to shared cyberspace

A web browser, being another term for portal to shared cyberspace. In economics the only cost are opportunity costs. From the first web browser Mosaic. Functionality, dedicated to the sharing of images comes at the expense of academic papers.

Web 1.0-Space to Cyberspace

Email

The first, means of private interpersonal communication comes from email. As the name suggests, there’s just an electronification of mail with an associated instant messenger.

Blogging

Blogging, as a medium peaked in the early aughts having a recent Renaissance under Substack in the early 2020s. Substack, fundamentally solving the problem with blogging. A centralised directory ,to sort through all blogs. Substack, solves monetization by allowing users to subscribe to creators. Blogging, during the wild wild west days of cyberspace was more successful. As the transition from print to cyber was slow. Giving bloggers less competition. In addition, social media became a much more market effective way of self expression.

Web 2.0-A Social Media 

MySpace

MySpace, the first modern social media is perhaps the greatest example of the internet’s shift from academia to media. MySpace, more of a media than a technology company. Came up with a product a generation early. As is, mostly the case with non-technical compagnies in a techical field. Myspace, provided a clunky user experience due to slow internet connection and poor computers. The emphasis on MySpace was more on content creation. Whereas Facebook the empahsis was on creators. The audiences were more content to watch creators.

Facebook

Facebook a technology compagny, by contrast. Was quickly able to scale a minimalist user experience. Facebook was not a revolutionary product, with Friendster already exploding. However, Facebook was the best social media. Facebook’s, minimalist design, superior technology and greater vision culminated in a paradigm shift- the newsfeed. In contrast to visiting your friends profile one at a time. Facebook, would algorithmically agglomerate salient information on the Newsfeed. Before Facebook would try to incorporate other features of other popular social media websites.

Early Facebook, was very much a web 1.0 phenomenon. The goal, was to bring a network of friends from space onto cyberspace. Before social media, would then shift to the web 2.0 paradigm. With the goal, now for users to be creating the content that generates the cash flow.As Facebook developed, content created by professionals increasingly dominated.

Google+

As an industry that cool that Google couldn’t break into social media. Google’s closest thing to Social Media, YouTube. Purchased as Google’s video own video streaming service could not take advantage of network effects in its attempt to compete with Facebook. Google Plus, was not very good.

Web 2.0-Network Effects

On the evolution of video streaming

The information technology, of the latter half of the 20th century, the personal computer. Is out competing the information technology, of the first half of the 20th century cinema and telivision. Fundamentally speaking, video streaming is just video content being delivered through fibre optic cables as opposed to satellite or other cables. The cost of symbolic communication, with the internet has led to the death of the studio system. With amateur content, increasingly outcompeting networked content.

Netflix

Unlike traditional content studios, Netflix does not micro-manage it’s creators. This gives them an advantage, over legacy media. As Netflix is able to have more diverse content. However, it’s cost per view is still higher than Youtube’s.

Youtube

The advantage that Youtube has over Netflix, is that it has more content about more content. The decreasing cost of recording information has caused an increase in the quality of amateur content.

Podcasts

The principle difference, between podcast and radio. Is that radio encodes audio over the electromagnetic spectrum. Podcasts, records audio in a binary. Podcasts, are the evolution of radio in the sense of podcasts can be stored in cyberspace. While a radio has to be live broadcasted. Podcast, fundamentally represents a room in cyberspace. An indexation, of one of earths possible sub realities that exist on Earth.

Spotify

What started out as a natural evolution of, of nature of the music streaming. Has ended up as a colossal waste of money. Spotify, still has time to resume the music revolution that it started. In the sense that the ultimate destiny for a Spotify like company to become a platform for audio content. The way YouTube, is a platform for video content. The last attempt at this SoundCloud, failed due to a limited business model. Unlike Spotify, SoundCloud did not offer a subscription to a catalogue of labelled music.

Spotify, stopped restricting itself to just music and looked to capture the greater audio market. Spotify chose to overpay for talent that YouTube got for free. Then forced advertising for other podcasts that they overpaid for. For users who pay not to be advertised to. While not investing in the underlying information technology, that allowed these podcasters to go to YouTube in the first place.

The Iphone

The iPhone, a new portal to cyberspace came.The next iteration in the variable image revolution. The iPhone or the two way mobile variable image machine. Is to the post post modern generation what the television was to the post modern generation.

Where instead of having a keyboard and mouse. Computing is interfaced via fingers. The reason for this comes down to efficiency. The buttons on the screen are used about half the time. So it’s not worth dedicating a button to something that is not essential. Space, being scarce on such a small device. As the point for it is to be mobile.

To sum up Jobs’ computing career. He commercialised one paradigm of computing (the personal computer). Replaced the Walkman and the CD player with the Ipod. Invented two different portals to cyberspace. The iPhone and ipad. Both portals, different dimensions of the same fundamental technology. Different evolutions, in the geometry of computing.

Although he is the second greatest computer designer in history. Trailing the one and only Douglas ‘Doug’ Engelbart. Jobs is the greatest computer manufacturer of all time. Despite not being a hardware guy. Jobs early exit from Apple was because computing, as an industry, was still too immature to fulfil Jobs’ vision. And Jobs did not know enough about computers to know what they were and were not cable of. After leaving Apple, Jobs would go on to fund NEXT (later acquired by Apple). Also, buy Lucas animations (later pixar). Jobs would end up making the bulk of his money from Pixar. After after going fifty million in deep before the release of Toy Story. The technological successor to Walt Disney’s Cinderella.

Android OS

Google’s Android took the Microsoft route towards Apple. Offering an operating system both as a service for other foreign manufacturers. Also, offering their own end to end computer experience with the Pixel phone. This eventually led Google to displace Apple as the world’s largest phone company.

Facebook operates a lower scale to Google. It was it was the very issue of scale, which forced Facebook out of making smartphones. Facebook would then try to compensate with a reduced version of Google’s Android. Alternatively, Facebook could have partnered with a traditional smartphone manufacturer. Write an OS as a competitor to Android, with a greater emphasis on social media.But that is exactly Facebook’s problem. It is just a social media that is not contented with being just a social media. It has no portal to cyberspace, putting it behind all of its would be competitors in that respect.

Blackberry-The variable text machine

the cultural phenomenon, of the Blackberry. Despite infinitesimally small costs, carriers charged exorbitant fees for texts and calls. As a result, a slew of services arose to deal with these issues (Skype, AOL Messenger, MSN).The advantage of the BlackBerry over these other services. Is that Blackberry had a mobile portal, to a still nascent cyberspace. BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) was just the mobile version of AOL Instant Messenger.

Variable Image Machine

The iPhones, larger screen created at the expense of the keyboard made it more a photography device. If the iPod, is the successor to the Walkman. The iPhone, the Polaroid. The ability, to capture and share variable images directly led to the proliferation of image based social medias. A natural funciton of a new portal to cyberspace. In addition to the death of non touch screen smartphones.

Variable Picture Machine-Instagram

Instagram, (later be acquired by Facebook) chose to have limited yet emphasised functionality-the photograph. People could share photos, while having access to a mobile Photoshop-the filter. Sharing photos on Facebook, although possible was not emphasised by the site. With photos falling on a mobile uploads album. albums necessary to post pictures on Facebook. versus just posting a singular picture.the difficulty of the Edit. Demand curve being downward sloping, the easier it is to edit pictures. The more people will do it. Filters made Instagram as a service more valuable. By making it easier to post, while decreasing the difficulty on content creation. Making uglier pictures artificially more attractive. Therebey increasing the number of media that can be shown socially.

Filters, as a concept were so successful that phone manufacturers would provide them as part of their default camera application. The advances in mobile camera technology, having shifted from hardware to software during this time. The definition of what constitutes a picture. Becoming increasingly distant.

The real effects of this trend will be seen in video editing. Given that CGI, did nothing but enhance cinema.As the ability to engage in increasingly fanciful edits will make the sharing of increasingly sophisticated but nonetheless amateur content possible.

Instant Photo Machine-Snapchat

Snapchat, inherited Facebook status as the media of the youth. BBy eleminating quality restraint and time consideration from their content.Snapchats biggest innovation was the concept of a story. A story is a picture which will only be visible for a day. The time constraint, being the delineating factor between stories and traditional posts. The fleeting nature of it, is the attraction. Instagram’s, self imposed quality limit allowed other camera based social medias to traffic in the less attractive. Snapchat was less picky, and was therefore able to create more content. Attract, more people to more places in cyberspace. It was not until Instagram relaxed it’s quality constraint they morphed into competitors to Snapchat.

Short Video Machine-Vine and TikTok

reintroducing the concept of the flipbook to the 21st century. The meme is the modern day poster. The world was not ready for the reintroduction of the flipbook in 2014 with Vine. But would be with TikTok. Tiktok, inhereting the status as social media of the youth from Snapchat.

Twitter

Twitter, as a social media is bolstered by smartphones as now people have more opportunities to micro blog over. In addition to having more time to read microblogs over. Although lacking the user base of Facebook or Instagram. Twitter’s effect on culture is superior. 2016 can be though as the year Twitter went mainstream. I got on Twitter before my freshman year of high school in 2011. Prior to the Trump phenomenon. Twitter, I can assure you with fun. As to the question to what extent is Twitter real life? A naive answer, would be. That Twitter is real life to the extent that people attent to Twitter. However, corporate media is disproportionately influenced by Twitter. Therefore, espouse the views on Twitter onto other informational channels.

Facebook Mobile

The shift of the portal to cyberspace, from desktop to mobile is the differentiating factor between Gen Y and Gen Z. Facebook on desktop was not outdated, but obsolete. In fact, Facebook never able never actually shifted to mobile.The nature of the site changed by the smaller screen. No longer was there a redundant sidebar to fill. Therefore mobile ads had to be part of the feed. Zuckerberg who grew up with the personal computer as his portal to cyberspace was already unprepared for the shift to mobile. As a result, Zuckerberg chose to echew this generation cyberspace portal for the next- virtual reality. A pivot whose effectiveness remains to be seen.

Up to 2015, Facebook remained the dominant social media. Only to be overtaken by another acquired Facebook product, Instagram. Facebook, operates at a larger scale, compared to other social medias. We know this because Facebook keeps buying all other social medias. Cyberspace being a physical place in space. Facebook, is a series of data servers. So when Facebook purchases an attention product, the attention products given the technology equivalent of meth. Instagram, literally loads faster with Facebook. Since acquiring these brands, however, Facebook has proceeded to destroy any previous brand loyalty, but from a technological perspective, it makes total sense to merge with Facebook.

An election in cyberspace-PostpostModern Politcal engineering

In 2015, is the birth of the post postmodern age and the effect of social media can be seen by the influences they had on the elections of that time. With all of the candidates, who had a big presence on social media-Trump, Duterte and the Brexit campaign. All using the newest techniques to appeal to voters. While they, their traditional adversaries were more likely to run a post modern election campaign.

Cambridge Analytica

Cambridge Analytica, represents the automation of political engineering. The term political engineering, pioneered by the Russians. Known elsewhere as the office of public relations.Since the presence of machine learning in the sense previously, ads were more generic as they were meant to appeal to more people. However, with everyone’s newsfeed being a unique display. they are more bespoke. The data, is gathered thanks to Facebook’s last data policy represents. Facebook was also used as an information dissemination mechanism