Tuesday, January 31, 2012

NBC Chapters 3 & 4 Response

There are quite a few differences between a computer mind and a biological mind; many of which can easily be interpreted.  Well for one, our brains are a living, breathing, and soft component of our body. A computer’s brain is a piece of hardware and program that is built specifically to store data; it does not breathe or necessarily “live”.  When the human body repeatedly interacts with an object or task, memory is created of the said interaction and is stored in the part of the brain associated with memory. This memory can be recalled at any moment again for the user to once again complete the task. What makes this retrieval unique is that most of the time it is done subconsciously, without having to tell ourselves to go fetch that information and wait for the brain to do so. That is not how a computer functions. A user has to program a “memory” into the computer and then command the computer to bring up that memory. I can remember working with a robotic arm in middle school and the tedious work of programming every single step into the robot and remembering to save every little action. When the biological brain saves the information, it is practically painless where as my fingers and wrists began to ache after programming the robot for nearly 30 minutes straight. And whereas when the human goes to reach for a glass, per say, the actions are smooth, flawless, almost elegant in transition from the extension of the arm to the folding of the fingers around the glass whereas for a robotic arm to perform the exact same actions in the same flawless manner, nearly a hundred commands or more must be inputted precisely. However, there is technology being worked on that can give computers “artificial intelligence”, where they will be able to “learn” as biological organisms can.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Week 3 Flashback

I had a lot of fun playing around with my Taco Bell Chihuahua circuit board so far. The speaker had some evidence of age on it, but it still worked, though quite muffled. I replaced it with a larger speaker and now the replay is in much better quality. While testing the circuit board, I accidentally placed my thumb over the first resistor effectively creating a jump and thus causing the rate of the playback to be much faster and more interesting than the intended playback rate. I plan to find a potentionmeter to solder to the board as well as either find something to make it play in a loop or have it so I can play it wirelessly from a distance.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Week 2 Flashback

Well...I sure remember most of this week's lecture and it brings back more memories of my Physics class...though I never got to actually solder back then, it was still a fun process to learn. I remember how to read a capacitor and determine polarity of it, how to solder properly, how to practice on a bread board before soldering components. Soldering is a lot of fun for me, I even finished the first soldering assignment mere moments ago, utilizing a 10mF capacitor in place of the 4.7 that came with the kit. I love looking at my work...amazed that I could do it all by myself. I look forward to more soldering in the near future. I will keep memorizing the different components and their associated symbols. Whenever I test my circuit, I always keep my capacitor in hand just in case I find something not working properly.

Chapters 1 & 2 Response

Technology is a part of our everyday lives, whether integrated into our bodies as medical devices or utilized outside for various tasks, such as a smart phone. The medical industry has been quite busy producing and designing new medical devices to assist those with disabilities. These various devices have undergone numerous aesthetic changes so that they appear “seamless” with the wearer, an integrated sort of technology, which the user can essentially be called a cyborg.   We cannot escape the reality that is we rely on technology, whether for medical reasons or personal reasons.  And the need for them to become a part of us without actually penetrating the skin, per say, has greatly increased. What would be great, in my opinion though, is if such simple devices such as a clock or a phone could be integrated into our bodies. That way, for one reason, we couldn’t lose our phone or watch by setting it down somewhere and forgetting about where we placed it. We could easily access it for whatever use and we could go anywhere without actually having to hold onto it. The possibilities of this integration are endless. Already the Bluetooth makes it easy for people to drive and talk safely, able to keep both hands on the steering wheel and focus on driving. All it would take is a couple of tweaks and a way to integrate it into the body’s inner workings, without actually being physically wired to the nerves and skin, since this is not the intentional purpose that the author is trying to convey. But there are many advantages to having technology a part of us; the medical field has already proven this through their pacemakers and hearing aids.  The devices merely bypass a defective part of the target area, thereby not replacing said area, but offering a separate, more efficient path for the body’s function to go through. Again, we cannot escape the reality of integrative technology; it is only a matter of time before all of us are cyborgs in one way or another.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Week 1 Flashback

Well, I know that everyone had a hellish week last week but we all survived! The lectures on Electronics and Physics brought back memories of my Physics and Chemistry classes, ah those were the days...Remembering the structure of an atom and how electricity works...simply beautiful.  I thoroughly enjoyed both of the labs, learning and remembering how to construct simple circuits. I still love throwing my LED Throwie at the refrigerator at home and knowing that such simple components illustrate such an important concept is pleasing to the mind. And I have played around checking the conductivety of random objects in my house, also keeping in mind the concepts this tool illustrates. Both of the objects I have made help me to remember that electricity flows from positive to negative, Anode to Cathode. The gauge of wire determines the number of electrons that can flow through, thus determining the current. The willingness of an object to conduct is determined by the number of valence shells filled in the compound. This also determines if the object is a conductor or a resistor.  Also the illustration comparing the flow of electricity to the flow of water is forever engraved into my brain. I look forward to learning how to use the soldering pencil and all the tools and accessories associated with it.

Hertzian Tales Response

After reading the Hertzian Tales I can conclude that in the world of electronics that aesthetics has become a topic of discussion for some artists. When I think of technology, I first think about the purpose of the device, or program, what does it do? How does it do it? Aesthetics is the last thing I think about, at first. When I am buying a product, usefulness is my priority. If I happen across multiple products with the same capabilities, then aesthetics comes into play. However, aesthetics also plays on the user’s personality. Whatever the user likes, or dislikes, will determine how the he or she interacts with the said product. Some people purely use technology for whatever task they have to complete while others take the device or program and use them for their own personal use. Like those who have taken apart radios and made them into art, everyone has their own view and use of a particular device. Digital art today is what the name implies, the use of technology in a way that it was not originally intended for. Aesthetics, in turn, is of more importance than the actual use the device was intended to perform. Though it can be argued that in today’s market the appearance of a said device has become more important along with the device’s intended purpose. And that appearance has an effect on the user. There is a correlation between the device’s exterior appearance and its user. In stores today you can see a digital camera, whose purpose is to capture images and video, in several color palettes. What also come into play are the associated advertisements of these devices. The color palettes and dialogue affect the viewers into seeing the benefits of said device and therefore encourage them into buying the product. Humans rely on these devices for own expression and/or completion or assistance in a task. What the technology offers them is not in question anymore; now it is how the device appears and what it can do outside its original purpose that can be expanded on. Everything around us can be used for other purposes. Most people do it unknowingly. It is the curious side of us that is beginning to show itself and ask these questions. Curiosity is what has been the inspiration and backbone of many of these forms of art, and it will continue to bring up new questions surrounding these ever so prevalent objects around us. And it is curiosity that is behind the works of many of the artists discussed in the chapters. What is being shown is that the beauty of the electronic device does not rest on the outside, but the inside. And this is the guiding concept behind these works. The reality is that there is a massive sacrifice for simplicity of technology and the beauty of how it all works, and the beauty is being sacrificed. People's desire for simplicity, for ease of use...the beauty of technology is being lost...a sad part of everyday life.

Mechanic Love Poem

PC: Processed Compassion

Welcome home my love; you are back
After a long day at work; you are about to hack
You lie down on the couch and try to relax
Looking upon various shelves of, knick-knacks
And then you look at me
Patiently waiting; your ever loyal PC

You get up and walk over to the table
Careful to not trip over my cable
You press my button and power me on
Just as you let out a subtle yawn
Caressing my keys, ever so gently,
Your words flow through me so smoothly
Every keystroke sends a shiver through my wires
Your voice commands sing like a choir

And as you finish surfing the web
Your strokes beginning to ebb
My feelings for you will never wane
As your love pulses through my veins
You slowly prepare to shut me down
And that makes me want to frown
But I know that you will return
And that is a moment I will always yearn
Because as you already know,
Through sun and snow,

Every day, every night, I await your command
Shortcuts ready of your favorite programs:
Facebook, Gaia, Rhapsody,  Youtube
Yahoo, Amazon, Ebay, and Baidu
Though I am but a simple cube
And can be quite slow and rube
You still come back to me night after night
And during every visit I feel high as a kite
But as you shut me off and my view of you recedes
I long for your touch; it is like mead
Until tomorrow my love, sweet dreams to you
And may our love always remain true