What are the media devices that define YOU?
Here’s 3 of the devices I have loved (and lost).
Followed by a prediction about what is coming down the line.
ALERT: this is navel gazing on my part but it also says a lot about the modern audience experience so indulge me…
Big Technology for a 70’s Kid
As a kid my homelife was quite chaotic. Even though I lived in a crowded, loud and busy house I often felt alone. Music was my saviour, the escape I needed and I really bonded with music tech as a reliable companion. (Yes I know I’m weird!)
Initially, this was a portable reel to reel tape machine, but that was a hassle for a 6 year old and if I screwed up the tape there was the wrath of my older brother (this is turning into a cyberpunk “Kes” innit? Lol.)
So when our family got a CASSETTE MACHINE I was in heaven. (If I could get my hands on it, there was always competition). I could record and playback all the things I wanted to; obsess about the Beatles, tape music off the radio and have World Cup commentary to accompany football games in the back field.
Half the thing for me was logging, labelling and archiving… OCD anyone?
Those good old cassettes kept me company and opened up the cultural world. (I lived in the middle of nowhere in the farmlands of Shropshire.)
Off Road – Onto the Digital Highway
Later, I left home and lived out my rock and roll dreams playing in a band; touring for 3 years, making a record and all the nonsense that goes with that. Within a short time though I realised that my band were not headed for legendary status and there was little opportunity on the road ahead to live out my burgeoning creative dreams.
So I left music and got myself involved in making films. I set up a business, raised some funding and bought an Apple Mac COMPUTER. In the planning stages this machine was meant for admin and writing invoices. But actually it didn’t turn out that way
This machine was cutting edge and digital media ready. I could work with audio at full quality and even digitise video (at the size of a postage stamp).
Do you remember those early digital videos? This was back in 1995. Computer power was exploding (when wasn’t it Mr Moore?) and digital video was starting its rise to global domination. Who else remembers the anticipation of waiting for QuickTime 2 so we could work with full screen movie files?
So for the next few years I was working regular jobs in Film, TV and Corporate and burning up all my spare time on digital and interactive video projects. I logged 13,000 hours over those next few years. It was a very intense, fun and creative time where I learnt lots of tricks and techniques. Some of my biggest lessons came from prototyping interactive stories and putting them out into fan forums and digital art exhibitions.
So the computer was my favourite media device for many years. I always loved working with audio, it was the natural extension of my obsession with music but now my soundtrack had moving pictures too…
Decreasing Size of Obsession
More recently, the device that captured my attention is the SMARTPHONE. It’s a window to the world – but also a black hole in terms of attention deficit, so mixed blessings!
They are remarkable devices. The smartphone and the tablet are fast becoming everybody’s choice of media device. They encompass all aspects of previous device obsessions and take them further.
And mobile internet is something to behold. Actually I was never convinced about mobile internet until getting my first Android in 2010.
A friend reminded me yesterday of being at Power to the Pixel’s first Pixel Lab in Cardiff in 2010. We were split into groups and our group leader Brian Newman asked us each to tell the group something about ourselves – classic icebreaker stuff. I talked excitedly about my new Android phone and was shot down in flames as some kind of cyberpunk poseur. But that wasn’t the case (honest guv!) – I was genuinely taken with this new digital pal in my pocket and the possibilities that it opened up.
So I wasn’t a smartphone early adopter but I really grew to love the device which has by now become ubiquitous. And the rise of mobile internet media and culture has grown exponentially to be a force to be reckoned with.
(My love and hate relationship with mobile is based around the fact it’s so addictive – and I actually function better as human being if I have my phone off. But the lure is obvious to all. I fear that we will all be sucked into a world of social and email addiction through the tiny screens – or it just me?)
It’s not like we can uninvent the device – best to find a way to live alongside it… I’m still trying!
The Next Big Things
When I started writing this article I didn’t know where this train of thought was heading but it has become obvious via the writing down…
The Internet of Things beckons…
You’d better believe that the Internet of Things will bring the next device revolution and its happening now. Combining all our devices into a smooth running system that will support our everyday lives is a fascinating new wave. It’s the technological future as imagined by kids of the 60’s and 70’s – like me.
So the Internet of Things Remote Control is what I am looking for now...
Where did I put it?
Did I miss any of your favourite media devices off this list?
Drop me a comment with any additions