Grandad, what’s the WiFi password?

Visiting my grandparents as a child is one of my greatest memories. When my brother and I were young they would spoil us rotten. Food, tea, and free control of the AUSTAR remote. It was basically a kids dream come true. Before my Pa even had the internet in the house, we were glued to the telly, watching Cartoon Network and flicking to the History channel just to impress the passers-by.

This was the status-quo for many years but when it truly changed wasn’t when Pa got the internet wired to his computer, but when my brother and I got our first smart phones. We just wanted the WiFi password. The key to the information kingdom. A free pass to browse the World Wide Web at our grandparents house with no parents over our shoulder watching.

My brother and I being small, naive children on the big scary internet, had no concept of bandwidth, or datacaps, let alone how many gigabytes in a Youtube clip. Poor Pa only had 4GB a month. Now it’s hard to imagine what you could actually do with 4GBs but to my grandfather it made perfect sense. He only ever needed to reply to circa 2005/6 chain emails, and look up the golf. So when we exploded his data with a few funny videos and some browser based flash games, we capped his WiFi almost instantly.

Looking at the internet usage stats provided by the ABS, I told my grandfather that his average internet use was bellow the mean for his age.

internetabs

Pa told me he spends less than 2 hours per day on the internet and all he does is send ad receive emails.

I said ‘Pa, why don’t you get Face Book to keep in touch with your friends?’ Many of my grandparents friends are over the age of 75. ‘Harry, none of my friends are smart enough to use Facebook.’ he said. E-mail is his primary means of communication on the internet.

We had a look at his Inbox of emails so I could Investigate further. On a daily basis, Pa receives up to 3-6 e-mails from friends along with the occasional update from the bank or ISP. His friends send jokes, puzzles, news stories, family photos and most surprisingly, memes.

My personal Inbox however, was vastly different. Zero emails from friends, and a plethora of bills, notifications, postage tracking, and spam. emails aren’t for or from my friends. Usually a new e-Mail means a new headache for me. I use emails to formally contact adults or companies or to receive auto filled pages from Face Book about the stats on my page. This bombardment of emails has made this medium (at least in my personal case) antiquated and fatigued.

email

With his new iPad, my grandfather does like most of us technologically savvy humans do. He sits in front of the TV watching golf and reading the emails from his friends. The only difference between him and myself is just the social medium we use.

 

And just for fun …

10 Chain Emails That Haunted Your Youth! Read and Send to 10 friends or you’ll live 10 years with bad luck!

 

 

 

Star Trek Beyond successful.

A successful trip to the cinema is hard to define. What makes it different to a regular trip to the cinema? What is considered unsuccessful? This being my line of intrigue, I decided to think back to my last visit to the cinema.

Star Trek Beyond was the last film I’ve seen in a cinema. Cheap Tuesday tickets. Greater Union. Popcorn. And 2 housemates. Before I went any further, I sat down with the 2 housemates to get their thoughts about what defines a successful trip to the cinema.

So we started brainstorming. The first thing we thought of was anticipation. This is after all the third Star Trek film. Both myself and L had seen the first and second films and liked them both. We were going to the cinema with prior knowledge. Knowledge of the characters and their relationships but also the standard of J.J. Abrams previous Star Trek movies and the quality we were accustomed too.

On this point L and I agreed that Beyond was definitely the weakest of the trilogy, while C who hasn’t seen these movies before said he enjoyed the movie regardless. By our own definition, a ‘Fun’ movies is one you simply enjoy because of it’s intrinsic value.

But what is the value of a cinema trip? Well it boils down to a roughly 12 dollar ticket a popcorn and a drink. The movie you watch there after is simply watching the return on your hour and forty minute investment. By that metric we all agreed that the movie, food and outing as a whole was worth the money we spent.

Moreover, I realise that not all ticket prices are 12 dollars. I know I spent more money on VMAX seats to see Star Wars Episode VII on release day (I paid 12 at the midnight screening at my local cinema, and again when I took my dad two days after) Some movies are worth more but does that change the value of the film?

For me the value comes from the people you go to the cinema with. Each visit to see the new Star Wars was with different company, and it vastly changed the way I remember the movie and how I enjoyed it at the time.

Regarding our etiquette, we reflected deeply on this for some time. Did we talk multiple times during the film? Doubtless. (Even if it was related to the film) Did we eat loudly and slurp our drinks? Yes. Although he wouldn’t admit it, I am sure C removed his shoes which Mark Kermode forbids explicitly in his code of conduct for cinema visits. code_of_conduct

Despite the actual film, which is not always guaranteed to entertain you, going to the movies can be an ordeal in itself. Parking is almost always a nightmare, specially if timed ticket car parks have anything to do with it. Busy nights means waiting for cold popcorn and it really is too expensive. (I can agree with the dads and mums on that one) The pre movie ads go for at least 10 minutes in bigger cinemas and before bigger movies. Personally I have taken a stand not to watch any movie trailers anymore, simply because I want a clean slate on which to make my judgments. But I always end up seeing them at the cinema before the movie.

So why go to the movies? Why leave your home to park your car to then walk and wait in line to watch it on a bigger screen, when you could just wait for it on DVD or steal it from the internet when someone has already been to see it and film it himself?

Torsten Hägerstrand in the 1960 came up with a conceptual model to track an individual movement in time-space geography. This involved 3 constraints on the individual.

Capability is the individuals  ability to move in space based on physical or biological factors. Speed, needing to sleep, A person cannot be in 2 places at once nor travel instantaneously to another.

Coupling is the time constraints that come from interactions with other people. Meetings take time usually to organize and coordinate with other people. Thus some temporal paths require coupling with others to complete.

Authority is an external control on time and space and the activities that occur.   When things can and can’t take place. Where something can and can’t take place.

 

If I was to consider a trip to the cinema based on Hägerstrand’s concepts then would I still consider the trip successful? To see a movie I have to take the time out of my day. Not just for the duration of the film but the trip to and from my home as well. Naturally I have means of transportation which means, yes I am physically capable of going getting to and from the cinema. The authority decides when films play and how much the tickets cost. These are external factors that have to be considered by me and the people I want to take to the movies. This company is coupled in the venture to the movies. It becomes a group activity that needs to be coordinated. Who’s driving? Who’s paying? What time are we going to see it? 3D or nah? It gives me headaches and most movies don’t make great use of it so I’d much rather see a 2D version of the same film if it’s all the same?

Personally, I have enjoyed the worst movies in good company. It’s the people you go to the cinema with that make or break the enjoyment. Some people aren’t good at watching movies with. Some people are too good and make sarcastic banter at shit movies and disturb the whole cinema. Any time spent with friends watching a good movie is a successful trip to the cinema.

References

Corbett, J, 2001. Torsten Hӓgerstrand, Time Geography. CSISS Classics. CSISS Classics,p 1-4.

Chris Hewitt. 2016. Star Trek Beyond Review | Movie – Empire. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.empireonline.com/movies/star-trek-beyond/review/. [Accessed 23 August 2016].

Digital Spy. 2016. The Wittertainment Cinema Code of Conduct!. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.digitalspy.com/movies/news/a288795/the-wittertainment-cinema-code-of-conduct/. [Accessed 23 August 2016].

Time to think.

When our lecturer Susan asked us all “Where are you in your lives now?” I couldn’t help but laugh.

It’s that question I’ve been asking myself for a while now. I’m not convinced that I could be the only Uni student living out of home with little, to no money, trying to cook decent meals each night, sitting up with my roommates discussing our meaning on the earth, drinking $10 plonk and wondering aloud “What is the point of all this?”

But Susan has given me the opportunity to think about this ambiguous question. Media Space. How does my current space in time relate to media. Time and Space. Maybe now I can try and answer Susan’s question.

We humans are physical, three dimensional beings, living in a reality of a material world. Everything we perceive is physical and tangible. Granted there are exceptions (that prove the rule) like the internet. Media.

Our physical lives change the way we engage, interact, experience digital media and the internet. We have Wi-Fi for instance. Secure safe zones where we can digitally connect ourselves though devices like phones, computers, consoles. Wander too far from the zone and you’re in the wild. No bars as they say.  Now every phone has 3 or 4G connectivity so wandering out of these WI-Fi zones has an illusion of safety. You can roam the streets, constantly connected.

Before Wi-Fi, internet came in copper wires that were plugged into terminals. Internet cafes, library computers, the information superhighway, were the digital portals of our ancestors. From confinement, to freedom; we’re endlessly connected and free to roam. (Just don’t turn on data roaming or the provider you’re with will rack up your data bill and we’ve all been there)

Media Space has expanded. It’s all around us now. We can access an immense database of knowledge with spectacular ease. Just pick up your phone and google something you didn’t know. Or open a new tab and search a random Wikipedia page. By the time you’ve learned something new, come back and read the rest of this post so I can get to my point.

Technology is an extension of ourselves as humans. Media Space is (or I should say ‘Can be’) surrounding us at all times. I mentioned above that this was about Space and Time. As humans beings we are subject to the arrow of time. Elliot puts it nicely.

Time present and time past
Are both perhaps present in time future

T.S Elliot

The future is a culmination of all things past and everything present. The extent of our potential knowledge is dictated to us by time. We are here, in this time. We are Now. This is the Media Space we are in. Not physically but temporally.

Thank you to Susan for prompting this long awaited ambiguous answer.