This week, we took a look at chapters one and two of Small Pieces Loosely Joined. Author David Weinberger argues that the world wide web is more akin to an “idea” rather than simply technology. He uses descriptors for the internet like one would describe a bolt of lighting – having sent a “jolt” through how we view society. Published in the early 2000s, it is understandable that as the internet was rapidly evolving, sentiments of shock and even fear were commonly held. He concludes the first chapter by describing the web as a “world” we have created for each other, which leads us straight into his second chapter. This notion that the web is a created “world” is important, as Weinberger dedicates the second chapter to exploring why we view the web as a “space.” Spoiler alert – at the end of the chapter, he describes the web as a collection of places without space – so that we can travel to different locations with just a click on a hyperlink.
For this week’s post, I am going introduce an “artifact” and use it to explain how people thought about technology during that time – or in this case, how people think about technology now. Introducing: the iPad Pro from Apple – https://www.apple.com/ipad-pro/. While most of you probably will be familiar with this magical tablet, if you are not, please take a quick look at the link to get a picture in mind for what I’m about to say. I believe that the iPad is a marker of how people in this time period think about technology – or better yet, a craving. This craving is a desire for efficiency above all else. Ten years ago, a college student might have had a collection of notebooks, textbooks, pens, pencils, erasers, highlighters, binders, a laptop, and much more within arm’s reach in their backpack. Today, every item mentioned above can be wrapped up into one thin device. Who needs physical textbooks when you have e-books? Who needs pens, pencils, and highlighters when all these can be utilized with one special stylus? Who needs to purchase notebooks and scratch paper when you have blank sheets for writing limited only to internal or even cloud storage? Also, of course – who needs a laptop when you can slap on a Bluetooth keyboard and turn the tablet effectively into one? Efficiency is the name of the game here. Everything is centralized, you have less to carry, and you are able to access everything you might need for a class(es) in one compact location. When we think about David Weinberger talking about space – even though he discussed it in the sense of the world wide web, we can see it translate loosely here. A small piece of physical space contains boundless places, putting to shame what it meant to travel from one place to another in a slowly dying era of textbooks and notebooks.
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