Riding the Media Bits

Last update: 2014/08/12

Riding the media bits





Why I have written these pages on digital media convergence

All living beings communicate in some form and the living beings that are currently on top of the ladder - humans - have the most advanced forms of communication: the word, and we have found and used technologies to make communication ever more effective:

  • Drawing, painting, sculpture
  • Musical instruments
  • Writing and printing
  • Photography and cinematography
  • Remote communication by wired and wireless means
    • Text (telegraph and telex)
    • Fax
    • Speech and audio
    • Video
  • Recording of audio and video
  • Synthetic information (e.g. video games).

With this tracking shot we have walked across centuries and millennia, but starting just a quarter of century ago our life has been greatly impacted by the latest round of Digital Technologies. The combination of 3 digital technologies  

  • Media to handle all information sources via a common unit - the bit
  • Device to process information bits inexpensively
  • Network to transport bits

has brought about the Digital Media Revolution with its new forms of communication.

These pages bound by the title "Riding the media bits" have been motivated by the fact that Digital Media Technologies are at the root of the Revolution, most of them have been unleashed by the Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG) in the last 25 years and the Digital Media Revolution shows no sign of abating. Therefore with these pages I intend to expand and deepen the reader's knowledge about the development of Digital Media Technologies and to suggest how their potential can be exploited.

The principal focus of these pages is Digital Media Technologies as seen by the author's experience. However, I have also addressed various aspects of Device and Network Technologies where I found it appropriate.

The target reader of these pages is non-technical. The matters handled, however, are typically affected by sophisticated technologies and some knowledge of them will be required, if understanding is not to come out of thin air. I dare say, though, that readers with a technical background can also benefit from being exposed to the breadth of issues treated by these pages.

In order not to scare the readers of this first page, I guarantee that I have made all efforts to reduce technical requirements to the minimum necessary. Non-technical readers are advised to exercise a minimum of perseverance (actually not very much), when they see themselves confronted with technical descriptions, if they want to reap the results promised. As a last resort, they may skip the chapter that is challenging them beyond their desire to understand.

There is one last thing I would like to state before taking the reader with me for a 25 year ride on the media bits. You will find that personal pronouns are rigorously kept in masculine form. I know this is politically incorrect, but I do think that if a language forces people to use personal pronouns in a sentence, like English does, there should be one of two choices: either to change the language and to make the use of pronouns optional, as in Italian or Japanese, or the people who expect to see a constant use of "he or she", "him or her", "his or hers" etc., become less prudish. Neither of these options is within my reach so I will do as I said. After all I would rather look like a male chauvinist and use masculine pronouns, than be a male chauvinist but use politically correct expressions.

The only promise I can make is that I will use all personal pronouns in feminine form on the next occasion (if there will ever be one J).

This page would not be complete if I did not acknowledge my English mentor - Philip Merrill. Of his own initiative he has reviewed all the pages, providing countless invaluable suggestions. If the pages are more understandable - and readable - the credit goes to him. If they are not the discredit only goes to me.