Riding the Media Bits

Last update: 2011/08/21

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 both native - the word - and because they use technologies that make communicating parties even more effective in their communication.

The range of technologies deployed over the centuries and millennia by humans is impressive:

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

Starting from the 1990s the life of humans has been greatly impacted by the latest round of Digital Technologies that have brought the use of 

  • Digital Media Technologies to handle all sources of information via a common unit - the bit
  • Digital Device Technologies to process information bits via inexpensive devices
  • Digital Network Technologies to transport bits via digital networks

The combination of these 3 digital elements has brought about the Digital Media Revolution that has brought 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, that most of them have been unleashed by the Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG) in the last 25 years and that the Digital Media Revolution shows no sign of abating. Therefore these pages intend to expand and deepen the knowledge about the development Digital Media Technologies and suggest ways to increase their exploitation potential.

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

The target reader of these pages is non-technical. Since, however, the matters handled are strongly affected by sophisticated technologies, 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 technicalcan can also benefit from being exposed to the breadth of issues treated by these pages.

In order not to scare readers from this page, I guarantee that I have made all efforts to reduce technical backgrounds to the minimum necessary to provide a baseline knowledge about the issues considered. Non-technical readers are advised to exercise a minimum of perseverance (not very much, actually), 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 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 her" 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.