by Dave Kellam

Eco on Wikileaks

From Umberto Eco’s article about Wikileaks.

I once had occasion to observe that technology now advances crabwise, i.e. backwards. A century after the wireless telegraph revolutionised communications, the Internet has re-established a telegraph that runs on (telephone) wires. (Analog) video cassettes enabled film buffs to peruse a movie frame by frame, by fast-forwarding and rewinding to lay bare all the secrets of the editing process, but (digital) CDs now only allow us quantum leaps from one chapter to another. High-speed trains take us from Rome to Milan in three hours, but flying there, if you include transfers to and from the airports, takes three and a half hours. So it wouldn’t be extraordinary if politics and communications technologies were to revert to the horse-drawn carriage.

An interesting analogy. Political communications probably won’t slide back to horses, but sneakernets are looking good.

December 14, 2010 ·

Riepl’s Law

In 1913, Wolfgang Riepl, chief editor and a Nuremburg daily, made this statement in his dissertation concerning ancient modes of news communications.

New, further developed types of media never replace the existing modes of media and their usage patterns. Instead, a convergence takes place in their field, leading to a different way and field of use for these older forms.

The old doesn’t necessarily die out. In some instances, the old methods are absorbed or recycled into a new form. In others cases, those methods are refined and distilled down to their essence.

July 20, 2010 ·