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Liff and Shepard found that although the gender digital divide has decreased in the sense of access to technology, it remained in the sense that women, who are accessing technology shaped primarily by male users, feel less confident in their internet skills and have less internet access at both work and home. Finally, Guillen and Suarez found that the global digital divide resulted from both the economic and sociopolitical characteristics of countries.

Chances are your mobile phone company, as well as the makers of your DVD player and MP3 device, are all counting on their products to fail. Not too quickly, of course, or consumers would not stand for it—but frequently enough that you might find that when the built-in battery on your iPod dies, it costs far more to fix it than to replace it with a newer model. Appliance repair people say that while they might be fixing some machines that are 20 years old, they generally are not fixing the ones that are seven years old; newer models are built to be thrown out.

This is called planned obsolescence , and it is the business practice of planning for a product to be obsolete or unusable from the time it is created The Economist To some extent, this is a natural extension of new and emerging technologies. After all, who is going to cling to an enormous and slow desktop computer from when a few hundred dollars can buy one that is significantly faster and better? But the practice is not always so benign.

The classic example of planned obsolescence is the nylon stocking. This requires the stockings to be discarded and new ones purchased. Not surprisingly, the garment industry did not invest heavily in finding a rip-proof fabric; it was in their best interest that their product be regularly replaced.


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Those who use Microsoft Windows might feel that they, like the women who purchase endless pairs of stockings, are victims of planned obsolescence. Every time Windows releases a new operating system, there are typically not many changes that consumers feel they must have. However, the software programs are upwardly compatible only. This means that while the new versions can read older files, the old version cannot read the newer ones. Even the ancillary technologies based on operating systems are only compatible upward.

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In , the Windows XP operating system, off the market for over five years, stopped being supported by Microsoft when in reality is has not been supported by newer printers, scanners, and software add-ons for many years. Ultimately, whether you are getting rid of your old product because you are being offered a shiny new free one like the latest smartphone model , or because it costs more to fix than to replace like an iPod , or because not doing so leaves you out of the loop like the Windows system , the result is the same.

But obsolescence gets even more complex. Currently, there is a debate about the true cost of energy consumption for products. This cost would include what is called the embodied energy costs of a product. Embodied energy is the calculation of all the energy costs required for the resource extraction, manufacturing, transportation, marketing, and disposal of a product. One contested claim is that the energy cost of a single cell phone is about 25 percent of the cost of a new car. We love our personal technology but it comes with a cost. Think about the incredible social organization undertaken from the idea of manufacturing a cell phone through to its disposal after about two years of use Kedrosky Technology and the media are interwoven, and neither can be separated from contemporary society in most developed and developing nations.

Media is a term that refers to all print, digital, and electronic means of communication. From the time the printing press was created and even before , technology has influenced how and where information is shared. Today, it is impossible to discuss media and the ways that societies communicate without addressing the fast-moving pace of technology.


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  7. You might tell a handful of people, but probably you would not call up several hundred, including your old high school chemistry teacher, to let them know. Now, by tweeting or posting your big news, the circle of communication is wider than ever. Therefore, when we talk about how societies engage with technology we must take media into account, and vice versa.

    Technology creates media. The comic book you bought your daughter at the drugstore is a form of media, as is the movie you rented for family night, the internet site you used to order dinner online, the billboard you passed on the way to get that dinner, and the newspaper you read while you were waiting to pick up your order. Without technology, media would not exist; but remember, technology is more than just the media we are exposed to.

    There is no one way of dividing technology into categories.

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    Whereas once it might have been simple to classify innovations such as machine-based or drug-based or the like, the interconnected strands of technological development mean that advancement in one area might be replicated in dozens of others. Patent Office, which receives patent applications for nearly all major innovations worldwide, addresses patents.

    This regulatory body will patent three types of innovation. Utility patents are the first type. These are granted for the invention or discovery of any new and useful process, product, or machine, or for a significant improvement to existing technologies. The second type of patent is a design patent.


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    Commonly conferred in architecture and industrial design, this means someone has invented a new and original design for a manufactured product. Plant patents , the final type, recognize the discovery of new plant types that can be asexually reproduced.

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    While genetically modified food is the hot-button issue within this category, farmers have long been creating new hybrids and patenting them. A more modern example might be food giant Monsanto, which patents corn with built-in pesticide U. Patent and Trademark Office Such evolving patents have created new forms of social organization and disorganization. Efforts by Monsanto to protect its patents have led to serious concerns about who owns the food production system, and who can afford to participate globally in this new agrarian world.

    This issue was brought to a head in a landmark Canadian court case between Monsanto and Saskatchewan farmer Percy Schmeiser.

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    He saved the seed and grew his own crop, but Monsanto tried to charge him licensing fees because of their patent. What is important to note is that through the courts, Monsanto established its right to the ownership of its genetically modified seeds even after multiple plantings. Each generation of seeds harvested still belonged to Monsanto. Anderson and Tushman suggest an evolutionary model of technological change , in which a breakthrough in one form of technology leads to a number of variations. Once those are assessed, a prototype emerges, and then a period of slight adjustments to the technology, interrupted by a breakthrough.

    For example, floppy disks were improved and upgraded, then replaced by zip disks, which were in turn improved to the limits of the technology and were then replaced by flash drives. This is essentially a generational model for categorizing technology, in which first-generation technology is a relatively unsophisticated jumping-off point leading to an improved second generation, and so on.

    Media and technology have evolved hand in hand, from early print to modern publications, from radio to television to film.

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    New media emerge constantly, such as we see in the online world. Early forms of print media, found in ancient Rome, were hand-copied onto boards and carried around to keep the citizenry informed. With the invention of the printing press, the way that people shared ideas changed, as information could be mass produced and stored. For the first time, there was a way to spread knowledge and information more efficiently; many credit this development as leading to the Renaissance and ultimately the Age of Enlightenment. This is not to say that newspapers of old were more trustworthy than the Weekly World News and National Enquirer are today.

    Sensationalism abounded, as did censorship that forbade any subjects that would incite the populace. The invention of the telegraph, in the mids, changed print media almost as much as the printing press. Suddenly information could be transmitted in minutes. As the 19th century became the 20th, American publishers such as Hearst redefined the world of print media and wielded an enormous amount of power to socially construct national and world events. With the invention and widespread use of television in the midth century, newspaper circulation steadily dropped off, and in the 21st century, circulation has dropped further as more people turn to internet news sites and other forms of new media to stay informed.

    This shift away from newspapers as a source of information has profound effects on societies. When the news is given to a large diverse conglomerate of people, it must to appeal to them and keep them subscribing maintain some level of broad-based reporting and balance. As newspapers decline, news sources become more fractured, so that the audience can choose specifically what it wants to hear and what it wants to avoid. With an anticipated decline in revenue of over 20 percent by , the industry is in trouble Ladurantaye Unable to compete with digital media, large and small newspapers are closing their doors across the country.

    The print newspapers are responsible for much of these costs internally. Digital media has downloaded much of these costs onto the consumer through personal technology purchases. In both cases, information and entertainment could be enjoyed at home, with a kind of immediacy and community that newspapers could not offer. Prime Minister Mackenzie King broadcast his radio message out to Canada in He later used radio to promote economic cooperation in response to the growing socialist agitation against the abuses of capitalism both outside and within Canada McGivern People heard about the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor as it was happening.

    Hockey Night in Canada was first broadcast live in Even though people were in their own homes, media allowed them to share these moments in real time. Unlike newspapers, radio is a survivor. Radio is a voice in your ear. It is a highly personal activity. It broadcasts news and programming that is mostly local in nature.

    Chapter 8. Media and Technology

    This same kind of separate-but-communal approach occurred with other entertainment too. The influence of Canadian television has always reflected a struggle with the influence of U. There were thousands of televisions in Canada receiving U. Public television, in contrast, offered an educational nonprofit alternative to the sensationalization of news spurred by the network competition for viewers and advertising dollars.

    Al Jazeera, the Arabic independent news station, has joined this group as a similar media force that broadcasts to people worldwide. The impact of television on North American society is hard to overstate. By the late s, 98 percent of homes had at least one television set. All this television has a powerful socializing effect, with these forms of visual media providing reference groups while reinforcing social norms, values, and beliefs.

    The film industry took off in the s, when colour and sound were first integrated into feature films. Like television, early films were unifying for society: As people gathered in theatres to watch new releases, they would laugh, cry, and be scared together. Movies also act as time capsules or cultural touchstones for society. The film industry in Canada has struggled to maintain its identity while at the same time embracing the North American industry by actively competing for U. Today, a significant number of the recognized trades occupations requiring apprenticeship and training are in the film industry.

    New media encompasses all interactive forms of information exchange.