Re: mixed means 2

Nick Rothwell (
9 Apr 1998 09:33:08 -0000

> The truth of the matter is that
> digital technologies are becoming more and more powerful, more and more
> inexpensive, and more and more ubiquitous. If the educational institutions
> don't react to this - is they don't accept the challenge to existing models
> and ways of doing things that these technologies provide, we will only have
> an increasing disjunct between theory, practice, and education.

Absolutely; I agree. On the other hand, there is always a continuous
gradient in terms of the level of sophistication of hardware and
systems is available across a proportion of the user base. For
example, while the Internet hot-shots have ISDN to their homes and
dedicated T-1's at work or in the lab, centering one's online projects
around the kind of bandwidth they provide immediately restricts its
availability to a huge percentage of the Internet community at large,
most of whom are still plugging away at 28.8K. (While I enjoy a T-1
and numerous fast Pentiums at work, I have a slow 14.4K modem at home
and none of my computers there do any kind of multimedia; in fact,
none has a colour screen or soundcard.)

We will all get higher bandwidth eventually, although the politics of
the telecommunications and cable companies means that will take many
years. In the meantime, claims that The Internet(TM) is profoundly
changing our attitude to the creation and presentation of our Art(*)
are optimistic, to say the least. It will happen eventually; but
people tend to vastly over-rate short-term changes and under-estimate
long-term ones. The long-term changes will be profound, moreso than I
can predict at least.

(*) I'm not trying to paraphrase Scott here, just present a sympathy
that I come across quite often in various circles.

> Increasing support by academia for emering digital technologies can only
> help make them more widespread, too.

Mmm. I hate to be a real stick-in-the-mud here. I really do. I'm not
just trying to cause trouble, honestly. But I'm trying to think of
cases where academic support of technology has really had a huge
impact on its wider availability and acceptance. The Internet is often
quoted as an example, but although a lot of the infrastructure was put
in place academically (building on the original military-funded
ARPAnet), it wasn't until commercial ventures saw the opportunities
afforded by the World Wide Web that it really took off, fueled by the
commercial availability of cheap powerful microprocessors.

Academic work generally only takes hold when adopted by market-savvy
commercial organisations.

        Nick Rothwell, CASSIEL            contemporary dance projects            music synthesis and control

NOTICE - this vessel has triple screws - keep clear of blades