A few notes on the computer… Software and Empires of Operating Systems

None of the software apps and websites of the “social media era” function in isolation. Instead, they participate  in the larger ecology, which includes search engines, recommendation engines, blogging systems, RSS feds and other web technologies; inexpensive consumer electronic devices for capturing and accessing media, (digital cameras, mobile phones, music players…) and technologies that enable transfer f media between devices, people and the web (storage services, wireless tech and communication standards).


Without this ecology most web services and mobile apps would not be possible. (Manovich. 2013: 334)

Turning everything into data and using algorithms to analyse it changes  what it means to know something. (Manovich. 2013: 337)


Digital code, data visualisation, GIS information retrieval, machine learning techniques, constantly increasing speed of processors and decreasing cost of storage, big data analytics technologies, social media, and other parts of the modern techno social universe introduce new ways of acquiring knowledge, and in the process redefine what knowledge is. (Manovich, 2013:338)


Data processing at this scale in turn generates forms of knowledge that are, as one account puts it, “too big to know” (Weinberger 2011)—that is, when they are working as planned, they represent the complex interactions of large numbers of variables that are too complex to render in the form of written or spoken hypotheses or explanations. The patterns are emergent—they are a product of the process itself, and their reliability is simply a function of how robust they remain over time (as calculated using historical data and predictive analytics). Cybernetic control, in its drone manifestation evinces its roots in targeting and prediction. (Andrejevic 2016:36)

“People who are really serious about software, should make their own hardware” – Alan Kay



Another important type of software epistemology is data fusion -using data from different sources to create new knowledge that is not explicitly contained in any of them.

Apple hitting revolutionary new heights over and over again

Reading: A Conclusion on Software, Hardware, and Social Media by Manovich

The computer has allowed for three-dimensional spaces to be constructed in games, and has allowed for the invention of new types of communication such as blogging, microblogging, and social networks.


A computer breathes new life into the physical and electronic media it stimulates.

Imagine telling someone 100 years ago that the page in one book could be transferred around the world to another book, and that a photo could travel in the same way, yet we send information effortlessly across everywhere and anywhere.

In the evolution of the computer, hybridization has really come to the fore.

The computer is not a new medium, but a ‘metamedium’ a combination of existing and future media, a hybrid.

Photo: Lecture slides, http://www.viraltech.co.uk/blog/hybrid-computer-from-panasonic/

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