- Series: later printing
- Paperback: 272 pages
- Publisher: Vintage; 1 edition (January 3, 1996)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0679762906
- ISBN-13: 978-0679762904
- Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.6 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 102 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #201,146 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Being Digital 1st Edition
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As the founder of MIT's Media Lab and a popular columnist for Wired, Nicholas Negroponte has amassed a following of dedicated readers. Negroponte's fans will want to get a copy of Being Digital, which is an edited version of the 18 articles he wrote for Wired about "being digital."
Negroponte's text is mostly a history of media technology rather than a set of predictions for future technologies. In the beginning, he describes the evolution of CD-ROMs, multimedia, hypermedia, HDTV (high-definition television), and more. The section on interfaces is informative, offering an up-to-date history on visual interfaces, graphics, virtual reality (VR), holograms, teleconferencing hardware, the mouse and touch-sensitive interfaces, and speech recognition.
In the last chapter and the epilogue, Negroponte offers visionary insight on what "being digital" means for our future. Negroponte praises computers for their educational value but recognizes certain dangers of technological advances, such as increased software and data piracy and huge shifts in our job market that will require workers to transfer their skills to the digital medium. Overall, Being Digital provides an informative history of the rise of technology and some interesting predictions for its future. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Negroponte, a Wired columnist and founder of MIT's Media Lab, presents an accessible guide to the cutting edge of digital technology and his predictions for its future.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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For starters, you can't blame Negroponte for the dated material in the book. After all, it was published in 1995. One of the things I really enjoyed about this book was reading some of the predictions made by Negroponte back then, and how they turned out. The "atoms vs. bits" argument was arguably revolutionary at the time and I think it is a relevant method of discussing the digital revolution with students who were born either during or shortly before the book being published. Dinosaurs such as I can remember the days before the internet and when we had to use typewriters to work on papers. I remember how completely freaked out I was the first time I heard my computer "speak" in 1994, after installing a sound card and CD ROM drive - so the concept of interactive computing and hence moving bits vs. moving atoms is a bit of an eye-opener to an old timer. To those who come of age post-Internet, its a good way of grounding you in the history and function of digital life. The best arguments in the book show up in the introduction and in the conclusion - I think that's where Negroponte is at his best. He pontificates (as well as predicts!) very well in these sections - much better than in the rest of the book.
Between the intro and conclusion... well... there seems to be a lot of rambling. Kind of reminds me of a guy at work who won't stop talking once he starts. And then its scattershot from one topic to another, blah de blah de blah, with no real substance. The best part between the opening and closing is when Negroponte goes off about the stupidity of fax technology. Quite frankly I agree - why type something on a computer, print it out, put it in another machine, send it electronically to wherever, so that someone at the other end can print out another copy? Complete waste of paper, to say the least. Makes me wonder if the lumber/timber industry isn't involved somehow... but other than that, there just isn't much there.
That said, this isn't really a bad book. At times I found myself nodding in agreement, other times nodding off to sleep, and other times laughing out loud either at the foolishness of some predictions or the uncanny accuracy of others. Overall however, I wasn't too terribly impressed.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading the book and reflecting on his foresight.
Gave a copy to my techie son.