This past weekend I sat in too-narrow auditorium seats at a local high school with several hundred other people and watched short “adventure” films that were a part of the annual week-long Banff Centre Mountain Film & Book Festival this past fall.
This was my second year attending the local event, and it was as enjoyable as last year’s. Below are some trailers in no particular order of the films I saw and especially enjoyed.
He starts with a brief description of the movie The Name of the Rose, which is a bit of a medieval murder mystery involving a monastery library. The “library” is actually a labyrinth, but only in the movie. (The book is a little different.)
The letters on the arches represent the names of the places in the world, and are placed in the library where they would be in the world as it relates to Europe. They didn’t exactly replicate the world, but they ordered it like good librarians.
If you don’t understand the organizational system, it’s just a labyrinth. The movie had to change this because it wouldn’t work to have room after room of books covering the walls. We have to see the labyrinth to be able to participate in the experience, which can be different depending on the medium (book or movie).
Before computers, we relied on experts (people), books, and mentors to learn. With computers, we have access to all of them, at any time. We are constantly connected (if we choose) to streams of data, and the access points are more and more portable.
“Cyberspace is not a place you go to but rather a layer tightly integrated into the world around us.” –Institute for the Future
This is not the future. It’s here now. Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare… our phones and mobile devices connect us.
Think about how you might send a message? Email, text, handwritten, smoke signals, ouija… ti’s the same task, but with many different mediums.
What if someone is looking for a book? They could go to the circ desk, but that’s becoming less common. They could go to a virtual bookshelf for the library. Or they could go to a competitor like Amazon. They could do this on a mobile phone. Or they could just start looking on the shelves themselves, whether they understand the classification/organization or not. The only thing that matters is the book. They don’t want to fight with mobile interfaces, search results in the millions, or creepy library stacks. They just want the book, when they want it, and how they want it.
The library is a channel, as is the labeling, circ desk, website, mobile interface, etc. Unfortunately, they don’t work together. We have silos of channels, not just silos of information.
Think about a bank. You can talk to the call center employee — they can’t help you if it’s not a part of their scripted routines. You can’t start an online process and finish it in a physical space (i.e. online banking then local branch).
Entertainment now uses many channels to reach consumers. If you really want to understand the second and third Matrix movies, you have to be familiar with the accessory channels of information (comic books, video games, etc.). In cross-channel experiences, users constantly move between channels, and will not stay in any single one of them from start to finish.
More companies, like clothing stores, are breaking down the barriers to flow between their physical and virtual stores. You can shop on line and return items to the physical store, for example.
Information architectures are becoming open ecologies: no artifacts stand alone — they are all apart of the user experience
users are becoming intermediaries: participants in these ecosystems actively produce and re-mediate content and meaning
static becomes dynamic: ecologies are perpetually unfinished, always changing, always open to further refinement and manipulation
dynamic becomes hybrid: the boundaries separating media, channels, and genres get thinner
horizontal prevails over vertical: intermediaries push for spontaneity, ephemeral structures of meaning and constant change
products are becoming experiences: focus shifts from how to design single items to how to design experiences spanning multiple steps
experiences become cross-channel experiences: experiences bridge multiple connected media, devices and environments into ubiquitous ecologies
It has been nearly a month since I last finished a book for pleasure, although I am slowly reading my way through a couple others, and I read and reviewed a book for The Journal of Electronic Resources Librarianship (which may or may not be published — I won’t know until the issue is printed ’cause that’s how my editor rolls). Last night, I was feeling bored of my usual procrastination tools, so I decided to do a bit of fluff reading. It had to be short, though, because it was already past midnight, and I needed to get a little sleep eventually.
My selection came from among the stack of old Star Trek books on my to-be-read shelves. These are always good for a light read and stories that (usually) wrap up on the last page. This one was nearly what I wanted. The Starship Trap by Mel Gilden was your typical Trek story, but his characterizations weren’t particularly compelling. Mainly told from Kirk’s perspective, there were several rabbit holes that seemed to go nowhere, in addition to some of Kirk’s behavior being slightly out of character.
The hard science fiction aspect of the Aleph plot device was, at least, interesting. Much more so than the villain’s fixation on 19th and 20th century European and American classic literature or one of the minor character’s obsession with the American Old West. C’mon, Gilden — your ethno-centric roots are showing! For all the aliens and cultures on Star Trek, there is a disproportionate number of stories with references to American or European modern (to the reader) history.
Last week I was in Phoenix for the NASIG conference, which was awesome, but equally awesome was getting to hang out at the DracoVista Studios for a recording of the Babylon Podcast. You can hear me make a few comments in some upcoming episodes.
Getting to meet one of the hosts, Summer Brooks, was a highlight of my trip. Here is a rare photo of Summer, which I think the drooling fanboys will be excited to see:
Several hours ago, I put myself to bed with a book that I had bought today on a whim. Prior to this afternoon, I didn’t even know it existed, but when I was browsing the science fiction shelves at the local used bookstore, I decided to give it a try. Then, after having it sitting on my desk staring at me all evening, I thought I’d read just a chapter or two and then go to sleep. Ha!
Without some knowledge of Star Trek canon, this book might be difficult to follow. I regularly feel like I’m missing some subtext with the books set after the Dominion War. I missed that part of Deep Space Nine and nearly all of the Voyager seasons due to being in college and not having time to watch, and then being out of college and too poor to buy a TV or pay for cable. Luckily for me, those events aren’t nearly as important in the book as events that took place during The Next Generation years.
The book begins by laying down the back story that both provides the motivation for later events, as well as the characters involved. The events that occur in the “present” are set shortly after events seen in the movie Star Trek: Nemesis in which the Enterprise E is nearly wrecked by trying to prevent the mentally disturbed Romulan Praetor Shinzon from destroying humanity and the Federation. Picard is overseeing repairs of his ship while also dealing with the changes in her crew. Of those who served with him in the early and later missions, only Worf and La Forge remain on the ship, but the one he misses most is Beverly Crusher.
Crusher has taken up her old post as head of Starfleet Medical, but soon she embarks on a covert mission that takes her into Romulan territory. When Starfleet loses communication with her, Picard and a small team are sent in to complete her mission and rescue her if possible.
Meanwhile, turmoil and intrigue plague the Romulan Empire, which has been weakened by Shinzon and his successor. The usual suspects (Tomalak and Sela) show up, do their thing, and it’s all settled in typical Romulan fashion by the end of the book. What I appreciated most about this was how Friedman wrote the minds-eye perspective of all of the main Romulan characters in such a way that I found myself rooting for all of them at some point, even when they were at odds with each other.
The book ends on a high note, and should please many fans. That’s all I am going to say about it, although it wouldn’t be much of a spoiler if I did.
The plot of this book is complicated and difficult to explain briefly. The author draws on elements of Indian culture and mythology for the alien race he creates. The multiple story lines are woven together tightly, but at times it was difficult for me to follow what was happening. Still, it was an enjoyable read.
Wow. Two books in one day. If I keep this up, I might actually get to fifty books read this year.
I watched a 1957 black & white film version of Agatha Christie’s Witness for the Prosecution last night. It stars Tyrone Power, Marlene Dietrich (amazing performance!), and Charles Laughton. In doing a bit of research for this blog entry, this was the last film done by Tyrone Power before his untimely death of a heart attack at age forty-five. A small irony, since his character’s antagonist in the movie was in danger of suffering the same fate. Anyway, the reason why I am commenting on this movie at all is because I kept thinking of how much Tyrone Power resembles Barry Williams.
I was also surprised to discover in my research that Marlene Dietrich was 56 when the film was made. I assumed she was probably in her late 30’s or early 40’s! Now I know why her name still lives over fifty years after her heydays (heydecades, really). Quite a stunning woman!