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Understanding New Media

Extending Marshall McLuhan – Second Edition


Robert K. Logan

Marshall McLuhan made many predictions in his seminal 1964 publication, Understanding Media: Extensions of Man. Among them were his predictions that the Internet would become a «global village,» making us more interconnected than television; the closing of the gap between consumers and producers; the elimination of space and time as barriers to communication; and the melting of national borders. He is also famously remembered for coining the expression «the medium is the message.» These predictions form the genesis of this updated volume by Robert K. Logan, a friend and colleague who worked with McLuhan. In this second edition of Understanding New Media Logan expertly updates McLuhan’s Understanding Media to analyze the «new media» McLuhan foreshadowed and yet was never able to analyze or experience. The book is designed to reach a new generation of readers as well as appealing to scholars and students who are familiar with Understanding Media.
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Chapter 35. The Multifunction Printer, Photocopier, Scanner, and Fax


← 278 | 279 →

· 35 ·


Content and extension: The photocopier, printer, scanner, and fax extend both the written word and the graphic image and hence extend the eye.

Cascade: The cascade is from mind to the spoken word to the written word to the word-processed word to the printer, the photocopier, the scanner, or the fax machine.

LOM: The photocopier, printer, scanner, and fax all enhance the distribution and reproduction of documents, obsolesce mimeograph and carbon paper, retrieve the image, and reverse into “everybody becomes a publisher” (McLuhan, M., & McLuhan, E., 1988, p. 145).

35.1  Impact of “New Media” on the Printer

The computer printer, the photocopier, the scanner, and the fax machine were once four separate devices. Because of the convergence that digitalization makes possible it is now possible to have one device, known as the multifunction printer (or MFP), which executes all the functions of these four separate devices. Some MFP models can also print from digital camera memory cards, ← 279 | 280 → some come equipped with hard drives for document/image storage, and some are equipped with optical character reading (OCR) software. There are at least 10 different MFP manufacturers, some who started out in the photocopy business, some in the printer business, and some in the computer business. Some MFPs are computer peripherals, and some are standalone devices that have the capacity to communicate with a computer.

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