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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 38. Computer Software


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· 38 ·


Content and extension: The contents of software are programming algorithms or instructions that extend the computer so that it can perform specific functions or tasks on inputted data.

Cascade: The cascade is from intentional mental processes to the spoken word to the written word and to numbers and then to algorithms applied to inputted data.

LOM: Computer software enhances the functionality of the computer, obsolesces the need of the user to program their computer, retrieves algorithms, and, pushed far enough, flips into unneeded functionality.

The two most important classes of software essential for the operation of computers are computer operating systems and Web browsers.

The computer’s operating system controls and manages the hardware and basic system operations and provides a platform on which the software applications can run. The dominant operating systems for personal microcomputers are Microsoft Windows, different varieties of Unix, of which Linux is the most popular, and Apple OS (which, in its System X version, incorporates a form of Unix). Another class of operating system exists for mobile devices such ← 299 | 300 → as smartphones and tablets. Android is a mobile operating system based on Linux, with the largest installed base. Two other major mobile operating systems are Microsoft’s Windows Mobile and Apple’s iOS. Android is favored by manufacturers of mobile devices because of its relatively low cost. It is favored by application (app) developers because its code is...

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