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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 50. “Smart Tags” and Dataspace


← 400 | 401 →

· 50 ·


Content and extension: “Smart tags” and Dataspace, whose content is digital information, are an extension of the bar code system and cyberspace.

LOM: Smart tags enhance access to information associated with objects and places, obsolesce the bar code and the label, retrieve identification, and reverse into Internet-based information or the Internet of Things.

50.1  Bar Codes and Smart Tags

Bar codes and smart tags whose content is information extend the label so that a computer can easily identify the tagged item in order to provide information to a database. Bar codes are visual extensions of Morse code that must be read by a scanner. A smart tag is any device that identifies things and/or makes information available related to the tagged item or place by transmitting radio frequency waves such as a RFID (radio frequency ID) or smart tag, for example, or any device that controls through invisible computing some aspect of the physical world. Just as bar codes require a reader and a decoder, ← 401 | 402 → smart tags also require a device, which we will call an enabler, to receive and organize the information transmitted by the smart tag.

The enabler identifies an object and relates it to a database. The smart tags and the enabler facilitate logistics so that one can easily track shipments and inventory. They can also be used for retail sales to speed up...

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