Being Digital

by Nicholas Negroponte, Marty Asher (Editor)


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Availability: This title usually ships within 24 hours. Paperback (January 1996); Vintage Books; ISBN: 0679762906 ; Dimensions (in inches): 0.57 x 8.03 x 5.20; Sales Rank: 1,886 ; Avg. Customer Review:*****; Number of Reviews: 33

      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 the hardcover edition of this title

      Whether or not you've been an avid reader of Negroponte's pithy yet seminal monthly columns in Wired Magazine, this book will convince you of the grand and authoritative scope of his vision of current and future communication and computing technologies. --This text refers to the hardcover edition of this title

      George Gilder, author of Microcosm
      With the visionary insights of McLuhan, the humor and lucidity of Feynman, Being Digital is the PowerBook for the nineties and beyond...A brilliant and bitwise book. --This text refers to the hardcover edition of this title

      From Booklist , January 15, 1995
      The success of Wired magazine, for whom Negroponte writes, has probably been a surprise to a great many people, so Knopf's gamble on the title reviewed here is perhaps not as crazy as it seems. Nevertheless, a first printing of 100,000 copies seems ambitious for a book without sensation, romance, pictures, or a flashy design. Are there really so many who care about fiber optics, GUIs, ISDN, and compression technologies? How about those clamoring to read sentences like "Computer networks, on the other hand, are a lattice of heterogeneous processors, any of which can act both as source and sink." To be fair, this is not an especially difficult book to read, and the author defines his terms in the simplest possible language. Nonetheless, Negroponte's long, poorly structured essay about the future of digital technology, though written in a breezy style by a writer as qualified as anyone to offer an opinion on these matters, is never quite gripping. Anyone with some interest in the subject will value the sometimes original and occasionally contrarian ideas, and for many people, one supposes, a peek at the future of digital technology is to some degree intriguing. Still, it seems safe to say that the number of people who read this book from cover to cover will be far fewer than 100,000. Publicity alone may generate some demand, of course, so libraries should be prepared but should not overbuy.  Stuart Whitwell Copyright© 1995, American Library Association. All rights reserved--This text refers to the hardcover edition of this title 

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