By Nicholas Negroponte
In energetic, mordantly witty prose, Negroponte decodes the mysteries--and debunks the hype--surrounding bandwidth, multimedia, digital fact, and the net, and explains why such touted suggestions because the fax and the CD-ROM are inclined to cross the way in which of the BetaMax. "Succinct and readable. . . . if you happen to be afflicted by electronic anxiousness . . . here's a ebook that lays all of it out for you."--Newsday.
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Additional resources for Being Digital
The great gift of the digital world is that you don't have to do this. Even the analog world is getting less stubborn. Anybody who has traveled in Europe remembers the terrible problem of transformers, adapting 2 2 0 volts to our 110-volt appliances. The story goes that Don Estridge, the IBM executive who fathered the IBM PC, was in the parking lot of the company's Boca Raton, Florida, facilities one day and demanded that the PC not care whether the power was 110 or 220. This seemingly outlandish command was implemented shortly thereafter, and today almost any personal computer can be plugged into a wide range of power sources.
One way to look at the transition from copper to fiber is to observe that American telephone companies replace roughly 5 percent of their plant each year, and they replace copper with fiber for maintenance and other reasons. While these upgrades are not evenly distributed, it is interesting to note that, at this rate, in just about twenty years the whole country could be fiber. The point is that we can quickly evolve a very broadband national infrastructure whether or not we need or know how to use that bandwidth.
THE TV AS C6MPUTER I am fond of asking people if they remember Tracy Kidder's book The Soul of a New Machine. I then ask somebody who has read it if he can remember the name of the computer company in question. I have yet to meet somebody who can. Data GenB Ε I Ν eral (that's the one), Wang, and Prime, once high-flying, highgrowth companies, had a total disregard for open systems. 1 remember sitting around boardroom tables where people argued that proprietary systems would be a great competitive advantage.
Being Digital by Nicholas Negroponte