Being Digital

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Being Digital decodes the mysteries and debunks the hype surrounding bandwidth, multimedia, virtual reality, and the Internet. It forecasts technologies that will make your telephone as context-sensitive as an English butler and replace TV broadcasters with intelligent "broadcatchers" that assemble and deliver only the programming you want. And this book suggests what being digital will mean for our laws, education, politics, and amusements - in short, for the way we live. ...
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Overview

Being Digital decodes the mysteries and debunks the hype surrounding bandwidth, multimedia, virtual reality, and the Internet. It forecasts technologies that will make your telephone as context-sensitive as an English butler and replace TV broadcasters with intelligent "broadcatchers" that assemble and deliver only the programming you want. And this book suggests what being digital will mean for our laws, education, politics, and amusements - in short, for the way we live.

From his unique perspective as director of MIT's famed Media Lab and as a monthly columnist for Wired magazine, Nicholas Negroponte examines the startling implications for us all of the digital revolution that is transforming the way we live. Filled with insights from Negroponte, and unflinching in its examination of technological change, Being Digital will serve as a road map for surviving and prospering in the digital age.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Negroponte, a Wired columnist and founder of MIT's Media Lab, presents an accessible guide to the cutting edge of digital technology and his predictions for its future. Jan.
Library Journal
Negroponte, popular columnist for Wired magazine and founding director for the MIT Media Lab, describes how advancements in computer technology and telecommunications will transform workplaces, households, and educational institutions. He explains how this revolution will change the way we live, think, and interact with one another and with technology and foresees some mind-boggling challenges that lie ahead in developing truly global systems for delivering multimedia and other forms of digitally based information. Negroponte characterizes the development of future information delivery systems as a battle between atoms, the components of books and other physical resources, and bits, the basic building blocks of information. In 1991, he predicted the eventual demise of libraries, those vast storehouses of atoms, in favor of bit-based purveyors of information. An important work for public and academic libraries. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 9/15/94.]-Joe Accardi, Northeastern Illinois Univ. Lib., Chicago
Stuart Whitwell
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.
From the Publisher
"The finest, most understandable explanation of the digital revolution to date....Being Digital is a visionary work, written by one of this planet's masters of media."—The Christian Science Monitor

"Being Digital flows from the pen (or cursor) of a wizard who is himself helping to create the new cosmos into which we are hurtling....To read Being Digital is to enter the future it describes."—The New York Times Book Review

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780679439196
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 1/1/1995
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 6.06 (w) x 8.71 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

About the Reader

Penn Jillette won an Obie and an Emmy for his theater and television performances with his partner, Teller.  Together they have also written two bestselling books.  On his own, Penn is the voice of Comedy Central and lectures at various computer and science conferences.

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Table of Contents

Introduction: The Paradox of a Book 3
1 The DNA of Information 11
2 Debunking Bandwidth 21
3 Bitcasting 37
4 The Bit Police 51
5 Commingled Bits 62
6 The Bit Business 75
7 Where People and Bits Meet 89
8 Graphical Persona 103
9 20/20 VR 116
10 Looking and Feeling 127
11 Can We Talk About This? 137
12 Less Is More 149
13 The Post-Information Age 163
14 Prime Time Is My Time 172
15 Good Connections 184
16 Hard Fun 196
17 Digital Fables and Foibles 206
18 The New E-xpressionists 219
Epilogue: An Age of Optimism 227
After Words 233
Acknowledgments 241
Index 249
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 28, 2008

    Captured my concentration throughout

    I read this book several years ago. Fully captured my attention and concentration throughout. A really exciting book to read. Every computer science and electrical engineering person or anyone interested in future technology must have a copy of this book in their library. Written in a way that a layman can understand. Enjoyable as reading a novel. No prior knowledge really needed to understand what the author is saying.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 27, 2005

    Still Relevant

    It's always fun to read futurist books ten years after they are published to see how much the author got wrong - but Negroponte's book is just the opposite - it's amazing how much he got right. Well written, interesting and funny, this book is good for those who don't understand what being digital is really all about - the mind-shift that goes along with it. Resist that innovation at your peril.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 3, 2002

    Stop bashing bits and start thinking !!

    This should be mandatory reading for everyone who uses any device, anywhere. This plainly and clearly explains the true nature of the concepts that will drive our new digital society for many decades. If the television industry read the first printing of this book, we would have had been watching digital TV 5 years ago !! Why can Nicholas succinctly explain what seems to elude those who claim to be "experts"? The answer is obvious by page 5. You can even validate his theories, as many have come to fruition since the book was written. Read this book every day. It will make you clever !!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 5, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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