ARTS1090: from Egyptian pyramids to the Internet – the road of public writing. March 27, 2009

Filed under: arts1090,T15A — Winnie Ho @ 1:26 pm
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Hartley, J. (2004). “The Frequencies of Public Writing: Tomb, Tome and Time as Technologies of the Public” In Jenkins, H. and Thorburn, D. (Eds) Democracy and New Media. MIT Press, USA, pp 247-269.


Immediately after reading the title of this chapter, Hartley brings me questions: How on earth can a ‘tomb’ be related to media, public writing or ‘technologies of the public’? And what is a ‘tome’? I tried solving the second mystery first by consulting my Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary that I’ve been using since Year 7:

tome noun (formal) a large heavy book, especially one dealing with a serious topic


So now the picture becomes clearer. Hartley does not merely play with the three words ‘tomb’, ‘tome’ and ‘time’, but through this chapter, explains frequency as a key role in public writing, how the time-space axis is evolving from physical to virtual communication, the changes of technologies to increase communication speed and frequency, as well as how democracy responses to technological changes.


‘Tomb’ refers to the classical carvings, paintings or monuments that seem to have a frequency of a century, millennium or even eternity. It is completely out of the blue to me in regarding such architecture or historical symbols to be a form of public writing, in spite the fact that they do convey messages to the public. The example of ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs carved on temples and pyramids really caught my eye as I am fascinated by ancient Egyptian history. They took the individualistic element out of communication and were (and still are) presented as imperial of ancient Egypt, communicating their history, religion and culture to the contemporary public.


Hartler divides the frequencies of public writing into three main types: high frequency including instantaneous, hourly, daily and weekly; mid-frequency including monthly, quarterly and annual; and low frequency including of decade, century, millennium and eternity. The  phenomenon of public writing nowadays is going more into the direction of highest high frequency for hard news, lowest high frequency or higher mid-frequency for soft news, gossip or lifestyle-related writing, while academic/scholarly writing and canonical literature remains to be mid to low frequency. People in the past simply would not have imagined that news would be updated by minute or second before the invention of radios and the Internet. Not quite as related to public writing but rather a form of semi-private writing, Facebook status updates or Twitter are solid examples of instantaneous communication within our personal networks.


With the increase in speed/frequency and technologies of public writing, information and news are overflown everywhere, archived virtually forever and can be dug up conveniently. Will we still remember big news or important events of our time as vividly five or ten years from now? Or will we move to care more about ‘news’ of private networks, such as Facebook friends’ relationship statuses or changes in online groups/forums that we associate with, then become uninterested in world/national affairs? The world seems to be more uncertain to the future of media than it was ever before.


Winnie Ho (z3292568)



ARTS1090: Do you really understand what being a couch potato means? March 20, 2009

Filed under: arts1090,T15A — Winnie Ho @ 1:56 pm
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Michael, Mike. “Disciplined and Disciplining co(a)gents: The Remote Control and the Couch Potato.” In Reconnecting Culture Technology and Nature: From Society to Heterogeneity. London: Reoutledge, 2000, 96-116.


This passage draws the reader in with a lively, typical episode of couch potato behaviour, especially when I don’t find myself guilt-free of ‘couch potato-ness’. However, Michael explains that couch potatoes do not choose to act in an exclusive manner, rather, it is co(a)gents which diversely influence the couch potato.


By inventing new technologies that increase our convenience, there is an ‘interlocking of human bodies and technology’, so ‘the idea of disembodiment is thus attached to a notion of progress’. We feel superior by having more advanced technology than our counterparts many decades ago. The television remote control has developed from being connected with a wire, to shining light beams at receivers around the screen, then to the usage of high frequency sound, and to our modern remote control that uses infrared light. After finally settling on how to transmit signals from the remote control to the television, developments to the control does not stop here; more and more buttons are added to the small, elongated device. We, as consumers of television media, subconsciously believe that minimal energy in varying television content makes the television watching process ‘interesting’.


The remote control is also very symbolic in the household. The typical model, as studied by Morley (1992), is that the breadwinner of the house is usually the one who monopolises over it. I think it is possible that a change in sexual roles and gender equality in the last decade would somehow dilute the monopoly situation. For instance, back at home during when I was still at high school, it was usually me who intially turned on the television after class; my mum then shouting from the kitchen to change the channel for watching news while making dinner; and the television is off during dinner; proceeded by my dad switching it on again after dinner. Power over controlling television seems to be less important due to a decline in regular viewers and the increased number of televisions as well as other technologies in the household.


We often believe that couch potatoes are bad (as I mentioned in the beginning), as we associate a sendentary, unproductive and self-enclosed lifestyle with it. Nonetheless, there are many other determinants in shaping a couch potato; and as the best we can do: be an intellegent media consumer.


Winnie Ho (z3292568)



MDIA1002: What are my practices as a consumer of journalism?

Filed under: mdia1002,W13A — Winnie Ho @ 4:15 am

As a Media in Communications and Journalism student, it should be expected that I drag my eyes over my subscribed Sydney Morning Herald from headline news to the comics and crossword puzzles every day, right? The truth is, I barely even look at the headlines, less to say reading the whole contents that would take me at least an hour. Possibly the reason why I am reluctant to read the SMH is because of my unfamiliarity with Sydney culture and politics (as I have spent most of my years elsewhere); and I find it hard to turn reading an actual local newspaper an habit.

Am I out of touch with what’s going on locally and in the world? I may be regarded as such, but I still read the news on Yahoo!7’s website every day, as it is my default homepage for my Internet browser. Also, due to the fact that I identify myself as being a Hongkonger more than a Sydneysider, I’m naturally interested in HK news. I tend to look for such news through HK-based online forums or visiting the HK Yahoo website. The place where I’m living also has Chinese satellite television so I would watch Chinese news on tv occasionally.

Very rarely would I use a dictionary (and I realised that the actual paperback Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary that I own was published in 2001) unless I needed a word definition in an essay. Otherwise I would just search in Merriam-Webster Online and use the dictionary and thesaurus there. Sometimes because of my limited vocabulary, I would think of the equivalent Chinese word and translate it in Google, seeing if I can get a possible English word that I could use; which signals that I really should expand my English vocabulary (and please do not imitate because online translators are extremely unreliable).

Seeing how I am writing this in the middle of the night before the deadline, I’m not particularly good at dealing with deadlines. I tend to submit my assignments on time, only at the expense of wracking my brain open and sacrificing my sleep. Being a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to writing, I like going with the flow and coming up with a good beginning in order to proceed, so that I can come up with a decent piece within a short period of time without drafting. Approaching deadlines do motivate me to get things done, and there is a much lower chance of procrastinating. You either complete it or you die (not in the literal sense).


Winnie Ho (z3292568)


The birth of a new blog March 13, 2009

Filed under: T15A,W13A — Winnie Ho @ 12:19 am

Welcome! I never imagined there would be a day for me to start up a blog here at WordPress has always seemed to me to be an elite and professional blogsite, where the point of discussion lies way beyond being just readable and having proper grammar and spelling: bloggers actually blog and discuss intellectually!

I have a personal blog at, which is a collection of my random thoughts and my interests, but I think it would good to maintain a ‘public’ blog where I can approach more fellow bloggers.

Keep a lookout for my upcoming posts and please give me feedback if possible.

Until next time,

Winnie Ho