3.759 multimedia; Daedalus (83)

Willard McCarty (MCCARTY@vm.epas.utoronto.ca)
Sun, 19 Nov 89 22:20:21 EST

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 3, No. 759. Sunday, 19 Nov 1989.

(1) Date: Fri, 17 Nov 89 19:31:00 EST (48 lines)
Subject: multimedia in the media

(2) Date: Friday, 17 November 1989 3:54pm CST (15 lines)
Subject: Comments of H. Aristar-Dry

(1) --------------------------------------------------------------------
Date: Fri, 17 Nov 89 19:31:00 EST
Subject: multimedia in the media

Earlier this week, the _Wall Street Journal_ ran an article in Paul
B. Carroll's *Technology* section that Humanists might find interesting:

*`Multimedia' Doubters Taught a Thing or Two*
Are "Multimedia" applications for real?

Multimedia -- a term used to designate a way for computers to combine all
sorts of media -- such as video, graphics, and audio -- has been touted
as the next revolution in personal computing. But at the recent Agenda
'90 personal computer conference near San Diego, the talk round the pool
was whether anyone had actually seen a good multimedia application, or
whether it was just another buzzword.

So when Robert Winter, a goateed professor of music history at UCLA,
took to the podium to demonstrate a multimedia application, the audience
was skeptical. But by the end of the demonstration, Mr. Winter had much
of the group on its feet clapping.

He used a technology that was deceptively simple--a Macintosh and a
CD-Rom disk drive, a form of compact disk player, hooked up to the
meeting room's speaker system. To run the setup, Mr. Winter had written
an application using HyperCard, Apple Computer Inc.'s popular,
all-purpose programming tool. With this conglomeration, he gave the
group of 350 a lesson about Beethoven's Ninth Symphony.

Mr. Winter started by calling up biographical tidbits on Beethoven but
quickly showed that there were lots of ways to navigate through the
program, published by Voyager Co. of Santa Monica, Calif. An outline of
the symphony's major themes had music attached so someone could click
the Macintosh's mouse on the items in the outline and hear, perhaps, how
a theme was restated as the opus progressed.

Program notes could be made to appear that would provide a running
commentary -- including or excluding such detail as changes in key.
Clicking the mouse on an obscure term would call up a definition from
the program's glossary. And so forth.

Skepticism remains, of course. After all, the enthusiastic Mr. Winter
can't be packaged in every multimedia kit. More important, larger-scale
applications, such as those hypothesized for schools, remain unproven.

Still, "a lot of people left that room feeling like they finally
understood what multimedia was about," says Bill Gates, chairman of
Microsoft Corp.
(2) --------------------------------------------------------------24----
Date: Friday, 17 November 1989 3:54pm CST
Subject: Comments of H. Aristar-Dry

I would like to echo the comments of Helen Aristar-Dry on the Daedalus
materials. While here at UTexas, I have taken a graduate seminar with
John Slatin (it was, I believe, the very course Dr. Aristar-Dry observed
last Spring). The set-up is most impressive; our class "discussions"
took place almost completely on-line (and, incidentally, I retain to this
day disk versions of all the class sessions--a unique possibility, to
say the least).

Pete Smith, who works in
Dept. of Slavic Langs.