In what could be considered a very bad idea, Robert Louis Stevenson trekked through Cevennes, France, among mountains and lower highlands, despite his youthful bad health, aboard a donkey named Modestine. It was the autumn of 1878 and he was many years, half a decade in fact, from the fame of his greatest literary success: Treasure Island. What did lend itself to a towering reputation was his embarking on the traditional grand tour of Victorian gentlemen, which explained his presence on top of a mountain range in the South of France, and it was no mean feat when he breached one of the highest ranges to make camp at a small clearing. After dining on chocolate, brandy, other delicacies that befit his social status, the budding writer made to kip in the sleep cap he carried with him under the day’s dying sun. But instead of embarking onto unforeseen travels in his dreams, his sleep was interrupted shortly after midnight.
Ever been locked out of your home?
Imagine, it’s 9 pm on a Friday night. The taxi drops you off just outside your home. You are exhausted and can’t wait to flop on the couch. As you reach your front door you fumble around trying to find your keys. You look everywhere through your bag and pat-down yourself from head to toe to see if they are in a different pocket.
Your mind starts racing wondering where you left your keys. Are they at work? Did you leave them at the bar when you were having some after work drinks with mates?
Today, social media is a term that everyone knows. Even the most remote areas of the world have at least heard of Facebook and Twitter, and are probably using them on a regular basis. But it wasn’t always that way. Social media, in its present form, has been around a relatively short term and even though you probably can’t imagine living without it now, except for the last few decades, everyone did.
But it wasn’t always that way. Social media, in its present form, has been around a relatively short term and even though you probably can’t imagine living without it now, except for the last few decades, everyone did.
A Electronic Book or E Book as they are universally known, is a text based publication in digital form. While they may contain images and graphs of some kind, mostly their formats lead them to be text based.
E books are designed to be read off an electronically compatible device either an IReader, a Kindle EReader, tablet or personal computer. While E Books are the actual text and document being read, an E Reader is the device that makes this possible. E books are stored as electronic files, they are small and easy to share and purchase.
They are convenient, light and have a huge storage capacity, that allows for incredible travel reading, electronic notes, and character summaries. However, they were not always like this.
The first Automated Reader is invented
The world’s first automated reader, the precursor to today’s e-readers, was invented by a woman named Angela Ruiz Robles. Angela had her innovative idea in Spain in 1949. Angela Ruis Robles was a school teacher, who watched her students lug text books back and forth from school every day. The idea was that her reader would be far easier to carry for school children, than a number of different text books.
In Angela’s first design, smaller amount of text where printed onto spools and were operated by compressed air. She made her first prototype in 1949. While this book was not electronic it is still hailed as the first automated reader. Her project was never picked up for mass production and she was never able to get a viable patent on the design, but there is a photograph of her holding it in 1949 so she can still claim it.
The Internet and the First E Book is Downloaded
The invention of the internet was the next huge step forward in E books. Information sharing, and file sharing was the birth place of Electronic books.
In 1971, Michael Hart, a student at the University of Illinois, was given unlimited computer time on a huge Xerox mainframe computer in the Materials Research lab (probably because his brother’s best friend was one of its operators). What might seem like an incredibly boring time in Internet history, as there were not many people on the internet in 1971, Michael Hart turned into an incredible opportunity.
The machine was used primarily for data processing, but it was also connected to ARPAnet, a part of what would later become the internet. The value of this gift, given the huge expense of buying and running such machines, he later calculated to be around $100,000,000.
When Hart was given a copy of the Declaration of Independence at a grocery store in the lead up to the local fireworks on July 4th, he found his inspiration. Hart came up with a good use of the computer time he had been given. He typed the text into a computer, all in capitals as there was no lower-case option at the time, and sent out a message on ARPAnet saying that it was now available to download. Six people took him up on the offer and downloaded the text. The world’s first e-book was born.
Hart then set about typing up more texts to make them electronically available. His entries included The Bill of Rights, the American Constitution and the Christian Bible. What he created was far more than an electronic text document, what he created was an idea. The idea of not just using computers to crunch numbers and deal with data, but to get computers sharing text and literature.
What Happened next on The Time Line
It was a long time before the next development came along in 1987 from the computer games creators East Gate Systems. It was around this time that the company published the first hyper text fiction work. The first hyper text book was titled Afternoon by Michael Joyce and was available for purchase on floppy disk. This books was created as the first demonstration of a new online program called Story Space. Story Space was a software program available for Personal computers for creating, editing and reading hypertext fiction.
BiblioBytes launched a website to sell ebooks over the internet, the first company to create a financial exchange system for the net.
American publisher Simon & Schuster created a new imprint, ibooks, and became the first trade publisher simultaneously to publish titles in ebook and print format. Featured authors included Arthur C Clarke, Irving Wallace, and Raymond Chandler. Oxford University Press offered a selection of its books over the internet through netLibrary.
The National Institute of Standards and Technology in America held its first ebook conference. Dick Brass of Microsoft declared that ebooks were the future of reading. “We are embarking on a revolution that will change the world at least as much as Gutenberg did,” he declared, and predicted that by 2018, 90% of all books sold would be Ebooks.
This number, 90% fails to take into consideration the very stable and profitable Gift Book Market. 40% of the paper book market is what is called a ‘gift purchase’. People buy each other books – and they don’t buy each other EBooks. Christmas is still a huge time for selling books, recipe books, picture books, design books, coffee table books and picture books for new born babies. This market of book selling has not been effected by Ebooks and ebooks and still have not tapped into this market.
Pages do not exists in E Books, and the orientation of the reader within the text can be altered depending on adjustments made to the font size and layout. Therefore, the location of the reader throughout the text is displayed as a percentage of the whole text.
The rise of e-readers has prompted speculation about the ways the mind processes words on a screen compared to words in paper books–the concern that holding a physical book promotes understanding in a way that staring at a screen does not. The physicality of the book, sparks the reader to see the text not only for it’s content but as an object as well.
A recent study by Sara Margolin suggests that e-readers do not hinder reading comprehension, at least in short passages of text. As research like this gains ground, the use of e-readers will only increase, and with it, new ways of conceiving of and talking about reading will surface in the language, and in turn, enter dictionaries.
Yet we still use the term book mark to hold the place where we are up to.
Hollywood: Perhaps no other place on earth evokes the same air of show-business magic and glamour. The legend of Hollywood began in the early 20th century and is an earmark of modern American society rich in history and innovation.
The origin of movies and motion pictures began in the late 1800’s, with the invention of “motion toys” designed to trick the eye into seeing an illusion of motion from a display of still frames in quick succession, such as the thaumatrope and the zoetrope. In 1872, Edward Muybridge created the first true “motion picture” by placing twelve cameras on a racetrack and rigging the cameras to capture shots in quick sequence as a horse crossed in front of their lenses.
The first film for motion photography was invented in 1885 by George Eastman and William H. Walker, which contributed to the advance of motion photography. Shortly thereafter, the brothers Auguste and Louis Lumiere created a hand-cranked machine called the cinematographe, which could both capture pictures and project still frames in quick succession.
The 1900’s were a time of great advancement for film and motion picture technology. Exploration into editing, backdrops, and visual flow motivated aspiring filmmakers to push into new creative territory. One of the earliest and most famous movies created during this time was The Great Train Robbery, created in 1903 by Edwin S. Porter.
Around 1905, “Nickelodeons”, or 5-cent movie theaters, began to offer an easy and inexpensive way for the public to watch movies. Nickelodeons helped the movie industry move into the 1920’s by increasing the public appeal of film and generate more money for filmmakers, alongside the widespread use of theaters to screen World War I propaganda. After World War I ended and ushered the United States into a cultural boom, a new industry center was on the rise: Hollywood, the home of motion pictures in America.
According to industry myth, the first movie made in Hollywood was Cecil B. DeMille’s The Squaw Man in 1914 when its director decided last-minute to shoot in Los Angeles, but In Old California, an earlier film by DW Griffith, had been filmed entirely in the village of Hollywood in 1910. By 1919, “Hollywood” had transformed into the face of American cinema and all the glamour it would come to embody.
The 1920’s were when the movie industry began to truly flourish, along with the birth of the “movie star”. With hundreds of movies being made each year, Hollywood was the rise of an American force. Hollywood alone was considered a cultural icon set apart from the rest of Los Angeles, emphasizing leisure, luxury, and a growing “party scene”.
Hollywood was the birthplace of movie studios, which were of great importance to America’s public image in the movie industry. The earliest and most affluent film companies were Warner Brothers Pictures, Paramount, RKO, Metro Goldwin Meyer, and 20th Century Fox, each of whom owned their own film production sets and studios. Universal, United, and Columbia Pictures were also considered noteworthy, despite not owning their own theaters, while Disney, Monogram, and Republic were considered third-tier.
This age also saw the rise of two coveted roles in the movie industry: the director and the star. Directors began to receive greater recognition for using and trademarking personal styles in the creation of their films, which previously in history had not been possible due to limitations in filmmaking technology. Additionally, movie stars began to receive greater fame and notoriety due to increases in publicity and shifts in American trends to value faces from the big screen.
The 1930’s was considered the Golden Age of Hollywood. A new era in film history began in this decade with the introduction of sound into film, creating new genres such as action, musicals, documentaries, social statement films, comedies, westerns, and horror movies. The use of audio tracks in motion pictures created a new viewer dynamic and also initiated Hollywood’s leverage in the upcoming World War II.
The early 1940’s were a tough time for the American film industry, especially after the attack on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese. However, production saw a rebound due to advances in technology such as special effects, better sound recording quality, and the beginning of color film use, all of which made movies more modern and appealing.
Like all other American industries, the film industry responded to World War II with increased productivity, creating a new wave of wartime pictures. During the war, Hollywood was a major source of American patriotism by generating propaganda, documentaries, educational pictures, and general awareness of wartime need. The year 1946 saw an all-time high in theater attendance and total profits.
The 1950’s were a time of immense change in American culture and around the world. In the post-war United States, the average family grew in affluence, which created new societal trends, advances in music, and the rise of pop culture – particularly the introduction of television sets. By 1950, an estimated 10 million homes owned a television set.
A shift in demographics created a change in the film industry’s target market, which began creating material aimed at American youth. Instead of traditional, idealized portrayals of characters, filmmakers started creating tales of rebellion and rock n’ roll. This era saw the rise of films featuring darker plot lines and characters played by “edgier” stars like James Dean, Ava Gardner, and Marilyn Monroe.
The appeal and convenience of television caused a major decline in movie theater attendance, which resulted in many Hollywood studios losing money. To adapt to the times, Hollywood began producing film for TV in order to make the money it was losing in movie theaters. This marked the entrance of Hollywood into the television industry.
The 1960’s saw a great push for social change. Movies during this time focused on fun, fashion, rock n’ roll, societal shifts like the civil rights movements, and transitions in cultural values. It was also a time of change in the world’s perception of America and its culture, largely influenced by the Vietnam War and continuous shifts in governmental power.
1963 was the slowest year in film production; approximately 120 movies were released, which was fewer than any year to date since the 1920’s. This decline in production was caused by lower profits due to the pull of television. Film companies instead began to make money in other areas: music records, movies made for TV, and the invention of the TV series.
Additionally, the average film ticket price was lowered to only a dollar, hoping to create greater appeal to former moviegoers. By 1970, this caused a depression in the film industry that had been developing over the past 25 years. A few studios still struggled to survive and made money in new ways, such as theme parks like Florida’s Disney World. Because of financial struggles, national companies bought out many studios. The Golden Age of Hollywood was over.
With the Vietnam War in full swing, the 1970’s began with an essence of disenchantment and frustration within American culture. Although Hollywood had seen its lowest times, during the late 1960’s, the 1970’s saw a rush of creativity due to changes in restrictions on language, sex, violence, and other strong thematic content. American counterculture inspired Hollywood to take greater risks with new alternative filmmakers.
The rebirth of Hollywood during the 1970’s was based on making high-action and youth-oriented pictures, usually featuring new and dazzling special effects technology. Hollywood’s financial trouble was somewhat alleviated with the then-shocking success of movies like Jaws and Star Wars, which became the highest-grossing movies in film history (at that time).
This era also saw the advent of VHS video players, laser disc players, and films on videocassette tapes and discs, which greatly increased profits and revenue for studios. However, this new option to view movies at home once again caused a decrease in theater attendance.
In the 1980’s, the past creativity of the film industry became homogenized and overly marketable. Designed only for audience appeal, most 1980’s feature films were considered generic and few became classics. This decade is recognized as the introduction of high concept films that could be easily described in 25 words or less, which made the movies of this time more marketable, understandable, and culturally accessible.
By the end of the 1980’s, it was generally recognized that films of that time were intended for audiences who sought simple entertainment, as most pictures were unoriginal and formulaic. Many studios sought to capitalize on advancements in special effects technology, instead of taking risks on experimental or thought-provoking concepts. The future of film looked precarious as production costs increased and ticket prices continued to drop. But although the outlook was bleak, films such as Return of the Jedi, Terminator, and Batman were met with unexpected success.
Due to the use of special effects, the budget of film production increased and consequently launched the names of many actors into overblown stardom. International big business eventually took financial control over many movies, which allowed foreign interests to own properties in Hollywood. To save money, more and more films started to launch production in overseas locations. Multi-national industry conglomerates bought out many studios, including Columbia and 20th Century Fox.
The economic decline of the early 1990’s caused a major decrease in box office revenue. Overall theater attendance was up due to new multiscreen Cineplex complexes throughout the United States. Use of special effects for violent scenes such as car chases and gunfights in high-budget films was a primary appeal for many moviegoers.
Meanwhile, pressure on studio executives to make ends meet while creating hit movies was on the rise. In Hollywood, movies were becoming exorbitantly expensive to make due to higher costs for movie stars, agency fees, rising production costs, advertising campaigns, and crew threats to strike.
VCR’s were still popular at this time, and profits from video rentals were higher than the sales of movie tickets. In 1992, CD-ROM’s were created. These paved the way for movies on DVD, which hit stores by 1997. DVD’s featured a much better image quality as well as the capacity for interactive content, and videotapes became obsolete a few years later.
The turn of the millennium brought a new age in film history with rapid and remarkable advances in technology. The movie industry has already seen achievements and inventions in the 2000’s, such as the Blu-ray disc and IMAX theaters. Additionally, movies and TV shows can now be watched on smartphones, tablets, computers, and other personal devices with the advent of streaming services such as Netflix.
The 2000’s have been an era of immense change in the movie and technology industries, and more change is sure to come quickly. What new innovations will the future bring us? Only time will tell.
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