Some cool forms of e-media

If it keeps up, man will atrophy all his limbs but the push-button finger.
~Frank Lloyd Wright

No, I’m not a big fan of e-books, but there are other forms of e-media out there that I feel are greener than their physical counterparts.

Music. MP3s are an excellent example. In order to play recorded music, you have to have a device of some sort. There has to be tech. While normally I would advocate using the older tech (CD players), I’m fine with MP3 players. CD players, naturally, require CDs. MP3 players aren’t hampered so. I’m currently frustrated by the shorter lifespan of MP3 players, yes. But really, they aren’t that much shorter-lived and CD players aren’t necessarily sturdier. While MP3 players are smaller, it may be that this merely shaves off the need for as much plastic, while still requiring just as much of other resources to manufacture.

The MP3, however, is light-years beyond the CD. It’s easy and painless to copy and backup, and while possible to corrupt, does not do so as easily as one can scratch and ruin a CD. Not to mention the fact that an MP3, no matter how many copies you have, does not require it’s own dedicated physical resource to exist. Chances are high that you already have a multi-function device (ie, a computer) that is completely capable of storing a multitude of MP3s.

Movies. Same as above, just about. Once I have the disposable income necessary, I’d like to get a subscription to Netflix’s streaming service. Granted, I’d just want the streaming service. Not only would it allow me to watch whatever movie I wanted, but it would allow me to do so immediately and without having to own the movie. Plus, I’m going to watch the damn thing on my computer, anyway, so just put it on there.

You could get some special device, I imagine, that would store all your digital movies for you, but I wouldn’t get one. I have a computer with an HDTV for a monitor. I need no such device. If I wanted a library of movies, I’d just get another hard drive.

Video games. One word. Steam. It’s a bitch if you don’t have a fairly reliable high-speed internet connection (why must I almost always require internet access in order to put the damn thing in offline mode, why?), but other than that, Steam is amazing. They run awesome specials on a regular basis, and they encourage odd little indie games. Unlike a hard copy of a game, all you need is your login, password, and aforementioned internet connection to access your games anywhere on any computer (just about, anyway). There are no disks to lose or get scratched, and very often, the DRM on Steam games is less than that for games on physical media.

The running theme on all these cool forms of e-media? Your computer. These are all forms of e-media that are easily or better enjoyed on a device you probably already own…a device that does a lot of things, not just one. A device that, for the most part, can be easily upgraded instead of going into the trash when it breaks or becomes outdated. And for the MP3 player…it’s a replacement of an already-present need for tech…not introducing tech into a previously un-techy form of media. That’s what separates the cool e-media from the not-cool e-media.

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3 Responses to “Some cool forms of e-media”

  1. Dargon Says:

    Going to be an asshole here, technically that MP3 does require its own dedicated physical resource. The thing is, the area on your hard disk platter or in solid state media is very, very tiny, almost negligible, but none the less, physically existent.

  2. The sad thing is, even though we’re moving towards formats that can easily and inexpensively support it, we’re still making music at a low audio quality. =/

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