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Dear DpandKp, I would suggest that Manovich's use of the term is less technical or mechanical that you are interpreting. I believe he is referring to a manner in which we (people) try and understand computers in terms of how we work and in turn shape them in that image. But, the flip side of that is that because some of us so wholly rely on the computer to work, communicate, play, etc.. we in turn are reshaping the image of ourselves in the image of the computer. In terms of Transcoding, the mp3 example highlights what we, the music listener / computer user now expect music to be. A "what I want, when I want it" piece of data we'll get from our computing device whenever we damn well feel like it.

Chicagogreen 19:48, 19 March 2008 (UTC)


I believe using the concept of mp3 transcoding is not a good example for this topic unless you are specifically talking about going from something like a tape to mp3 or vinyl to mp3. My reasoning behind this is something that you mention in the example regarding headers. There is very little difference between most audio formats but since most people talk about going from cds to mp3, this will be the example I look at. To start with, the information on a cd is already considered digital and therefore transcoding isnt really done other than swapping out a few bits of header information to tell the computer how to handle the file. Secondly, when an mp3 is made all that really happens as far as I know is that algorithms are ran that eliminate sound frequencies that humans cant hear, but do generate more size for a sound file. Just because we cant hear it, doesnt mean it isnt there. Therefore, i dont think that mp3 is a good example of transcoding as the format stays the same really, but the instructions for the format change. This is in my opinion different than what transcoding means which put in very general terms, means translating from one format to another. A couple of examples which I think are similar to this idea.

1) If you tear the cover off a book, is it still a book? In the same way that the audio information is the same, there is just less of it, an mp3 is still the same sort of audio that it was converted from.

Also, at what stage would the transcoding be taking place? I thought that Manovich was referring to the need for transcoding because we wouldnt otherwise understand what was going on if the transcoding wasnt happening. For mp3s or other types of audio, other than a literal transcoding of data, there isnt any human transcoding difference between listening to a cd or the mp3 version of the song. So therefore wouldnt all things have to be transcoded in some fashion based upon knowledge and education level? Someone who cant understand words wouldnt undergo the transcoding layer when listening to songs regardless of format. I think there is a very important difference between literal transcoding and figurative transcoding.

Im not arguing that real transcoding doesnt take place in the conversion of audio types, but is this type of transcoding what Manovich was talking about when defining the term? Here is an example...

(1) To convert from one format to another. It implies conversion between very distinct kinds of data, such as from speech into text or from analog video into digital frames. Sometimes the term is used as nothing more than a fancier synonym for "convert."

Audio to audio is not in my opinion two distinct types of data unless the output was from say, audio waveform into muffled rumbles intended for blind people to "feel" what others were hearing.

Dpandkp 19:30, 19 March 2008 (UTC)

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