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Telecommunications

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  1. 7.4 hrs • 6/7/2016 • Unabridged

    Just as Susan Sontag did for photography and Marshall McLuhan did for television, Virginia Heffernan (called one of the “best living writers of English prose”) reveals the logic and aesthetics behind the Internet. Since its inception, the Internet has morphed from merely an extension of traditional media into its own full-fledged civilization. It is among mankind’s great masterpieces—a massive work of art. As an idea, it rivals monotheism. We all inhabit this fascinating place. But its deep logic, its cultural potential, and its societal impact often elude us. In this deep and thoughtful book, Virginia Heffernan presents an original and far-reaching analysis of what the Internet is and does. Life online, in the highly visual, social, portable, and global incarnation rewards certain virtues. The new medium favors speed, accuracy, wit, prolificacy, and versatility, and its form and functions are changing how we perceive, experience, and understand the world.

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    Magic and Loss

    Read by Candace Thaxton, with introduction read by Virginia Heffernan
    7.4 hrs • 6/7/16 • Unabridged
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    5.4 hrs • 3/24/2015 • Unabridged

    From the author of A History of the World in 6 Glasses comes the fascinating story about the invention of the telegraph and how it’s impact a century ago is similar to the Internet’s today. The Victorian Internet tells the colorful story of the telegraph’s creation and remarkable impact and of the visionaries, oddballs, and eccentrics who pioneered it, from the eighteenth-century French scientist Jean-Antoine Nollet to Samuel F. B. Morse and Thomas Edison. The electric telegraph nullified distance and shrank the world quicker and further than ever before or since, and its story mirrors and predicts that of the Internet in numerous ways.

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    The Victorian Internet

    Foreword by Vinton Cerf
    5.4 hrs • 3/24/15 • Unabridged
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  3. 7.5 hrs • 5/12/2011 • Unabridged

    In December, 2009, Google began customizing its search results for each user. Instead of giving you the most broadly popular result, Google now tries to predict what you are most likely to click on. According to MoveOn.org board president Eli Pariser, Google’s change in policy is symptomatic of the most significant shift to take place on the Web in recent years—the rise of personalization. In this groundbreaking investigation of the new hidden Web, Pariser uncovers how this growing trend threatens to control how we consume and share information as a society—and reveals what we can do about it. Though the phenomenon has gone largely undetected until now, personalized filters are sweeping the Web, creating individual universes of information for each of us. Facebook—the primary news source for an increasing number of Americans—prioritizes the links it believes will appeal to you so that if you are a liberal, you can expect to see only progressive links. Even an old-media bastion like the Washington Post devotes the top of its home page to a news feed with the links your Facebook friends are sharing. Behind the scenes, a burgeoning industry of data companies is tracking your personal information to sell to advertisers, from your political leanings to the color you painted your living room to the hiking boots you just browsed on Zappos. In a personalized world, we will increasingly be typed and fed only news that is pleasant, familiar, and confirms our beliefs—and because these filters are invisible, we won’t know what is being hidden from us. Our past interests will determine what we are exposed to in the future, leaving less room for the unexpected encounters that spark creativity, innovation, and the democratic exchange of ideas. While we all worry that the Internet is eroding privacy or shrinking our attention spans, Pariser uncovers a more pernicious and far-reaching trend and shows how we can—and must—change course. With vivid detail and remarkable scope, The Filter Bubble reveals how personalization undermines the Internet’s original purpose as an open platform for the spread of ideas and could leave us all in an isolated, echoing world.

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    The Filter Bubble

    7.5 hrs • 5/12/11 • Unabridged
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  4. 12.4 hrs • 7/20/2010 • Unabridged

    Hollywood in the years between 1929 and 1948 was a town of moviemaking empires. The great studios were estates of talent: sprawling, dense, diverse. It was the Golden Age of the Movies, and each studio made its distinctive contribution. But how did the studios, “growing up” in the same time and place, develop so differently? What combinations of talents and temperaments gave them their signature styles? These are the questions Ethan Mordden answers, with breezy erudition and irrepressible enthusiasm, in this fascinating and wonderfully readable book. Mordden illuminates how the style of each studio was primarily dictated by the personality, philosophy, and attitudes of its presiding mogul—and how all these factors affected the work and careers of individual actors, directors, writers, and technicians, and the success of the studio in general.

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    The Hollywood Studios by Ethan Mordden

    The Hollywood Studios

    12.4 hrs • 7/20/10 • Unabridged
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  5. 18.0 hrs • 5/10/2010 • Unabridged

    For sixty years, since the birth of United Artists, the studio landscape was unchanged. Then came Hollywood’s Circus Maximus—created by director Steven Spielberg, billionaire David Geffen, and Jeffrey Katzenberg, who gave the world The Lion King—an entertainment empire called DreamWorks. Now Nicole LaPorte, who covered the company for Variety, goes behind the hype to reveal for the first time the delicious truth of what happened. Audiences will feel they are part of the creative calamities of moviemaking as LaPorte’s fly-on-the-wall detail shows us Hollywood’s bizarre rules of business. We see the clashes between the often otherworldly Spielberg’s troops and Katzenberg’s warriors, the debacles and disasters, but also the Oscar-winning triumphs, including Saving Private Ryan. We watch as the studio burns through billions, its rich owners get richer, and everybody else suffers. We see Geffen seducing investors like Microsoft’s Paul Allen, showing his steel against CAA’s Michael Ovitz, and staging fireworks during negotiations with Paramount and Disney. Here is Hollywood—up close, glamorous, and gritty.

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    The Men Who Would Be King

    18.0 hrs • 5/10/10 • Unabridged
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  6. 11.9 hrs • 4/9/2009 • Unabridged

    In this passionate love-hate letter to the film industry, Peter Bart pulls together his best columns from Variety and GQ, outlining in detail the history and inner workings of Hollywood. In story after story, Bart shows how the major studios have diverted their energies away from production of the shrewdly crafted pictures that once made the industry powerful. There are only a handful of salable subjects in the movies today: natural disasters, aliens, dinosaurs, ghosts, monsters, or any combination thereof. All are subjects easily parlayed into theme-park environments, action figures, video games, and clothing lines. Even the once edgy independent producers like Miramax and New Line have been acquired by conglomerates. Who and what will resurrect Hollywood? Peter Bart has the answers.

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    Who Killed Hollywood? by Peter Bart

    Who Killed Hollywood?

    11.9 hrs • 4/9/09 • Unabridged
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    10.3 hrs • 1/1/2005 • Unabridged

    Until now, Hollywood’s political history has been dominated by a steady stream of films and memoirs decrying the nightmare of the Red Scare and how it victimized political innocents. But Ronald and Allis Radosh tell for the first time the “backstory” behind this myth. They show how the Soviet Comintern targeted the film capital in the late 1920s, taking us inside the cells and discussion groups that Communist Party members formed, the guilds and unions they tried to take over, and the studios they aimed to influence. The authors demonstrate that many of the screenwriters who later became part of the Hollywood Ten in fact succeeded in using film as a propaganda medium on behalf of the Soviet cause. While others were lionizing them as blameless victims of American nativism and paranoia, the Hollywood Reds themselves were beset by doubts and disagreements about their disloyalty to America, and their own treatment by the Communist Party. Abandoned by their old CP allies, they faced the blacklist alone. Getting behind the denial and apologetics, Ronald and Allis Radosh tell the real story of one of the most discussed but least understood episodes in our political history, whose long half-life continues to influence the equally turbulent cultural politics of today.

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    Red Star over Hollywood by Ronald Radosh, Allis Radosh

    Red Star over Hollywood

    10.3 hrs • 1/1/06 • Unabridged
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  8. 11.2 hrs • 12/1/2000 • Unabridged

    The computer age is over. After a global run of thirty years, it has given birth to the age of the telecosm—the world enabled and defined by new communications technology. To seek the key to great wealth and to understand the bewildering ways that high tech is restructuring our lives, look not to chip speed but to bandwidth. Bandwidth is exploding, and its abundance is the most important social and economic fact of our time. George Gilder is one of the great technological visionaries, famous for understanding and predicting complex technologies as well as for putting it all together in a soaring view of why things change and what it means for our daily lives. He foresaw the power of fiber optics and wireless networks, the decline of the telephone regime, and the explosion of handheld computers; now, he brings you the bible of the new age of communications.

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    Telecosm by George Gilder

    Telecosm

    11.2 hrs • 12/1/00 • Unabridged
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