8 An Interactive Life1
It will put the world at your fingertips2, changing the ways you
shop, play and learn. But when will the future arrive?
To get an idea3 of what the future might bring, step into the past.
At the Edison National Historical Site in West Orange, N.J., there's a
room full of a dozen old phonograph machines. Some were built by
Thomas Edison, who invented recorded sound in 1877, and others
were produced by competitors. In the decades4 represented by the
display, the concept and purpose of sound recording changed
dramatically. Edison conceived of his phonograph as a business
machine that would help people in distant places communicate.5He
intended to record voices--nothing more. His competitors
envisioned the greater potential for entertainment and art. 7
an interactive life: a life which acts reciprocally
put the world at your fingertips: to become familiar with the world by using the tips of your fingers on
computers; fingertip here has both a literal and a figurative meaning, literally it means the tip of the finger on the
computer while figuratively it means to be familiar with as in the phrase "have at one's fingertips".
To get an idea . . . the past: In order to form a view of what will happen in the future, you need only to have a
look at what happened in the past.
In the decades ... dramatically: in the tens of years covered by the machines on exhibition, the idea and purpose
of sound recording experienced great changes.
Edison ... communicate: Edison designed and developed his sound recording machine as a working tool for
people to talk to each other over long distance.
He intended ... more: His only intention in inventing the machine was the recording of voices.
His competitors ... and art: His business rivals saw in their minds that there was great possibility of using the
machine for entertainment and art.
1) envision: picture in the mind
Where he saw internal memos, someone else saw Beethoven.8
Someday, there may well be a similar memorial to the unfulfilled
prophecies of the creators of the latest break-through--interactivity.
Will it really change the world? With so much big money and so many
big dreams pinned to an idea that is still largely on the drawing boards,
there's no limit to the hype10. Simply put, the ultimate promise is this: a
huge 130 amount of information available to anyone at the touch of a
button, everything from airline schedules to esoteric scientific journals
to video versions of off-off-off Broadway Watching a movie won't
be a passive experience. At various points, you'll click on alternative
story lines and create your individualized version of "Terminator X
I1."12 Consumers will send as well as receive all kinds of data. Say you
2) potential: future possibility
3) entertainment: amusement
Where he saw ... Beethoven: He imagined that the machine could record informal communication between
departments in a company but other people thought it could be used to record music.
Someday ... interactivity: At some future time it will be quite suitable to have a place like the Edison National
Historical Site in memory of those who make the important advance recently in interactivity although it has not
been able to do all the things the creators promised.
With m much ... to the hype: Since large sums of money have been spent on an idea which is mainly in the
planning stage, since great hopes have been put on such an idea, there certainly is a lot of exaggerated publicity.
1) on the drawing board: in the planning stage
2) hype: loud, exaggerated promotion or publicity
Simply put... Broadway
1) simply put: to express in a way that is easy to understand
2) a huge amount ... of a button: if you press a button, you will be able to get a large amount of information over a
wide range of topics
3) esoteric scientific journal: magazines on science written in such a way as to be understood only by a few who
know the subject
At various points ... "Terminator XII": At different places, you can turn on the device for other possible
development of the story and offer your own variation.
shoot a video that you think is particularly artsy. Beam it out and make
a small fortune by charging an untold number of viewers a fee for
watching. Peter Jennings would be obsolete14.Video-camera owners
could record news they see and put it on the universal network. On the
receiving end, the era of the no-brainer will have finally arrived. An
electronic device called an "intelligent agent" would be programmed to
know each viewer's preferences and make selections from the endless
stream of data. Viewers could select whatever they wanted just by
pushing a button.
Sounds great in theory, but even the truest believers have a hard
time when it comes to nailing down specifics about how it will
actually work. Will we control the data via the telephone, the TV,
the personal computer or a combination of all of the above? When
Say you shoot ... a fee for watching: For example, you film a video which you think has special artistic
pretensions. Send out the video and ask those who have watched it to pay a fee. In this way you can
make quite a sum of money.
Peter Jennings would be obsolete: There is no longer any need for news anchorman because anyone can record
news with a video-camera and put it on the universal network for everybody else to see.
On the receiving end . . . stream of data
1) on the receiving end: for those who are the viewers
2) the era of the no-brainer: the period of no need to bother about the selection of programmes
3) to be programmed: to furnish the computer with a planned sequence of operations to be performed
Sounds great ... actually work: In theory the whole idea seems wonderful but even for those who firmly believe
in this, it is difficult to work out the details of how it will actually function.
1) come to: concern
2) nailing down: making sure, settling
3) specifics: details
will it be available? Will it be cheap enough for everyone? How will
we negotiate such a mass of images, facts and figures and still find
time to sleep? Will government regulate messages sent out on this
vast data highway?18 And, frankly, what do we need all this stuff for
The quick answer is: no one knows. "We're a long way from
'Wild Palms'," says Diana Hawkins, who runs an interactive-TV
consulting firm in Portola Valley, Calif. But even if the
techno-chaos of that futuristic fantasy mini-series is far off, some
consumers may indeed notice that their personal relationships with
their TVs, telephones end computers will be entering a new and
deeper phase within a year or two. Instead of playing rented tapes
How will we negotiate ... to sleep?
1) negotiate: succeed in crossing, surmounting, moving through
2) mass: a large quantity or number
3) How shall we handle and manage such a large quantity of data and still have time to sleep?
Will government ... highway?: Will government formulate regulations to control and govern the kind and
number of communications sent out over the numerous channels?
1) data highway: the authors are comparing the transmission in the air to a busy highway and information, data
travels along the highway. This is a vivid metaphor.
And, frankly.... anyway?
1) This is no longer a question on specifics. It inquires into the usefulness and ultimate purpose of such an
2) what for: why
The quick answer ... Portala Valley, Calif.
1) quick: prompt
2) we' re a long way from ' Wild Palms': there is still great distance before we can reach the stage as
depicted in the TV
series ' Wild Palms'
But even if . . . within a year or two
on their VCRs, they may be able to call up a movie from a library of
thousands through a menu displayed on the TV. Game fanatics
may be able to do the same from another electronic library filled
with realistic video versions of arcade shoot-'em-ups. Instead of
flipping through the pages of J. Crew of Victoria's Secret, at-home
shoppers may watch video catalogs with models demonstrating front
and rear views of the latest gear. Some cable companies are also
testing other interactive models that allow viewers to choose their own
news or select camera angles for sporting events.25
While these developments are clever, fun and even convenient,
they're not quite revolutionary. Denise Caruso, editor of Digital Media,
1) techno-chaos: technological disorder or confusion
2) futuristic fantasy: highly imaginative TV series, with stress on the speed, flux and violence of the machine
3) The futuristic fantasy mini-series refer to 'Wild Palms'.
Instead of ... on the TV: If you want to see a film, you don't need to rent a tape and play it on your VCR. Instead,
you may pick one from the catalog shown on the TV and phone the library to have it beamed to you.
Game fanatics ... shoot-'em-ups: Those who are obssessed in video games may do it in the same way by
contacting another electronic library which has a large number of video tapes recording the actual shootings
and killings seen in video game shops.
1) realistic: 真人真事
2) arcade: 连拱廊商店 a roofed passageway esp. one with shops on either side; here it refers to an amusement
center having coin-operated games; a video arcade
3) shoot-'em-up: a movie or television show featuring much physical violence, esp. shooting and killing
Instead of flipping through . . . latest gear: Those who want to do shopping at home do not need to look through
catalogs published by garment companies. They may watch video catalogs with women displaying front and rear
views of the newest fashion of clothing.
Some cable companies ... sporting events
1) cable companies: 有线电视公司
2) select camera angles for sporting events: choose how one would like to watch the ball games or other
a San Francisco-based industry newsletter, calls this "fake
interactive,"26 just one step past passive viewing, pure couch-potato
mode. In the most common version of this scheme, consumers will
communicate with the TV through the combination of a control box
and their remote control, or, perhaps, the telephone. To some degree,
viewers already have accepted a certain amount of fake interactivity
by channel-surfing with their remotes, ordering pay-for-view movies
and running up their credit-card bills on the Home Shopping
Moving beyond phase one, into what Caruso calls "true
interactive," will require mad or changes in the technological and
regulatory infrastructure. Today's television cables will likely be
replaced by fiber-optic cables 29, which are capable of transmitting
much more data at higher speeds. Either a government agency or the
communications industry itself will have to set a performance
Why does Caruso call this "fake interactive".'?
It is not considered genuine interactivity because it is not revolutionary enough and is just one step beyond
passive viewing. It is still the traditional form of sitting on the couch watching.
To some degree ... Network: To a certain extent, viewers have already accepted quite a bit of false interactivity,
such as using their remote control devices to quickly choose a suitable program, ordering film which you will pay
for seeing it and doing shopping at home with credit cards so frequently that the bills accumulate.
Moving beyond ... infrastructure: Getting over the first stage and moving into what Caruso terms as "real
interactive", people need to bring about great changes in the basic structure on which technology and regulation
technological and regulatory infrastructure: 技术和管理基础设施
fibre-optic cable: 光纤电缆
standard so that different networks can connect with each other. At
home, viewers may have to learn to use a TV monitor that functions
more like a computer screen fronting for a gigantic hard disc full of
all kinds of data, everything from games and movies to specially
The shows of the future may be the technological great
grandchildren of current CD-ROM titles.32 These are compact discs
that store data instead of music and can play on either television or
computer screens. To play CD-ROMs today, you need a special
machine. There are at least four models on the market, and titles
produced for one format won't play on another. 33 CD-ROMs do
provide a glimpse of what the future might hold, 34 however. A
number of companies, including Newsweek, are developing
multimedia products that combine text, video, sound and still
Either a government ... each other
1) to set a performance standard: to lay down norms for operation
At home ... created programs
1) TV monitor: a TV receiver
2) computer screen fronting: 计算机屏幕表面
3) a hard disc: 硬盘
The shows . . . titles: Future programs may be the technological descendants of today's CD-ROM discs.
1) CD-ROM: Compact Discs with Read-Only-Memory 光盘只读存储器
2) title: discs of movies or TV programs 视盘
titles produced ... on another: discs produced in one specified form can only be played on machines designed for
CD-ROMs do provide ... hold, however: In spite of that, CD-ROMs still give you a chance to have a brief look
at what will be in store for us in the future.
1) glimpse: a brief look
2) hold: to be in store
photographs. The result is what may someday be a powerful new
medium with no set story line as in a book or magazine. Users pick
and choose information that interests them. Philips Interactive, for
example, has dozens of titles, among them a tour of the Smithsonian,
in which the viewer selects which corridor to enter by clicking on the
screen. Other titles: "Jazz Giants," a musical history, and "Escape
from CyberCity," an animated adventure game.36
Many investors are betting on entertainment as the most lucrative
interactive market. 37 But some industry observers predict the
development of two parallel home markets, one catering to leisure
activities and the other to businesses. Hawkins says the
work-at-home market could be computer based and provide an
outlet for teleconferencing and portable computing devices, like
A number of companies ... still photographs
1) developing multimedia products: bringing into being products involving the use of several media
2) still photographs: static photographs 静止图像
Philips Interactive ... adventure game
1) in which the viewer ... on the screen: the viewer may decide on which part on the museum to visit and
turn on the television
2) an animated adventure game: an exciting experience filled with activity and vigor
Many investors ... market: Many investors are confident that amusement will be the most profitable market for
But some industry ... to businesses
1) two parallel home markets: two home markets running side by side but not crossing each other
2) cater to: to take account of and provide with what is necessary
3) leisure activities: entertainment
4) But some industry people following the market trend say that in the future there will be two markets at
home developing side by side, one serving the needs for entertainment, the other providing what is
needed by businesses.
the Newton touted by Apple chairman John Soulley that can be
carried in a pocket and runs on handwritten commands scribbled
on a small screen. The entertainment market, primarily games and
movies, would be centered on some Kind of monitor.
If all this comes to pass--still a very big if--the next step could be
what Digital Media's Caruso calls "complete viewer control." She
says consumers would be a little like information "cowboys,"
rounding up data from computer-based archives and information
services. There will be thousands of "channels" delivered, Caruso
thinks, through some combination of cable, telephone, satellite and
Hawkins says ... on a small screen
1) work-at-home market: those people who stay at home to do their work and have their computers linked
with the office terminals
2) outlet: market
3) teleconferencing devices: equipments used for holding a conference of individuals in different locations,
as by speaker-
phone, closed-circuit TV, etc.
4) portable computing devices: equipments used for calculation which can be easily carried around
5) touted: recommended highly
6) runs on a handwritten ... screen: operates on instructions written by hand on a small screen in a casual
If all this ... "complete viewer control."
1) come to pass: come about or happen
2) still a very big if: so far, it is still not certain that this will be realized
3) could: denoting possibility
II. She says ... information services
Why does she compare consumers to cowboys? In what way are they similar?
--The cowboys round up cattle while the consumers round up data.
She says ... information services
Why does she compare consumers to cowboys? In what way are they similar?
--The cowboys round up cattle while the consumers round up data.
cellular networks. To prevent getting trampled by a stampede of
data, viewers will rely on programmed electronic selectors that could
go out into the info corral and rope in the subjects the viewer wants.43
Caruso's "final frontier" is what she calls video telephony, a
complete two-way link of video, audio and data. A user might stand
in front of a monitor receiver and just talk and listen, communicating
with whatever or whomever is Out There. Images and voices would
be beamed back and forth. (At the very least, it would probably mean
the end of anonymous obscene phone calls45.) "There is no exact
analogy to any technology we've seen before," says Red Burns, chair
of the Interactive Telecommunications Program at New York
There will be ... networks
1) there will be thousands of "channels" delivered: information will be provided through numerous bands
2) cellular 蜂窝电话
To prevent getting trampled ... the viewer wants
1) The authors here continue to follow the metaphor of "cow-boy". Hence words like trample, stampede,
corral, rope in.
2) trample: crush, destroy by or as by treading heavily on
3) stampede: a sudden, headlong running away of a group of frightened animals, esp. horses or cattle
4) info: information
5) corral: an enclosure for holding horses, cattle or other animals; pen
6) rope in: to enclose (animals) with ropes
7) To avoid being overwhelmed by a large amount of in-coming data, the viewer will depend on an
electronic device with coded instructions to choose from the mass of information the kind of things he needs.
Caruso's "final frontier".., and data
1) final frontier: the last new field of learning beyond which there is no more unexplored field
2) telephony: the science of telephonic transmission
3) two-way: used for both transmission and reception
At the very least ... phone calls: At any rate, it would probably make impossible phone calls to women in
indecent, offensive language by people who would not disclose their names or identities because you would be
able to see the images.
University. "Interactive means we are all involved. There is no viewer.
Interactive is like a conversation."
"Interactivity" may be the biggest buzzword of the moment, but
"convergence" is a close second. 46 It means different things to
different people. To the moneymen, it means that everything will
come together and they'll clean up. To scientists, it means that the
technology has reached a critical point where fantasy could now
become reality.48 Nicholas Negroponte, director of MIT's Media
Lab, a leading think tank in this new world, remembers that back
in the l970s, a government agency gave him a grant on the
condition that he remove the word multimedia from his proposal.
"They were afraid we would get one of [Senator] Proxmire's
"Interactivity" ... close second: "Interactivity" for the time being may be the most used word which has little
meaning but sounds impressive to outsiders while "convergence" follows "interactivity" closely in the second
place in frequency.
convergence: act or condition of moving towards the same place, result
To the moneymen ... clean up: To the business people, it means that everything will move toward the same place
and they will make a lot of profit.
1) clean up: to make much money or profit
To scientists ... become reality: To scientists, it means that technology has developed to such a stage that what
was considered as wild notion can now be realized and become a fact.
Nicholas Negroponte ... his proposal
1) director of MIT's Media Lab: 麻省理工学院媒介实验室主任
2) a leading think tank: one of the principal research centers for offering proposals on current issues to
3) think tank: a group or institution organized for intensive research and problem-solving, esp. in the area of
technology or political strategy 思想库
4) in this new world: in the new research field of new medium
Golden Fleece awards," he says. Now, politicians, from President
Clinton on down, are falling over themselves to proclaim support for
the new medium.50
These dreams are possible because researchers have made vast
leaps in both the quality and quantity of data transmittal.51 In the past
decade, the amount of data that could be put on a silicon chip has
doubled every year while the price has been cut in half. In 1960, a
high-quality transistor cost several dollars. Today a chip with the
capacity of 4 million transistors costs about a tenth of a cent per
Transmission--putting that information into the hands of everyone
who wants it--is also much more efficient. Until now, data have been
sent as a series of electrical signals along wires or cables or through
the air as radio waves. But as the amount of data and the demand for
them have increased, these electronic highways have become
clogged.53The solution: fiber optics.
Now, politicians.... the new medium: At present, politicians starting from President Clinton all the way down to
lower-level officials are eager and willing to state that they are for the new medium.
fall over oneself: to be eager and willing (to do something)
These dreams ... data transmittal
1) to make leaps: to make big advances
2) data transmittal: the sending out of information
Today a chip ... per transistor: Today an integrated circuit can hold as much information as 4 million transistors
but the cost is only one tenth of a cent per transistor.
these electronic highways have become clogged: the wires, cables or air can no longer carry the increased
number of signals become cloggged: become stopped up, become jammed
Both of these developments are possible because of digitalization,
a mathematical scheme that translates data into the simplest form.
Called binary formatting, the system expresses numbers and letters
in a code using only 1 and 0. The letter "A," for example, could be
00000. "Z" would be 11001. Originally, this code was stored as
on-or-off electrical charges along the standard wires and
cables;56now it can be transmitted as pulses of light on the fiber-optic
cables. Bringing high-speed computers into the loop means that much
more complicated information can be digitized: combinations of
sound, still images, video and text. "Multimedia" is the wrong word,
says MIT's Negroponte. "Everything has now become digitized," he
says. "We have created a unimedia58, really. Bits are bits 59."
At the Media Lab 60 , Negroponte and other scientists are
Both of these ... the simplest form
1) both of these developments: referring to developments in the capacity of silicon chip and in transmission
2) digitalization: the turning of data into a numerical description expressed in digits 数字编码
Called binary formatting ... 1 and 0: The system is a number system with each number being expressed by an
arrangement of two numerals: 1 and 0. It turns every number or letter into a code using only 1 and 0.
Originally, this code.., fibre-optic cables
1) this code was stored as on-or-off electrical charges: this signal was kept in a computer memory unit as
electrical energy which can be sent out or stopped
2) pulses of light: light waves
Bringing high-speed . . . can be digitized: By linking high-speed computers with the complete fibre-optic cable
system, people will be able to turn very complicated information into a code using only 1 and 0.
unimedia: a single media
bit: a single digit in a binary number system
At the Media Lab.... with the future
to experiment with the future: to conduct experiments in order to invent devices for future use
experimenting with the future. Pattie Maes, an expert in artificial
intelligence,61 is trying to build some working "intelligent agents."62
(At a recent Media Lab conference, an actor dressed as a butler took
the stage, playing the part of an agent. That's interactive humor. ) In
one program, Maes has created four "icons" on the computer screen
representing agents with specific marching orders.63 For example, one
dressed in a business suit seeks out business news. Although the
agents are initially programmed, they actually learn by watching their
masters' preferences 64 . She thinks that one-day, agents may even
communicate with agents from other users: "Let's say both you and I
like the same movie reviews. Our agents could get together and
determine that we also had other interests in common." (Imagine the
conversation: "Have I got a compatible user for you! "65)
Maes and others concede that there's a dark side to all these
bright dreams66. Who will protect the privacy of consumers whose
artificial intelligence: 人工智能
to build some working "intelligent agents": to produce some artificial devices which can solve problems, direct
reasoning and which can function properly
In one program....marching order: In one of the coded instructions for operations performed by a computer,
Maes has created four "images" on the computer screen representing different artificial persons, each
programmed with a set of concrete instructions.
Although the agents ... preferences: Although these artificial intelligent persons are only given coded
instructions for the first time, they come to know a lot by watching what their masters are interested in
Imagine the conversation: ... for you!: Try to think what the conversation would be like: "I have got a user who
will suit you fine!"
Maes and others . . . dreams
1) concede: admit as valid; acknowledge
shopping, viewing and recreational habits are all fed into one
cable-phone company data bank? And where there are agents, can
counteragents be far behind: spies who might like to keep tabs on the
activities of your electronic butlers? "68Advertising companies see my
presentations and get very excited," says Maes. Indeed, intelligent
agents could be a gold mine of information. Advertisers aren't the
only ones who could abuse the network if they were able to tap into it.
The government could electronically spy on individuals; bosses
could track employees.
If the tolls for using the information highway are too high,
interactivity may widen the gap between the haves and the have-nots,
2) a dark side: disadvantage; bad effect
Who will protect ... data bank?
1) privacy: one's private life or personal affairs
2) viewing habit: what one likes to watch
3)... are all fed into one cable-phone company data bank: are all put steadily into a data bank of a company
through the cable-phone
4) data bank: a large collection of data in a computer, organized so that it can be expanded, updated and
retrieved rapidly for various use 数据库
And where..., butlers?
1) where: in whatever place, situation, or respect in which
2) can counteragents be far behind: This is an imitation of British poet Shelly's "Ode to the West Wind" in
which the "If last line runs Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?"
3) keep tabs on: to keep check on; follow or watch every move of
4) electronic butler: the headservant of a household who is an artificial intelligence device
presentation: (articles, publication) for consideration
Indeed . . . of information: Certainly these electronic devices are a source of valuable information
Advertisers ... tap into it: Advertisers are not the only people who could wrongly exploit and benefit from the
network so long as they were able to make a secret connection with the network.
the rich and wired vs. the poor and unplugged.72 Some plans call for
charging hundreds of dollars for the "black box" in the first phase of
interactivity. Other plans are cheaper, but would Still levy a fee for
services used.74 One suggestion is to make much of the data free to all
users, similar to the way public libraries lend out books. If that
happens, some experts think that the new technology may eventually
have a democratizing effect 75 . Access to a universal information
library could equalize opportunity.
"It's a shift from elitism to populism, 76 " says Bernard Luskin,
president of Philips Interactive Media of America.
In the next few years there's likely to be considerable debate over
the realistic presentation of violence in the new generation of video
If the tolls ... and unplugged
1) toll: a charge for service or extra service
2) have: a person or nation with relatively much wealth or rich resources
3) have-not: a person or nation with little or no wealth or resources
4) vs: standing for versus, meaning in contrast with
5) the wired: those who have access to the network
6) the unplugged: those who cannot afford to use the information highway
7) Why may interactivity widen the gap? Because those who have access to the information may have
better opportunities since information and the speed of acquiring information are decisive in
call for: demand, require
levy a fee for services used: impose and collect certain amount of money for using the facilities
the new technology ... effect: the new technology may in the end have the effect of making society more
It's a shift . . . populism: It' s a change from monopoly of information by a small group of the rich and privileged
to a situation in which information is shared by all.
games, which will include viewer-directed movies. It's one thing to
zap a cartoon mutant in an arcade, quite another when clicking on the
screen means shooting bullets and spilling blood from a human.
Would you want your child--or any child--to play that game?
At this point, so much is still speculation79. While the big players
and major thinkers spin predictions80, it's quite possible that some
entrepreneur in a garage is coming up with a really new idea that will
forever alter the best-laid plans. "What we are looking at now is just
the first generation," says Stephen Benton of MIT's Media Lab. In that
case, the best advice is: hang on for the ride.81
Barbara Kantrowitz with Joshua Cooper Ramo
NEWSWEEK MAY 31,
In the next few years ... viewer-directed movies: In the next few years there may be quite a lot of discussion
over whether it is good or bad, whether it should be allowed to have display of actual violence in the new
stage of video games, including movies planned and controlled by viewers.
It's one thing ... from a human
1) it's one thing ... (it's) quite another: this is a useful pattern, denoting contrast ...; 是一回事，…则是另一回
2) To kill a cartoon man quickly in video game shops is entirely different from seeing the killing of a genuine
human by turning on the television.
79. At this point ... speculation: At the present stage, a lot of things are still guesswork.
while the big players ... predictions: while the big gamblers and main designers produce statements
In that case ... for the ride: If that is the situation, the best thing to do is to join in passively waiting for future
AIDS TO COMPREHENSION
1) Newsweek: An American news weekly established in Dayton, Ohio in 1933. In it domestic
and international news is summarized, analyzed and categorized according to topics each
week. It also has special sections devoted to arts, science, medicine, sports, etc. It is one of
the three largest
news weeklies of America and has a wide domestic and international circulation.
2) Barbara Kantrowitz and Joshua Cooper Ramo: regular contributors to Newsweek
3) N.J.: abbreviation for New Jersey, Eastern State of the U.S. on the Atlantic
4) Edison: Thomas Alva Edison (1847--1931): U.S. inventor especially of electrical and
communication devices, including the incandescent lamp, phonograph, and microphone
5) Beethoven: Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827), German composer. He is universally
recognized as one of the greatest composers who ever lived.
6) off-off-off Broadway: an avant-garde theatrical movement in New York that stresses
untraditional and radical experimentation
7) Terminator: an American science fiction movie series, starring the popular actor, Arnold
Schwarzengger. The number XII implies a future installment of the series.
8) Peter Jennings: anchorman for ABC's (American Broadcasting Company) World News
Tonight program. In a recent (1993) nationwide poll for the best news anchorman conducted
by Travel and Leisure weekly, Jennings came in second, losing to Dan Rather of CBS
(Columbia Broadcasting System) by one percentage point, but came in first as the most
intelligent anchorman, heating Rather by 2 percentage points.
9) no-brainer: perhaps meaning no longer necessary to rack one's brains to select a TV
program one would like to see
10) Calif.: abbreviation for California, State of the SW. U.S., on the Pacific Coast
11) VCR: Video Cassette Recorder
12) J. Crew: a catalogue published by J. Crew, a company selling casual wear for the rich
13) Victoria's Secret: a catalogue published by Victoria's Secret, a company selling women
14) couch-potato: a person who spends most of his time on a couch watching TV
15) channel surfing: skimming quickly through various TV channels to find a suitable
16) remotes: remote control devices
17) Home Shopping Network: a TV network that displays all kinds of goods which people at
home can pick and buy
18) Philips Interactive: an interactive machine manufactured by Philips Interactive Media of
19) Smithsonian: Smithsonian Institution, research and education center, at Washington D.C.:
founded 1846. Today it is a vast complex, housing many museums, art galleries, research
20) Cybercity: a city controlled by computers, etc.
21) Apple: an American computer company
22) MIT: acronym for Massachusetts Institute of Technology
23) Proxmire: William Proxmire, U.S. Senator (1957). Proxmire opposed wasteful
government spending, especially by the military.
24) Golden Fleece award: a prize awarded to a government project considered to be the most
silly, wasteful and corrupt
25) cartoon mutant: human beings and animals reduced to cartoon forms
II. Look up the italicized words in the dictionary and explain:
1) you'll click on alternative story lines
2) Say you shoot a video that you think is particularly by artsy.
3) But even if the techno-chaos of that futuristic fantasy mini-series is far off.
4) to call up a movie from a library of thousands through a menu displayed on the TV
5) with no set story line as in a book or magazine
6) rounding up data from computer-based archives
7) go out into the info-corral and rope in the subjects the viewer wants
8) it means that everything will come together and they'll clean up
9) Called binary formatting.
10) representing agents with specific marching orders