non-interactive interactive media, part 1

Like many others (I suspect) I have a secret love: media that does not want my attention or require that I actively use it. On the other hand, I also love the increased possibilities and opportunities provided by the latest information and communication technologies.

There is so much to say about this paradox, and how symptomatic it actually is, but here is just one link in this mini-series, dedicated to non-interactive “interactive media”: the RSS-capable screensaver by Microsoft. There are others, of course, but this was actually easy to install (a plus for us stressed out media people), and despite that this MSN Screensaver is still in Beta, it seems to work. You just set up your favourite RSS feeds, delete all MSN content feeds it attempts to serve you, make sure that the screensaver image folder points to somewhere you actually feel comfortable watching at (it will preinstall a series of pretty landscape photos), and voilá: you can rest your eyes and brain by staring at the semi-transparent info screens, all filled by mostly useless news clippings, sailing by. (There is weather information, too. But no Tampere, Finland; only Helsinki, and for some reason also Nivala and Mynämäki…)

Author: frans

Professor of Information Studies and Interactive Media, esp. Digital Culture and Game Studies in the Tampere University, Finland. Occasional photographer and gardener.