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Who Was Ray Bradbury? And Why He Matters…

The world of science fiction lost an icon of the genre this week with the passing of writer Ray Bradbury. Bradbury was a key founder of science fiction, and one of its strongest and most influential voices.


A lifelong fan of other writers, Bradbury posed sitting in the movie prop from H.G. Wells’ “The Time Machine.” (Decades later the same prop turned up in an episode of “The Big Bang Theory.”)

Not all sci-fi books make the grade as quality literature, but Bradbury’s work was often exceptional and he personally elevated the entire genre. And at least one of his masterpieces is still regularly taught in American schools.

Three Reasons Why He Matters
Writers come and go and most are lucky to have a single work become a classic. Bradbury wrote several and in the process helped turn science fiction into a major literary form. His legacy is based on the following:

1. He Saw the Future. Bradbury is best known for his 1953 triumph “Fahrenheit 451,” which paints a stunning portrait of a dysfunctional future in which intelligence is viewed negatively and books are actually outlawed and burned in piles whenever discovered. (The title refers to the temperature at which paper ignites.)

In its depiction of a world in which television entertainment rules popular culture, he predicted our modern world, warts and all. (The book, written during nine days in a study room in UCLA’s Powell Library, also envisioned the use of ATMs and BlueTooth headsets.) Surprisingly for a master of science fiction—a term he didn’t like—Bradbury was suspicious of technology and man’s increasing dependence on it.

A lifelong believer in public education and libraries (where he educated himself because he couldn’t afford to go to college), he was no fan of e-books. In fact, when renegotiating his publishing rights to his most famous work in 2011, Bradbury gave publisher Simon & Schuster the permission to offer it via digital download only if the book could be downloaded by any library patron free of charge. Among Simon & Schuster’s huge catalog, “Fahrenheit 451” is the only book with this distinction.

2. His Work is Everywhere. Bradbury had a powerhouse work ethic that makes even the always-busy Stephen King look like a slacker. Bradbury literally wrote every dayfor approximately 70 years. (Imagine working 25,000 straight days without a single day off. His last story (for “The New Yorker” magazine) was published just a week before his death at age 91.

Insanely prolific, he authored at least 27 novels and more than 600 short stories, many of which found their way onto movie and TV screens. His huge body of work was plenty successful, too: Bradbury’s writing has been translated into more than 36 languages, with more than eight million copies of his works in circulation.

3. He’s Incredibly Influential. While Bradbury’s body of work is here to stay, so is his lasting influence on many other titans of film and literature. Stephen King offered this tribute: “Ray Bradbury wrote three great novels and three hundred great stories.

One of the latter was called ‘A Sound of Thunder.’ The sound I hear today is the thunder of a giant’s footsteps fading away. But the novels and stories remain, in all their resonance and strange beauty.” Another dedicated fan, Steven Spielberg, called Bradbury “his muse for the better part of his sci-fi career.

In the world of science fiction and fantasy and imagination he is immortal.” And it’s the rare sci-fi writer indeed whose death prompts comment from a U.S. president. President Barack Obama issued the following statement: “For many Americans, the news of Ray Bradbury’s death immediately brought to mind images from his work, imprinted in our minds, often from a young age. His gift for storytelling reshaped our culture and expanded our world.”


“Fahrenheit 451″ predicted a world where intelligence was considered dangerous and books were illegal.

Bradbury’s other major novels include “The Martian Chronicles,” “The Illustrated Man” and “Something Wicked This Way Comes,” each of which was eventually adapted for film. His influence is so far-reaching that NASA named a lunar crater after him. His legacy as a writer, thinker and social critic will endure permanently. “I don’t need an alarm clock,” he once said. “My ideas wake me.”

Visionaries like Ray Bradbury don’t come along every day, but the exciting world of science that he treasured is open to everyone with an interest and an imagination. He was a firm believer in the power of the human intellect and its ability to positively reshape our world. And wherever he is now, you can bet that the sound of typing can be heard clearly.

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posted by DMA Jordan in News Blog and have No Comments

When Will Siri Work on iPad?

Siri, the helpful female voice Apple created to serve as an all-purpose Help desk, has captivated technology maniacs since she was introduced. Now Apple intends to extend Siri’s influence - allowing her to control other devices.


It’s sort of official: Siri is being prepped to work on other devices besides the iPhone.

Apple Talks Patents
Apple hasn’t made any announcements yet, but tech insiders point to recent patent filings that support the claim that Siri could be used to control more devices. The patent application filed by Apple in late March suggests a scenario wherein iPhones might be used to control digital media players with voice commands (potentially for use with Apple TV). Likewise, Siri could be used to provide remote-control operation of digital cameras. It might even be used in the future to control various devices via Mac computers – or your iPad.

Apple’s patent filing stated that “Portable electronic devices, such as digital media players, personal digital assistants, mobile phones, and so on, typically rely on small buttons and screens for user input. Such controls may be built into the device or part of a touch-screen interface, but are typically very small and can be cumbersome to manipulate.”

The patent application then tips Apple’s hand a bit: “What is needed is an electronic device that includes a voice user interface for executing voice or oral commands from a user, but where voice recognition is performed by a remote device communicatively coupled to the electronic device, rather than the electronic device itself.” Hmmm…Sounds like Apple foresees a future in which machines – like a TV – are controlled by voice. We agree, but Apple needs to catch up, since you can already control your TV with Microsoft’s Kinect system.

The Future of Tech
Apple is clearly shaping the new technological landscape and you can be part of it by learning more about Apple’s iOS. App development and programming courses like those taught by Digital Media Academy could help you become the one that’s creating the future. Held on some of America’s most respected college and university campuses (such as Harvard and UCLA), DMA summer camps enable motivated youngsters to pursue their technological dreams.

The future includes voice control and a whole host of other technology we haven’t even thought of yet…”Siri show us the future!”

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Music & Video Production at UCLA

mvpro_classAmong the many new Digital Media Academy courses featured this summer is Music and Video Production, taught in partnership with the John Lennon Educational Tour Bus. This course provides teens with an experience in the entire music video production process – from mixing music with Apple’s Logic Studio, to writing lyrics, to editing video footage with Apple’s Final Cut Pro.

I recently sat down with students taking Music Video Production at DMA’s UCLA location. Several of these students came from outside of California to participate in this very unique course. When asked what they enjoyed most about this course, I got a variety of enthusiastic responses. Christian Cox, from Monroe, Georgia, commented, “Teachers are young and can relate to any music style.” He explained that their class had divided into two groups, one writing a reggae song about nature and another writing a hip-hop song about having attention deficit disorder. Whatever genre of music they wanted, their instructors were talented enough to adapt!

mvpro_instrumentsMany of these students had never done anything like this before and were amazed at how much they were learning in a short amount of time. As Stephen Herandez from La Canada, CA explained, “You can go into this course without any knowledge and by the end of the week, you’ll think you can anything with Logic and Final Cut Pro!” Another student explained to me that she didn’t have any prior experience playing a musical instrument, but had learned a few simple guitar chords that week – enough to make a song! In addition to working with industry standard software and several musical instruments, students worked with high end Sony cameras to capture video footage around campus.

mvpro_instructorsIt was obvious as I talked with these kids that they had learned to work closely together. Many were also staying together in DMA’s residential UCLA program. “We have fun meeting new people and working together as a team to make videos and share memories, “ said Ron Magana from Canoga Park, CA.

To see an example video produced by the UCLA Music and Video Production class, click below:

DMA at UCLA: Trees and Leaves

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DMA Summer 2009 is Underway!

We are now in our third week of summer 2009! As of this week, we have four locations up and running across the country, including Stanford University, University of Pennsylvania, UCLA and The University of Texas at Austin. The University of California at Irvine ran for two weeks, June 22 – July 3, focusing on filmmaking courses for both teens and adults. Next week, four more locations will be launched, including Brown University, UC Berkeley, UC San Diego (UCSD) and our first ever international location, The University of British Columbia in Vancouver.

DMA students include adults, teens and kids as young as seven years old. At each age group, a variety of courses are offered, including movie making, video game creation, robotics, animation and web design. Summer 2009 also features several new courses, including Adventures in Cartoon and Comic Creation for kids ages 9-13 and Junior Adventures in Digital Art and Movie Making for kids ages 7-9. Among our new teen courses is the very popular Music and Video Production course, taught in conjunction with the John Lennon Educational Tour Bus. Students in this class use the latest audio, video and music gear to create their own songs and music videos! Stay tuned for more features on each of these new courses!

All DMA courses are project based, so students are going home every Friday with their very own portfolio of project work. In the coming weeks, we will feature many of these projects, as well as profile some of the students whose creativity is filling college campuses nationwide!

All courses are taught by professionals with classroom teaching experience and/or experience in the industry, so students are learning from the “masters” themselves! Please check out our instructor biographies to learn more about our teaching staff.

Spots are still available at several locations. Please call 866-656-3342 for course availability!

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