1. The new media I have chosen is the blog.
Numerical representation: in terms of numerical representation, all the texts, pictures, or even podcasts uploaded or displayed on blogs are encoded in binary bits.
Modularity: the different parts of the blogs are generally modularized into posts, lists, photo albums, tag-boards and so on. They are further modularized into fonts, formats and so on. Indeed, MSN space even makes use of the notion of 'module' and use it as the basic unit on the user interface.
Automation: bloggers may make use of templates to design own blog layouts.
Variability: bloggers ccan make use of softwares such as Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Premiere, Windows Movie Maker and so on to edit photos and video. They may also create their own work by means adaptation from existing works.
Transcoding: bloggers can change or update the contents on the blogs as time goes by, unlike old media, when the newspaper is printed or film released, it is almost impossible to make changes at a later timing.
These implications have quite revolutionary implications for narrative and play within interactive media. Firstly, because of the convenience of modularity and numerical representation, different parts in the narratives might be taken out of context for the construction of new narratives. As such, there are also fewer restrictions in constructing narratives, leading to more space for the 'play' factor. The numerical representations and automation also enables faster distribution of the media, in the specific of blogs, and involves more participants in the narratives from different point of view, leading to the newly founded 'civilian journalism'. However, as the interactive media we are discussing now are mainly based on computers, internet and computer programmes, there might be actually less 'interactivity' than the name suggests --- one party, the human being, is actually 'interacting' with a computer algorithm, which is, in most cases predictable and only reactive. Thus, most people, with the exception of computer programmers and computing genius, may find less room for the 'play' component as their choices are limited by the low level of artificial intelligence in normal computer systems.
2. Chris Crawford proposes a much stricter definition of interactivity, emphasising that the two parties engaged in an interaction must perform the task of listening, thinking and speaking well, in order to have a high degree of interaction. On the other hand, Manovich suggests that objects represented in computer are interactive by nature. It seems that the two authors have different viewpoints, but to me, Crawford's argument may well contain Manovich: The humans and computers may well have different degrees of interaction at the Human Computer Interface, depending on how well the algorithm is designed and the level of 'artificial intelligence' achieved. My own experience with interactive media is that if I use the media to interact with other people, I would frequently have the kind of high degree of interactions: blogs, photos, videos, and most importantly the comments by other people. However, if I am merely 'interacting' with the computers, like role playing games, or playing 'bots' in counter-strike, chances are the other 'actors' in the interaction are pretty predictable, and I find fewer opportunities for 'play', unless I can modify the programmes themselves or use the 'bugs'. Indeed, I think we need to differentiate between the two scenarios: people interacting with people through the electronic tools, and people giving commands to computers and receiving the programmed responses.
3. The movie Run Lola Run, to some extent, deals with the structure of narratives: how a narrative is constructed. Along Lola's run she made, or was forced to make some decisions and choices and they would affect the final outcome of the narrative. Nevertheless, the outcome is also intertwined with other characters' decisions: whether she was tripped in the stairs, the timing she reached her father's office, whether the young man met and sold the bike to the 'bum', to name a few examples. Meanwhile, each time, other's outcomes are affected as well, in the case of the woman carry the baby and another few 'passers-by'. There were also some plays. The most amusing one was after Lola robbed the bank, she was probably mistaken for some 'hostages' escaped from the building and was allowed to leave with her money.
In my opinion, Manovich argues that the computer-based new and interactive media imposes its cultural layer on to the traditional forms of media, and thus 'transcoding' them with the 5 principles of new media: numerical representation, modularity, automation and variability.
Run Lola Run appears to me like a Role Playing Game. It gave me the feeling that some one, probably the narrator, is playing, or directing Lola's actions. Same as in most RPG games, the player/narrator needs to make decisions. The decisions may lead the game to different outcomes. The first two outcomes are of course not welcomed because they resulted in the death of the heroine and hero. Nonetheless, like a RPG game, the player/narrator is able to load the game from somewhere, or just restart the game, and what the script writer has decided to do. Save and Load, just like any RPG game. Meanwhile, the player/narrator also learns about the game as he played: in the first scenario Lola was taught how to use a gun, so in the second scene she managed to use it to rob the bank. In the second scenario, Lola learnt that the ambulance would reach the meeting point with her boyfriend (also it resulted in her boyfriend's death), however, in the third time playing Lola decided to take a lift with the ambulance. As such, we can see the impact of RPG games transcoding on the an 'old medium': movie.