Part of the Computing fundamentals glossary:

On the World Wide Web, cool has a number of meanings, including:

  • Engaging
  • Laid-back, understated
  • In tune with the latest thinking, even a little ahead of it
  • Technically or graphically impressive
The term "cool" seems to have originated among jazz musicians in the 1940s. In ERM>, Marshall MacLuhan described television as a "cool" medium (unlike the "hot" media of radio and print) because it is sensorily more complex and involving. "A cool medium," said Professor MacLuhan, "whether the spoken word or the manucript or TV, leaves much more for the listener or user to do than a hot medium." A composite of several media (photographs, print, animated images, movies, sound, telephone conversations, posted notes...) and also in itself a new medium of over 100 million potential "publishers" and interactors, the Web itself seems much closer to MacLuhan's "cool."

This was last updated in April 2005
Posted by: Margaret Rouse

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