Everyware: The Dawning Age of Ubiquitous Computing (AIGA Design Press)

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Alternately, we can watch passively as the world fills up withubiquitous systems not designed with our interests at heart - at best presenting us withmoments of hassle, disruption and frustration beyond number, and at worst laying thegroundwork for the kind of repression the despots of the twentieth century could onlydream about. The stakes, this time, are unusually high. A mobile phone is something that can beswitched off, or left at home.

A computer is something that can be shut down,unplugged, walked away from. There should be little doubt that its advent willprofoundly shape both the world and our experience of it in the years ahead. As to whether we come to regard that advent as boon, burden or blunder, that is verymuch up to us, and the decisions we make now.

Almost twenty years ago, a researcher at the legendary Xerox Palo AltoResearch Center wrote an article - a sketch, really - setting forth the outlines ofwhat he thought computing would look like in a post-PC world. In his telling, desktop machines per se would largely disappear, asthe tiny, cheap microprocessors that powered them faded away into the builtenvironment by the ten-thousandfold. But computation would flourish, becomingintimately intertwined with the stuff of everyday life.

Best of all, people would interact withthese systems fluently and naturally, barely noticing the powerful informatics theywere engaging. The innumerable hassles presented by personal computingwould fade into history. But while the line of thought he developed at PARC may have offered the firstexplicit, technically articulated formulation of a ubiquitous computing in the post-PC regime, it wasn't the only one.

The general idea of an invisible-but-everywhere computing was clearly loose in the world. And as mobile phones began to percolate into the world, each of them nothingbut a connected computing device, it was inevitable that someone would think touse them as a platform for the delivery of services beyond conversation.

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Philipsand Samsung, Nokia and NTT DoCoMo - all offered visions of a mobile,interconnected computing in which, naturally, their products took center stage. By the first years of the twenty-first century, with daily reality sometimesthreatening to leapfrog even the more imaginative theorists of ubicomp, it wasclear that all of these endeavors were pointing at something becoming real in theworld. Intriguingly, though, and maybe a little infuriatingly, no two of these institutionsunderstood the problem domain in quite the same way. In their attempts tograpple with the implications of computing in the post-PC era, some concernedthemselves with ubiquitous networking: the effort to extend network access tojust about anyplace people could think of to go.

In the late s, researchers at UC Berkeley developed a vocabulary ofwireless-enabled embedded sensors specifically designed for use in ubicomp,known generically as motes. Along with TinyOS, the operating system they ranon, Berkeley's motes were a first pass at addressing the challenges of distributedpervasive sensing. Thirty miles to the south, a team at Stanford addressed the absence in orthodoxcomputer science of a infrastructural model appropriate for the ubiquitous case.

Radio-frequency identification RFID tags and two-dimensional barcodes were just two of many technologies adaptedfrom their original applications, these pressed into service in ubicomp scenariosas bridges between the physical and virtual worlds. Meanwhile, at the human-machine interface, the plummeting cost of processing resources meant that longdreamed-of but computationally-intensive ways of interaction, such as gestureand voice recognition, were becoming practical; they would prove irresistible aselements of a technology that was, after all, supposed to be invisible-but-everywhere.

It had reached something like a critical mass ofthought and innovation by an upwelling of novelty both intellectual andmaterial, accompanied by a persistent sense, in many quarters, that ubicomp'shour had come 'round at last. Pieces of the puzzle kept coming. In many cases, the fields were so newthat the jargon hadn't even solidified yet. Would all of these threads converge on something comprehensible, useful, orusable? And if so, how? Questions like these were taken up with varying degrees of enthusiasm,skepticism, and critical distance in the overlapping human-computer interaction HCI and user experience communities.

The former, with an academicengineering pedigree, had evolved over some thirty years to consider theproblems inherent in any encounter between complex technical systems and thepeople using them; the latter, a more or less ad-hoc network of practitioners,addressed similar concerns in their daily work, as the Internet and the WorldWide Web built on it became facts of life for millions of nonspecialist users. Asthe new millennium dawned, both communities found ubicomp on their agenda,in advance of any hard data gleaned from actual use.

With the exception of discussions going on in the HCI community, none of thesegroups were necessarily pursuing anything that Mark Weiser would haverecognized as fully cognate with his ubiquitous computing.

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But they were allsensing the rapidly-approaching obsolescence of the desktop model, the cominghegemony of networked devices, and the reconfiguration of everyday life aroundthem. You can read the rest of this review elsewhere. View 2 comments. Shelves: , design , user-experience , technology. This book has a strong focus on the human side of new-fangled technology, which makes it refreshingly different than most books about the subject. The only thing I didn't like about this book is that the extremely short chapters made the book feel very long.

It was almost like reading a series of blog posts about ubiquitous computing, though a series of very well written and carefully ordered blog posts. As a designer, the last section was the most relevant and interesting, about the ways everywar This book has a strong focus on the human side of new-fangled technology, which makes it refreshingly different than most books about the subject. As a designer, the last section was the most relevant and interesting, about the ways everyware should be designed to preserve our humanity in the face of technological change.

Short answer: it shouldn't make our lives worse. Nov 23, Troy rated it liked it Shelves: science. Published in , but I read this in The most interesting part of this book was to see how far technology has advanced in those 7 years. A very tech-heavy book, but a fascinating read, albeit a bit dated at this point.


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Apr 12, Weixiang rated it really liked it. Concise, thematic, academic approach towards the study of ubiquitous computing. I picked up this book when I was thinking about different methods of ubiquitous background computing. Such examples would be automatic processes in different facets of our lives.

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What I liked about this book was the cautionary tales and more of the ethics of developing such technologies from inequality and class issues to biological implant ideas. The reading is dry, but fascinating none the less. Reading level: 4, n Concise, thematic, academic approach towards the study of ubiquitous computing.

Reading level: 4, needs computer background to have full benefits. College junior level in comp sci or architecture. Who is it for: automators, scriptors, home automation nerds. Mar 15, Ogi Ogas rated it it was ok. My ratings of books on Goodreads are solely a crude ranking of their utility to me, and not an evaluation of literary merit, entertainment value, social importance, humor, insightfulness, scientific accuracy, creative vigor, suspensefulness of plot, depth of characters, vitality of theme, excitement of climax, satisfaction of ending, or any other combination of dimensions of value which we are expected to boil down through some fabulous alchemy into a single digit.

Jan 27, Robert Josef rated it really liked it. Interesting read, especially the sections on determinism. It seems that most—if not all—areas of technology are converging toward some logical conclusion, whether we like it or not.

I guess it makes sense when you recognize the elegant simplicity of the underlying architecture. Perhaps the end result is Q from Star Trek. Jul 20, Steven Deobald rated it really liked it. It's hard to imagine a time when this book needs to be read by more technologists in more countries and in more industries than The dangers presented and the solutions suggested are all laid bare before us.

Feb 14, Joshua Palay rated it it was amazing. Jun 20, Steven rated it it was amazing Shelves: nonfiction. Excellent discussion of the origins of ubiquitous computing, current state of the art as of , where it might be headed and potential issues and design principles. A must-read, not only in terms of ubiquitous computing, but as an examplar of writings on the social use of technology and as a source of potential design principles for Web 2. Jan 29, Sonya added it Shelves: bought-and-still-planning-to-read. I ordered a few "web design" books to inspire my fading interest in web design.

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This was one of them. I recently started participating in my web design hobby again and will more than likely read it. View 1 comment. Aug 25, Ty rated it really liked it Shelves: ux. More recently, in an article for Interactions , design strategist Hugh Dubberly made a similar argument saying that traditional notions of design thinking and the innovation process are object-centered and organize our work according to mechanical principles. He described an organic, systems-based alternative that seeks to address friction in the relationships among communities, conventions, and contexts.

This paradigm shift in the focus of the design process from objects to experiences demands new knowledge and methods to inform decision-making. The transfer of control from designers to participants:. Computer scientist Gerhard Fischer writes that as the influence of technology expands, control moves from the designer to the people for whom we design.

Design researcher Liz Sanders argues that designers need to think less about consumers and users, and more about participants and co-creators ; about designing with people rather than for them. Spend a little time on facebook, SecondLife, or ebay and you understand who is in charge. Design is in uncharted territory with respect to emergent systems and many of the current strategies for studying people are neither predictive of, nor responsive to, a rapidly changing environment of new technology and the resulting relationships among people, places, and things.

In this sense, we can talk about learning communities and communities of practice that may exist only through online interactions. Further, such perspectives signal that globalization and the complicated issues of designing for and within culture involve more than simply adopting an appropriate visual language. If design both illustrates the axiology of a culture i. Technological expansion and media convergence:. We now live in a culture of emergent, convergent, sensor, and mobile technology.

Everyware The dawning age of ubiquitous computing Adam ...

Traditional object-driven design paradigms, which often result in fixed features and physical attributes, fall short in an experience-oriented world. Not only does this shift in the output of design challenge the traditional body of knowledge that informs our design decisions, but it also points to a need for research into the very methods by which we design. If the goal of design is to provide an increasingly invisible interface which may, for example, be comprised of sensors that are activated only by unconscious gestures , what methods replace a design process that has been all about designing visible representations of mechanical and text-based information systems?

And by what criteria do we judge success? The complex scale of problems, diversity of settings and participants, and demand for adaptable and adaptive technological systems argues for work being done by interdisciplinary teams composed of experts with very different modes of inquiry.