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Computer (Objekt)

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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

The pixelated rectangle we spend most of our day staring at in silence is not the television as many long feared, but the computer—the ubiquitous portal of work and personal lives. At this point, the computer is almost so common we dont notice it in our view. Its difficult to envision that not that long ago it was a gigantic, room-sized structure only to be accessed by a few inspiring as much awe and respect as fear and mystery. Now that the machine has decreased in size and increased in popular use, the computer has become a prosaic appliance, little-more noted than a toaster. These dramatic changes, from the daunting to the ordinary, are captured in Computer by design historian Paul Atkinson.

Here, Atkinson chronicles the changes in physical design of the computer and shows how these changes in design are related to changes in popular attitude. Atkinson is fascinated by how the computer has been represented and promoted in advertising. For example, in contrast to ads from the 1970s and 80s, todays PC is very PC—genderless, and largely status free. Computer also considers the role of the computer as a cultural touchstone, as evidenced by its regular appearance in popular culture, including the iconography of the space age, HAL from 2001: A Space Odyssey, James Bonds gadgetry, and Stars War and Star Trek.

Computer covers many issues ignored by other histories of computing, which have focused on technology and the economics involved in their production, but rarely on the role of fashion in the physical design and promotion of computers and their general reception. The book will appeal to professionals and students of design and technology as well as those interested in the history of computers and how they have shaped—and been shaped by—our lives.

About the Author

Paul Atkinson is a reader in design in the Faculty of Arts, Computing, Engineering and Sciences at Sheffield Hallam University, Sheffield, UK.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Computer Histories

1 Polar Positions

2 Personal Matters

3 Power Tools

4 Futuristic Fantasies

References

Select Bibliography

Acknowledgements

Photo Acknowledgements

Index

Product Details

ISBN:
9781861896643
Author:
Atkinson, Paul
Publisher:
Reaktion Books
Subject:
General
Subject:
General Computers
Subject:
Social Aspects - General
Subject:
Computers Reference-Social Aspects
Edition Description:
Paperback
Series:
Reaktion Books - Objekt
Publication Date:
20100831
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Language:
English
Illustrations:
40 color plates, 60 halftones
Pages:
256
Dimensions:
8.4 x 6 in

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Related Subjects

Arts and Entertainment » Art » General
Computers and Internet » Computers Reference » History and Society
Computers and Internet » Computers Reference » Social Aspects » General
Humanities » Philosophy » General
Science and Mathematics » History of Science » Computers

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