Finally, we are learning that simplicity equals sanity. We're rebelling against technology that's too complicated, DVD players with too many menus, and software accompanied by 75-megabyte read me manuals. The iPod's clean gadgetry has made simplicity hip. But sometimes we find ourselves caught up in the simplicity paradox: we want something that's simple and easy to use, but also does all the complex things we might ever want it to do. In The Laws of Simplicity, John Maeda offers ten laws for balancing simplicity and complexity in business, technology, and design--guidelines for needing less and actually getting more.
Maeda--a professor in MIT's Media Lab and a world-renowned graphic designer--explores the question of how we can redefine the notion of improved so that it doesn't always mean something more, something added on.
Maeda's first law of simplicity is Reduce. It's not necessarily beneficial to add technology features just because we can. And the features that we do have must be organized (Law 2) in a sensible hierarchy so users aren't distracted by features and functions they don't need. But simplicity is not less just for the sake of less. Skip ahead to Law 9: Failure: Accept the fact that some things can never be made simple. Maeda's concise guide to simplicity in the digital age shows us how this idea can be a cornerstone of organizations and their products--how it can drive both business and technology. We can learn to simplify without sacrificing comfort and meaning, and we can achieve the balance described in Law 10. This law, which Maeda calls The One, tells us: Simplicity is about subtracting the obvious, and adding the meaningful.
Taken from the Greek, nano means 'one billionth part of' a whole; or very, very small. Nanotechnology is the next step after miniaturization. This book explores the cutting edge of a new technology that will find usage in almost every single aspect of modern society.
The questions he poses about the relationship between technical change and political power are pressing ones that can no longer be ignored, and identifying them is perhaps the most a nascent 'philosophy of technology' can expect to achieve at the present time.--David Dickson, New York Times Book ReviewThe Whale and the Reactor is the philosopher's equivalent of superb public history. In its pages an analytically trained mind confronts some of the most pressing political issues of our day.--Ruth Schwartz Cowan, Isis
In Jacquard's Web, James Essinger tells the story of some of the most brilliant inventors the world has ever known, in this fascinating account of how a hand-loom invented in Napoleonic France led to the development of the modern information age.
Essinger, a master story-teller, describes how Joseph-Marie Jacquard's loom enabled the silk-weavers of Lyons to weave fabrics 25 times faster than had previously been possible. The device used punched cards, which stored instructions for weaving whatever pattern or design was required. These cards can very reasonably be described as the world's first computer programs. Indeed, Essinger shows through a series of remarkable and meticulously researched historical connections--connections never before investigated--that the Jacquard loom kick-started a process of scientific evolution which would lead directly to the development of the modern computer. The book examines a wealth of extraordinary links between the nineteenth-century world of weaving and today's computer age: for example, modern computer graphics displays are based on exactly the same principles as those employed in Jacquard's special woven tableaux. Jacquard's Web also introduces some of the most colorful and interesting characters in the history of science and technology: the modest but exceptionally dedicated Jacquard himself; the brilliant but temperamental Victorian polymath Charles Babbage, who dreamed of a cogwheel computer operated using Jacquard cards; and the imaginative and perceptive Ada Lovelace, Lord Byron's only legitimate daughter.
Attractively illustrated and compellingly narrated, Jacquard's Web is an engaging and delightful volume. It is an impressive case of historical detective work, one that will leave the reader mesmerized.
A new form of strip mining has caused a state of emergency for the Appalachian wilderness and the communities that depend on it-a crisis compounded by issues of government neglect, corporate hubris, and class conflict. In this powerful call to arms, Erik Reece chronicles the year he spent witnessing the systematic decimation of a single mountain and offers a landmark defense of a national treasure threatened with extinction.
How did the table fork acquire a fourth tine? What advantage does the Phillips-head screw have over its single-grooved predecessor? Why does the paper clip look the way it does? What makes Scotch tape Scotch?In this delightful book Henry, Petroski takes a microscopic look at artifacts that most of us count on but rarely contemplate, including such icons of the everyday as pins, Post-its, and fast-food clamshell containers. At the same time, he offers a convincing new theory of technological innovation as a response to the perceived failures of existing products--suggesting that irritation, and not necessity, is the mother of invention.