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The Invisible Computer (MIT Press): Why Good Products Can Fail, the Personal Computer Is So Complex, and Information Appliances Are the Solution Paperback – 18 Aug 1999

2.7 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 316 pages
  • Publisher: MIT Press; New Ed edition (18 Aug. 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0262640414
  • ISBN-13: 978-0262640411
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1.5 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.7 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,636,300 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Amazon Review

While Donald Norman acknowledges in The Invisible Computer that the personal computer allows for "flexibility and power," he also makes its limitations perfectly clear. Currently, computer users must navigate a sea of guidebooks, frequently asked questions (FAQs), and wizards to perform a task such as searching the Web or creating a spreadsheet. "The personal computer is perhaps the most frustrating technology ever," he writes. "It should be quiet, invisible, unobtrusive." His vision is that of the "information appliance", digital tools created to answer our specific needs, yet interconnected to allow communication between devices.

His solution? "Design the tool to fit so well that the tool becomes a part of the task." He proposes using the PC as the infrastructure for devices hidden in walls, in car dashboards, and held in the palm of the hand. A word of caution: some of Norman's zealotry leads to a certain creepiness (global positioning body implants) and goofiness (electric-power-generating plants in shoes). His message, though, is reasonably situated in the concept that the tools should bend to fit us and our goals: we sit down to write, not to word process; to balance bank accounts, not to fill in cells on a spreadsheet. In evenly measuring out the future of humanity's technological needs--and the limitations of the PC's current incarnation--Norman presents a formidable argument for a renaissance of the information appliance. --Jennifer Buckendorff

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...the bible of 'post-PC' thinking.

--Business Week

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12 August 2013
Format: Paperback|Verified Purchase
20 January 2000
Format: Paperback|Verified Purchase
2 people found this helpful
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11 January 1999
Format: Hardcover
6 people found this helpful
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3 November 1998
Format: Hardcover
23 November 1998
Format: Hardcover
30 March 1999
Format: Hardcover
3 people found this helpful
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