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Divining a Digital Future: Mess and Mythology in Ubiquitous Computing Hardcover – April 22, 2011

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Paul Dourish is Professor of Informatics in the Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences with courtesy appointments in Computer Science and in Anthropology at the University of California, Irvine. He is the author of Where the Action Is: The Foundations of Embodied Interaction (MIT Press, 2001, 2004).

Genevieve Bell is an Intel Fellow and the Director of Intel's first user-focused research and development lab, Interactions and Experiences Research.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 264 pages
  • Publisher: The MIT Press (April 22, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0262015552
  • ISBN-13: 978-0262015554
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,448,957 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Paul Dourish is Professor of Informatics at the University of California, Irvine, with courtesy appointments in Anthropology and Computer Science. His research interests span a wide range of concerns at the intersection of computer science and social science, with a particular interest in the cultural practices of digital media and their infrastructures. At the center of most of these projects is the idea of the digital imagination -- both how designers and researchers in information technology conceive of the technologies the produce, their users, and the relationships between the two, and how people adopt and adapt digital technologies as sites for producing their own cultural identities and imagining themselves and their societies.

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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Jon on October 3, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is about understanding people & culture first, technology second. If you're looking for a book that tells you what the next wave of computing is, buy a different book - the authors even suggest a few at the end to read as you're reading the final chapter (Everyware, Shaping Things, etc.).

If you want to understand all of the cultural and human considerations that should be part of a research project when considering new technology, then this book is for you. Think of it as an ethnographers guide for technology research... which isn't as good a title, but I think sums up the book pretty well.

Overall, the book was really good.

The frustrating part for me was the never-ending references to research papers, it's almost like they should have included them in the back or something or given links to them at the front of each chapter so you could go read those first.

Once you get past that, the authors do a really good job of outlining all those messy considerations that are often overlooked in "visions of the future", things like Privacy, Security, etc.

One thing that stood out to me, probably because it was at the end of the book, was the part about "the home of the future" as being an idyllic place. The reality is something different, I think it was something like 4 Million women a year are victims of domestic violence, how will the home of future, with all this technology, be better for them (I'm paraphrasing here, probably not very well).

If you are investigating the future of technology I highly recommend this book. If you want to know what the future is, this probably isn't the book for you.
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