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The Future of Looking Back (Developer Reference) 1st Edition

4.0 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0735658066
ISBN-10: 0735658064
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Richard Banks is an interaction designer in the Microsoft Research Socio-Digital Systems group, part of the Computer Mediated Living group in the Microsoft Research Cambridge facility. He works primarily on the design of new user experiences for people’s everyday lives.

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Product Details

  • Series: Developer Reference (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 182 pages
  • Publisher: Microsoft Press; 1 edition (October 5, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0735658064
  • ISBN-13: 978-0735658066
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,335,280 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
The author, associated with Microsoft Research Cambridge (UK), explores the impact that digital technology can have on how people reminisce about their past, preserve their memories, and transmit personal legacies to their families and loved ones. The author discusses how the similarities and differences between physical objects and digital technology can influence and affect the ways: (1) that people reminisce, preserve memories, and transmit personal legacies; and (2) how people receive and preserve the legacies bequeathed to them. The book contains some interesting observations about how the transmitters and receivers of preserved memories and personal legacies can have very different perspectives about the same things, and how those different perspectives can be shaped or influenced by the digital or non-digital means used for recording and storing memories and legacies.

The author's commentary and discussion are based on a mix of personal observations, comments about other people's experiences, references to various digital devices (some implemented and others experimental), and speculation about potential new digital devices. Each chapter ends with a brief "Design challenges" section that poses rhetorical questions to stimulate the reader's thinking about the topics and ideas explored in the chapter. The author does not use footnotes in the text, but provides a References section at the end of the book with citations to references listed for each chapter.

The book is a thoughtful and occasionally evocative exploration of how we reminisce, preserve memories, and transmit and receive personal legacies. It explores serious and deeply personal topics in a manner that is fairly down-to-earth, relatively jargon-free, and readily understandable to readers without any particular level of training or experience with digital technology.
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Format: Paperback
The Future of Looking Back

Banks creates an amazingly readable analysis of how we use objects to remember. From photographs to journals to data to video and more, we gets us to consider what makes meaningful artifacts for reminiscence and viewing a life. He sprinkles the end of his chapters with thought-provoking questions on how we might plan and execute creation, collection, storage and use of these objects.

Working at Microsoft Research in Cambridge, UK, he could certainly have produced a hard-to-follow, complex technical tome. Instead, its 141 pages (plus supporting references) are clear and concise. He divides the subject into the nature of the objects we use to remember, the hows and whys of reminiscence, and new and pending tools for doing so

The only thing that stopped me was a series of design questions at chapter ends. I was compelled to think about how I deal with my pictures and other paper and digital objects.

I hope he has a follow-up book. It could deal with examples of designing and executing the big, honking collections of objects we can produce. Getting them so that they will be useful for ourselves and others is a whole other matter. I bet he has categorized, sorted and prioritized his digital life.
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Format: Paperback
Under the stair well is an old suitcase full of photos and other memorabilia gathered over the past couple of generations of my family. Somewhere in the ether are several thousand photos that appear when bidden on any computer linked into our household network, as well as my iPhone and iPad. If I want I can even share those photos with the world through flicker, Facebook or any other of the various social media channels.

And that is what Richard Banks' The Future of Looking Back is all about.

As the tactile gives way to the digital, the way we experience our past is changing - in some ways for the better, in others for the poorer, but mostly in ways unknown. Banks explores the implications of the digital world for the way we interact with the artefacts of our past. It is an interesting read moving steadily from insight to insight with an easy mix of hard analysis and personal reflections. Written as part of the Microsoft research program, The Future of Looking Back charts some of the design opportunities and challenges the development of the next generation of technologies - as such it will appeal both to those with an interest in designing technology as well as those, like me, who are curious about how technology influences our way of living.

Don't expect any earth-shattering revelations or an exciting journey through a high-tech mythical future. Instead, Banks lays out a plausible and pragmatic vision for technologies that seem in most cases just a matter of years, or perhaps months away. This is a book that won't appeal to everyone, but it is an intelligent and thoughtful exploration of an important subject that has largely escaped attention.
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Format: Paperback
The Future of looking back is book which very clearly and concisely take you journey where you learn effects of technology on common people. The book is well written and easy read. Banks creates a world where he takes you slowly and see how transition is happening from physical to virtual, analog to digital.

In the end of each chapter, design challenges are fantastic and provide a quite peek into Bank's designer brain.

This book is certainly good read.
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