Category Archives: Week 2

De-blackboxing a Smart TV

I found the readings from this week to be an excellent introduction to some of the foundational concepts of design thinking. The Lidwell reading, Universal Principles of Design, was a really concise and useful look at the various concerns and factors that are intrinsic in good design. I learned a lot of new principles that I look forward to applying in this course. The Arthur reading, The Nature of Technology: What It Is and How It Evolves, also contained a plethora of new and exciting ways to look at technology.

This past summer my family bought a new Samsung smart TV, so I had the opportunity to take apart our old Sony LCD flatscreen. By no stretch of the imagination could I be considered an electronics whiz, so I was mainly tinkering around out of curiosity. But now that I retrospectively look back at the process, I can identify a few concept from the readings. For example, when I de-blackboxed the TV by unscrewing its back plate, the components were clearly modularly assembled, which made maintenance, repair, and upgrading a relatively easy process. Comparing the remotes for the old LCD and the new smart TV was an exercise in design thinking, particularly the concept of a flexibility-usability tradeoff. Whereas the old remote had a distinct button for almost every function, the new remote was very simplistic, with only a few buttons.

Evolution of the TV remote. Final product is the Samsung One Remote for their Smart TV.

The actual smart TV itself can be seen as an example of the combinatorial technology process that Arthur promulgates. What makes it “smart” is its ability to interact and communicate with other technologies and devices. This interconnectivity is built upon the existence of a host of foundational technologies, such as wireless/bluetooth networks. What I find interesting is that all this technology already existed; it is the assembly of these technological components into one unit/product that we recognize to be a novel “invention”.

References

  1. Arthur, W. Brian. The Nature of Technology: What It Is and How It Evolves. Reprint edition. New York: Free Press, 2011.
  2. Donald A. Norman. Living with Complexity. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2010.
  3. William Lidwell, Kritina Holden, and Jill Butler. Universal Principles of Design. Revised. Beverly, MA: Rockport Publishers, 2010.

Everything is part of everything

Out of the questions proposed for the weekly assignment, the one that caught my attention was the one related to analyzing the reasons why devices like a tablet or a smartphone are “black-boxed” and I wanted to make a connection between this question and the ideas of combinatorial evolution, structure and modularity that Arthur expresses in “The Nature of Technology. What It is and How It Evolves”.

I have more questions than things that I can understand and explain about what we read but there’s a few observations I’d like to address. First, I found it interesting how, right at the beginning, he makes a comparison between how technology comes to be and heredity. How there really isn’t a complete “novel” technology that came out of nowhere but that, if we look deep into its components, not only we will find that it’s made out of previous existing technologies that haven’t been put together before, but also its made of different modules that are in communication with each other to serve a principle or purpose. This pattern can be applied also to each module, made of different technologies that interact in the same way. He also made a quick comparison to biology and the bodies of different animals which I thought was very interesting and made it clearer for me. He also stated that the evolution of this combination of different parts is not just randomly putting everything together, connecting it and making it work. He said that there must be a principle, or driving force, that propels these different technologies to come together. Or for us, to put them together, in that way the evolution happens in the mind before it can happen physically.

All of these ideas were very interesting and I tried to apply them to different aspects of life that are not necessarily technological (although, through this perspective we could say that everything is connected to everything, and in a way everything  is technological). It made me think that we can apply this theory to society, human relationships, ancestry and even patriotism (which would be a whole different paper). But it also made me think about the evolution of “new” technologies and design. And please forgive me if I’m using both of these terms in the wrong way, I’m stating these questions from my idea of what technology is and what design is, and I could be very wrong.

What are the dynamics between technology advances/evolution and function/principle and then on design? When I think about the technology I have on my hands and its predecessors, the reasoning that comes to mind is that its parts came together first because of principle (there was a need for something that brought them together) and later on it keeps changing through design. What I mean by design is that once all these parts are sometimes loosely put together to perform a function, then the design of these modules evolves to make it easier to perform said function (which can also be seen as an evolution of the module’s technology too). Then, through time and use, the technologies become more accesible or easier to manipulate and combine them with other technologies, therefore becoming a module inside a “new” technology. I know I might be separating technology from design where there’s probably no distinction. But if there is an order, where does that order come from? is it because of design that we can combine technologies in a more efficient way until its previous components become obsolete by themselves? Or is the principle the propels the technologies to advance to the point of having enough things in common to be put together to perform a “new” purpose?

And then, to bring it together with the concept of black-boxing. If the “Phenomena” (pag. 7) that Arthur mentions and the human factor are connected and interacting with this process, then what is the principle/purpose of deliberately black-boxing technology? That is, if we put the concept of black-boxing through the same lens we’re putting technology: look at its heredity, its modules and the principle of it existing.

 

References:

Arthur, B. (n.d.). The Nature of Technology: What it is and How It Evolves. Free Press A Division of Simon & Schuster (2009).

Technological artifacts on smart phones

Cell phones have evolved immensely both in design and function. There used to be a time when a phone would have basic functions such as calling, texting, contact storage. When we compare “old” phones (now days refereed to as dumb phones), we see more attention to its simple functionality rather than design.

Gordon Gekko may have been the star of Wall Street, but his Motorola DynaTAC played a major supporting role. The classic brick phone had an LED screen and boasted 30 minutes of talk time with eight hours of standby. The DynaTAC was priced at almost $4,000 in the early ’80s — no wonder it made its first appearance in the hands of bankers on Wall Street! It was this phone with which Motorola employee Marty Cooper made the first mobile phone call.

As Arthur states in his book The Nature of  Technology, new technologies inherit parts from technologies that proceeded them. This idea of a Combinatorial evolution is much visible in the evolution of cell phones.

Lets take a look at the picture below:

The new capabilities of a smart phone have changed the functionality and the design elements. Even though we see some Recoursiveness (Arthur) and repeating patterns, the complexity of the software has increased, allowing for addition capabilities of a smart phone.

As Norman states in his book (Living with Complexity), the secret for a company or a product to be successful is to understand the core problem, and to simplify the entire system, for a better interaction between the user and the system.

We see new technical artifacts on our smart phones.  The power of artifacts comes from its function as a representational device (Norman, “Cognitive Artifacts“).  Some technical artifacts include iMessage(the built-in instant messaging (IM) service that lets you send text, picture, video, sound, and location quickly and easily to anyone else using iMessage on iPhone, iPad, Mac, or Apple Watch), GPS location, Calendar App, Wireless Network, Music, Picture and Video.  

These technological artifacts give the idea of designing for the total experience while maintaining cohesive systems in order to have successful products. It is important to have an interactive design process in order for the user to have a better experience.

New technologies are meant to improve the quality of life, and sometimes by doing so, it means to develop/create new artifacts, while maintaining the basic principles of a black box.

References

Arthur, W. Brian. The Nature of Technology: What It Is and How It Evolves. Reprint edition. New York: Free Press, 2011.

Donald A. Norman, Living with Complexity. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2010.

Donald A. Norman, “Cognitive Artifacts.” In Designing Interaction, edited by John M. Carroll, 17-38. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 1991.

Rowinski, Dan, The Evolution Of The Cell Phone-How Far Its Come- ReadWrite https://readwrite.com/2014/07/04/cell-phone-evolution-popsugar/

 

Will TV still be “TV” with the connection of Internet?

The readings this week give us an introductory view of technology. Instead of just knowing what is technology, it is necessary to figure out various ways that how technology structures.

In terms of combination, technology is never an independent concept. It is the combination of assemblies. Taking Internet TV as an example, it consists of a main assembly, the headend, to encode and deliver sources. There are sub-assemblies such as network set-top box,view screen,remote control and Internet connection. Network set-top box works to decode signal sources into content;view screen makes the content into real images while the remote control is used for changing channels. Arthur states that “separating technologies into functional grouping simplifies the process of design”. Internet TV could be divided into functional chunks, such as the linkage to the Internet, signal transition of TV, the power supporting of TV, viewability of TV screen, etc. Designer might easily figure out specific parts that could be improved for more functions. As Lidwell, Holden and Butler mentions that modularization of existing makes maintenance and product updates much easier. For example, when designers would like to add more digital game features on Internet TV, they might check viewability of TV screen, thinking about how to adapt a particular game to different TV screen sizes. They might also think of upgrading remote control system by replacing the manual hold control unit with AR technology.

Technology is also a combination of existed, old technologies with relatively new, emerging technologies. In the past, people could merely choose limited channels on traditional TV and their only entertaining task is watch TV programs. Compared with traditional TV, the combination of Internet and TV enables people to have more channel options and much more entertainment options with the rapid development of Internet. Free choice of channels, TV program replay, or even video chatting are available on Internet TV. Arthur mentions that “the very cumulation of earlier technologies begets further cumulation”. Internet TV is composed of early TV technology and the constantly developing Internet technology, which helps to cumulate more TV services.

The question remains whether the tradition TV function has been weakened by the combination of Internet, since with the connection to the Internet, we can do everything that TV can do. Without Internet, will people still be adapt to TVs?

 

Reference:

Arthur, B (n.d). The Nature of Technology. Free Press. What It Is And How It Evolves.(Chapter1,2) Retrieved from https://drive.google.com/file/d/0Bxfe3nz80i2GaWRWRGNfVWd0TmM/view

 

Lidwell, W., Holden, K., & Butler, J. Universal Proncles of Design. Revised. Beverly, MA: Rockport Publishers, 2010. Retrieved from https://drive.google.com/file/d/0Bxfe3nz80i2GX1lCZjk1N1NNX0k/view

Smart Phone as a Cognitive Artefact as Well as a Black Box

As a Cognitive Artefact 

A smart phone could be classified as a cognitive artefact according to the definition given by Norman, as it is designed to serve the representational function in ways of maintain, display, and operate upon information [i]. Smart phone enables people to communicate, exchange information, record thoughts as well as seek entertainment, thus to a great extent, it has enhanced our intellectual competence and social capability. Moreover, smart phone is also a media artefact that “creates an environment by its mere presence [ii]”. – when we look at the screen, it is not the screen itself that attracts the attention, but a broad world where people can receive and send a variety of information through it, It serves as a medium, though which the user can create and access content [iii].

Smart phones, though might differ according to the brand, share several common features and functions. It is a smooth entity (black-boxed) about the right size to be grabbed by one hand; portable, so people can easily bring it with them; it has an inserted chip to run various programs, a screen to show the images and texts, as well as a speaker to display the sounds. In general, the design of a smart phone caters to the human form, and makes it easy to be carried and used at hand.

The most basic function of a smart phone is to help people to communicate and provide people with approaches to be connected with others, either by text, voice message, or other ways of communication. To meet this need, a latent demand for a smart phone is to have signal (or internet) to send and receive messages, a digital display and a speaker to present the received message, as well as a touching screen or keyboards to input instruction and send message. Organized around this central principle of information exchange, other features and functions gradually evolve based on the existing techniques that supports the basic requirements, and give smart phones a more unique character as a cognitive artefact. For example, inserting GPS technique makes navigation services available in Apps such as Google Map; with principles of e-commerce combined, applications such as Amazon and EBay could also be easily accessed. As Arthur puts it, new technology arises by combining existing ones, and existing techs beget further technologies [iv]. The existing technologies becomes the soil for technologies of a new generation.

As a Black Box

Smart phones are designed as a “black box”— an entity that the mechanism is not shown from the outside. The reason behind could be explained from the design and cultural perspective. As discussed above, a smart phone serves for the cognitive and symbolic functions, thus its significance for the users lays not in the mechanism aspect but how to provide them with a smoother experience to interact through it and create meanings.  In the Design of Everyday Things, Norman presents a concept of “visibility”, which indicates that a successful design should let the correct parts be visible to provide signals that naturally indicate the usage of the design [v]. Showing the mechanisms inside does not necessarily help the users understand better the function of a smart phone. Presenting smart phones as a black box simplifies users’ understanding of them to a “conceptual model” [vi], which enables general users to see it as an entity, a gadget they can communicate through, instead of different functioning parts that might cause confusions and distractions to the users.

 

References

[i] Donald A. Norman, “Cognitive Artifacts.” In Designing Interaction, edited by John M. Carroll, 17-38. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 1991.

[ii] McLuhan, Marshall. Understanding media: The extensions of man. MIT press, 1994.

[iii] Manovich, Lev. 2013. Software Takes Command. International Texts in Critical Media Aesthetics, volume#5. New York ; London: Bloomsbury.

[iv] Arthur, W. Brian. The Nature of Technology: What It Is and How It Evolves. Reprint edition. New York: Free Press, 2011.

[v] Donald A. Norman, The Design of Everyday Things. 2nd ed. New York, NY: Basic Books, 2002.

[vi] Donald A. Norman, Living with Complexity. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2010.

I don’t care how it work, only that it works

When we think of our smart phone or tablet, the first thing that comes to mind is the screen. The interface between us and what can feel like the rest of humanity. With a quick tap we can be on the phone with our parents, or check if that shirt we liked is finally on sale. Our phone is a photo album, our personal correspondence, it can even be a line of credit. However, looked at another way, it’s a piece of plastic and metal. “Ceci n’est pas une pipe,” this is not a pipe, René Magritte painted on his famous work The Treachery of Images. Similarly, our smart phones are not themselves the indefinite number of things we can do or comprehend, they are conduits through which we communicate meaning, a piece of cognitive and symbolic technology. Even that isn’t quite accurate, the smart phone, is a collection of a diverse array of components working in combination to become a “cognitive artefact.” (1)

Under both a figurative and literal microscope, the smart phone becomes more and more difficult to define and understand. The wide range of purposes for which this device can be used seems to stretch at Arthur’s first principle of technology which states that a technology is “a combination of components to some purpose.” (2) When the purposes of a technology become increasingly diverse, does that mean that we should be looking at our device as a collection of technologies? The slick screen that initially felt like a portal begins to seem like the placid surface of a unfathomable lake, the kind that inspire myths about mysterious monsters. Rather than dive into what is sure to be a frigid water, a majority of consumers prefer idle by the shore or perhaps row across the surface. Deep exploration becomes the domain of specialists, probably with special equipment and training. Or to step away from the analogy, our device becomes “black-boxed” as we become confused by the complexity.

This raises another question, why does the average consumer become confused by the complexity of their smart phone? Norman writes in Living with Complexity, “modern technology can be complex, but complexity by itself is neither good nor bad: it is confusion that is bad.” (3) One possible reason for the confusion is suggested by Lev Manovich in Software Takes Command where he describes the lack of historical record documenting the creation of contemporary culture software. (4) Who designed each piece of software and hardware? Why was it built in a certain way? How was it built? The blame for this lack of historical knowledge Manovich places on economics, and the way that irrelevant or outdated technology disappears. There is no culture of nostalgia that encourages the historical reverence a different cultural historian might feel for an old movie. (5) While Manovich is drawing attention to the lack of cultural scholarship around software, he is also drawing attention to the way the general public does not have insight into the making of the programs they use everyday. The names of the critical engineers and designers are not public knowledge in the way those collaborating on a film are. Economics could also explain this. In a free market, competition requires a great deal of secrecy around corporate products. This explanation, however, does not explain why open source programs, of which there are many that perform the same functions as the branded corporate products, are still viewed wholistically, except by those technologists with a keen interest. Another economics driven answer might be that products, in order to be effective, need to improve their customer’s life in some way. No one wants a product that makes them frustrated or unhappy. The inner workings, the complexity, is therefore hidden to the extent possible so that the product is simple and comfortable. This explanation helps illustrate why the underlying programs and components are hard to access, but it also posits that the confusion caused by our complex technologies is something inherent and to be avoided. Instead, consumers interact with these programs in specific ways, ways that were intended by the designer.

The design of our smart phones is key. We see the screen and we move our fingers over it in such a way that we are able to access different functions and derive different meanings. We understand the information because the phone was designed to communicate. “When we deal with the electronic world where everything is invisible, we are at the mercy of the designer to provide us with hints and clues as to what is going on,” writes Norman in Living with Complexity. (6) The designer provides a conceptual model, which helps us to “transform complex physical reality into workable, understandable mental concepts.” (7) In other words, we know our mail resides in the mail app of our phone, while our pictures can be accessed by clicking on the icon that resembles a camera. We have mapped the dimensions of our phone in such a way as we can make sense of all the different functions our phone performs. However if we were to open up our phone and stare at its parts, the reality of our phone would be so at odds with the picture we hold in our heads, as to be indecipherable without further study.

Rather than spend the time and effort to bring those dissonant versions of our phone into alignment, the majority of consumers prefer to keep it simple: it works, or it doesn’t. And if it doesn’t work, it needs to be someone else’s problem.

Notes:

1. Norman defines cognitive artefacts as “Those artificial devices that maintain, display, or operate upon information in order to serve a representational function and that affect human cognitive performance.”  Donald A. Norman, “Cognitive Artifacts.” In Designing Interaction, ed. John M. Carroll, (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1991), 19.

2. Brian Arthur, The Nature of Technology: What It Is and How It Evolves, (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2009), 32.

3. Donald A. Norman, Living with Complexity, (Cambridge:: The MIT Press, 2010), 4.

4. Lev Manovich, Software Takes Command, (New York: Bloomsbury Publishing, 2013), 39.

5. Lev Manovich, Software Takes Command, (New York: Bloomsbury Publishing, 2013), 40.

6. Donald A. Norman, Living with Complexity, (Cambridge:: The MIT Press, 2010), 39.

7. Donald A. Norman, Living with Complexity, (Cambridge:: The MIT Press, 2010), 37.

Reflection Essay- Jiaxin Liu

Week 2 Reflection Essay

Jiaxin Liu Kay

CCTP 802 Leading by Design

After the first week reading, I started to have a basic understanding of design thinking. In the last decades, the world has witnessed the great achievements of technology, which also leaded to a better designed life. And now we’re living in a complex and systematically world. What I want to highlight here is, design thinking makes our life better and makes the world a better place, and we can see this improvement in our daily life. Let’s take Kindle electronic reader as an example because I always say that Kindle has changed my life.

(Photo from Amazon.com)

As Norman has mentioned in The Design of Everyday Things, “All great designs have an appropriate balance and harmony of aesthetic beauty, reliability, safety, usability, cost, and functionality.” In my interpretation, Norman here wants to address that a good design should be human-centered, which is a harmonious combination of beauty and utility.

Affordance

Different from other electronic readers, Kindle has E ink’s color display. Comparing to the normal E screen, the E irk screen more like the paper version of book, and are much more friendly to readers’ eyes.

Constrict

Unlike reading in a computer, reading with Kindle can avoid the external disturbance because it cannot connect to any social network. It’s just your own library and own books.

Visibility

As an E-book reader, the appearance of Kindle is quite simple, in this way the appearance won’t influence the reading content. But it doesn’t mean it’s not good-looking, rather, the simplicity makes it a chic and beautiful creation.

Flexibility-Usability Tradeoff

Personally, I don’t think this design principle can apply to the design of kindle, because as far as I can see, as the flexibility of kindle system increases, the usability also increases. From the original version of Kindle (Kindle 1 to Kindle 5) to the latest Kindle Oasis, the design of Kindle becomes smaller, thinner, and lighter while it has more functions and are easier to use. The difference is now we can use touch-screen technology, so the buttons are no longer needed.

(Kindle1 and Kindle 4, photo from Amazon.com)

Good design could literally change people’s life, as Kindle has improved mine. I’ve traveled a lot, and I cannot take all the paper books with me. While using computer and cellphone reading will hurt my eyes. I’m glad that I learned the principles of design through reading, and my goal here is to examine more designs in our daily life and to test if they are good designs that can improve our life. And in the future, I want to use these principles to make good designs by my own.

References

Donald A. Norman, The Design of Everyday Things. 2nd ed. New York, NY: Basic Books, 2002. Excerpts from Preface and Chap. 1.

William Lidwell, Kritina Holden, and Jill ButlerUniversal Principles of Design. Revised. Beverly, MA: Rockport Publishers, 2010.

Producing a New DVD Player

In all cases, design faults led to human error.

I couldn’t agree more with Norman! Two years ago, my mother bought a DVD player and even until now, I still can’t get along well with it.

As I didn’t take it to DC with me, I found a DVD similar with it on taobao.com

(from taobao.com)

(from taobao.com)

I have to admit that it is a brilliant one of its kind, designed to meet the expectation of transcoding, recording, connecting Wi-Fi and doing other superhero-things at the same time, but seeing the numberless wholes on the back of the player I just don’t even want to give it a try. Come on, I just want a player to watch a movie. Why couldn’t the designer make the machine easier for me to use?

Imagine were I a designer of a DVD player, what would I do?

 

  • APPEARANCE  (DESIGN)

“Good design is also an act of communication between the designer and the user, except that all the communication has to come about by the appearance of the device itself. The device must explain itself.”

1.Visibility:

My player would first for most don’t have those annoying “wholes”. Although I haven’t come up with a better idea yet, at least I will make the function of connectors more visible, like making some notes beside each socket, or replace some of the sockets by bluetooth. Also, other buttons will be placed in the right place and different size. These will convey the mapping between tended actions and actual operations.

2.Feedback:

Users will get feedback of their actions on the screen connected with the player for whatever they have done. This will avoid detriment caused by users’ wrong conception.

 3.Constraints:

Several constraints could be designed for users’ convenience. An identifying device can limit the way users put their disk, thus preventing a downwards-facing disk jammed into the player.

  • INNER PART  (TECHNOLOGY)  

A DVD player usually consists dial, circuit board, decoder board, buttons, connectors, sockets and so on.

“…a technology consists of component parts: assemblies, systems, individual parts. We could therefore conceptually break a technology into its functional components starting from the top to down.”

As Arthur said that technologies that share a common purpose can be grouped together, we can divide the components of a DVD player into four clusters: control system, decoding system, I/O system and power. All of the three assemblies are built with subassemblies consisting more sub-subassemblies if we continued going further.

Take the decoding system as an example. The decoding system of a DVD player is relatively simple — made up by one decoder board. However, if we take the board under microscope, more sub-subassemblies could be seen:

(from http://store.digilentinc.com/vdec1-video-decoder-board-retired/)

  • video decoder chip
  • analog-to-digital (A/D) converter
  • spread spectrum decoder(SSD)
  • Microcontroller
  • programmable array logic (PAL)
  • serial-to-parallel shift register (SPSR)
  • I/O connections

With a DVD player, I can watch my favorite movie — A Separation, an Iranian drama movie. After I push the disk into the player, the control system commands every components wake up and get to work; the I/O system transfers message collected from the disk to the decoding system while the latter one decodes the message into image signals and transfers them back to the I/O system; the power provide electricity ensuring all the systems can going on well. Think this procedure in another aspect. A DVD can not only be used at home, but also in cars. In fact, nowadays, many cars has small screen on the back of their seats and a mini DVD player under the windshield. In this case, an existing technology is employed for the birth of a novel technology. If we go back a few steps, we could see that some of the components of a DVD player can also be found in machines exist before it. For example, a television also has a decoder board to turn electronic signals into image signals, just as what Arthur mentioned about combination evolution: “Technology creates itself out of itself.”

References:

William Lidwell, Kritina Holden, and Jill ButlerUniversal Principles of Design. Revised. Beverly, MA: Rockport Publishers, 2010.

Donald A. Norman, The Design of Everyday Things. 2nd ed. New York, NY: Basic Books, 2002. Excerpts from Preface and Chap. 1.

CHAPTER 4 DECODER BOARD HARDWARE  https://theses.lib.vt.edu/theses/available/etd-11397-162853/unrestricted/CHAPTER4.PDF

Anshan Wang, Producing Procedure for A DVD Player. https://wenku.baidu.com/view/ee93ff57cc7931b764ce1534.html

Reading reaction for class 2

After reading, I find something really interesting. I really like the The Design Of Everyday Things, it is interesting to read and attractive to readers. It indeed shows me something I never actually pay attention to before in my life. How do I know which side to open the door? How do I know how to use my cellphone? How do I quickly learned play some kind of computer game? They are all design. They are intentionally made to instruct us in the right time, to give us a visible clue when we need. So the author was said something like: it is not your fault to get things wrong, it is the designer. And if you blame yourself for these mistakes, then you are being indulgent to designers. That’s really something new to me. And also, the author is like putting really emphasis on the principle of “visible”. And I am pretty go with him. All the purpose of design must include convenience for users. No matter how brilliant this design is for like: they are contain solar system so it’s energy saving, or the less button make good looking of it, the designer must remember the things, are designed for use. It must be convenient to use, and can make life easier. And also, it gives me the feeling that the designer has to think about so much aspect of one single thing, are they get all these ideas by following these rules, these principles of design? And I kind of feel like it is a two way thing between users and designers, because you have to be in the environment, to understand the clue. For example, if someone in the past time, never used electric devices before, give him a radio, would he understand the button with word “volume” is the thing for control the voice? Would they understand the mapping thing for function naturally because it is a “for human” design, regardless of the gap?
So now I find design more interesting than I ever expected. In the Introduction to Systems and Architectures, I find the design is kind of like a collective of technologies, and give me new idea of technological development. I have never tried to take things as a network with different part of it. It is an interdependent thing. I am feeling like seeing being showed how the picture was draw, how these amazing things came up with. it is a fascinating thing, we should stick on that, design is trying to make a better world.

SIMPLE YET SO COMPLEX: WHAT A SMART TV ISN’T.

It took me an awful amount of time to get around what the question intended for us to address. In the process I found myself getting frustrated at the fact that except in basic functional similarities, (a screen and remote control) a smart TV is nothing compared to my Sharp TV in Nigeria.

The Sharp TV with a box like screen that graced our living room and was the only home appliance that made everyone in the house happy since it wasn’t so complex to use as long as the remote control was functional. Comparing that to a Smart TV, I wonder how my sweet mother would have reacted to knowing she was browsing her way through her favorite TV program and not tuning to it.

Arthur made it easier for me to understand this shock process. In his book The nature of Technology (pg. 7), he noted that “Technology builds out not just from combination of what exist already but from the constant capturing and harnessing of natural phenomena”. So I ask myself at what point did the need arise for a smart TV, since we could just have a normal one. I really want to believe that the daily integration of our life functionality that brought about heavy reliant on the web, brought about this innovation. Bringing us to Arthurs reasoning that combination in technology however it happens must take place in accordance with that structure.

A Smart TV can serve as a TV and a web interface, for having an online user experience. But it isn’t a computer or Desktop. This is new to me because years ago we got a desktop in the house that was meant to serve a similar purpose but lack of access to data service, or cable limited its functions and had it serving in the same capacity as the Sharp TV that had come before it. That meant we could share between it and the Sharp TV to watch home videos, without quarrels.

While one had a CD player attached to the CPU as a means of watching home video, the other had an external DVD player connected to TV. But on rare occasions with wisdom we would use the Encarta application or the Microsoft photo editor to try and create birthday cards.

Thinking back now if my desktop had a cable service it could serve almost in close lines with the functions of a smart TV (although I’ve never had interactions with one) except it wouldn’t fit into the structure and making of a living room.

According to Arthur (pg. 9) “Slowly, at a pace measured in decades, we are shifting from technologies that produced fixed physical outputs to technologies whose main character is that they are combined for fresh purposes”.

But how far and to what extent do we expect the smart TV to function as? Below is an image from Carson taken from my insta story with permission from the owner for this purpose. Is an Apple TV considered a smart TV?

Reference

“Arthur-The Nature of Technology-Excerpts.Pdf.” Google Docs. Accessed September 13, 2017. https://drive.google.com/a/georgetown.edu/file/d/0Bxfe3nz80i2GaWRWRGNfVWd0TmM/view?usp=drive_web&usp=embed_facebook.