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1. According to Cynthia Crossen in the Wall Street
Journal (1996, pp. B1, B11) "Not even computer industry
executives can explain the illogic of the modern keyboard ... a
device jerry-built from technology as old as 1867 and as new as
this year. Because there has never been an overarching plan or
design, [it] defies common sense. Its terminology is inscrutable
(alt, ctrl, esc, home), and the simplest tasks require memorizing
keystroke combinations that have no intuitive basis."
2. Today's elegant cellular phone interfaces emerged after a
period of what some observers deem excessive feature creep. See
Virzi et al. (1996).
3. A Reuters business information survey of 1,300 managers
reported complaints about stress associated with an excess of
information, fostered by information technology (King, 1996, p.
4. See, for example, Munk (1996). She reports estimates that 27
percent ($3,510) of the $13,000 annual cost of a networked personal
computer goes for providing technical support to the user, and
writes, "There's a Parkinson's Law in effect here: computer
software grows to fill the expanded hardware. This is not to say
that all the new software isn't useful; it often is. But not
everybody needs it. For mundane uses, the older software may,
paradoxically, be more efficient" (p. 280).
5. In addition to instances of software for scientific and
engineering applications, current popular examples, such as the
World Wide Web and assorted approaches to electronic publishing,
derived from efforts of technical users to design systems to meet
their own needs.
6. Gould et al. (1987b) notes that equivalent reading speed for
screens and for paper depends on high-resolution antialiased fonts,
an element of output display (see Chapter 3).
7. A meaningful approach to computer literacy, including
essential concepts and skills, is the focus of an anticipated
Computer Science and Telecommunications Board project.
8. The Telecommunications and Information Infrastructure Access
Program (TIIAP), run by the National Telecommunications and
Information Administration, funds diverse public-interest
(including government services-related, educational, library, and
other) information infrastructure projects that would form a
natural platform for evaluation if funding were sufficient. See
O'Hara (1996, p. 6).
9. For independent innovations, "early adopters" were regarded
as having a competitive advantage over those still using older
technologies; for interdependent innovations, early adopters do not
achieve full benefits from the new technology until the late
adopters come on board (Rogers, 1983).