Week 2 IxD History: Interaction Design before Computers


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  • Mathematician and economist
    Used principles of mass production technology
    Adam Smith’s pin making factory
    Where individual workers are slower than specialized workers
    Would eventually be replaced by pin making machine
  • All it could really do is add! (Or count.)
  • Machine would be able to be programmed with cards and perform conditional operations

    Much more similar to the design of a modern computer with:
    • Store (Memory, where variables can be retained and acted upon later)
    • Mill (CPU, where variables are brought to be processed)
    Two sets of punched cards:
    • Operation cards for programming
    • Variable cards for data
  • Mandated by the constitution, we have never missed a census
    Previous technological innovation was a box with a roll of paper, helped keep columns neat
    Growth in people in the US matched by growth in # of questions asked
    Concern that it would so long to compile the census that it wouldn’t be finished before the next one started
  • Hollerith saw a “punch photograph” on a train -- punched ticket with holes for male, hair color, height, etc
    Tested out his machine with NY health department
    Complex system required holes to mean multiple things when punched in combination (like shift key)
    Success led to a contract with the census
    One variable required punching a billion holes. Each day they dealt with a stack of paper taller than the washington monument.
  • The results of a tabulation are displayed on the clock-like dials. A sorter is on the right. On the tabletop below the dials are a Pantographic card punch (explained below) on left and the card reading station ("press") on the right, in which metal pins pass through the holes, making contact with little wells of mercury, completing an electrical circuit. All of these devices are fed manually, one card at a time, but the tabulator and sorter are electrically coupled.
  • Each completed circuit caused an electromagnet to advance a counting dial by one number. The tabulator's 40 dials allowed the answers to several questions to be counted simultaneously. At the end of the day, the total on each dial was recorded by hand and the dial set back to zero.
    1. The circuit-closing press ("card reader")
    2. diagram of press
    3. hand insertion of card into a sorter compartment that opened automatically based on the values punched into the card
    4. tallying the day's results.

    The work was not fun for the young women who operated the machines, many of whom were driven to near madness by the monotony of the work. Mechanics came in frequently to fix the machines. The problem was that someone had extracted the mercury with an eyedropper and squirted it out, so she could get a little rest.

    Hollerith grew upset that his workers were relaxing in the bathroom. Rigged a set of filed-down nails in the toilet seat and ran wires from them to an engine in his office. He would spy on workers through a peep hole and if he thought they spent too long sitting on the toilet, he would turn a crank and send a jolt of electricity to rouse them from their throne.
  • Eventually Hollerith’s Tabulating Machine company went on to work for railroads, had a patent battle over the 1910 census, and sold the company.

    In 1911, financier Charles R. Flint directed the merger of the International Time Recording Company, the Computing Scale Company and the Tabulating Machine Company to form the Computing-Tabulating-Recording Company (CTR).

    In 1914 Thomas J. Watson, Sr., was named general manager of CTR. Watson emphasized research and engineering, and introduced into the company his famous motto “THINK.”
  • In 1924, the Computing-Tabulating-Recording Company adopted the name International Business Machines Corporation.
  • Top salesman at NCR (National Cash Register)
    Unethical business practices where he would buy up second hand machines and sell them cheaply, to put other secondhand sellers out of business
    Took the fall for this and was fired
    Became President of CTR, later changed to IBM

    IBM was immune to recessions because of the “rent and refill” nature of the business
    Machines were rented and customers had to purchase special cards from IBM
    Like razors and blades, or cameras and film
    Even if they didn’t get any new customers they still made money
    Cards themselves were 10% of sales but 30-40% of profits
  • Early punch card inputs based on the size of the card, IBM went from 45 to 80 columns in the 30s, Remington Rand came out with a 90 col card. Limits to sizes of cards based on physical properties, too many punches and the card would become unstable. This impacted computers up until the GUI, the size of the terminal window was based on the size of the IBM punch card.

    In a typical punch card installation, the same operation was performed on all the records in a files as a deck of cards went through a tabulator or other machine. The UNIVAC and its successors could operate that way but they could also perform a long sequence of operations on a single datum before fetching the next record from memory. In punched card terms, that would require carrying a deck of a singe card around the room, Hardly an economical use of the machinery or the people. Processing information gathered into a deck of cards was entrenched into business practices by the mid-1930s and reinforced by the deep penetration of the punched card equipment salesmen into the accounting offices of their customers.

    Loren Wilton (of Burroughs/Unisys, who worked with early IBM gear while in college) recalls (31 Dec 2003):

    The Backspace key was only useful in the rare case that you spaced past a column that you needed to punch; you could backspace and restrike the column. Of course if the column was mispunched, you swore under your breath, hit the release key to feed the current card, duped up to the error using the next blank card, then continued punching from that point. When you released this card (or it auto-released after column 80) you quickly grabbed the mis-punched card out of the flipper as it was being stacked and threw it in the trashcan, which was invariably on the left side of the keypunch for this purpose.
  • Taylor's methods began from his observation that, in general, workers forced to perform repetitive tasks work at the slowest rate that goes unpunished.

    Taylorism is a variation on the theme of efficiency; it is a late-19th-and-early-20th-century instance of the larger recurring theme in human life of increasing efficiency, decreasing waste, and using empirical methods (time and motion studies) to decide what matters.

    Taylorism can be seen as the division of labour pushed to its logical extreme, with a consequent de-skilling of the worker and dehumanisation of the workplace.
  • • Shift in decision making from employees to managers -- division of labor
    • Develop a standard method for performing each job -- decisions based upon tradition and rules of thumb should be replaced by precise procedures developed after careful study of an individual at work
    • Select workers with appropriate abilities for each job -- fit the man to the job
    • Train workers in the standard method previously developed
    • Support workers by planning their work and eliminating interruptions -- give rest breaks
    • Provide wage incentives to workers for increased output

    Six Sigma or Lean Manufacturing compared with “Design Thinking”
  • What changed that was the war
  • In 1943 Lt. Alphonse Chapanis was called on to figure out why pilots and copilots of P-47s, B-17s, and B-25s frequently retracted the wheels instead of the flaps after landing. Chapanis, who was the only psychologist at Wright Field until the end of the war, was not familiar with the ongoing studies of human factors in equipment design. Still, he immediately noticed that the side-by-side wheel and flap controls-in most cases identical toggle switches or nearly identical levers-could easily be confused. He also noted that the corresponding controls on the C-47 were not adjacent and their methods of actuation were quite different; hence C-47 copilots never pulled up the wheels after landing.Chapanis realized that the so-called pilot errors were really cockpit design errors and that by coding the shapes and modes-of-operation of controls the problem could be solved. As an immediate wartime fix, a small, rubber-tired wheel was attached to the end of the wheel control and a small wedge-shaped end to the flap control on several types of airplanes, and the pilots and copilots of the modified planes stopped retracting their wheels after landing. When the war was over, these mnemonically shape-coded wheel and flap controls were standardized worldwide, as were the tactually discriminable heads of the power control levers found in conventional airplanes today.

    Human factors concerns emerged during World War II as a result of the work and experience of a number of specialists involved in the study of then-current manned systems. These systems included those operating on the earth’s surface, under the sea, and in space. Human factors studies were made of:
    systems performance
    problems encountered in information presentation, detection, and recognition
    related action controls
    workspace arrangement, and
    skills required

    Research in these areas ensued, with particular emphasis on human operations. This offered the opportunity for early improvements in performance and safety, as significant modifications of equipment were unlikely under wartime circumstances. Attention was focused on operations analysis, operator selection, training, and the environment associated with signal detection and recognition, communication, and vehicle control. Concurrently, human factors work in industry was focused on efficiency, task analysis, and time-and-motion studies. With the coming of peace, human factors activity was broadened to include systems design more completely. As a result, human factors requirements were incorporated into government phased-procurement contracts with industry. This led to the utilization of human factors specialists by industry and gradually resulted in their involvement in nonmilitary systems and equipment.
  • What was the first computer used during WWII
  • During World War I, Bush had known the lack of cooperation between civilian scientists and the military. Concerned about the lack of coordination in scientific research in the U.S. and the need for mobilization for defense, Bush in 1939 proposed a general directive agency in the Federal Government. When the Germans invaded France, Bush decided speed was important and contacted President Roosevelt directly. He managed to get a meeting with the President on 12 June 1940 and took a single sheet of paper describing the proposed agency. Roosevelt approved it in ten minutes.

    During 1941 the NDRC was subsumed into the Office of Scientific Research and Development (OSRD) with Bush as director, which controlled the Manhattan Project until 1943 (when administration was assumed by the Army) and which also coordinated scientific research during World War II.

    ORSD eventually by 1950 became the National Science Foundation (NSF), which funds university professors, and the Advanced Research Project Agency (ARPA), the Pentagon's chief avenue for basic research, which may be familiar to you from the ARPANET, the precursor to the internet.
  • What’s the difference?

    An analog computer (spelled analogue in British English) is a form of computer that uses the continuously-changeable aspects of physical phenomena such as electrical,[1] mechanical, or hydraulic quantities to model the problem being solved. In contrast, digital computers represent varying quantities incrementally, as their numerical values change.
  • Bill Tutte, a cryptanalyst at Bletchley Park, discovered that the keystream produced by the machine exhibited statistical biases deviating from random, and that these biases could be used to break the cipher and read messages.

    Colossus was the first combining digital, (partially) programmable, and electronic. The first fully programmable digital electronic computer was the ENIAC which was completed in 1946.

    By V-E day a total of 10 Collossi were in use at Bletchley Park
  • Electronic Numerical Integrator and Calculator

    Built for ballistics research to calculate trajectories of projectiles
    Calculating 1 trajectory took 20 hours using slide rules
    Needed to calculate hundreds of trajectories, which took thousands of hours
    Electronic Numerical Integrator (or ENIAC) could calculate a trajectory in 1 second

    Could be reconfigured to perform limitless steps and iterative loops of operations
    But NOT a stored program device
  • 18,000 vacuum tubes
    Used standard IBM punch cards for input and output
    Cables, plugged into large plugboards, handled programming (sequence of operations)
    Took two days to make all the necessary connections to set up a new problem
    Once set up, might solve that problem in minutes
  • By rewiring the computer, people transformed it into a different special purpose computer each time
    More modern computers could do that automatically
    Here a person had to do it

    ENIAC was a transitional device that had high processing speed and was flexible
    But had many of the limitations of calculators, tedious setup, decimal rather than binary
  • The earliest computing machines had fixed programs. Some very simple computers still use this design, either for simplicity or training purposes. For example, a desk calculator (in principle) is a fixed program computer. It can do basic mathematics, but it cannot be used as a word processor or a gaming console. Changing the program of a fixed-program machine requires re-wiring, re-structuring, or re-designing the machine. The earliest computers were not so much "programmed" as they were "designed". "Reprogramming", when it was possible at all, was a laborious process, starting with flowcharts and paper notes, followed by detailed engineering designs, and then the often-arduous process of physically re-wiring and re-building the machine.

    A stored-program digital computer is one that keeps its programmed instructions, as well as its data, in read-write, random-access memory (RAM). Stored-program computers were an advancement over the program-controlled computers of the 1940s, such as the Colossus and the ENIAC, which were programmed by setting switches and inserting patch leads to route data and to control signals between various functional units. In the vast majority of modern computers, the same memory is used for both data and program instructions.
  • Hungarian American[1] mathematician who made major contributions to a vast range of fields,[2] including set theory, functional analysis, quantum mechanics, ergodic theory, continuous geometry, economics and game theory, computer science, numerical analysis, hydrodynamics (of explosions), and statistics, as well as many other mathematical fields. He is generally regarded as one of the foremost mathematicians of the 20th century.
  • Week 2 IxD History: Interaction Design before Computers

    1. HISTORY OF INTERACTION DESIGN Week 2: Interaction Design Before Computers
    2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Flintstone_knife.jpg http://www.scottishmist.com/assets/farming/Wooden-Plough.jpg http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Porcelaine_chinoise_Guimet_241101.jpg http://img.alibaba.com/photo/11567636/Damascus_Steel_Hunting_Knife.jpg 2
    3. http://www.flickr.com/photos/69528240@N00/2247143425/ http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/27/Gutenberg_bible.jpg http://i.pbase.com/g6/04/778304/2/85973401.nfl0zPyi.jpg http://www.casualdeckandpatio.com/utility/images/products/rom/2311.jpg 3
    4. http://www.uvm.edu/landscape/dating/automobiles/1900s_automobiles_files/image003.jpg http://gunbyphotoarchive.com/biplane.jpg 4 http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2449/3797319200_a615b3f7de.jpg http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/fd/Mule-jenny.jpg
    5. http://koti.mbnet.fi/~oju/retro/KayproIIopened.jpg http://cdn-viper.demandvideo.com/media/ 5 http://images.amazon.com/images/P/B00083YK3M.01._SCLZZZZZZZ_.jpg http://www.useit.com/alertbox/20040607_6_remotes.jpg
    8. An undetected error in a logarithmic table is like a sunken rock at sea yet undiscovered, upon which it is impossible to say what wrecks may have taken place. —Sir John Herschel (1842) First published table of Logarithms by John Napier, 1614 http://www.math.yorku.ca/SCS/Gallery/images/dan/napier_logtable.jpg 8
    9. TABLES Cambridge Elementary Mathematical Tables http://blogofsorts.files.wordpress.com/2008/09/scan0004-1.jpg 9
    10. CHARLES BABBAGE “ (1791–1871) As soon as an Analytical Engine exists, it will necessarily guide the future course of the science. Whenever any result is sought by its aid, the question will then arise — by what course of calculation can these results be arrived at by the machine in the shortest time? —Passages from the Life of a Philosopher, ch. 8 “Of the Analytical Engine” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:CharlesBabbage.jpg 10
    11. JACQUARD LOOM (1801) http://researchlospixeleros.files.wordpress.com/2008/09/jacquard-loom51.jpg 11
    12. THE DIFFERENCE ENGINE (1822) http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/4/45/Difference_engine.JPG 12
    13. A B C D E Calculating 1 1 the cube of 7 a number 2 8 12 19 6 by the 3 27 18 method of 37 6 differences 4 64 24 61 6 5 125 30 91 6 6 216 36 6 7 13
    14. THE ANALYTICAL ENGINE (1833) web.arch.usyd.edu.au/~sriz8189/computing7.html 14
    15. “ ADA LOVELACE (1815–1852) The Analytical Engine weaves algebraic patterns, just as the Jacquard loom weaves flowers and leaves. Many persons who are not conversant with mathematical studies imagine that because the business of [the Engine] is to give its results in numerical notation, the nature of its processes must consequently be arithmetical and numerical, rather than algebraical and analytical. This is an error. The engine can arrange and combine its numerical quantities exactly as if they were letters or any other general symbols; and in fact it might bring out its results in algebraical notation, were provisions made accordingly. http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/87/Ada_Lovelace.jpg 15
    16. (1880) THE CENSUS 16 http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/b/b0/1880_census_Hollerith.gif
    17. HERMAN HOLLERITH (1860 – 1929) http://www.census.gov/history/img/Hollerith.jpg http://www.columbia.edu/acis/history/1890-card.gif 17
    18. HOLLERITH CENSUS TABULATOR (1890) http://www.columbia.edu/acis/history/census-tabulator.html 18
    19. http://www.columbia.edu/acis/history/census- tabulator.html 19
    20. http://www-03.ibm.com/ibm/history/exhibits/vintage/images/4506VV2015.jpg 20
    21. http://www-03.ibm.com/ibm/history/exhibits/vintage/vintage_4506VV9002.html 21
    22. THOMAS J. WATSON “ (1874 – 1956) Good design is good business. Design must reflect the practical and aesthetic in business but above all... good design must primarily serve people. 22
    23. 1925 1933 http://www-03.ibm.com/ibm/history/ 1949 1964 23
    24. “ One place where IBM did succeed was in keeping viable the basic input medium of the punched card, and with that the basic flow of data through a customer’s installation. The same card, encoded the same way and using a keypunch little changed since the 1930s, served IBMs computers through the 1960s and beyond. The sequential processing and file structure, implicit in punched card operations, also survived in the form of batch processing common to most mainframe computer centers of the 1960s. —Ceruzzi, A History of Modern Computing 24
    26. F.W. TAYLOR “ (1856 – 1915) Now one of the very first requirements for a man who is fit to handle pig iron as a regular occupation is that he shall be so stupid and so phlegmatic that he more nearly resembles in his mental make-up the ox than any other type. The man who is mentally alert and intelligent is for this very reason entirely unsuited to what would, for him, be the grinding monotony of work of this character. http://explorepahistory.com/images/ExplorePAHistory-a0j8p9-a_349.jpg 26
    27. SCIENTIFIC MANAGEMENT http://images.google.com/hosted/life/l?imgurl=bd5182b00cffc073 27
    28. http://www.usapropaganda.com/propaganda-world-war-ii-desktops/propaganda-world-war-ii-desktops.htm 28
    29. “ Because this was total war, involving great masses of men and women, it was no longer possible to adopt the Tayloristic principle of selecting a few specialized individuals to match a pre-existing job. The physical characteristics of the equipment now had to be designed to take advantage of human capabilities and avoid the negative effects of human limitations. Obviously such a sea change in philosophy did not occur over night. —David Meister, The History of Human Factors and Ergonomics 29
    30. AVIATION PSYCHOLOGY (1940s) 30
    32. DIFFERENTIAL ANALYZER (1930s) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:KayMcNultyAlyseSnyderSisStumpDifferentialAnalyzer.jpg 32
    33. “ VANNEVAR BUSH (1890 – 1974) Vannevar Bush is a great name for playing six degrees of separation. Turn back the clock on any aspect of information technology — from the birth of Silicon Valley and the marriage of science and the military to the advent of the World Wide Web — and you find his footprints. As historian Michael Sherry says, "To understand the world of Bill Gates and Bill Clinton, start with understanding Vannevar Bush. —G. Pascal Zachary, The Godfather 33
    35. 35
    36. 36
    39. COLLOSSUS (1940) 39
    40. “ ALAN TURING (1912 – 1954) I believe that at the end of the century the use of words and general educated opinion will have altered so much that one will be able to speak of machines thinking without expecting to be contradicted. —Mind, vol. 59, #236 (1950) http://www.alanturing.net/turing_archive/graphics/photos%20of%20Turing/photoindex.htm 40
    41. “ Numerical integration is where you take the path of a bullet from the time it leaves the muzzle of the gun until it reaches the ground. It is a very complex equation; it has about fifteen multiplications and a square root and I don’t know what else. You have to find out where the bullet is every 10th of a second from the time it leaves the muzzle of the gun, and you have to take into account all the things that are going to affect the path of the bullet. —Kathleen McNulty 41
    42. ENIAC (1946) http://mrsec.wisc.edu/Edetc/SlideShow/slides/computer/eniac.html 42
    43. ENIAC (1946) http://www.columbia.edu/acis/history/eniac4.png 43
    44. “ The principle flaw was ENIAC’s inability to hold easily altered instructions in its memory. Every time the machine needed reprogramming, operators had to run around the room turning dials, throwing switches, replugging cables, and rolling function tables about. It was realized that this whole method of programming was a clumsy method, and archaic… but it did not matter with firing tables, which permitted the same program to run for weeks. —Joel Shurkin, Engines of the Mind 44
    46. JOHN VON NEUMANN “ (1903 – 1957) It would appear that we have reached the limits of what it is possible to achieve with computer technology, although one should be careful with such statements, as they tend to sound pretty silly in 5 years. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:JohnvonNeumann-LosAlamos.gif 46
    47. NEXT WEEK Computing Technology in the Workplace _The First Business Computers _Man-Computer Symbiosis _The Cognitive and the Physical _The Command Line PAPERS DUE