Shneiderman, Ben. Leonardo’s Laptop: Human Needs and the New Computing Technologies, Cambridge: MIT Press, 2002
“The old computing is about what computers could do; the new computing is about what users can do.” (p. 2) So opens Ben Shneiderman’s book on the future possibilities for human computer interaction. Leonardo’s Laptop is a cast into the not to distant future to inspire both users and developers to improve the functionality of our computer systems and bring them more into line with what users are actually seeking to do in their lives.
When I started reading this book I was looking for a much stronger level of practice from the book, especially as it is loosely based around the works and practices of Leonardo da Vinci. However I found the book much more philosophical and inspirational in it’s overall tone. Where the book does venture into practice I didn’t find the leaps and bounds I expected, but did find solid well considered examples of how computers could (and probably already should) operate with us in our every day lives. As the first book I read in starting this unit I think this was actually a very good thing, as it refreshed my existing knowledge of the area, and opened up my mind to different ways of thinking and different perspectives without getting bogged down in practical theory and whether or not I thought the theory could be applied directly today.