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TECH TALK: Good Books: Everyware

July 28th, 2006 · No Comments

Adam Greenfield’s book has a catchy title. Everyware is about the dawning age of ubiquitous computing. Here is the book’s description:

Ubiquitous computing–almost imperceptible, but everywhere around us–is rapidly becoming a reality. How will it change us? how can we shape its emergence?

Smart buildings, smart furniture, smart clothing… even smart bathtubs. networked street signs and self-describing soda cans. Gestural interfaces like those seen in Minority Report. The RFID tags now embedded in everything from credit cards to the family pet.

All of these are facets of the ubiquitous computing author Adam Greenfield calls “everyware.” In a series of brief, thoughtful meditations, Greenfield explains how everyware is already reshaping our lives, transforming our understanding of the cities we live in, the communities we belong to–and the way we see ourselves.

Here is an excerpt (via A List Apart):

Everyware is an attempt to describe the form computing will take in the next few years. Specifically, its about a vision of processing power so distributed throughout the environment that computers per se effectively disappear. Its about the enormous consequences this disappearance has for the kinds of tasks computers are applied to, for the way we use them, and for what we understand them to be.

Although aspects of this vision have been called a variety of names — ubiquitous computing, pervasive computing, physical computing, tangible media, and so on. I think of each as a facet of one coherent paradigm of interaction that I call everyware.

In everyware, all the information we now look to our phones or Web browsers to provide becomes accessible from just about anywhere, at any time, and is delivered in a manner appropriate to our location and context.

In everyware, the garment, the room and the street become sites of processing and mediation. Household objects from shower stalls to coffee pots are reimagined as places where facts about the world can be gathered, considered, and acted upon. And all the familiar rituals of daily life, things as fundamental as the way we wake up in the morning, get to work, or shop for our groceries, are remade as an intricate dance of information about ourselves, the state of the external world, and the options available to us at any given moment.

In all of these scenarios, there are powerful informatics underlying the apparent simplicity of the experience, but they never breach the surface of awareness: things Just Work.

Overall, Everyware is a fascinating insight into tomorrow’s world.


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