Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 28th Jul 2011 20:50 UTC
PDAs, Cellphones, Wireless I've kind of painted myself in a corner with that headline, because I never anticipated I would need another preview article for this project. However, thanks to all your comments on both the site and through email, the scope of this project has grown considerably. As part of this growing scope, I'm acquiring more and more devices, and yesterday, I managed to score a phone which, while almost forgotten by most of the rest of the technology press, contained two very important firsts. Not only was this the first phone with a capacitive touch screen, it was also the first phone with an interface design from the ground-up for finger/touch input. Say hello to the LG KE850, better known as the LG Prada.
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RE[2]: Part 2
by Tony Swash on Sat 30th Jul 2011 10:03 UTC in reply to "RE: Part 2"
Tony Swash
Member since:
2009-08-22

the development of the iphone startet in the area 2003-2004 when the device myorigo was show'n to the public.

2003:

http://www.mobileburn.com/review.jsp?Id=547

2007:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W-FlAg3YYXA

or do you remember this one?

http://www.hpl.hp.com/downloads/crl/itsy/index.html

and for the history there was also s branch after the xerox gui in europe;

http://www.ethistory.ethz.ch/rueckblicke/departemente/dinfk/forschu...


Not sure I can see the significance of the stuff in these links?

One of the points I was making was that one should not obsess about the forensic search for the first development (or in this case proto-development) of any given technological feature or characteristic but instead look at the actual development of the technology davelopmental evolutionary tree. What actually led to what? What had an actual impact in the ecosystem?

Using my suggested use of the conceptual framework from the study of the relationship and evolution of living creatures one could draw this analogy. When scientists unearth fossils they sometimes come across one with features which when grouped with other features in later species led to a major mutation in a whole range of species across a whole ecosystem. But often characteristics appear and disappear as species rise and fall. What is most important is what species actually had a big impact, what actually led to changes in the ecosystem, what species led directly on to new species.

The first appearance of feathers in the fossil record is interesting. But what matters is when the first bird appeared.

The various curiosities you link to are just that - technological curiosities. They led nowhere. Nothing was directly developed from them. One cannot link them directly to any later and significant developments.

Mildly interesting but not useful in reconstructing the key events and milestones in the evolution of technology.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[3]: Part 2
by _txf_ on Sat 30th Jul 2011 10:31 in reply to "RE[2]: Part 2"
_txf_ Member since:
2008-03-17


The first appearance of feathers in the fossil record is interesting. But what matters is when the first bird appeared.


You're trying to say that one day a bird just plopped out from nowhere?

It is hard to make analogies with tech and biological evolution simply because tech evolution is not governed natural selection; It is after all intelligent design and characteristics of a device can come from many different evolutionary trees . Also biological evolution happens extremely slowly and gradually.

Besides can you honestly claim that nobody was influenced by these devices. Just because they were not popular, it doesn't mean that they had no impact whatsoever.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[4]: Part 2
by Tony Swash on Sat 30th Jul 2011 15:28 in reply to "RE[3]: Part 2"
Tony Swash Member since:
2009-08-22

"
The first appearance of feathers in the fossil record is interesting. But what matters is when the first bird appeared.


You're trying to say that one day a bird just plopped out from nowhere?

It is hard to make analogies with tech and biological evolution simply because tech evolution is not governed natural selection; It is after all intelligent design and characteristics of a device can come from many different evolutionary trees . Also biological evolution happens extremely slowly and gradually.

Besides can you honestly claim that nobody was influenced by these devices. Just because they were not popular, it doesn't mean that they had no impact whatsoever.
"
Please. It would be ridiculous to suggest that a bird just popped out from nowhere - I am not a creationist!

What I am saying is that if you find a fossil of species that, say, has feathers and which then goes extinct it does not mean that it necessarily was an ancestor of the eventually emerging bird. The cluster of characteristics that we associate with 'birdness' can appear in earlier species with out those early species actually being related to the bird species that finally emerges. The reason for using this comparison of the development of technologies to the development of living species is to focus not on the design process per se but on the notion of evolutionary trees, of branches of direct development, of evolutionary dead ends and of what constitutes an ancestor or descendant technology.

so for example the computer system and GUI in this link

http://www.ethistory.ethz.ch/rueckblicke/departemente/dinfk/forschu...

is interesting. But the question is does it have any relevance to piecing together the genealogy of later technologies and in particular the spread of GUI through out the personal computer world? I would say no it had no relevance because there is not the slightest evidence, that I am ware of that, it had any influence on any of the designs of subsequent generations of computers. It influenced no one, it left no direct descendants, it was an evolutionary dead end.

By comparison the Xerox Altos did directly influence the design of a subsequent and significant new generation (new species) of PC - the Macintosh. Not only did Apple licence Xerox technology but many of the key people from Xerox went to work at Apple and had a major role in the design of the Lisa and the Macintosh. As far as I know there are no other other direct descendant from the Xerox Altos other than the Mac. I have found no evidence that any other PC or OS design team visited Xerox or were so directly influenced by the Altos as was the Mac design team. The Mac was the new species that then precipitated the major branching event which led to the eventual dominance of the GUI in the desktop PC ecosystem, first through the mainstreaming of the GUI via a mass marketed desktop PC with a GUI then through the influence the Mac GIU had over the development of Windows the OS that went on to dominate the desktop ecosystem. Windows was an indirect ancestor of the Xerox Altos but a direct descendant of the Mac. If you read the various insider accounts of the early days at Microsoft building up to the release of Windows 3.1 you again and again come across the consciously expressed desire of Bill Gates to copy and build on what the Mac had done - not what the Xerox Altos had done (the best insider book I have read on this is 'Barbarians Led by Bill Gates' by Jennifer Edstrom and Marlin Eller).

I suppose what I am cautioning against is the use of forensic research of past, and often obscure, technology episodes, to find characteristics or clusters of characteristics, that later appear in truly significant branching events in technology development and then saying 'aha' the significant branching event was not that significant after all because such and such came earlier. If previous designs and innovations didn't actually influence anyone that came later then they become at best mildly interesting curiosities. They don't tell us much about the key events in the development of technology.

Reply Parent Score: 2