In Laue’s article, “How the Computer Works,” she focuses on the working as well as the function of the computer. As she discusses on how the computer works she explains the roles of control, input, output, processor, and storage within the computer system. As she describes these systematic roles of the computer she then focuses on the importance of the computer’s function and how to understand its function, “we must understand how humans use computers to manipulate symbols but also how the mechanisms within the machine manipulate human users” (Laue, 145). This allows for people to see more clearly the ways in which these computer mechanisms have evolved.
In describing how the computer works she focuses on specific aspects of the computer’s structure. She defines work in this sense how computers large, “electrical mechanisms process data” (Laue, 145). She informs the reader how the keyboard’s microprocessor gives its scan code to be saved and decoded. Then after the message is saved in the hard drive it is sent to the modem where it is adjusted and sent out to its destination. These parts of the computer work together for the information to be passed on for receivers of the message to respond.
Laue also talks about the computer’s function and how the computer’s operations relate to its users. Laue describes the computer functions as being the, “…theoretical and practical relations between the computer and its human operators” (151). Laue believes that in order to understand the computer’s function one must engage with the computer to see how elements of previous technologies have played a role in the design of our modern design of the PCs. The person must also take a look the culture’s history and study its role in the computer’s progression in design and see how people relate to this technology.
The computer’s mechanisms have been acquired through other technologies of the past. Laue argues that if a person were to study the cultural trends and products one would notice how they played a part in developing mechanisms of our technology. Laue says, “Pioneers of digital technologies often thought their designs radical and their machines revolutionary, yet these inventions incorporate conventions and habits embedded in previous technologies” (151). These designers simply did not see how the previous technologies functioned in our culture and contributed to the mechanisms in computers now.
I was a little confused on a couple of things in the article but Laue mentioned at the end on pg. 151, “I discuss the history of the adoption of and adaptation to these technologies, looking at how the computer as artifact reproduces metaphors of mind and incorporates bodies into mechanized routines.” What is she referring to when she says “metaphors of mind?” What does she mean? Also, what does she mean when she refers to “Dvorak arrangement?” I may have misread something but I’m a little confused in how it fits into this discussion of keyboard’s role.