Anthony J. Pennings, PhD

WRITINGS ON DIGITAL STRATEGIES, ICT ECONOMICS, AND GLOBAL COMMUNICATIONS

Digital Spreadsheets – Part 5 – Ease and Epistemology

To pick up the story, I started this analysis of the spreadsheet looking at the emergence of Lotus 1-2-3 within the context of the 1980s. This included the importance of the personal computer and the Reagan Revolution – characterized the by the commercialization of Cold War technologies and the globalization and increasing financialization of individual […]

Lotus Spreadsheets – Part 5 – Numeracy and the Power of Zero

Previously, I explored the electronic spreadsheet as a meaning-making application that was central to the financial explosion of the 1980s and its economic aftershocks. Spreadsheets framed and produced information and meaning consequential to monetary and organizational practices as they became part of the daily routines of information workers. In my last post, I explored the […]

Lotus Spreadsheets – Part 4 – Symbols and Lists as Administrative Technologies

Spreadsheets like Lotus 1-2-3 were designed to facilitate organizational coordination and activity by setting up relationships between symbolic and material resources. Using a grid structure, spreadsheets achieve their efficacy by combining the following components: symbolic representation; lists; tables; cells and; formulas. In this post I will examine how the first two components, symbolic representations and […]

Thirty-Five Activities Media Degrees Should Anticipate in Digital Work Environments

I have been working on some projects looking at curriculum that combine media and business. Below is a list of activities that are prevalent in work environments organized around digital technologies. 1) Managing creative work and digital innovation 2) Assessing digital threats and opportunities 3) Understanding global media and cultural trends 4) Marketing content and […]

Steven Levy’s A Spreadsheet Way of Knowledge

This article was very influential in my early thinking about the spreadsheet and cited in my PhD dissertation. It was published as Chapter 10 in Tom Forester’s (ed) Computers in the Human Context: Information Technology, Productivity and People. Basil Blackwell. 108 Cowley Road, Oxford OX4 1JF, UK. Steven Levy gave me permission to put it […]

Lotus Spreadsheets – Part 3 – Identifying the Components of a Transformative Tool

I begin a formal analysis of the spreadsheet by identifying some of its component parts, a type of Cartesian reductionism, but with the intent of showing also how they all work together to create a powerful organizational and productivity tool. Spreadsheets combine a number of technologically enhanced cognition features to create, manipulate and visualize diagrammatic rationalities. In other words, spreadsheets not only appraise aspects of reality, but are constitutive technologies that can shape perceptions and empower control over the lived experiences of people and the resources that support them.

Lotus Spreadsheets – The Killer App of the Reagan Revolution – Part 2 – Spreadsheet Capitalism Emerges

In order to understand the widespread adoption of the spreadsheet during the “Reagan Revolution” and its political-economic implications, it is important to understand the context in which it emerged. In Part 1, I identified a number of characteristics of the Reagan Revolution that allowed the electronic spreadsheet to flourish. This included wide-scale deregulation and other […]

How IT Came to Rule the World, 2.8: Apple, Silicon Valley and the Counter-Cultural Impulse

While Woz earned his title as the “Mozart of digital design” through his design of the Apple II, Jobs helped conceive the computer as a democratizing tool with the motto-“One person–one computer”. The microcomputer was sold as a tool that would balance the unequal relationship between institutions and the individual. It would empower the individual and allow their inner artist to emerge. The Apple II Computer went on to become the darling of the counter-cultural crowd and would remain a symbol of resistance against the corporate forces of IBM and later the predatory practices of Microsoft.

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  • About Me

    Professor and Associate Chair at State University of New York (SUNY) Korea. Recently taught at Hannam University in Daejeon, South Korea. Moved to Austin, Texas in August 2012 to join the Digital Media Management program at St. Edwards University. Spent the previous decade on the faculty at New York University teaching and researching information systems, media economics, and strategic communications.

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    The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect the views of my employers, past or present.