Anthony J. Pennings, PhD

WRITINGS ON DIGITAL STRATEGIES, ICT ECONOMICS, AND GLOBAL COMMUNICATIONS

Not Like 1984: GUI and the Apple Mac

In January of 1984, during the Super Bowl, America’s most popular sporting event, Apple announced the release of the Macintosh computer. It was with a commercial that was shown only once, causing a stir, and gaining millions of dollars in free publicity afterward. The TV ad was produced by Ridley Scott whose credits at the […]

A First Pre-VisiCalc Attempt at Electronic Spreadsheets

Computerized spreadsheets were conceived in the early 1960s when Richard Mattessich at the University of California at Berkeley conceptualized the electronic simulation of business accounting techniques in his Simulation of the Firm through a Budget Computer Program (1964). Mattessich envisaged the use of “accounting matrices” to provide a rectangular array of bookkeeping figures that would […]

Lotus 1-2-3 – A Star is Born

It was during the November of 1982 on the giant floor of the Comdex show in Las Vegas that Lotus 1-2-3 would first make its mark. While VisiCalc for the Apple II had shown both the viability of digital spreadsheets and the new “microcomputers,” Lotus 1-2-3 showed that spreadsheets would become indispensable for modern organizations […]

Digital Spreadsheets – The Time-Space Power of Accounting, Part 1

The digital spreadsheet was designed as an electronic document in which data was arranged in the rows and columns of a matrix and could be manipulated and used in calculations. It combined listing, tabling, and other formulaic calculations to create a new imaginative technology that transformed modern finance and the management of organizations. While the spreadsheet handles various types of information, accounting information is some of the most effective and its power is accelerated by an organization’s information technology.

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 […]

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.

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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.

    You can reach me at:

    anthony.pennings@gmail.com
    anthony.pennings@sunykorea.ac.kr

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