Anthony J. Pennings, PhD

WRITINGS ON DIGITAL STRATEGIES, ICT ECONOMICS, AND GLOBAL COMMUNICATIONS

Digital Spreadsheets – Techno-Epistemological Power over People and Resources

In previous posts, I wrote that digital spreadsheets had emerged as a constitutive technology that can shape perceptions, organize resources, and empower control over the lived experiences of people and the dynamics of social organizations. In this post, I look at how communicative, command, and cultural dynamics provide an important context for the use of […]

THE EXPERIMENT, Part I: NEW ZEALAND AS THE WORLD MODEL FOR DIGITAL MONETARISM

Starting “Down Under” One of the first “guinea pigs” for the global system of digital monetarism was New Zealand. A one-time leader in developing the “welfare state,” the small two-island nation-state in the deep Pacific Ocean had run into economic problems by the early 1980s. It had borrowed heavily during the previous decade, and its […]

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 […]

How Schindler Used the List

Innovators in bureaucracy and population technology, the Germans were leaders in the use of telegraph and teletype communications to control their national administrators and armies. By the turn of the century, the Germans had transformed British “political arithmetic” into “statistics” (state-istics), numerical techniques in the service of State and population administration. They used the tabulating machines and punch cards designed for the US census to identify and control the population. These techniques were taken up by the SS in their management of the Final Solution.

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 […]

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  • About Me

    Professor at State University of New York (SUNY) Korea since 2016. 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, digital economics, and strategic communications.

    You can reach me at:

    apennings70@gmail.com
    anthony.pennings@sunykorea.ac.kr

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