Experiencing Technical Difficulties (resonant) wrote,
Experiencing Technical Difficulties

Antique computers and ergonomic design factors

We were talking with one of our interns at work, when the topic came up about the "good old days". The intern looked at us in disbelief when we told him about learning to program on computers with less processing power than a TV remote control.

The real shocker was when I told him that, in the old days, computers were big boxes that sat on a desk. The on/off switch was mounted on the power supply, which was at the back of the computer. So, you had to reach around and fumble among the cords at the back to find the switch to turn it on or off. It wasn't mounted at the front, where it could be easily accessed by the user.

He was shocked that computers ever had such a primative state of design, and thought we must be talking about early prototype machines, not production model IBM desktops manufactured in the tens of millions.

We owe a lot to Apple for forcing the industry to think about human factors like conveniently-located power buttons.
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