The digital landscape has evolved rapidly since the advent of the internet and the world wide web. The subsequent introduction of
the desktop analogy helped to launch personal computing for the average home user, literally creating a virtual revolution in the domestic domain. Since then, there has been little time for reflection on the overall impact of change on the personal computer user. As the digital landscape continues to evolve and the realm of computing precipitates
a continued abstraction from the physical to the virtual, how will future domestic users organize their personal computing both online
The goal of this thesis is to reflect on the current technological
impacts on the personal computer user. The outcome of the reflection will attempt to put the individual’s needs at the heart of research and design. As technologies and physical devices inundate us more and more, the consequence is a scattering of data across multiple devices, leading to a ‘virtual fragmentation’ and lack of synchronization adds to the issue. This thesis utilizes action research methodology as well as a literature review, cultural probing and survey questionnaires to conceptualize people’s relationship with their data, computing devices, and environment. The need for a system to help mitigate this new phenomenon of
fragmentation, lack of synchronization will be explored. In part by using the well-known and philosophical concept of the ‘ghost in the machine’ to represent a multi-dimensional version of a digital avatar it could allow more cohesion, control and ownership over a persons data. The final designed system will leverage new technologies, such as the Cloud, to help address these issues.
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