In the first chapter of his book The art of Interactive Design Chris Crawford challenges people’s definition of interactivity and what can be actually called ‘interactive’. While the examples and evidence he provides are somewhat laughable, for example the refrigerator doors not being interactive, although some people might think they are, the part that I enjoyed reading the most from Chapter 1 is about the conversation, what makes it good, and what makes it interactive. According to Crawford, a good conversation consists of “listening, thinking, and speaking”, which one might find obvious. However, when I think about it, I realize that very few people actually know how to really listen to the other person during the conversation, which I think is the most important part, and thus the conversation becomes pointless.
I find it very interesting that despite focusing on the definition of interactivity, Crawford manages to point out these crucial things in our everyday life (such as conversations), using them as examples of what can be called a good interaction or a useless one.
The other reading, The Jump to Universality, is focusing on universality, as one might have guessed from the title. It was interesting to read mainly because it provided hundreds of interesting facts, most of which I did not know before reading. For example, that Archimedes imposed the restriction on how big a number can be. The author claims that “if Archimedes had been willing to allow his rules to be applied without arbitrary limits, he could have invented a much better universal system just by removing the arbitrary limits from the existing Greek system”. The main argument is that in ancient times people have been adding to the universal system without even intending to, while after the Enlightenment people have been doing so on purpose. The best part of this reading, in my opinion, is the very last sentence that simply explains it all: “Because error correction is essential in processes of potentially unlimited length, the jump to universality only ever happens in digital systems.”