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Daniel C. Robbins


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On any given morning in our information age office, we may have several different projects going on the computer. Each task may involve several documents in different applications. A ringing telephone and a bulging email inbox may force us to shift our attention quickly from one task to another.

To switch tasks, we have to hustle. We close some windows, open or resize others and go burrowing through the heap of information we have not so conveniently stored on the computer’s hard drive. “Wait a second,” we say to the person on the other end of the line. “Let me fool with my computer.”

The Windows interface uses the familiar metaphor of a desktop to help us organize our work. The desktop was a breakthrough when it replaced the old command line two decades ago – it was the key to making computers accessible to a wide audience and to the rise of Microsoft. Now we believe it’s time to start thinking about another step forward to help us cope with the ever-increasing volume of information we have to manipulate in the course of an ordinary day