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Dr Pangloss

The strange conservatism of computer interfaces

By Tom Chatfield   July 2009

In an age where the phone in your pocket is smarter than the computer that put men on the Moon, have you ever paused to wonder why one aspect of computing—physical interfaces—is so startlingly static? The keyboards we type on are essentially identical not only to those used on the very first home computers, but to 19th-century typewriters. It’s a bit like using reins to drive an F1 car. Even the mouse has hardly changed in 25 years.

Keyboards and mice are still with us because they work, of course. If you know how to use them, they’re quick and…

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