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Digital Foundations: Intro to Media Design with the Adobe Creative Suite by Michael Mandiberg, Xtine Burrough

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Chapter 1. Metaphor

Metaphor

Early “computers” at work, summer 1949, photograph attributed to NASA.

Computer software interfaces are built on metaphors. These metaphors link the digital interface to real-life tools and processes.

An operating system is software that we use to operate the computer. The operating systems we encounter most often are Mac OS, Windows, or Linux. These operating systems use graphical interfaces to enable us to create, move, and delete files, and use other software to edit the contents of those files.

Regardless of the operating system you are using, most share a few central metaphors such as document, folder, file system, and desktop. ...

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