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Computer History According to Law & Order

The TV series Law & Order ran for twenty years, from 1990 to 2010. In those years, the world changed a lot, especially in the area of computer technology. There are 456 episodes of the show, all dated, which turns out to be a goldmine of data. We’ve seen this data used in the Law & Order Database, 21 Links Between Unexpectedly Shared TV Universes, and even Law & Order & Food. And we will never forget the fake websites on the show.

Artist Jeff Thompson used those episodes to trace the evolution of the computer as it was used in the show. He watched 120 discs and took 11,000 screenshots of computers. The results trace the history of how the general public sees and uses computers, from rarely-used databanks in the corner to keeping up with social networks vis mobile device. Thompson documented his research on a Tumblr blog called Computers on Law & Order, and in a book. You can read a fascinating article explaining the project at Rhizome. There are tons of tidbits of trivia in the footnotes, and Thompson also has a post about every URL on Law & Order. -via Metafilter

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