Thursday, 8 March 2012

Is Computing Unique?

In maths, two plus  two has always equalled four; at least in the real world it does.  In history, William has been known as a Conqueror  from 1066, when Harold couldn't see the point and lost at Hastings. And Wellington still gave Napoleon a thrashing at Waterloo in 1815, no matter what the French say.  In Geography, Paris has been where its always been since about 250 BC and plate tectonics has been with us for about 12 billion years.  And, although I'm waiting for the Tarantino version, Romeo and Juliet was still written by Shakespeare in around 1594.  So as you can see most subjects don't change a lot.

ZX Sinclair Spectrum 
Computing on the other hand, changes all the time.  Despite Mr Thomas Watson believing "I think there is a world market for maybe five computers." (chairman of IBM, 1943. - Ooops!, got that wrong), computing has gradually taken off and started to move into the home around 1982 with the Sinclair Spectrum, one of the earliest home computers in 1982 which you had to program yourself.

From there, computing has experienced growth like nothing else. Moving from Spectrum, to the desktop, to the laptop, the palm top and now the smart phone and the tablet.  In fact, things are changing so quickly that by   the time any hardware and software hits the shops, its already out of date; the IPad 3 is just about out and people are already talking about what's going to be on the IPad 4.  This inbuilt obsolescence is also true of text books which, by definition can only illuminate past technology not what's happening today.  So, if you want to be part of an exciting rapidly changing subject, leading at the cutting edge of technology and social development, requiring mental flexibility and a problem solving approach to life - we have no problems, only solutions - you've got to choose Computing.

Or do you, prefer the old certainties of other subjects where nothing happens very much?

What do think?  What are your favourite subjects?

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