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Is Computing As Cool and Fun As It Once Was?

PostPosted: Thu Dec 29, 2016 11:39 am
by tezza
Slashdot poses the question... ... t-once-was

What say you?

Re: Is Computing As Cool and Fun As It Once Was?

PostPosted: Thu Dec 29, 2016 3:50 pm
by acsi
Totally agree Terry, Computing as a whole is not as much fun as it used to be.

It has lost the personal imagination that was part of the experience of playing those pixelated games (Especially the likes of the ZX81 etc from my childhood). Let alone the excitement of changing the programming of a program, typing in one out of a magazine/book or creating your own.

Since unpacking the Fountain Force and then seeing how long it took to setup the PS4 (let alone the fact I cannot find a game that even slightly excites me) I have been thinking quite a bit about this.

Over the last few days my Mac has mainly been used to watch Fawlty Towers on whilst I have been playing with a C16 and fixing its datasette (which involved swapping the mechanics from a donor C2N that someone had cut the cord off).

Ahh the good old days of rampack wobble and no sound. Let alone aligning the heads on the tape deck because your mates one never lined up exactly with yours.

Anyway I believe the flash graphics and sound of today's games have taken away the imagination part of the experience we had back in the day and even now when we get these old machines out.

Plus the old machines had no digital identity and can still do plenty off what the current ones can.

Re: Is Computing As Cool and Fun As It Once Was?

PostPosted: Sun Jan 01, 2017 9:53 am
by tezza
Yea. Here's my take on it (I also posted this on VCF)

I feel with a question like this (which depends so much on the definitions of "cool" and "computing") the answer is always "It depends..." (:

Computer technology is now embedded so much of daily life that it's just a tool for a task. It's so reliable, so pervasive, standardized, relatively inexpensive and often so easy to use the technology just fades into the background. Consequently our mind is wholly occupied with the task at hand (getting information, communicating, number crunching etc. ) and barely thinks about the underlying technology enabling it. In this way (unless you really stop to think about it) it's not novel or interesting (per sae) and so it is not "cool" (as to be "cool" needs a point of difference from the usual and mundane).

Back when computers were novel and expensive (and rare) they WERE cool as things could be done far easily and efficiently compared to the default at the time (e.g. writing, record keeping, data manipulation, (and later...) communication, information seeking). So there was a WOW factor. Also, because you could understand them right down to the hardware, you could program them, hack the hardware and get them to do all kind of things..even things the original designers didn't even conceive. Hence they were a creative outlet for those with that kind of technical bent. This was fun!

Games were relatively simple, easy to learn and one person could create a game that many would end up playing without those players having to have an account online. That was also fun, and very different to commercial video games today.

The fun and cool and computing still exists though, and IMO it is in the retro-computing hobby (collecting, maintaining, documenting, extending) and the "maker" movement where people are being creative with cheap inexpensive devices like raspberry Pis and audinos. Sometimes