What a long strange trip it's been.

Actually, who knows? This may by some strange coincidence be the birthday of the Grateful Dead, but I not only don't know, I haven't even tried to check. Despite the title (text here, a live version here, sorry that I haven't found the "standard" version on the web [preparing Boidem 155 required reviewing this link which ... isn't there any more; of course today on YouTube we can find, at least, the classic version, and a long live version]) this date link doesn't relate to the Dead, but to the coincidence of Charles Babbage, considered the father of the computer, being born on this day in 1791, and 201 years later, the computer being named by Time Magazine as its Man of the Year on the same date.

Babbage definitely deserves credit for his vision, and in our day of non-stop technological growth, it's fascinating to realize that Babbage worked with materials totally different from those that comprise our computers of today. What has remained constant are the principles behind how computers work, and what we're able to do with them.

Time Magazine decided, back in 1982, that the time of the computer had come: these machines, still viewed back then as somewhat strange and foreign, performed tasks necessary to the ongoing functioning of our daily lives. But the magazine also noted that they were no longer relegated to the computation center and to the think tank. Instead, they were now available to the multitudes. The personal computer had sprung upon the scene. Time even noted:

The "information revolution" that futurists have long predicted has arrived.
In the almost twenty years since then much has changed, but it seems to be more of a change in magnitude than in quality. The functions that Time noted that the computer fulfilled back in 1982 are still those that it fulfills today, but on a much grander scale. But of course if all this was true almost twenty years ago, why is it that still today we continue to get excited about the computer revolution?

Go to: Fetch me a child of five