bill fancher fancher at
Wed Aug 23 17:13:00 PDT 2000

I know I'm late on this one, but I couldn't let it go without some self-serving remarks.

on 8/16/00 10:25 PM, jf noonan at jfn1 at wrote:

> In short, I believe in Moore's law for melted sand, but not for
> the overall 'computing experience', because software is so much
> harder than melting sand.

Being in the business, I'll second that. Those hardware guys only have to deal with interfacing to other hardware. We've got to interface to PEOPLE as well.

Unlike hardware, where you know that your bus request will be processed within some fixed number of cycles, or that a given device will have the rigidly defined properties set forth in its spec sheet, we deal with I/O of a very unpredictable nature, and must accomodate individuals whose "spec sheets" are as varied as their fingerprints.

On the other hand, I don't think that the quality of software is declining, as some others here have claimed.

Look at Pong and Tombraider to get some idea of just how vast the improvements are. Compare DOS or CPM to MacOS or (shudder) WinNT. (I was going to toss in Linux, but couldn't see that it was a huge improvement over UNIX c.1979. Of course UNIX was quite expensive and Linux is free so maybe that gets us where we want to go.)

It may be worth noting that the Web itself is a software phenomenon. One day, long ago, I had never visited a Web site. I ftp'd a copy of Mosaic from NCSA and lo! the World Wide Web. Same computer, same internet connection, but a world of new possibilities.

-- Bill

Consciousness is a social product. - B.F. Skinner

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