Friday, March 06, 2009

I've Got the Electrical Rodent Blues

For those of you who don't know and have the slightest interest, I work with computers. This means that I come into contact with lots of other people who work with computers. I eat lunch with lots of people who work in computers.

If you ever wonder what people who work in computers talk about when we are eating lunch, I can let you into the secret. We tend to talk about computers.

There you go then my puissant yeomen, part of the stereotype has been confirmed for you. I can also confirm that I work with men who have pony tails, wear sandals with socks and believe their knees should be displayed at all times. Don't take this to confirm the stereotype 100%. It might come as a shock, but they are also married and have made a contribution to the gene pool.

One topic of conversation of which we never tire is that of how we will interact with the computers of the future. These range from 2 minute chats at the coffee machine (another stereotype confirmed) to full five day conferences in exotic locations (see Note 1).

I'm old enough to have worked on computers where the only way you interacted with them was to feed in reels of paper tape, stacks of cards or hammer away with two fingers at a teletype. I can remember the first screen and keyboard arriving, shaking my head and tutting that it will never catch on and yes, I did the same when the PC and the computer mouse was wheeled through the door.

Now computers are everywhere (see Note 2). What is more we can use them anywhere and stay in touch with the interweb and our favourite applications almost everywhere we go.

Us computer people marvel at the technology that comes with our iPhones and our Wii's, talk about them a lot, then go and sit in front of our PC, fondle our mouse and then start hammering away at our keyboards as if they are teletypes.

Now that's the thing. What will replace the keyboard and the mouse? Touch screens? Brain implants? Armies of giant ants? We really don't know, but that doesn't stop us talking about it.

Then today, one of my colleagues sent my this link to a short film by Bruce Branit. I know nothing about Bruce and cannot provide any other information except the link to the film.

You really must find ten minutes of your life to watch this.

And, to confirm another stereotype, us computer bods spent our time discussing the holographic alarm clock.

Note 1 : Where another stereotype is sadly confirmed. When faced with the lure of talking about computers in a stuffy conference hall or sampling the temptations of an exotic location, the computer guys go for the stuffy conference hall every time.

Note 2 : My mobile phone has more processing power, memory and storage than the first computer I worked on and that computer filled a whole room while the air conditioning for it filled another. My mobile phone doesn't.

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