1980s: The age of useless tinkering

this post is originally from my old and abandoned blog:

i was reading the annals of the new york academy of sciences on computer culture in 1984 and this statement by a bell labs researcher reminds me how much has changed in the practice of computing:
“quite a few years i prided myself in the building of an early home-brew computer. people always asked me what it was good for. they still do. i have consistently answered that it is not good for anything. it does not control the heating of my house, nor does it balance my checkbook. it does not keep the inventory of our kitchen supplies or the names on our Christmas card list. no, i just like having it. i like to make it work, to write systems and applications programs that serve no purpose whatsoever.”

 

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