Archive for the ‘Computer’ Tag

Museum Of The Present

dna chipIt’s a measure of how technology has impacted on our lives in such a short time that we now have several computer museums around the country. The one based at Bristol University has a Jupiter Ace on display the second computer I owned. It was a rather obscure bit of technology that did not make it into the best sellers list.

It used the Forth computer language instead of BASIC which was the norm for all the other machines available at the time. Being something different I felt there was an opportunity to make a few pounds from writing games programmes for the Jupiter Ace; it was a time when teenagers were making thousands of pounds writing popular computer games for the more common Sinclair ZX 81. I created all the popular games of the time, including Ace Invaders and play on the popular Space Invaders. I managed to sell a few programmes and even opened a business account under the name Forth Dimension but unfortunately after a few months the Jupiter Ace and was withdrawn for sale and with it my ambitions of fame and fortune ended.

This happened just 28 years ago which, when you think of how long it took many other major technology developments to occur, is a very short time. Befitting the nature of the technology there are many virtual computer museums on the Internet, a technology that has developed over an even shorter period. Now scientist are using cages made from DNA to help build even smaller computer chips. Its interesting to think that results of evolution are now being used to drive further advances in technology.

When Fiction Becomes Fact

Our appointment with asteroid NT7 on 1 February 2019 will see the subject of several works of fiction becoming fact. If NT7 is the first real threat to this world we have 10 years to find an answer. Considering how the pace of change in technology has accelerated since man landed on the moon 40 years ago and assuming those with the technology are able to work together to find a solution it would seem reasonable to say NT7 will not be a problem. I think, on this occasion, we will be able to sleep easy in our beds.

When Star Trek started teleporting people about, scientists said the laws of nature made it impossible. Now they are saying it is not only possible but has, in a very small way, been done. I am typing this on a netbook computer that is massively more powerful than the first computer I used in 1970, an ICL 1100 which was the size of several large family cars. There is now a paint that heals itself if scratched, glass that cleans itself, flying machines the size of flies and a medical camera the size of an aspirin. Science fiction is becoming science fact all the time.

Natural disasters are a timely reminder of how fragile our life is on the earth. We have yet to develop technology to prevent or control the major events that strike the world from time to time but we do have the technology to destroy the world ourselves many times over. The fiction of Nevil Shute’s book On The Beach could still come true.