We live in a digital age, my mother fears that we will lose this generation of documents and images because we are no longer printing things out. There is simply so much information that digital storage is the only option for us now. I know myself the first digital photographs I took cannot be read by any software application? and these are only 12 years old. What will it be like when MS office is ancient history (like Lotus 123, WordPerfect and Lotus Notes)? no longer backwards compatible for a whole century. Or what if the media just fails? the DVD was blank, or there were no drives to play them on.
Then you could argue who cares! We have been writing history since we could write so surely our present time is not going to be the era that never got documented, that is, got lost in digital oblivion?
I started to ponder these questions because I was given a great book for Christmas. The Britannica Book of the Year from my year of birth (sometime in the 60s – not saying when). There is a special report on page 137 entitled “Computers and the mathematics of management”. This is when people were literally inventing what we now call IT. (This is a book that documents important events as they happen? they are the actual history books. I don’t even know if they are still published ? is it now all just on a web page somewhere?)
- Among the activities on which the new techniques have their most significant impact, Data Processing may be the first consideration. A hallmark of commercial computer applications has tended to be the existence of ‘files’ of information, which are augmented or ‘updated’ periodically. The appetite of administrators for such files is well known, and at its most primitive the approach to the utilisation of a computer has often been to identify the activities involving routine processing files, and to attempt to transfer these activities to the computer. While this approach will certainly produce a number of cases in which the job can be performed by a computer, the potential of the computer may not be fully realised.”
Two topics dominate discussion on computer application, First, the nature of the processes to be performed and secondly the volumes of information to be processed…
So Daniel Pinks “Automation” started way back in the 1960s.
They were literally inventing the stuff that we now take so much for granted. Imagine defining a file and application for the first time? But we are inventing things like that now….. I hope someone is writing the important bits on something other than digital media.