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Sat, 25 Oct 2003
The death of computer hobbyists?
John Dvorak laments the decline of computer hobbyists. Like John, I got involved with computers as a hobby. I do think that his definition of hobbyist is a bit narrow. According to him, if you aren't collecting oddball hardware, then you aren't a hobbyist. I've always been a hobbyist on the software side -- I learned to program by typinging programs from Byte, Creating Computing, and Dr. Dobbs Journal, learning how they worked as I typed. Today, I believe that the opportunity for software hobbyists is larger than ever. Hobbyists that want to program computers have more avenues that allow them to contribute to software that will be used by real people. The same avenues provide lots of source code that hobbyists can use to learn from. I am referring of course, to open source software in its various forms.

It may be true that there's not much excitement for the hardware side of computers as a hobby, unless you like lighting up the insides of your case. But on the software side, there's plenty of opportunities.

[23:44] | [computers] | # | TB | F | G | 4 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
We need some inspiration
A few days ago, Jon Udell posted about Apple's Knowledge Navigator video. I won't repeat his analysis of how close we are to realizing the vision set forth in the video. But I find it interesting that 16 years later (it was first shown in 1987), it it still setting forth a compelling vision for what the computing experience should be like. The Linux people aren't driving towards something like this, and Longhorn is focusing on graphics, task orientation, and WS-* but for me, that pales in comparison to the Knowledge Navigator. Scoble should be holding this up as the future of the Tablet PC. But saddest of all, even Apple is no longer ostensibly working towards this vision.

I don't think that the Knowledge Navigator video is perfect or definitive, but at this moment in the history of computing, it can provide renewed inspiration.

[23:32] | [computers] | # | TB | F | G | 1 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post

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I work at the Open Source Applications Foundation (OSAF).
The opinions expressed here are entirely my own, not those of my employer.

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