A blind love affair with the Internet

I have a quote taped to the edge of my monitor. I saw it in “Computer Currents” magazine, which is now defunct.

Here’s the quote by Clifford Stoll, noted astronomer, author, and computer expert:

Our problem is a blind love affair with the Internet. Someday soon we’ll wake up and say, “Oh my God. Look at all the time I’ve wasted online.”

by Clifford Stoll

Great quote, right? Spot on observation. But here’s the zinger…this quote is from 1997!

Think back to when you first got on the Internet. Most average people weren’t even getting online in 1997.

But somehow this guy Stoll knew that it would be a huge time waster. And blogs and social networks as we know them hadn’t even been invented yet!

I wonder what kind of predictions he’d make today.

Predicting Digital Music

Lots has been written about how hard and/or speculative science fiction influenced the generations of scientists, designers, and engineers.

It’s doubtful that the cover to this 50’s science fiction pulp actually inspired scientists to invent digital music. Yet, it has it’s own speculative sci-fi charm.

Astounding Science Fiction June, 1950

Click to see larger image

Check out the creative musical genius at his super, space age computer. The musical notes swirl through the air, twist, and are broken down into components. The note head, flags, and stems break apart and seem to turn into something that looks a lot like binary code.

At that time, there might have been some awareness of punch cards. This early technology was invented by Herman Hollerith in 1890, which means someone interested in computers would have probably been aware of the visual language.

It’s a totally inconclusive and speculative observation, but fun nonetheless. Sort of like a good science fiction novel.