The revolution is on! Christina has set up her blog.
The revolution is on! Christina has set up her blog.
I’m reading David Elleray’s autobiography right now. Quoting this book’s introduction, David Elleray was, until his retirement at the end of the 2003-2003 [football i.e. soccer] season Britain’s best-known and highest profile referee.
On page 145, he writes about a South-Africa versus Brazil friendly that he was refereeing. I quote:
I arrived at Jo’burg Airport to a carnival atmosphere as the Brazilian team had just arrived and the terminal was alive with dancing and singing children, and a plethora of media representatives. This was clearly a special match for South Africa who were still on a high, having won the African Cup of Nations on home soil, and they were relishing playing the World Cup holders.
I was greeted royally and then whisked off to some TV interviews. My host was Ari Soldatos, a FIFA linesman who later officiated in the 1998 World Cup finals. My assistants were from Angola and Mauritius. The former spoke only Portugese and the latter spoke English and French so, as in Japan, communication was not easy. The next morning we set off on what I thought would be a sight-seeing tour: it soon became a procession of visits to back-street car dealers as the Mauritian assistant needed some spare parts for his car back home.
Soooooo typically Mauritian! I can easily imagine the scene: David Elleray wanting to discover the beautiful sights of South Africa, visit some museums and tasting some typical food and nice wine being forced to visits to back-street car dealers as the Mauritian assistant needed some spare parts for his car back home.
It’s funny… and a little bit pathetic at the same time.
Yesterday, I bought an old second-hand book from the British Council Library for Rs. 20 (less than $1):
Before you think I am mad, let me tell you why I bought this completely outdated book… IT BRINGS BACK LOTS AND LOTS OF MEMORIES :-)
In fact, I started “using” the Internet when I was in Réunion Island around 1994-1995. At that time, the Internet was very different from what it has evolved to now. The client applications I used were very primitive ; I was transferring files from the U.S. at 40 bytes a second (yep!) and I was overwhelmed!
I only used elm for reading and writing my emails. It was text-only and it ran off a SunOS server and I accessed it mainly from a telnet session on WinNT or from a DEC VT terminal:
There was another text-only mailer at that time called Pine but I didn’t like it a lot (for some very subjective reason I believe). My first graphical email application was Outlook Express (on Win95 I think) then KMail then Evolution and now Mozilla Thunderbird (on Linux of course).
Aha! Usenet News were fantastic at that time. No warez, no porn (or very few :-) ), no kids bragging about their latest mobile phones but only very good quality technical discussions. I used tin:
What you need to realise is that I didn’t care about the ergonomics of the apps I used (even if I tend to think that old is gold in that case – some modern GUI apps are just too complex to use). What was revolutionary was the (mostly) real-time discussion that I could have with someone at the other side of the planet.
Today, of course, I’m tend to read online forums and weblogs more than newsgroups but Google Groups is still handy…
Surfing the Worldwide Web
I hope you all notice that he used a NeXT computer.
In 1994-1995, only a few websites existed and they were mainly run by government, universities and very big companies as confirmed by Netcraft:
until I moved to Netscape Navigator (which is the ancestor of the rather fantastic Mozilla Firefox):
The world has changed a lot since ;-)
Here are the Turing Award winners:
Only geniuses I tell you… Every single one of them ;-)
Here are the ones I revere (in no particular order): John McCarthy (for LISP!), Edsger Dijkstra (for GOTO statements considered harmful), Donald E. Knuth (look at my previous post…), John Backus (FORTRAN fame and, yes, his contribution to functional programming), Edgar F. Codd (relational algebra and databases of course), Ken Thompson and Dennis M. Ritchie (for Unix :-) ), Ivan Sutherland (for Sketchpad), Robin Milner (for his contributions to type theory which has given us Haskell), Douglas Engelbart (for the mouse!!!), Ole-Johan Dahl and Kristen Nygaard (for Object-Orientation and Simula), Alan Kay (for Smalltalk and Squeak) and Vinton G. Cerf and Robert E. Kahn (for the Internet)…
Selected Papers on Computer Science is written by Donald Knuth (of The Art of Computer Programming & TeX fame) and is (IMHO rightly) considered by some as being the greatest living Computer Scientist. Here is the list of papers in the book:
Now, I don’t want to sound too melodramatic but I have to tell you all that this book is unique! All of the papers are very interesting to read and full of insights and small details to make you think. Some of them require a good level of maths but we are supposed to be Computer Scientists, isn’t it?
The second book is Hackers and Painters by Paul Graham (who is currently one of my top 5 sources of inspiration…). This book basically contains (slightly modified) essays that Paul wrote and published on his website. The essays are diverse:
The essays talk of taste, of “how to make wealth” (and not money!), of LISP as a programming language and everything in between… This is really an inspiring book. Read it and your life will be changed ;-)
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