October 11
On Friday, 11 October 2019 at 12:59:48 UTC, Ola Fosheim Grøstad wrote:
> On Friday, 11 October 2019 at 11:08:55 UTC, Chris wrote:
>> Care to write a book? I think you, Paulo Pinto and Walter and others here could write a good book about it.
>
> I am sure somebody has done so? There is at least a scientific journal about the history of computing where articles describe old systems in detail in order to record the history for future generations. (I did write an article about the first user-built graphical MUD on the Internet, though. I have to put it on the web some day.)
>

I'd be interested in the dynamics: market, demand, the feedback technology <=> user, i.e. what drives what at what stage. At what stage do users have the upper hand and at what stage are users guided (or nudged) by technologies.


October 11
On Friday, 11 October 2019 at 13:15:24 UTC, Chris wrote:
>
> I'd be interested in the dynamics: market, demand, the feedback technology <=> user, i.e. what drives what at what stage. At what stage do users have the upper hand and at what stage are users guided (or nudged) by technologies.

That is a very interesting topic.  Feel free to send me an email if you want to discuss it further. I believe I have some books related to this in one way or another in another location, gotta have a look at that when I get the opportunity. Maybe something alone the lines of The Evolution of Cooperation by Axelrod is relevant (I don't quite remember the angle now, so gotta browse through my bookshelf later :-).

I used to be interested in online worlds where the users themselves can build or at least create societies with activities of some sort, the paper I talked about above was such a place. You played the adventure games, when you had done them all, you would create new adventure games for others. (I guess many text MUDs work that way.)

Of course, online games and online communities are not strictly market related, but there are at least stages that users go through that one have to think about when designing online games and online services. I haven't really followed this topic much since 2005, but might look into it again...

So yeah, certainly interested, and could also do some article searches on the topic when I have time. :-)
October 11
On Friday, 11 October 2019 at 13:36:20 UTC, Ola Fosheim Grøstad wrote:
> On Friday, 11 October 2019 at 13:15:24 UTC, Chris wrote:
>>
>> I'd be interested in the dynamics: market, demand, the feedback technology <=> user, i.e. what drives what at what stage. At what stage do users have the upper hand and at what stage are users guided (or nudged) by technologies.
>
> That is a very interesting topic.  Feel free to send me an email if you want to discuss it further. I believe I have some books related to this in one way or another in another location, gotta have a look at that when I get the opportunity. Maybe something alone the lines of The Evolution of Cooperation by Axelrod is relevant (I don't quite remember the angle now, so gotta browse through my bookshelf later :-).
>
> I used to be interested in online worlds where the users themselves can build or at least create societies with activities of some sort, the paper I talked about above was such a place. You played the adventure games, when you had done them all, you would create new adventure games for others. (I guess many text MUDs work that way.)
>
> Of course, online games and online communities are not strictly market related, but there are at least stages that users go through that one have to think about when designing online games and online services. I haven't really followed this topic much since 2005, but might look into it again...
>
> So yeah, certainly interested, and could also do some article searches on the topic when I have time. :-)

It'd be interesting to study software, hardware and IT technology in general in terms of the Austrian School - Ludwig von Mises and Friedrich von Hayek [2]. I think the period from 1970 till today is the perfect example if one wants to analyze how systems evolve, which turns they take, the various forces that work within them - and how the state still hasn't figured out how to control IT. Fascinating.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ludwig_von_Mises
[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Friedrich_Hayek
October 11
On Friday, 11 October 2019 at 13:59:35 UTC, Chris wrote:
> It'd be interesting to study software, hardware and IT technology in general in terms of the Austrian School - Ludwig von Mises and Friedrich von Hayek [2].

I don't know much about the Austrian School, unfortunately.
Are you thinking about this:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Austrian_business_cycle_theory


> I think the period from 1970 till today is the perfect example if one wants to analyze how systems evolve, which turns they take, the various forces that work within them - and how the state still hasn't figured out how to control IT. Fascinating.

Yes, that is true. Networked computers are creating an alternative landscape, with alternative real estate and everything that comes with that.

But I think one would have to think draw on many fields.  There are some complex social dynamics in this evolution.



October 11
On Friday, 11 October 2019 at 10:06:46 UTC, Chris wrote:
> Objective-C could only become "big" because of Apple, but when I first saw Mac OS X, I knew they'd be big. A lot of people laughed and said "Oh, the shiny icons, all Mickey Mouse!" But Jobs did the job well.

Right, but there is also a social factor. Many had fond memories of their first mac, their first computer. Although the machine itself was crazy expensive, Apple provided "cheap" laser printers by driving it from the computer rather than building the rendering engine into the printer. So mac+printer was not unreasonable for office use with high quality printing. So, in this period of Microsoft being too dominating, there were plenty of buyers that wanted Mac to be great again.

> Now, this begs the question: To which extent do PLs influence the course of technology (e.g. C in the 80ies) and to which extent does the demand / the market created by new technologies influence PLs and their use? It's a bit like the hen and the egg, ain't it?

Javascript clearly had an impact, but it might have happened with another language too. As a consequence it is very difficult to say what would have happened.

Would Go and Swift have the same feature set if D had not existed? Difficult to say. Have authors of other languages read the D forums and gotten inspiration from what they have read? Maybe, I don't know. Swift have at least picked up lambdas like this "{$0 < $1}", maybe all on their own, maybe they were inspired from /bin/sh, but I remember arguing for it in the forums. We'll never know how languages actually evolve... social dynamics are kind of messy.

> If anything, the video depicts a changing world and society and PLs are just one indicator.

Yeah, but is a bit scary that anything that is presented visually in a crisp and clean manner based on "reputable datasets" are intuitively taken as true. Human beings have very little resistance to certain rhetorics. For this topic it was not a big deal, but for other topics the political connotations are not so great. Especially in this day and age of AI recommender systems ("Did you like this biased presentation? Then you probably also will like this biased presentation!" ;-)

October 11
On Friday, 11 October 2019 at 06:30:28 UTC, Ola Fosheim Grøstad wrote:
> On Thursday, 10 October 2019 at 16:32:44 UTC, Ethan wrote:
>> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Og847HVwRSI
>>
>> While not unsurprising, it was still fascinating watching Objective-C come out of nowhere to get in the list 25 years after it was first released.
>
> Actually, it is surprising, because it is wrong. Assembler and BASIC was much larger in the mid 80s. 4GL should have a fairly strong presence in the late 80s. Etc.
>
> It is most likely based on surveys of big corporations. Most programming happend outside of those.

Coincidentally this talk brings up facts behind the PL popularity trends. https://youtu.be/QyJZzq0v7Z4?t=124

Especially the fact that $$$ were spent in the Java marketing by Sun and JS just boarded it with the Java buzzword. I am wondering how much money Mozilla/Google would've spent on marketing Rust/Go.
October 12
On Friday, 11 October 2019 at 12:00:38 UTC, Chris wrote:
> On Friday, 11 October 2019 at 11:23:34 UTC, IGotD- wrote:
>>
>> This is actually an urban legend. The applications that needed most of performance in the 1980s were mostly written C (Borland C was really popular during the 80s) with a few optimized parts done in assembler. Very few programs were done in pure assembler. There wasn't any need to write everything in assembler except certain optimized loops.
>>
>> It is simple check this as you can just search your old DOS .exe file for Borland for example and you will be surprised how many DOS programs used C during the 80s.
>>
>> I suspect as previously mentioned that this survey is based on large companies. Ada has a suspiciously large cut during the 80s. Also what is based on? Per worker, per product, per company? Ada was probably big during the 80s because it was the height of the cold war but still a bit too high I think.
>
> Big corporations still widely used Assembly in the 80ies (the suicide rates where highest among assembly programmers - no joke). Some people thought that C wasn't that different so why bother? However, it soon became clear that a. if the Assembly programmer left (or killed himself), nobody else could make sense of the program and b. although C was 10% slower, squeezing out the last 10% wasn't worth it (law of diminishing returns). I have it on good authority that the civil service still uses assembler in certain areas (revenue). I wonder why?

It depended also on the CPU used. Programming something big in x86 assembly is akin to torture, for m68k not so much. There were companies that built big software packages in pure assembler on the m68k machines. On the Atari ST for example, there was the company CCD who wrote the best programming editor of the platform Tempus in ASM. They also built Tempus Word, a full featured text processing suite which was so much better than Microsoft of the time, and all written in pure assembly.
October 12
On Friday, 11 October 2019 at 12:00:38 UTC, Chris wrote:
> On Friday, 11 October 2019 at 11:23:34 UTC, IGotD- wrote:
>>
>> This is actually an urban legend. The applications that needed most of performance in the 1980s were mostly written C (Borland C was really popular during the 80s) with a few optimized parts done in assembler. Very few programs were done in pure assembler. There wasn't any need to write everything in assembler except certain optimized loops.
>>
>> It is simple check this as you can just search your old DOS .exe file for Borland for example and you will be surprised how many DOS programs used C during the 80s.
>>
>> I suspect as previously mentioned that this survey is based on large companies. Ada has a suspiciously large cut during the 80s. Also what is based on? Per worker, per product, per company? Ada was probably big during the 80s because it was the height of the cold war but still a bit too high I think.
>
> Big corporations still widely used Assembly in the 80ies (the suicide rates where highest among assembly programmers - no joke). Some people thought that C wasn't that different so why bother? However, it soon became clear that a. if the Assembly programmer left (or killed himself), nobody else could make sense of the program and b. although C was 10% slower, squeezing out the last 10% wasn't worth it (law of diminishing returns). I have it on good authority that the civil service still uses assembler in certain areas (revenue). I wonder why?

As I already said in my previous post, it depends on the architecture and the culture of the platform. I was, for instance, when I was still consultant in Luxembourg at Deloitte, proposed a mission in a German bank to program in assembly on mainframes. Apparently, it is still quite common to program the big iron IBM mainframes (Z server) in assembler. The IBM macro assembler are so advanced that they allow for quite high level constructs that make programming with it not much different than programming COBOL or even C.

5 days ago
On Friday, 11 October 2019 at 17:05:47 UTC, Ola Fosheim Grøstad wrote:

>
> Right, but there is also a social factor. Many had fond memories of their first mac, their first computer. Although the machine itself was crazy expensive, Apple provided "cheap" laser printers by driving it from the computer rather than building the rendering engine into the printer. So mac+printer was not unreasonable for office use with high quality printing. So, in this period of Microsoft being too dominating, there were plenty of buyers that wanted Mac to be great again.

Social factors, yes, a lot of Mac users worked in the "cool" sectors (layout, magazines, media in general). Apple had also struck a chord with their shiny animated icons and a computer that just worked when you bought it. With Windows there were still numerous issues. Windows had a "nerdy" GUI, MS wanted to lock users in, e.g. there were always issues with Java, whereas Apple shipped their Macs with Java - and Xcode. So Apple was also becoming a sound platform for software development. Ironically, all that changed after the advent of the iPhone and Apple began to lock users in and others out (just like MS had done before). I switched to Linux as I had promised I would, if they started to lock users and devs in - or out.

>
> Javascript clearly had an impact, but it might have happened with another language too. As a consequence it is very difficult to say what would have happened.

JS was at the right place at the right time, it was clever marketing, because the WWW would become huge anyway.

> Would Go and Swift have the same feature set if D had not existed? Difficult to say. Have authors of other languages read the D forums and gotten inspiration from what they have read? Maybe, I don't know. Swift have at least picked up lambdas like this "{$0 < $1}", maybe all on their own, maybe they were inspired from /bin/sh, but I remember arguing for it in the forums. We'll never know how languages actually evolve... social dynamics are kind of messy.

I don't know. D's problem is that D devs don't know what they want, what D is supposed to achieve, so they have a new pet project every few months / years. Others just watch and pick and choose? But I don't know what impact D really has.

>
> Yeah, but is a bit scary that anything that is presented visually in a crisp and clean manner based on "reputable datasets" are intuitively taken as true. Human beings have very little resistance to certain rhetorics. For this topic it was not a big deal, but for other topics the political connotations are not so great. Especially in this day and age of AI recommender systems ("Did you like this biased presentation? Then you probably also will like this biased presentation!" ;-)

We all knew that anyway, that and why C, JS and Objective-C got bigger. So I think we're safe here.
5 days ago
On Friday, 11 October 2019 at 13:59:35 UTC, Chris wrote:
> On Friday, 11 October 2019 at 13:36:20 UTC, Ola Fosheim Grøstad wrote:
>> On Friday, 11 October 2019 at 13:15:24 UTC, Chris wrote:
>>>
>>> I'd be interested in the dynamics: market, demand, the feedback technology <=> user, i.e. what drives what at what stage. At what stage do users have the upper hand and at what stage are users guided (or nudged) by technologies.
>>
>> That is a very interesting topic.  Feel free to send me an email if you want to discuss it further. I believe I have some books related to this in one way or another in another location, gotta have a look at that when I get the opportunity. Maybe something alone the lines of The Evolution of Cooperation by Axelrod is relevant (I don't quite remember the angle now, so gotta browse through my bookshelf later :-).
>>
>> I used to be interested in online worlds where the users themselves can build or at least create societies with activities of some sort, the paper I talked about above was such a place. You played the adventure games, when you had done them all, you would create new adventure games for others. (I guess many text MUDs work that way.)
>>
>> Of course, online games and online communities are not strictly market related, but there are at least stages that users go through that one have to think about when designing online games and online services. I haven't really followed this topic much since 2005, but might look into it again...
>>
>> So yeah, certainly interested, and could also do some article searches on the topic when I have time. :-)
>
> It'd be interesting to study software, hardware and IT technology in general in terms of the Austrian School - Ludwig von Mises and Friedrich von Hayek [2]. I think the period from 1970 till today is the perfect example if one wants to analyze how systems evolve, which turns they take, the various forces that work within them - and how the state still hasn't figured out how to control IT. Fascinating.
>
> [1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ludwig_von_Mises
> [2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Friedrich_Hayek


I went in 1993 to see Don Lavoie at the Center for the Study of Market Processes at George Mason University, one of the three important centres of the Austrian school at tbat time (Israel Kirzner at NYU and Murray Rothbard at Auburn were the other ones).  And whilst I was waiting for him I found a very interesting thesis by a guy on software components, applying Austrian capital theory sorts of ideas to software.  I read the whole thing there and recently wondered what had happened to the author because open source was sort of what he talked about if not what he had in mind.  It was Brad Cox, creator of Objective C.

There are two strains of thought when it comes to thinking about uncertainty and capital within the Austrian school.  The function of pure profit is to stimulate awareness of possibilities for greater economic coordination.  But there is something creative about the act of perception and that has different implications depending on how you look at it.

Time, ignorance, expectations, uncertainty, entrepreneurship, discovery - quite important topics where one can learn from Austrian and post - Keynesian thinking.

So Austrian economics has had quite a lot of influence on how we approach things, including with technology.
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