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The Future of the Internet

I read an article on the BBC website today about the anniversary of the ZX81 computer. The idea never should have worked.

The memory of 1KB was woefully inadequate, the keyboard was a nightmare and the whole thing was so clunky that just a slight tap could cause it to crash losing any work that you have done.

However, it did work. The 1KB of memory caused programmers of the time to be extremely creative in achieving as much as they could without taking up too much space. Also, nothing like it had existed before. It was the first time a computer in the home was an affordable option.

I never owned one of these but I did own its successor, the ZX Spectrum. I bought it mainly for the computer games. My theory was I would save a fortune in 10 pence pieces at the local arcade. To my surprise, I found myself drawn into the world of programming.

The Spectrum allowed you to program in the BASIC language. I found it brought out my creative side and I was fascinated that I would create something from scratch which worked and it was all my own creation.

I created a basic arcade game, an adventure game and even a diary utility. Little did I know what an influence this would have on my career many years later.

It fascinates me that my current occupation is one which did not exist as recently as 20 years ago. In those days I could not conceive of anything like the Internet. But here I sit in front of my PC typing a blog entry into a website that I created.

This website was created using the PHP programming language. In my view, it is a superb language and certainly the most efficient and useful language for creating dynamic websites.

I think the reason that I find it so easy to get to grips with this is the early days I spent with my ZX Spectrum. When you programmed in the BASIC language, you learned much about computer logic despite its many limitations. Indeed, much of the code I write today is very similar to the code I would write on my ZX Spectrum all those years ago.

And so it is, that in my youth, I was unknowingly preparing myself for a future career in an industry that did not yet exist.

Which makes me think. What amazing wonders are we going to see over the next 30 years? We started out with a black & white computer that ran off your television without sound and a tiny memory and no connection to the outside world. And now I sit at my outdated PC which holds 4 million times the memory in its RAM alone and is connected to the World Wide Web allowing me access to an unimaginable quantity of information.

What will it be like on 30 years? I cannot yet imagine but if the advance continues at the same rate, it will be very exciting!

Fri 11 March 2011 11:58:25

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