I am very much in favor of teaching children more than one number system (e.g. binary additional to the decimal system). To me this gives children a better understanding of the nature of numbers – I know that this seems not to be widely shared 😉
What did I do with Vivien the last weekends? We soldered a radio receiver kit (retro style) and it worked – there are still plenty of stations on the air all over Europe. Nowadays you have to make quite some effort to find interesting electronic kits – besides the radio we got a candle light simulator (it is an LED controlled by a PIC microcontroller that imitates a realistic flickering candle in the form factor a small candle).
Do you remember the Sony walkman? It was at the time quite a revolution – looking at it now it looks a bit bulky. The BBC4 program “electric dreams” featuring a fast-forward through technologies from the time I was born till now was very entertaining and it brought back a lot of memories … ups getting old 🙁
The last 2 day we had a meeting – with all faculty of the ICB – discussing the future challenges of work at universities in the context of our current situation. For me the this time was very well spent as I got to know many of my colleagues better and it was incredible to see the potential (from a scientific perspective as well as looking at the people) we have in our organization.
Skype is down for a few hours and is has an impact on users. It is interesting that for some people I do not have regular phone numbers anymore. This minor (at least to me) inconvenience and the massive reaction in the news shows however how much we start to rely on network centred infrastructure tools.
Thinking about myself: xing and linked have largly replaced my local contacts database and my calendar is online, too; the acm-digital library, springer link, computer.org and google-scholar make me through away papers after I have read them (at the beginning of my PhD-studies I still sorted them in folders); gmail and gmx hold my private mail in the network; I have not bought paper maps for quite some time, and as recently posted access to knowledge is nowadays often via google. The current move of putting applications online – which I really like greatly – speeds up these trends.
With current sizes of hard drive and future network connectivity I think caching and recording becomes key. For many domains this is easy. Everything you have ever seen on the screen will be forever on the computer (easy for static content such as web pages, even for videos this is not far in the future; assuming 365 days x 8 hours x 1Gbyte/hour is about 3TByte/year). In many domains Pre-fetching seems useful. In some areas this seems straightforward. When you view a paper all papers that are cited and papers that cite this paper will be cached locally (and not just short term, but forever ;-), too.
I wonder when we can by the entire index of the web (e.g. google cache) for offline use. Will this every be possible or is content growing faster than storage?
At least I will start caching important information (e.g. mail & contacts) in the future locally.
From a business perspective this is interesting, too. Even if there is a major provider (e.g. Skype) people will create their own redundancies with a further provider (e.g. messenger) – so there will be always room for several players.
During the last weeks there has been a lot of discussion about the vulnerability of infrastructures after the experience in Estonia. One interesting question to me is if a country will need in the future the power for cyber deterrence.
(Given the current discussions on computer security in Germany I have one option: a bot network that includes all computers in a country that are connected in the internet – could be added as an additional function in the planed German Bundestroianer 😉