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Tuesday, 05/06/03

Paul Graham, "Hackers and Painters":

I've never liked the term "computer science." The main reason I don't like it is that there's no such thing. Computer science is a grab bag of tenuously related areas thrown together by an accident of history, like Yugoslavia. At one end you have people who are really mathematicians, but call what they're doing computer science so they can get DARPA grants. In the middle you have people working on something like the natural history of computers-- studying the behavior of algorithms for routing data through networks, for example. And then at the other extreme you have the hackers, who are trying to write interesting software, and for whom computers are just a medium of expression, as concrete is for architects or paint for painters. It's as if mathematicians, physicists, and architects all had to be in the same department.

Steve Lohr, "Technology Hits a Midlife Bump" (NYT):

[A]n article published last week in The Harvard Business Review does question corporate America's faith in the value of technology. Titled "IT Doesn't Matter," the article argues that information technology is inevitably headed in the same direction as the railroads, the telegraph, electricity and the internal combustion engine.

All of these industrial technologies aged from their boom-time youth to become, in economic terms, ordinary factors of production, or "commodity inputs," the article noted. "From a strategic standpoint, they became invisible; they no longer mattered," wrote Nicholas G. Carr, editor at large of The Harvard Business Review. "That is exactly what is happening to information technology today."

Hurry up, already. 11:52AM «


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