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Author Topic: Computing. A Goal in itself, or a means to an end?  (Read 3171 times)
Beth UK
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« on: November 08, 2007, 09:09:47 AM »

I am curious as to how many people here at DonationCoder view computing as a 'goal in itself' or a 'means to an end'? Do you have a fascination with the 'act' of computing, or with reaching a goal 'using a computer'.

I think when I first started using computers (ahem... Atari 1040st  embarassed) I used to be fascinated with what could be done, even if I didn't actually want or need to do it! It was just that it 'could' be done. I would sit in awe and think ...'wow, that's amazing'.

Now I have less time available, and also, sometimes, a diminished curiosity in 'what' a computer can do because I know what I 'have' to get done. I used to be an avid downloader of software just to see what it did. Now, I tend to restrict myself to what I need. The initial rush of the frontier days of computing has been replaced by a more utilitarian approach.

How about you? Do you still have that 'frontier feeling' when you use a computer?
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ChalkTrauma
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« Reply #1 on: November 08, 2007, 10:30:10 AM »

Interesting topic...

I started out on a Timex Sinclair, and immediately became fascinated by the elegance and structure of code and how the simplicity of a bit could grow into the complexity of an operating system. Ever since then I have been writing software, and even though sometimes I burn out at my day job of writing code for someone else, I always seem to be drawn back by that first moment when I realized the limitless possibilities presented by the programming discipline, that drives me in my personal projects.

Even though life has become extremely busy I still find time to download applications to see what other people are doing as well as find time to indulge in my own development projects. Sometimes I find a application that gives me the tools to free up more time to write code smiley.

So I think I still indulge in computing as a 'goal in itself', a few of my projects are so ambitions they might never be completed and fall into that category of being purely for the journey and not the destination, but of course it would be nice to finish a few  cheesy
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Ralf Maximus
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« Reply #2 on: November 08, 2007, 10:31:57 AM »

Quote
How about you? Do you still have that 'frontier feeling' when you use a computer?

The act itself?  No.  Ever since I started coding for dollars it kind changed how I view computer time.  It's more of a commodity now, like electricity or water.  I'm so immersed in it I can't imagine living without.  Even simple acts like reading the morning paper or checking TV listings have changed.

Every once in awhile I look around at my toys and think, "I really am living in the future".  If I could go back in time to the me plinking away at a Commodore 64 and show him what I have now, Ralf1985 simply wouldn't believe it. 

I vividly remember thinking how cool it would be if all my files and data were available all the time, without having to shuffle through a stack of floppies.

I remember wishing there was a way to type stuff on my computer and have somebody else miles away see it.  Multiplayer games were simply too impossible to imagine.

So in a sense, that frontier spirit still exists, but it doesn't get out very much any more.
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cranioscopical
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« Reply #3 on: November 08, 2007, 01:22:00 PM »

About half and half.
I spend a lot of time doing stuff 'just for the heck of it', often when I'm supposed to be doing something productive instead  smiley

The early days of home computing meant creating most of one's own stuff anyway and that was some of each.
Now I mainly use off-the-shelf stuff.

These days the necessity of using computers as everyday tools dilutes some of the 'gee-whiz' factor for me, even though some new developments are astounding.
Until an entirely new medium emerges I don't think anything will replace for me the adventurous feeling associated with moving from 'no computers' to 'my computers'.
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Chris
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« Reply #4 on: November 08, 2007, 01:36:07 PM »

I vividly remember thinking how cool it would be if all my files and data were available all the time, without having to shuffle through a stack of floppies.

Hey, it could be worse. You could spend hours shuffling through a stack of tapes, and some hours more waiting for them to load Grin

Quote
I remember wishing there was a way to type stuff on my computer and have somebody else miles away see it.  Multiplayer games were simply too impossible to imagine.

Well... (first three paragraphs).

As for Beth question, it's a bit of both, like cranioscopical. As I have to use the computer for my studies, it's clearly a mean to an end, but for years I've been using it as the end, and I think it would never cease to amaze me. Not only hardware, which I really like to dig into, but also software, and how people can still develop powerful yet simple programs that makes everything you want without a hitch, even those I've been using for years (foobar2000 or Opera). If I can, I give a try to software that I see recommended here, the case of a impressive program like Surfulater (really blew me away), or those that look appealing to me, either by its looks or features, or even by its name! Grin

And then you have the immense ocean that the Internet is which, as Ralf says, change the perception and the way you do many ordinary things.
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Renegade
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« Reply #5 on: November 09, 2007, 12:59:55 AM »

Computers are tools. No more. They exist to serve a need. (Playing and having fun by hacking around is a "need" as well.)

Once they sink to the level of being the end in themselves, they degenerate into something as low as politics.

Sorry - Couldn't resist the cynical approach there. cheesy

The "sci-fi" approach is that they become like the Replicators in Star Gate Atlantis. [Wink]

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TPReal
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« Reply #6 on: November 19, 2007, 02:15:18 PM »

The topic describes my problem, clearly expressed. For me, programmings is mostly a goal in itself, and doing things that I don't need, but they are fun and it's nice to see that they can be done, is consuming most of my effective time smiley Fortunately, from time to time I also write something useful, at least for me. But now, as we have the GOE ongoing, I realise that I don't have any good idea huh
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