During the last couple of weeks I have revisited some of the sci-fi classics I read when I was young. Robert A Heinlein was always one of my favorites. In what would be considered middle school in the US (4th-6th grade) we had one hour each week when the class was reading whatever book we had picked out in the library. At one time, I think it was in 5th grade, I read the Swedish translation of "Have Space Suit -- Will Travel". The other week I listened to this book as an audio book. This one was actually more of a radio theatre play, with different actors playing the different parts. I then followed this by listening to "Citizen of the Galaxy" and "Double Star".
The books were written in 1956, 1957 and 1958, and I noticed something interesting. Despite them taking place in the future, where space travel (even faster than light) is possible, and with all kinds of exotic technology available, many things we take for granted today are lacking.
In "Double Star", the main character is studying using an encyclopedia in the ships library. As we know today, online encyclopedias like wikipedia and internet searches have all but killed off the traditional printed encyclopedia. There is no way for a printed publication to stay current. If a celebrity or any other person dies, within minutes their wikipedia page will be updated with date/time and cause of death.
In "Citizen of the Galaxy" the missile control computers onboard the trade ships are manned by young adults with good math abilities. They seem to be somewhat aided by a rudimentary computer, but it is mainly the operator who calculate trajectory and time for release of the missiles. The result is recorded on a spool (which can be read by humans, so probably some kind of paper-like material). The concept of digital storage did not exist, and I am sure any PC (or even smart phone) today could perform the calculations needed much faster than any human, and with greater accuracy.
Some of the books also talk about huge archives, using micro film. Even if that still today is a great medium for long term storage, it is not the best choice for the kind of short term archiving used in the books. Again, the concept of digital storage does not appear in the books. The books basically build on the technology known in the 1950's, but "enhanced" as imagined in the future.
However, there is on interesting thing in "Double Star". When recordings are made (for public broadcasts), they are "stereoscopic", i.e. 3D. It is not until the last year or two we have actually seen 3D television become common. Personally I believe that we soon will see 3D television sets where we don't need to use special glasses (several manufacturers already have those) and that more and more tv shows and even news will be in 3D.
All this is not a slam on Robert A Heinlein or any other sci-fi writer from the past. It just illustrates how hard it is to predict a paradigm shift like PCs or the development of technology. For being almost 60 years old, the books are still very enjoyable. If you have not experienced Robert A Heinlein yet, pick up one of his books or an audiobook at the library, bookstore or favorite online retailer.
IBM Connect becomes IBM ConnectED in 2015
Wed, Jul 23rd 2014 12:25p Karl-Henry Martinsson IBM has announced the new name for the yearly conference in Orlando, the one most of us know (and still call) Lotusphere. For the last two years it was named Connect, and for 2015 IBM again changes the name, this time to ConnectED. The conference will be more technical than the last few years, according […] [read] Keywords: ibm
Code snippet – DateClass
Mon, Jul 21st 2014 6:45p Karl-Henry Martinsson Here is a small Lotusscript class I wrote some years ago. I use it in a number of other classes where I need to use date functionality of different kind. For example, I have a class that communicates with a FoxPro database, using a COM object. Some of the methods in that class uses XML while […] [read] Keywords: domino
I am back.
Mon, Jul 21st 2014 5:25p Karl-Henry Martinsson On June 11 I had some major surgery at Medical City in Dallas. It was a planned surgery to remove part of my intestines to prevent future outbreaks of diverticulitis. I been having about 2-3 outbreaks a year for the last 12 years or so. Normally they perform surgery after just 2 severe cases. I was not […] [read] Keywords:
Things we don’t want to think about
Thu, May 15th 2014 8:48a Karl-Henry Martinsson Two separate incidents are leading me to write this blog entry. First, the way too early passing of Tim Tripcony just a few days ago, as well as as the loss of Rob Wunderlich, Jens Augustiny and Kenneth Kjærbye in just a little over a year. All of those members of the Lotus Community left us way […] [read] Keywords: lotus
In memory of Tim Tripcony
Mon, May 12th 2014 8:15p Karl-Henry Martinsson A couple of hours ago, I was reached by the terrible news that Tim Tripcony is no longer with us. I have known Tim for several years, and meeting him at Lotusphere (later Connect) was always a treat. He is one of the most brilliant programmers I have met, and he always had time to talk […] [read] Keywords: ibm
Code snippet – Disable agent using external file
Thu, May 1st 2014 9:24p Karl-Henry Martinsson Yesterday I was asked to create a system that would let us disable agents running on a Domino server in an easy way, before the Domino server comes back from a crash. For a while we have been having one particular agent crash, taking the whole Domino server down with it. It only happens occasionally, and seems to be related to the document being processed.
When the server comes up after a crash like that, a consistence check is done, then the agent manager launches the agent again, causing th [read] Keywords: agent
Code snippet – jQuery
Sat, Mar 15th 2014 11:43a Karl-Henry Martinsson This morning I was working on a web application, and I came up with a pretty neat and simple little solution. So I just wanted to share it, in case anyone else need something similar.
I have a webpage with an HTML form. Each input tag has an attribute called notesfield, matching the name of the field in Notes where the value is stored:
Then I created a simple function that will call an agent on the Domino server, which will return all th [read] Keywords: agent
Connect 2014 – Day 0 (Saturday)
Mon, Jan 27th 2014 6:03a Karl-Henry Martinsson After not hearing the alarm this morning and therefore missing my original flight from DFW to MCO (Orlando International), I got booked on the next flight. I was in the air just a couple of hours late, and arrived at Dolphin in time for BALD at Big River on the Boardwalk. Had a great time connecting with friends after a year of not seeing many of them. Of course I got a hug from Mat Newman, meaning that IBM Connect started for real.
Låter I was going to hit ESPN, but due to changes there, [read] Keywords: ibm