Week Nine

History of Computing – Where have we been and where are we going?

– Operating Systems

Began as one system does all where one program at a time is executed. This had a narrow range of many repeated functions and was difficult to make changes. Adapted to one program doing the main functions with main function code PLUS IOCS – input/output system. Work wasn’t repeated so much and was easy to make changes and allowed for portability. Then came mainframe operating system which ran many programs at a time and had OS ( operating system). In current opeerating systems there are many allocating tasks handled by operating system e.g disk space, memory, processor time. Graphical User interface also now dominant. Variations between operating systems can be confronting to users but there is some convergence nowadays as different systems cope with dealing with different devices and the mobile platforms that are now so ubiquitous. Operating systems can have surprising interactions too and together with operating system development can create ‘change fatigue’. As well as coping with this as an individual, an IT professiona needs to be aware that their cutomers who they support will expereince this too and need to be accounted for.

– Internet

One of the limiting factors of the internet today is that the way it was designed didn’t neccesarily account for change. For example the SMTP protocal for email didn’t account for spoofing and has resulted in the ability for spamming. Another example is web design which still today uses habits picked up form prior technologies. Therefore removing obsolescence is difficult. As web hosting and web services become increasingly common the internet becomes increasingly complex. For web developers the complexities of different browsers have implcations for design and need to be accounted for. The demand to make things work increases in difficulty as complexity increases.

– Hardware

There has been a substantial an ongoing improvement in hardware performance over the last four or five decades.  It would be tempting to say that this rate of progress is to continue indefinitely. However, as the consumer elctronics market shrinks because of likely economic collapse there may be a brake on hardware development.


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