Computing pioneer Paul Niquette's memoir begins with the tale of how he came to coin the term "software" in 1953, to the ridicule of his colleague, and how the idea of a computer whose code was separate from its machinery took hold and changed the way we think about computation forever.
When I first said 'software' out loud, people around me said, "Huh?" From the very beginning I found the word too informal to write and often embarrassing to say. Nevertheless, with smirking trepidation I did occasionally feature the word 'software' in speeches and lectures and media interviews throughout the fifties.
It was just a throw-away thing. The word 'software' was hardly my most notable invention, even back then. Nothing to write home about (I was only 19 years old and still living at home). The word 'software' did not belong in a technical paper (besides, an undergraduate is but a ghostwriter for principal researchers). Then too, I had a reputation at UCLA as a practical joker. Colleagues and friends simply shrugged, no doubt regarding each utterance as a tiresome prank or worse, another offbeat neologism, for which I was also becoming noted.
Nobody in 1953 would have guessed that the silly word would take hold, that within a few decades 'software' would enter the general vocabulary for products and for professions -- that a worldwide industry would wear it as a solemn name. You can be sure that if my ego and I had harbored any such glorious visions, then... then, what?
Introduction: The Software Age [Paul Niquette]
(via Beyond the Beyond)
The mineral origin of Stonehenge is an ancient mystery now solved, thanks to the solving of more contemporary one: who absconded with core samples from a crumbling standing stone, drilled out in 1959 so it could be reinforced with rebar?
History professor Albert Broussard, who also writes a history textbook commonly used in US middle and high schools, is pushing to capitalize the letter “b” in Black in future revisions of the text when referencing Black people. The publisher, McGraw Hill, told CNN that they are “strongly considering it.” From CNN: “I just personally would […]
Denis Shiryaev writes that this footage, filmed in Tokyo between 1913-1915 as “Japan of Today”, was upscaled using neural networks. ✔ FPS boosted to 60 frames per second, I have also fixed some playback speed issues; ✔ Faces are enhanced too – I have added to the pipeline of algorithms a neural network which is […]
Even after months of working from home, you’d be forgiven for thinking the whole experience still doesn’t quite feel…well, normal. In addition to all the obvious environmental changes of handling your 9 to 5 from your den or dining room table, the technological aids you didn’t realize you loved back at the office probably don’t […]
Running a small business drops a lot on to the plate of just one person. And between juggling a dozen tasks that need to get handled daily, it’s no surprise that there are a dozen more equally vital tasks that can just as easily go overlooked. While posting to social channels and making web posts […]
The importance of reading is well documented. About half of America’s unemployed between 16 and 21 years old are functionally illiterate. And there’s an almost direct line between how much you read and your earning potential, with the richest Americans three times more likely to read than those with a household income below $30,000. However, […]