ejolson
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A Final Fibonacci Challenge

Sat May 11, 2019 6:36 pm

In the beginning, the man and the woman created the EDSAC and the ENIAC. Now EDSAC was an Electronic Delay Storage Automatic Calculator and ENIAC was an Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer. And woman said, "Let the electricity be turned on," and there was software. Man saw that the software was good, and separated the correct answers from the incorrect. Woman called the correct "feature" and the incorrect she called "bug." And there was editing, compiling and running--the first software development cycle.

After this Why Avoid Basic on the RPi thread reached perfection, it was carefully locked so as to be preserved immutable for all eternity--a monument to curiosity and heroic explorations. While additional discussion has been continued and appears in

viewtopic.php?f=34&t=238187
viewtopic.php?f=34&t=238001
viewtopic.php?f=62&t=233710

in accordance with the sincerely-appreciated permission of the forum moderators, this thread officially continues our story with the same drama, humor and technical focus characteristic of part one.

For those who have recently joined, the goal of this project is to determine
  • What led to the end of the golden age of personal computing around the turn of the century?
  • Could a suitable first programming language help ensure a second age of personal computing lasts?
In answering these questions we strive to
  • Provide a place for people to share historical anecdotes that could be used to guide future decisions.
  • Compare the expressivity of different programming languages by computing really large Fibonacci numbers.
  • Discuss why computer literacy is important from both economic and individual liberty points of view.
As the previous thread confirmed, having a catchy but relevant title is as important as the content. A number of choices for the title of this thread were considered. The present list includes
  • A Second Age of Personal Computing
  • A Final Fibonacci Challenge
  • Project Digital Apocalypse Not Now
  • Liberation though Computer Literacy
  • The New Paper Tape Project
  • Why Program in Python on the RPi?
  • Why Turing was Incomplete
This list may be expanded over time while the actual title of the present thread may change depending on the phase of the moon as well as which title appears more popular.

Having written all the above, I apologize for not actually having something interesting to report in this post. Imagine walking into a HiFi store in the 70's and comparing the expensive equipment using a cardboard record cut from the back of a cereal box. In a completely different way we shall use a real computer that was found attached to a magazine cover to compare how state-of-the-art programming languages can be used to implement complex algorithms. To this end a subsequent post will contain tables and charts comparing the expressivity of many versions of Basic, Python and other programming languages running on the Pi Zero.

Updated to add to the list of titles.
Last edited by ejolson on Fri May 24, 2019 8:20 pm, edited 6 times in total.

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ScriptBasic
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Re: A Second Age of Personal Computing

Sat May 11, 2019 7:06 pm

If feel there is two distinct directions with BASIC. One as a programming language introduction and a general purpose utility language. (the new ROM BASIC)

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Re: A Second Age of Personal Computing

Sat May 11, 2019 7:15 pm

I guess you did not get the memo. There is no "personal computing" in the future.

Already today we are all fully networked and connected. We are tracked, monitored, spied upon with every move we make.

Just now it's via the internet and centralized "cloud services". Google, Facebook, Amazon, etc. Not to mention all the work governments around the world are doing to keep an eye on us.

With the end of Moore's Law and the collapse of general purpose computing as a result, things will shift to a more diverse network of connected computing things. And us.

The human race will all be assimilated into a hive mind. "personal" will not even be a concept that individuals comprehend. And if they did they would reject it because they know it can only be bad for them.

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Re: A Second Age of Personal Computing

Sat May 11, 2019 7:20 pm

I don't view the RPi as traditional computing. It's a low cost computer with an interface targeted at integration with low cost hardware. (sensors, motors, relays, ...)

ejolson
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Re: A Second Age of Personal Computing

Sat May 11, 2019 7:25 pm

Heater wrote:
Sat May 11, 2019 7:15 pm
I guess you did not get the memo. There is no "personal computing" in the future.
Aha! That memo was written before the paradigm-changing results of this exact thread were disseminated.

As Alan Kay (as well as some news agencies) has stated, "the best way to predict the future is to invent it." If you don't mind the online advertising, additional information is available in an essay by Microsoft's CEO entitled The Partnership of the Future.
Last edited by ejolson on Mon Jun 03, 2019 10:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: A Second Age of Personal Computing

Sat May 11, 2019 7:54 pm

ejolson,

I think Alan Kay was on to a good point there.

I'd rather rip my private parts off than volunteer to listen to anything an MS CEO has to say.

Now, I'm not sure I can express this very well but let's see...

In order to do "personal computing" you need a computer that is actually, personally yours.

That is not the case for most people, using Intel or ARM processors as they do, borrowing operating systems from Microsoft or Apple etc.

I just note that over there in China the number one best selling technical books last year were all about the RISC V architecture, how to implement it and how to program it.

Seems the Chinese really want to make computing personal, to the extent of doing it themselves from the ground up.

Meanwhile, over here, mention of a RISC V Raspberry Pi is greeted as some kind of nut job rant.

Who then is inventing the future?

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Re: A Second Age of Personal Computing

Sat May 11, 2019 8:04 pm

ejolson wrote:
Sat May 11, 2019 6:36 pm
... Now EDSAC was an Electronic Delay Storage Automatic Calculator
I've often wondered if one couldn't make a small acoustic delay line with a ping sensor about 2 m from a hard wall ...
* The New Paper Tape Project
tar archives blocked to fit onto the largest QR-codes. Could probably print these 8 to a side and still be readable with a cellphone camera.
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Re: A Second Age of Personal Computing

Sat May 11, 2019 8:16 pm

Heater wrote:
Sat May 11, 2019 7:54 pm
Meanwhile, over here, mention of a RISC V Raspberry Pi is greeted as some kind of nut job rant.
Could that be because there are no RISC-V chips suitable, or even remotely close to suitable, to replace the SoC in the current Pi?


We are not ignoring RISC-V BTW, we keep quite a close eye on this sort of thing, especially since the some of the people working on it have actually worked for Rapberry PI. Might even be possible have one at around the Pi6 schedule, not before I suspect.
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Re: A Second Age of Personal Computing

Sat May 11, 2019 8:17 pm

ScriptBasic wrote:
Sat May 11, 2019 7:20 pm
I don't view the RPi as traditional computing. It's a low cost computer with an interface targeted at integration with low cost hardware. (sensors, motors, relays, ...)
The huge majority of Pi's are used entirely traditionally.
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Re: A Second Age of Personal Computing

Sat May 11, 2019 8:41 pm

I have to admit it's nice to compile source native on the RPi. Not so easy on Android Linux.

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Re: A Second Age of Personal Computing

Sat May 11, 2019 8:48 pm

jamesh,
Could that be because there are no RISC-V chips suitable, or even remotely close to suitable, to replace the SoC in the current Pi?
I'm very sure that is true.

There is the dependency of the Pi on Broadcom and hence ARM. Nothing can move forward unless they do.

I have no idea how to break that. Could Eben convince Broadcom to look into RISC V? Like Western Digital and Nvidia did. I suspect he has the clout to pull that off.

Is the Pi organization big enough to decide for itself? I have no idea.

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Re: A Second Age of Personal Computing

Sat May 11, 2019 11:56 pm

Heater wrote:
Sat May 11, 2019 7:54 pm
In order to do "personal computing" you need a computer that is actually, personally yours.

That is not the case for most people, using Intel or ARM processors as they do, borrowing operating systems from Microsoft or Apple etc.
I don't think that's true as long as there's some means of being able to insert oneself "personally" in the chain from source to what the brain receives.

Viz the liberty part of "Discuss why computer literacy is important from both economic and individual liberty points of view"; for me computer literacy provides the means to be able to insert oneself into that chain. Whether it be writing a GreaseMonkey / TamperMonkey script for a browser to get rid of what someone else is trying to make you see, or to allow things to be seen in other ways than that someone else is wanting things to be seen, or writing code to take some data to present it how one wants.

Of course that's not the 'all of it'.

Perhaps we first need to define "personal computing".

As for thread title, I'd propose "Why Turing was incomplete".

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Re: A Second Age of Personal Computing

Sun May 12, 2019 12:22 am

For most their smart phone is all the personal computer they need.

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Re: A Second Age of Personal Computing

Sun May 12, 2019 4:25 am

ScriptBasic,
For most their smart phone is all the personal computer they need.
Quite so. That is to say "none". Most people have no idea about computing or programming. I'd argue that for them a smart phone is not a computer at all.

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Re: A Second Age of Personal Computing

Sun May 12, 2019 4:28 am

Computing to most is Twitter, Facebook, browsing the web and texting / e-mail.

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Re: A Second Age of Personal Computing

Sun May 12, 2019 4:50 am

Exactly.

It's just that I'd argue that is not "computing" at all. Anymore than watching telly is electronics.

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Re: A Second Age of Personal Computing

Sun May 12, 2019 4:54 am

Computing is now an appliance thanks to Apple.
A device or piece of equipment designed to perform a specific task, typically a domestic one.
Appliance with attachments.

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Re: A Second Age of Personal Computing

Sun May 12, 2019 6:00 am

The third age, we become the computers?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CgFzmE2fGXA
This makes any AI robotics spike prediction look like a kids cartoon fantasy.
And William Gibson did not dream big enough?

Not sure if I trust a future with Brain hacking in it.
Mind you, going mind to mind with your elected reps will tell if they are ethical.
But then would we need elected reps if we can have direct democracy?

Having all the World's knowledge accessible = 2nd Renaissance?
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Re: A Second Age of Personal Computing

Sun May 12, 2019 6:19 am

I would be happy if I had full use of my brain. We have only seen glimpses of what could be due to trauma and the brain tapping reserves to repair itself exposing skills we only dream about.

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My obsession is the immune system. It's programmable.

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Re: A Second Age of Personal Computing

Sun May 12, 2019 8:42 am

Gavinmc42,
...going mind to mind...
Eeew.

"You mean," said Arthur, "you mean you can see into my mind?"
"Yes," said Marvin.
Arthur stared in astonishment.
"And ...?" Arthur.
"It amazes me how you can manage to live in anything that small."
"Ah," said Arthur, "abuse."
"Yes," confirmed Marvin.

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Re: A Second Age of Personal Computing

Sun May 12, 2019 9:53 am

Gavinmc42 wrote:
Sun May 12, 2019 6:00 am
Mind you, going mind to mind with your elected reps will tell if they are ethical.
But then would we need elected reps if we can have direct democracy?
Won't work.

Look at the way US democracy functions.
It relies on the non-uniformity of the spread of Republican - Democrat supporters to work.
Each state elects someone to vote for the president, so even a tiny majority in a given state results in one vote, as does a huge majority in another state.
If they were evenly spread, there could be just a tiny majority of perhaps half a dozen for one or the other party in each state, resulting in a land-slide whitewash each time.

Go to direct democracy, and the uneven spread would have no effect.
There'd be lots of electors who supported either party but couldn't be bothered to vote, so we can ignore them.
There'd be many voters who wouldn't change their mind whatever you did, so we can ignore them, as well.
So the one's we need to target are those few who might listen to what we say and change their minds.
And they'll be influenced, not so much by what we say, as how we say it.

So we end up with the country run by the PR guys and the ad agencies.

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Re: A Second Age of Personal Computing

Sun May 12, 2019 11:32 am

Burngate wrote:
Sun May 12, 2019 9:53 am
So we end up with the country run by the PR guys and the ad agencies.
And in what way is that worse than the current situation? :( :shock: :twisted:
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Re: A Second Age of Personal Computing

Sun May 12, 2019 1:27 pm

I suspect that is question better not asked, or answered, on this forum. It will only lead to senseless political mud slinging and a locked thread.

I quite like the idea of a Second Age of Personal Computing. As long as we don't have to go back to those big, heavy, ugly, noisy, horribly engineered, unreliable so called PC's inspired and derived from the horror that was the IBM PC.

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Re: A Second Age of Personal Computing

Sun May 12, 2019 2:21 pm

Hmm...personal computing...now there's a thing..... I did once own a personal computer - it had 2 floppy drives, a 9" monochrome monitor, & a keyboard - it wasn't connected in any way to anything else.
Now that's personal! :lol:

ejolson
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Re: A Second Age of Personal Computing

Sun May 12, 2019 4:30 pm

hippy wrote:
Sat May 11, 2019 11:56 pm
Heater wrote:
Sat May 11, 2019 7:54 pm
In order to do "personal computing" you need a computer that is actually, personally yours.
Perhaps we first need to define "personal computing".

As for thread title, I'd propose "Why Turing was incomplete".
I like it (added to the list) but have been wondering what that title could mean. Could it be that being Turing complete is not enough?

All programming languages discussed so far seem Turing complete. At the same time, the fact that a user-level program executing on the PPD-11 can only address 64K of memory directly rather than an "infinite tape with storage cells" becomes an immediate obstacle when trying to compute all computable functions--especially million-digit Fibonacci numbers. Microsoft Extended Basic running on the MITS Altair leaves significantly less than 64K available. Linux running on the Pi Zero has virtual memory, but even that is limited by the size of the swap file and the 32-bit address space.

What can be inferred from the theory of Church and Turing also depends on speed and computational efficiency. In this case the problem is not the difference between finite and infinite, but rather the difference between finite and fast enough that anyone still cares about the result by the time the program has finished. In particular, losing a factor of 10 or 100 because of practical details related to choice of programming language greatly limits what can reasonably be computed.

I looked up the definition of personal computer and found SCAMP: the Special Computer APL Machine Portable.

Image

While good for avoiding Basic, I wonder how well it could compute Fibonacci numbers.

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