Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Computing ...Going the Electricity approach.

Brad Feld has a post on the Union Square Ventures, Where he talking about how computing is going to become like electricity, I had first read this relation in Jonathan Schwartz (SUN) Blog , i remember seeing a presentation also to that effect - Will try and dig it out.

Brad very succintly explains the same here ....excerpts below

Many years ago, I read an article that made a big impression on me. It compared the adoption of information technology to the adoption of electricity. The article noted that, in the late 19th century, when electricity was a novelty, it was a quirky, visible, high maintenance presence in the lives of those adventurous enough to embrace it. When electric motors were first introduced in the household, they were bulky units that most often sat on a big stand in the front hall. The motors powered a belt that turned a shaft mounted over head. Appliances like washing machines were also connected to the shaft by belts. The system was inherited from manufacturing operations that had been powered by water wheels prior to electricity. The proud owners of these early systems would show them off to all their friends, but they also had to be willing to get their hands dirty greasing the shaft, replacing the belts and rebuilding the motors.

The author of the article argued that the information technology business was then in the same stage of development. [I should be pointing to the article, but I don’t remember its title, author or publication - so my web search did not find it.]

I do remember, however, thinking that the article was on to something. Information technology was, at the time, proudly displayed in a glass houses with raised floors. Anyone brave enough to use it in their daily lives had to be willing to maintain it themselves. I also felt certain that there would be a day when, it would be come as invisible to us as electricity. We would stop proudly displaying the infrastructure of IT, and would eventually be blissfully ignorant of how it worked and even who provided the basic infrastructure. How many of us know which national conglomerate owns the local utility that delivers the amps to our home?


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