“Please Mr. Postman” (The Marvelettes) and “Return to Sender” (Elvis Presley) were two major pop hits of the 1960s. Among many others songs, they tell the story of young lovers desperately trying to communicate with the object of their affection via hand-written and posted letters.
Continue reading The Adhesive Postage Stamp—Extraordinary Ordinary Things
Information and communication technology (ICT) is the most distinctive cultural accomplishment of the last half century. It is unprecedented in sophistication and transformative power. Presumably there’s no limit to sophistication. Moore’s law will reach a silicon limit, but it is likely other physical substrates and structures will take over and extend computational limits. But what about the cultural transformations? Is there an end in sight? Continue reading How Much Higher Can ICT Rise? On the Final Limits of ICT
Playwright and raconteur George Bernard Shaw is reported to have said, “The greatest problem with communication is the illusion that it has been accomplished.” This is true both for writing a text or giving a speech. Why? Largely because while grappling with mechanics of writing, we all too often lose sight of another important insight into effective communication enunciated by novelist and essayist Robert Louis Stevenson: “Don’t write merely to be understood. Write so that you cannot possibly be misunderstood.” Continue reading What Can Paragons of Literature Teach Us about Writing Better Computer Programs?