Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Kudos to you, Sir!

To be a typical geek, it's rare to hear one talking about "How it used to be" with any sort of affection. By default, we're all about "here, now & what the future holds" as opposed to "those were the days". I'd like to, however, draw your attention to something pretty amazing by any standard.

Around 1982, computers didn't have as much memory as they do now.  You might have a machine with 4GB of memory. Computers in the early 80's only had about 16, 32 or 48k (4GB = 4,194,304k) so to write any program normally included a very organised brain and a shoe horn or crow bar to get it all in.

A game was launched, called "Elite", it fitted in 22k of memory. This is less than your typical email (average emails are around 60-80k).  However, within this one program contained the following..

  • 8 Galaxies
  • 256 Star Systems per Galaxy
  • Legal System for every planet in the star system
  • Economy and Trade information per planet
Clearly this was something special. People that could program a game in such an efficient manner, they could squash all of that information in.

Today, the same company are trying to write a new version of this game using the same method of programming. And THIS is something I've always championed.

Too often we find software is much too large for it's purpose. Why should we find our anti virus program commanding more system time than the programs it should be protecting? Why should email programs take such a long time to start, run and close? Why should our Operating Systems take MINUTES to load?

I hope other software development companies take a leaf out of the books of these innovative programmers. People that want to return computers back to the fast machines that they are, not sludge their way through a program that makes us desire to spend more money to buy bigger and better, when quite frankly it should be good enough.

Kudos to you!

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