Was given an UNIX enlightenment years ago by my Wikipedia mentor fuzheado, but if you don’t use it you loose it.  What’s so nice about working in a geeky environment is to be surrounded by tons of web experts.. and boy, finally executed proper command today and uploaded a file via sftp :)

Okay, the point is, do encourage women in UNIX:

special notes to 3.14; 3.19 and 3.25.


So why UNIX (exerpt, the future of innovation)?

Sometimes it’s hard to figure out what the future will bring. O’Reilly suggested that really you just need to look around and ask the right people. He quoted William Gibson, “The future is here, it’s just not evenly distributed.” So how do you figure out what’s coming? O’Reilly related the story of a toy company looking for beta testers. They would go ask kids “who’s the coolest kid you know?” They would then follow the trail until a kid answered, “I am.” O’Reilly sees his core business as serving the alpha geeks, the inventors of the future. He tries to spot and follow interesting thinkers and the people they think are doing interesting things.

O’Reilly looked at the various stages of technology evolution. The first stage is the hackers. A hacker is someone who pushes the envelope. When the tool they’re using on a computer doesn’t do what they want, they figure out a way to do it anyway. The second stage is the entrepreneurs. These people make things easier for ordinary users. Mac OS X has many cool tricks available from the Terminal, but they don’t exist for ordinary users until there’s a GUI front end that’s easy to use.

The third stage, according to O’Reilly, is the scary one. This is the stage where dominant players integrate the technology into a platform and either raise barriers to entry or build a healthy ecosystem. This can be stifling in the Windows space. Microsoft figured out that if you offer a platform and make things easy for people then you’ve got control. Unfortunately, O’Reilly cautioned, if you take too much control you dry up innovation. O’Reilly said that his mom told him that Bill Gates sounds like someone who’d come over for dinner and say, “I’ll take all the mashed potatoes.” When the dominant players take over a technology, the hackers and the entrepreneurs are no longer interested so they go on to look for other opportunities.

A simpler version of this is the story of the boiling frog – we jump out of hot water because we know it’s going to burn us, but we die from gradually heating water because it gets all too cozy.  Before we learn how to drive, we should learn how to cycle.  Before you start getting too used to client-based programmes, we take a glimpse on how things are being made.  It still surprises me how easy it is to make perfectly steamed seabass, and how restaurants charge an exorbitant price.  Anyway.  I digress.  As usual.  But you get the point.  :)

Also inspired recently by Jonathan Zittrain’s ‘the future of the internet and how to stop it’ – see the ‘dumb-down’ version of his interview by Colbert here (it’s rather funny ;D):

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