Oct 082011

I have been preparing some fractal pictures for printing.  They will appear in a local exhibition of local artwork.

I have been getting hot and bothered by the many, mutually-inconsistent layers of software I have had to deal with.  The worst element is the very last bit of the process – the great big print machine at the local print works.  It seems to need an instruction in the graphics file for the dots-per-inch scale.  I think I’ve figured out how to give it the right data, but it took ages of experimenting and trying different packages.

Oddly, the problem is partly caused by the huge number of “features” available at each step of the process.  There are so many options the chances of picking the right combination is not very high.

It is a feature of our current technology that though it gets cleverer, it requires you to know odd little bits about the inner workings if you are to get the result you want.  Maybe it will soon be easier to use, but I’m not very hopeful.

I still remember the sixties, though for various reasons my memory may be unreliable.

There were a lot of programming languages available then.  I think there were at least three – Fortran, Cobol, Algol.  So IBM decided to simplify matters by producing a single language.  It would combine the best features of all the rivals and be a veritable Esperanto of computing.  It would be so good that no one would ever need another language.  We would all speak the same digital tongue.

They called it PL/1.

I remember thinking, at the time, that this implied there would also be PL/2, PL/3 … PL/Aleph-null.

This is Babel, nor am I out of it!

Robin W. Ahlgren

[suffusion-the-author display='description']
 Posted by at 11:34

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.