Welcome to the twentieth issue of De Programmatica Ipsum, dedicated to the subject of Cycles. In this edition, Adrian argues that cycles are unavoidable and a strict characteristic of our industry; on the other hand, Graham thinks that cycles are instead based on perception and familiarity; and in the Library section, Adrian writes about Kathy Sierra and her work in the "Head First" book series.
It is hardly possible these days to browse any blog or news website commenting the latest trends in the Apple galaxy, without reading references to the mythical, yet entirely foreseeable, ARM-based Mac. The existence of this not-yet-announced piece of otherwise overpriced hardware is entirely predicted by a closer reading of technology history in that same galaxy, an exercise usually (sadly) abhored by many.
There Ain’t Nothin’ New Under The Sun
A tutorial on some scientific software package –I don't remember what– reminded me that it's easy to see familiarity in novel settings. The author of this tutorial saw three environments worth describing in the context of trying to use this software. Linux and Windows were two. The third is UNIX. UNIX, the author explained, is a venerable and robust operating system with a long heritage. The modern context in which you would see UNIX is on a Mac.
The history of programming language books can be roughly divided in three distinctive eras. The first one stretches from the beginnings of programming to the mid 1970s. Programming books from those times were an often underestimated byproduct of the marketing budget of big companies such as IBM, and inherited the dry approach of most engineering books in the post-war era.