Off the technical track for a day.
- I started following NASA in 1966 when I was five years old. I was enthralled by the concept of a human being able to leave the surly bounds of earth.
- I had the opportunity to work for a former CIO of NASA and talk about his perceptions about what was going on while he was there.
Two huge disclaimers in all fairness. I downloaded the iTunes Apollo mission recordings. I love the pause (Houston we are a go for retro burn – pause, pause, pause Roger Eagle you are a go.) I was riveted to the television for the replays of every launch. When the first Apollo test launch was announced I was beyond overjoyed. Virgil I. “Gus” Grissom was on the mission. I cried when that craft blew up. It was the hope and dream for all of us that day and it was a huge setback. In the end though it was only the first of others, and it was the door opener for the safe return of many more.
NASA launched me into discovery of Science Fiction. I read Asimov, Heinlein, Clark, Bova and Orson Scott Card. Each of them a unique vision of what could be. NASA made many of those pieces and dreams real.
It shaped my love of technology and in the end my addiction to gadgets. Always looking for a different way to do things – make things easier and tasks smaller. It shaped my personal growth in the area of technology.
The reason for today’s post has to do with the number of posts I’ve made recently about the concept Brittle Computing. The optimism created by the NASA team in the end is part of why Brittle Computing started. People, coming off the successful NASA missions wanted to do more and more with computers. NASA was doing more with so much less (imagine – many of the computers and backups on the Apollo missions were 8 bit computers. You have more power in your cellular phone now).
I think, in examine the birth of Brittle Computing I’ve come to realize that there was another movement going on. Technology was pushing out of the enterprise and into the consumer world. That shift really hits full stride by the end of the initial great bubble burst the market underwent in 1999. What once was Enterprise IT driven (from the 50’s until nearly 2000) was giving way to a consumer driven reality.
It makes me wonder, what could NASA do today given the budgets of the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s. When NASA and the D.O.D. drove innovation in the computer world. How far could the space program move now without the need for building and developing entire technology families?
The other side of Brittle Computing – Brittle Innovation. It has two flavors – its not possible and do it somewhere else.