Thursday 7 June 2012

The pace of invention

When I started work in my first job as a Gov't sickness benefits officer life was very different from now. If we wanted to send a letter to a claimant, we'd write the letter in handwriting, pass the handwritten letter to a typist who'd return a typed version complete with a carbon copy a few hours later. After the letter had been reviewed by the supervisor it was put in an envelope  in an out-tray for collection by the post clerk. The carbon copy would be filed in the cardboard file jacket of the claimant. You'd get a rocket from the supervisor if your letter contained any spelling/grammatical errors or there any obvious typing corrections. Our only contact with a computer was that we had to punch a couple of circular holes in punched cards for each case file. There were no keyboards on our desks, just a pencil, ruler, black ink fountain pen and sometimes a government issue ball point pen

Lasers were in the early stages of development in scientific research labs. Primitive liquid crystal display (a four inch pane changing from dark to light) was about to be demonstrated on television in the Tomorrow's World programme. Over the years I've seen many developments in the field of technology and computing. I was begining to wonder what was now left for man to invent and exploit. Some basic browsing during last weekend has convinced me there are a lot of new discoveries awaiting.

Here's some examples of recent developments that excite me.:

Willow glass by Corning - a mass produced flexible glass.

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