Guy Royse: Those Who Know History are Doomed to Watch Others Repeat It

Mark Twain said that history doesn't repeat but that it often rhymes. This is true not only of the history of civilization but also of software development.

The history of computing, like anything, has recurring patterns, cycles, and trends. Some of them are quite large, others are tiny. Some are significant and others merely amusing. In this session we will look at some of these from the early days of ENIAC all the way to modern mobile phones. We will plot them out over the decades, observe their cycles, and come to understand them. Then, grounded in that history, we will explore some possible outcomes for the next few years and wax poetic about what the more distant future might bring.

If you want to know history and are willing to risk predicting the future, come and join us.

* * *

Guy works for Pillar Technology in Columbus, Ohio as an instructor, a consultant, and a software engineer. He has programmed in numerous languages -- many of them semi-colon delimited -- but has more recently been working with Ruby and JavaScript. He is also the chief organizer for the Columbus JavaScript User Group and is active in the local development community.

In his personal life, Guy is a hard-boiled geek interested in role-playing games, science fiction, and technology. He also has a slightly less geeky interest in history and linguistics. In his spare time he volunteers as Cubmaster for his kids' Cub Scout Pack.

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  • Richard Alexander G.

    Ochlocracy ("rule of the general populace") is democracy ("rule of the people") spoiled by demagoguery, "tyranny of the majority", and the rule of passion over reason, just like oligarchy ("rule of a few") is aristocracy ("rule of the best") spoiled by corruption, and tyranny is monarchy spoiled by lack of virtue. Ochlocracy is synonymous in meaning and usage to the modern, informal term "mobocracy", which emerged from a much more recent colloquial etymology.

    3 · June 3

    • Todd F.

      I'm going to try to work in the phrase "colloquial etymology" in every conversation from now on.

      1 · June 6

    • Jonathan K.

      I'd like to see you try.

      June 15

  • Todd F.

    I can see a renewed interest in waterfall coming in the future. If we are developing software and inventing $10 devices to run them, it's going to cost $1M to run a market test of 100,000 users for manufacturing alone. How do you do agile runs of 100,000 units? You don't.

    June 6

    • Richard Alexander G.

      Why would you need 100,000 users? Iwould think that 1,000 or even 100 carefully selected beta testers would give you the feedback you need.

      1 · June 6

    • Todd F.

      Sure, at first, but at some point you need to scale. Here at Cengage we can work Agile with sample data sets of dozens of documents, but once you get to hundreds of millions the Agile principle of "fail fast, fail cheap" breaks down. We didn't invent waterfall out of stupidity, we invented waterfall because change was expensive. Agile became possible once we made change inexpensive.

      June 6

  • Ralph H.

    Great presentation, and it was very fascinating to see these cycles repeat in technology. Thanks Guy!

    June 4

  • Guy R.

    Looking forward to doing this talk. It tends to not fit into neat conference tracks so I don't get to do it very often. I appreciate the opportunity and I hope y'all enjoy it.

    1 · June 3

    • kristi s.

      Hey Guy, can u post something for those of us who had to miss your top-notch tasty presentation?

      June 4

    • Guy R.

      I have a recording of the talk on YouTube from last year and slides on SlideShare.

      https://www.youtube.co...­

      http://www.slideshare...­

      Be warned, the video features a beardless me. You may find this a bit unsettling but I would encourage you to persevere.

      1 · June 4

  • Angel T.

    Very interesting talk .. glad I attended.

    June 3

  • Todd F.

    Good show, Guy. I was thinking about how modern tools like Lean and Sass are sort of like case tools from the 90's. No disrespect to Lean and Sass, it's just funny how things come around.

    1 · June 3

  • Richard Alexander G.

    - I was born in 1945. My mother was a computer. "Computer" was a job description.
    - I wrote my first computer program in 1962 in a language called MAD which could be extended with new datatypes if you so desired. I've programmed in several dialects of COBOL, Java, Pascal, VB, C, ForTran, Basic, 4GLs, and assembler prior to year 2000. So I've lived through cycles of re-invention.
    - I gave up on Java in 2005 because I was tired of waiting for it to "catch-up" to better language frameworks I was using circa 1990. I currently program in Smalltalk, which was standardized in 1980 and included an IDE as part of the framework.
    - I've reviewed a lot of Java written for Enterprise Integration. Most of it could have been written in COBOL, but I also think Java is a better language. All languages can be (and are) misused by amateurs who really don't understand programming very well.
    - I prefer Erlang for enterprise-scale programming. Erlang`s OTP enables 24/7 agent-oriented architecture.

    1 · June 3

  • Jason S.

    This was great! Thanks Guy!

    June 3

  • Christopher S.

    Guy is a great presenter, but I have to pass last minute tonight. This one's going to be good. Someone take my spot, quick.

    June 3

  • Thomas K.

    Argh. I'm going to be sorry to miss this - it sounds fantastic. Apologies for bailing out at the last minute. Enjoy!

    June 3

  • kristi s.

    Unfortunately, I can't make it tonight so I opened up my spot.

    June 3

  • Jason S.

    This sounds great, very much looking forward to it!

    June 2

  • Jonathan K.

    This sounds like great fun! I wish I could make it.

    June 2

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