Where are the innovators ?

Growing up in the 1980’s as a teenager I was exposed to new exciting developments of the Micro Computer. These were machines which plug into the home television and you can play games and experiment and learn. I had a commodore 64 on which I taught myself 6502 machine code at the age of 14. What help keep my interest was magazine which came out over 52 weeks teaching you how to program.

It was available from the likes of WH Smiths & John Menzies newsagents for a couple of quid. Not only was this an age of emerging computers it was also the formative years of major brands. The Darling brothers started codemasters whilst still schoolboys.

The difference between those days and now is that we have so much more technology to play with and learn and exploit. With the Internet this information is so easy to get hold of.

Despite this the nature of how computers are used and viewed has changed. Computers are used for consumption rather then creation. You consume facebook,twitter,online gaming,itunes, pirating movies and even porn. Now the tools are very much closed and prescribed, You have to purchase expensive software development kits licensed from the likes of Sony or Microsoft to create mainstream games.

The point is it feels like the days of prevalent innovation have passed. The days where you could walk into John Menzies and buy a assembly language compiler for £3.95 have gone. Sure you can get free compilers off the Internet if you know where to look.

All the magazines in the news agents now are geared towards consumption of other people games. Even the creation of websites involve the use of expensive tools which most hobbyists can not afford.

We are now benefiting from the things which were created back in those days, and the same environment has been removed for future innovation and creation. If you have kids teach them that computers are also a playing ground for learning not just mindless consumption.

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