Illustration by Greg Mably
Illustration: Greg Mably
At the center of this will be the idea of digital convergence. That is, taking all the information—books, catalogs, shopping approaches, professional advice, art, movies—and taking those things in their digital form, ones and zeroes, and being able to provide them on demand on a device looking like a TV, a small device you carry around, or what the PC will evolve into.

Microsoft founder Bill Gates is famous for many things, including being the world’s richest person (until recently, anyway) and being the world’s unofficial Alpha Geek. However, in tech circles he’s also known for his long-standing belief that, as he once put it, ”any piece of information you want should be available to you.” The idea wasn’t new—as far back as the 1970s, the motto of the Information Industry Association was “Putting Information at Your Fingertips”—but Gates championed it as early as 1989, and he was in a position to do something about it. It remained his overriding goal for the next two decades.

In fact, you could argue that IAYF (as the cooler geeks now call it) has been the goal for the entire tech sector for the past 20 years, particularly since the Internet broke out of its academic cloister and started cavorting in the mainstream. But a funny thing happened between then and now: Quietly and without much fuss, this seemingly futuristic goal has pretty much become a reality. Wondering if that restaurant you see from your car window is any good? Ask your car’s GPS system. Somebody at dinner claims that Dustin Hoffman was in Star Wars? Whip out your iPhone and look it up in the Internet Movie Database—that information is iPhoneable.

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Why Functional Programming Should Be the Future of Software Development

It’s hard to learn, but your code will produce fewer nasty surprises

11 min read
A plate of spaghetti made from code
Shira Inbar

You’d expectthe longest and most costly phase in the lifecycle of a software product to be the initial development of the system, when all those great features are first imagined and then created. In fact, the hardest part comes later, during the maintenance phase. That’s when programmers pay the price for the shortcuts they took during development.

So why did they take shortcuts? Maybe they didn’t realize that they were cutting any corners. Only when their code was deployed and exercised by a lot of users did its hidden flaws come to light. And maybe the developers were rushed. Time-to-market pressures would almost guarantee that their software will contain more bugs than it would otherwise.

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