The future of computing is apparently really boring.

So I read the “NYTimes Future of Computing Science section”:http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/12/06/the-future-of-computing/?src=twrhp today and was pretty underwhelmed. The presentation of the articles was incredibly dull with almost no visualization. The articles themselves were mostly soporific. The quantum computing article told me nothing. The bioengineering article didn’t inspire. Nothing else did anything for me. I usually like the Science Times section but this was the most boring edition of the year, and I’m not the only one who thinks this way, the non-nerds in the house agree.

It is way more inspiring to play with the latest video games, or to play with the latest devices and apps, or to talk with young entrepreneurs. I’m surprised at how dull the topic seemed in the Times. This edition will not inspire any young people to enter the field.

Dan Lyons skewering of F8 and F8 coverage is brilliant — read it and read it again.

“All of life has been utterly, profoundly changed thanks to Facebook’s new feature”:http://realdanlyons.com/blog/2011/09/23/all-of-life-has-been-utterly-profoundly-changed-thanks-to-facebooks-new-changes-and-nothing-will-ever-be-the-same-and-all-i-can-do-is-sit-here-and-weep-at-the-beauty-and-magic-that-mark-zuckerber/ — well this is just awesome. Read it, and read it again.

I guess this resonates so much with me because I’ve been in the software industry now for 30 some years and man, the number of times I have seen something that “changes everything” — this happens at least several times a year. And more often than not, it doesn’t change everything. Some products are quite impactful — say the original Mac or the iPad, or Windows 95, or Visicalc, or many others — but they didn’t change everything, they aged and expired, and they all were heavily influenced by work ahead of them. Facebook is great and the new features look fine, but my life isn’t going to flip upside down. And I am deeply suspicious of handwavers telling me “This changes everything” — I usually find that they can’t really articulate what exact customer problem they are solving, and that the product probably doesn’t really change anything important.

Lyons’s skewering is more directly aimed at the trade press/bloggers. It is easy to write “Wow this changes everything” but I expect to see a little more depth and thought, I generally find sites like TechCrunch to be uninteresting — it is obvious they need to whack articles out fast. Lyons’ article had 100x the insight of any of the main press sites covering F8.