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I remember when it was, when it seemed like most things just worked, even though they didn't look pretty.

I remember spending hours moving around jumpers to set DMA and IRQ. Only to find out that the only free IRQ was #9 and bloody Packard Bells sometimes didn't have a frikkin' 9 because that batch of boards was $2 cheaper that month...

I remember when it wasn't pretty and it took ridiculous efforts to make it work even a little. Now I mostly jam a USB thing in the side and it goes. There has been much improvement.

I'm actually a little psyched by it all. This just happens to be a really hard problem that arrived at humanity's doorstep before we were really evolved enough to make much of it. It might mean we're ahead of the game, and it almost certainly means that the best is still yet to come.

I was thinking about this last night, the evolution problem - whether the only effective strategy would be to synthetically reintroduce tribal-era scarcity so we could all find our balance again, or would moving to a genuine post-scarcity world be something humankind could handle, or do we need to find some way to hack our minds to accept this new availability model in the same way that alcohol or cocaine short-circuit our reward pathways?

w.r.t. OP, should lines of code be restricted to manageable amounts by some kind of international regulatory fiat, or can they just abstract the problem away into utterly comprehensive libraries of functions, or do coders just need to man up and take it?

I think maybe we just need to grow into it. This takes time, and probably generations. The first generation that has truly never been without a globally interconnected computer as part of their life is about to come of age. Lets see what they can do.

There was a time when there were no humans who knew how to drive a car.

Yeah and at that time say there were dudes running around on the rigging of big 4-mast galleons like it was no big deal, and if you dropped one of them on a busy road they would be as horrified as I would be if someone dropped me in their place and told me to splice the mainbrace or whatever...

Hardware improved. I believe the guy's talking about software.

I believe he's talking about the whole lot of it. Software and hardware . I think USBs suffer their own issues (see http://wiki.gbatemp.net/wiki/USB_Devices_Compatibility_List as a simple example (hint see the ""If the Device does not work" section)).

This fits the OPs notion that no one really understand the crap underneath it all.

Which software was it exactly that was so great and just worked? MS-DOS? Windows 3.1? Windows Me? Some specifics would be nice, because across the board it seems everything is MUCH better now. It used to be that you would buy a computer game and 75% of the time it would not work out of the box.

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