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What A Great Time To Be A Geek - #WAGTTBAG

What an intoxicating time to be a geek. There is a cornucopia of new ideas and toys to play with. The time for indulgent learning – learning just for the sake of it – is at hand. Rejoice.

The mind curdling journey of discoveries offered by modern physics: Quantum Theory, Relativity – all explained on YouTube in short accessible chunks.

The clean Platonic Realm of maths, the language of the universe. Existing outside of time and space and reality -- yet somehow critical to modern science and physics in particular.

We know so much, yet we cannot find 95% of the stuff in the universe. We can look inside the atom, and inside the insides of the atom -- yet we cannot predict the weather.

The biochemical revolution that sequencing the genome has made possible. And with luck the saviour from Covid.

Then the Matrix – computers: hardware & software

Thanks to Edon Upton's -- 2nd Home Computer Revolution -- you can experiment with hardware and digital and analogue circuits. Afterwards, for the sheer joy you can build your own computer with Ben Eater’s 6402. Deeper still, and you can build your very own chip with the open hardware RiskV.

The expansive PC Hardware market allows no end of high-powered computing. I strongly believe you should never buy a pre-build DELL-like PC – always try to build your own. AMD’s renaissance has brought back competition and core-counts are climbing daily. Apple’s magestic aesthetic, albeit a closed garden, has made design important. Apple's nascent hardware revolution of ARM Apple Silicon – will undoubtedly reshape the hardware landscape.

Each of us carry around pocket supercomputers. The power of a modern smartphone vs the WWII colossus.

The data-centric Machine Revolution – Google’s Tensorflow, Alphamind, Alexia – has put hardware-assisted AI co-processors in most new devices. The movement is accessible with python – training your Raspi WebCam to detect your gestures has never been more rewarding.

IOT has placed literally hundreds of mini-computers around us, listening to us speak, stream music and video, watching our front-doors, heating, and garden. You can passively let Sonos and Alexia do this for you – but the omnipotent god-power of doing yourself beacons, build your own [Home SkyNet]. Homes until recently may only have 1 or 2 CPUs - how they have dozens even hundreds, hidden in every corner.

Now all this wonderful hardware is nothing without its software…

OpenSource has had profound effects beyond getting out hands on free software. It may have taken some time but the central idea of community collaboration centred around openly accessible source code has reshaped even the old-bogey men like Microsoft. Git and Github have created a platform of unparalleled depth, innovation, complexity – yet all accessible.

My favourite language: Anders Hejlsberg C# is open source and runs on any number of devices. Rust is reshaping performance computing. Python brings new programmers everyday, yet also supports the most advanced research in machine learning and big-data. Functional programming is mainstream. The async-await pattern is being baked into loads of modern languages, making use of all the cores on offer. Languages new and old are cross-pollinating. JavaScript has shed its early horror and has become the world's most important language – it has grown up too thanks to TypeScript and ECMAScript standards.