When my dad bought our first computer, the Apple II, it didn’t come with any applications. But it did come with BASIC. And that kept us busy. Really busy.
It was fun to try and learn the language and build simple applications. That was my first “hello world” program.
When I was in undergrad I studied a bunch of computer languages, Cobol, Assembly, Pascal, LISP, C etc. These languages allowed us to build complicated software. And that was the problem for me. Everything was so complicated. They just got in my way. Did I really need five spaces in the first line in COBOL? Why?
Then in the late 80’s I discovered Apple’s Hypercard. Man that was a like a breath of fresh air. Brilliant really. It was so easy and fun to create applications, mixing media types, visual effects. And people were sharing Hypercard apps everywhere (floppies, aol, etc).
I love that Lego Mindstorms NXT comes with a programming kit and kids are creating and sharing apps. Giving kids easy software and hardware is smart. I also think Digital Brix could be on to something by allowing users the ability to create and share simple and fun games.
There is pent up demand here. Yahoo Pipes is interesting but maybe still too complex.
Give people the tools and web services to create simple applications. Software and hardware. Let’s bring back the fun and passion that came with the Apple II and TRS80.
And not just for highly technical folks but for early adopters, creative types and ultimately mainstream consumers.
(n.b. thanks to this person for having a hypercard photo)