Tag Archives: code

A new book: 10 PRINT CHR$(205.5+RND(1)); : GOTO 10

Software is deeply woven into contemporary life—economically, culturally,
creatively, politically—in manners both obvious and nearly invisible. Yet
while much is written about how software is used, and the activities that
it supports and shapes, thinking about software itself has remained largely
technical for much of its history. Increasingly, however, artists, scientists,
engineers, hackers, designers, and scholars in the humanities and social
sciences are finding that for the questions they face, and the things they
need to build, an expanded understanding of software is necessary. For
such understanding they can call upon a strand of texts in the history of
computing and new media, they can take part in the rich implicit culture of
software, and they can also take part in the development of an emerging,
fundamentally transdisciplinary, computational literacy. These provide the
foundation for software studies.


from a google image search of logic

Code, sketches out the development of logic, as a philosophic practice. Starting with Socrates and Aristotle, and later the developments of Boolean algebra, in the mid 1800’s by George Boole. For anyone slightly aware of symbolic logic, this is a familiar historical account of ideas. But Code doesn’t stop there, it walks you through the development of binary, or how these logical forms become translated into 1s and 0s. The essay then illustrates the use of electrical switches to produce logical operations. It does this all in a way that feels rather fun and playful. In 16 pages it summarizes the conceptual breakthroughs of many generations, and countless minds that made possible the birth of modern computing. The essay closes with a seemingly anecdotal comment about Boole and his contemporaries, not identifying the possibilities they had laying in front of them – regarding the foundations of computation and the emerging materials they could have used. “…nobody in nineteenth century made the connection between the ANDs and ORs of Boolean algebra and the wiring of simple switches in series and in parallel. No mathematician, no electrician, no telegraph operator, nobody.” What does this mean? Starting with Socrates and concluding with emergence of modern computing as a narrative of development? It seems the development of new knowledge is messy and less then efficient effort.