(ZX) spectrums & stained glass

Only slightly off topic but I was pointed at http://www.zxspectrum.net/ this morning. I can’t decide what is more impressive, the site itself, that Java can be used to emulate a ZX Spectrum or that there are games listed from 2010!

Slightly more on topic, I was curious to read this article about stained glass, or is it file formats. Skip over the rather flowery bit and start reading from:

The archive problem is one of format” and concludes “Then in five hundred years time… pictures of the Auch windows will be stored and accessible in the cloud. But not one of them…will have the jaw-dropping impact of people seeing them for the very first time…and realising that humans could do wondrous things for themselves.”

I read another article, this time from New View (not something I’d usually read, but an article about the “origins of computing” was recommended to me), which – in a different article – likened stained glass windows to computer screens – mostly because of the back lighting – and suggested, a little like Chris Mellor in the Register, that the cultural experience of seeing stained glass is a bit like experiencing computers for the first time.

(An other article berated digital technology, almost branding it evil, and certainly bad enough to make the author ill using it. I was reading this at DrupalCon where 90% of the people there were welded to their MacBooks and wondered how bad using a plough might make these people feel! ;-))

I guess many folks don’t have the “big bang” experience of the digital world. It crept up slowly – a bit like watching the cathedral and its windows being built would probably reduce its wonder – going from a ZX81 to a Pet to a BBC B to an Amstrad 1640 to a… well, you get the picture…

But does that make it any less astonishing? It shouldn’t. If anything, it is all about helping people do “wondrous things for themselves“, just like zxspectrum.net…

-Peter Cliff

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