WarGames

Recently I’ve been discussing the concept on DefCon or ‘Defence Readiness Condition‘ which took me back to watching WarGames the movie as a kid.

It’s always hard to make a decision about what are my favourite movies that I’ve seen but WarGames consistently makes the top 5, if not top 3.

I think the major reason it resonates so much with me is it reminds of my own journey through the Information Age. Being a geek growing up through the start of personal computers being a thing and the impact that I.T. has had on the world is something I have enjoyed witnessing and being part of.

I often use the example of the NASA HDEV project, now sadly retired after a successful 5 year mission on the International Space Station. Being able to watch live streamed high definition video of the Earth from space is something that filled me with wonder each time. Especially as a kid remembering having to push 10p coins into a telephone box to make a call, it reminds me of just how far we’ve come.

Sure, predictions of flying jet cars may have been way off the mark, but we have come a long way. Cars are on the verge of being self-driving (moral issues aside); medical research being done with donated CPU power using BOINC; augmented & virtual reality starting to change how we see the virtual world.

And yet all the David and Jennifer wanted to do in the movie was to have some fun and change their grades on the school computer. It evokes memories of dial up modems, of floppy disk drives that used actually floppy disks, and of the 80s which was starting to move from oversized clunky mechanical things to the Electronics Age.

So whilst it took until decades later for me to be involved in any kind of hacking with Hack Manchester and volunteering at Hack24, it’s that sense of possibility that came out of the 80s.

New synthesiser sounds, portable electronics, the Space Race, and for me getting my first computer (the BBC Micro Model B) all started those seeds of possibility. It’s one of the reasons I still love being part of all things computing. To see what we can dream up together next.

And on the back of recent outings of Teletext in a lighting talk at Tech Nottingham and PubConf Nottingham, I thought I’d share this if you’ve not seen it before to remind us all how far we have come.

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