I just read an article
in the Risks Digest
that contains a quote that totally misses the mark:
The most amazing achievement of the computer software industry is its continuing cancellation of the steady and staggering gains made by the computer hardware industry...-- Henry Petroski
I'd say that software is barely starting to approximate the needs of the user, and if hardware can't keep up, well then those hardware engineers better get their act together and start producing something useful. We treat Moore's Law as some kind of miracle, when in reality all we're seeing is what can happen if you let smart people solve the same problem over and over again for thirty years. They get better at it. We should be more surprised if they couldn't
double processor speed every 18 months.
The real challenge of course is, as my brother quotes someone
, "not what the program does, but what the user does." Or in this case, what the user can
do. If the hardware doesn't support a productive user interface, then it's no more than a mildly entertaining magic trick.