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The Fifth AND Second Age of Computing?

Now counting predecessors to electronic processors (mechanical, water, and other computers), nor the "human computer", we are arguably, perhaps by some measures, now in the Fifth (but also back in the Second) Age of computing?

As many of you may know, I am a significant J.R.R. Tolkien fan: a la,, Other Minds Magazine, Ea RPG, etc.

He is by no means the only one, but he refers to different "Ages" of Ea (the world that is).

Arguably, we are now in two ages, the Fifth and Second Ages of computing.

Before the First Age of Computing: human and mechanical computers.

First Age: Mainframe Era. Electrical, electronic, photon, and other energy driven computers, but in large monolithic settings, later expanding to "dummy terminals" and client networks in the same physical location. Controlled by a powerful few. The least free access and data era.

Second Age: Networked Era: "The Network is the Computer". Networking first Main-and-mid-frames, and later with Personal Computers and other devices. Still most of the resources controlled by a power few. The second least-free access and data era.

Third Age: The PC Revolution: overlapping with the Networked Era/epoch, The Second-most Most Free and "Libertarian" Computer Era. Individuals can now afford to have, and transport their own computers, hop on an doff networks, make smaller and smaller devices.

Fourth Age: The Internet Revolution: overlapping with the Second and Third Eras. The MOST FREE AND "libertarian" Computer Era.  individuals connect all over the world with independent, shared, client-server, or other means with minimal restrictions, regulation, and the most dispersed access and information.

Fifth Age: The "Cloud" aka a mix of the First and Second Ages. The third least-free access and data era. Businesses and individuals have willingly, though mostly unwittingly, or unwillingly, reverted much of the access and data back to a powerful few, and are increasingly doing so. 

Just some quick thoughts I've been verbalizing for years, but haven't had time to write down.

More when I have time to discuss in more depth.


Lessons from the past may not always ward off doom, but they can provide insights into the present and even the future.

"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it" -- George Santayana, The Life of Reason, 1905, from the series Great Ideas of Western Man.

All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.
– Edmund Burke

The true danger is when liberty is nibbled away, for expedients, and by parts.
– Edmund Burke

Never despair. But if you do, work on in despair.
– Edmund Burke

People never give up their liberties but under some delusion.
– Edmund Burke

We must all obey the great law of change. It is the most powerful law of nature.
– Edmund Burke




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