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  • Ronnie Apteker

COMPUTERS, DREAMS AND MAGIC

When I was at university a few of us in the computer science class put on a show in the evenings, during the week, and it was called "Computers, Dreams and Magic". That was way back when, in the early 90s. We were using hard drives measured in megabytes and we had bulky CRT-based monitors. The show was a hit, and it was all about the wonders of computers and technology. Yeah, on a screen you are free to create and to dream.



Flash forward 30 years, and soon my young friend Dimitri will be with me in Kyiv, and one of things we will both do is take photos and send them to our moms. And to my mom, this is magic. Yeah, we can whip out a mobile phone, snap a selfie, and in under a second my mom has a high-res quality image on her phone, and it makes her smile. My mom can reminisce about how she had to take a Kodak spool to the chemist, wait a week, and then get back an envelope with a bunch of brown tinged photos, and it was not cheap.


Software sits at the centre of these digital dreams and the creative abilities are endless. If I look at my mobile it is just mind boggling as to what I have with me in my pocket all the time. Music, photos, entertainment, news, emails, food delivery, maps, and more. It is indeed magic. Life has never been easier - we live in the ultimate age of convenience, and magic. Perhaps that is one of the reasons the pandemic rocked the modern world so much, because it challenged our carefree lives.


When it comes to writing software all you need is a computer, talent and focus. There is no substitute for hard work. Coding is a creative process that requires discipline. A good writer can write under the shade of a tree. I think that is how the expression goes. The same with a coder. A good programmer needs electricity, a laptop, Internet access and yes, the shade. I know, I am stating the obvious. But writing industrial strength software also requires checks and balances. There is a process that one has to follow when building systems for the real world. Of course, many of the great systems/platforms we all use today were coded in someone's bedroom late at night and the main parameter here was inspiration. We will always need passion and curiosity when building stuff.



What we are learning about on our PYGIO journey is the complex world of robust and stable software development. When you are building an airline booking system, say, or a medical analysis tool, as another example, there cannot be errors. Yes, all software is constantly debugged and enhanced, but when it comes to people's lives we cannot be casual or sloppy. And software does control our lives. When the youth have a social media blackout they freak out. Maybe not the best example, but very relevant. If you logged onto your bank account and there was no money in your account you could have a nervous breakdown. Our software systems also have to be secure. All of these factors are what go into writing responsible code. The world of software development can be fun, but it is also intense and filled with compliance and regulatory requirements.


At PYGIO we are trying to work within all of these parameters and at the same time bridging different cultures. East and West cooperation in an effort to make more magic.


Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. - Arthur C. Clarke

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