By Greg M. Perry
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Additional resources for Absolute Beginner's Guide to Programming (2nd Edition)
CHAPTER 1 COMPUTERS ARE TOOLS 17 Today’s Computers The future of computer technology seems likely to repeat the previous 50 years. It appears that more and more computing power will be squeezed into smaller, more reliable, faster, and cheaper boxes. More and more people will use computers for more and more tasks, and computers will be networked to other computers. What this means to the programmer is twofold. First, as more people use computers, more programmers are needed to write the programs for the computers.
Those early programmers used the switch panel to enter programs into the computer’s shared memory. Although it was fantastic for its time, programming these computers took a tremendous effort because they had to be programmed in the machine’s native 1s and 0s. Therefore, the first few instructions to a computer might look like this: 01000110 11000100 10111011 00011101 Whenever a programmer wanted to add two numbers, move values in memory, or whatever, the programmer had to refer to a table that described the proper patterns of 1s and 0s for the desired instructions.
It is also common in most homes to see at least one microcomputer, something almost unheard of a decade ago. Powerful and advanced programs require considerable computer memory and disk storage. The more advanced a program is, the more space is required to store and execute that program. Fortunately, the cost of memory and disk storage has dropped rapidly, and PCs contain enough resources now to handle advanced applications that required far larger and more costly computing hardware just a few years ago.