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The Most Incorrect Assumptions In Computing?

timothy posted more than 10 years ago | from the this-time-it's-perfect dept.

It's funny.  Laugh. 1496

Miss Muis writes "After reading once again that Moore's Law will become obsolete, I amused myself thinking back to all the predictions, absolutes and impossibles in computing that have been surpassed with ease. In the late 80s I remember it being a well regarded popular 'fact' that 100MHz was the absolute limit for the speed of a CPU. Not too many years later I remember much discussion about hard drives for personal computers being physically unable to go much higher than 1GB. Let's not forget "I think there is a world market for maybe five computers" from the chairman of IBM in 1943, and of course 'Apple is dying...' (for the past 25 years). What are your favorite beliefs-turned-on-their-heads in the history of computing?"

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1496 comments

Bill Gates once said... (0, Funny)

eaglebtc (303754) | more than 10 years ago | (#7631718)

"We'll never need more than 640K of RAM!"

Re:Bill Gates once said... (2, Informative)

Liselle (684663) | more than 10 years ago | (#7631730)

"640K ought to be enough for anybody."
-Bill Gates, 1981

Re:Bill Gates once said... (5, Insightful)

peterprior (319967) | more than 10 years ago | (#7631800)

Nope he never said that.. sorry... popular myth

Here's a Wired.com article [wired.com] with some more details

Re:Bill Gates once said... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7631882)

That would have been as ridiculous if he had said "$640K oughtta be enough for anybody!"

God knows he would have never said anything that silly. Ballmer, OTOH....

Re:Bill Gates once said... (5, Insightful)

Otter (3800) | more than 10 years ago | (#7631909)

Ironically, what's being demonstrated here is that the most widely believed incorrect notion is that Bill Gates ever said "We'll never need more than 640K of RAM!".

Back to the original topic, I'd point to the idea that sticking children in front of computers somehow magically benefits them.

Re:Bill Gates once said... (3, Informative)

W2k (540424) | more than 10 years ago | (#7631865)

It's a known fact that Bill Gates never actually said this, or at best, that it is rephrased severely and taken out of context.

Having said that, in 1981, 640kB technically _was_ enough for most people.

I hereby nominate "640k ought to be enough for anybody" as most misquoted phrase ever.

Re:Bill Gates once said... (3, Informative)

zowch (552785) | more than 10 years ago | (#7631777)

Gates has actually discounted that rumor several times (one of which can be found here [urbanlegends.com] , and I've got to say that it probably *is* untrue, as I really can't imagine anybody ever saying that.

Re:Bill Gates once said... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7631827)

Wow... that post was so obvious everybody must've seen it coming ten years ago.

Nice Link Hot Babe-NOT Goatse Yum Pantyhose (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7631829)

http://rolltidebama.com/bamaarkpics/img0050.jpg

Are they great legs or what?

Isn't it interesting... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7631727)

Isn't it interesting that all of these "limits" are convenient base-10 numbers? Seems something like the odometer effect to me.

My Personal Favorite... (5, Insightful)

nanolith (58246) | more than 10 years ago | (#7631732)

*BSD is Dying...

Totally untrue. *BSD rules. :-P

Re:My Personal Favorite... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7631774)

Anonymous Coward writes;

Why do certain areas of the slashdot website log me out?

Ask Slashdot does this.
Your Rights Online does this.

If it continues, Im going to have to troll. And I can hide links very well.

the list (5, Funny)

grub (11606) | more than 10 years ago | (#7631733)


640K is enough for anyone. (that one was easy)

This Internet thing is a fad.

No one will want to look at a man stretching his bottom wide open.

I Invented... (0)

mrlpz (605212) | more than 10 years ago | (#7631737)

I invented the Internet......Al Gore !

Re:I Invented... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7631816)

I invented the Internet.

First of all, he didn't say it; he didn't even imply it. Second, it stopped being funny years ago.

Re:I Invented... (0, Flamebait)

mrlpz (605212) | more than 10 years ago | (#7631857)

Wrong...he did say, it was quoted on Today, and many other TV shows..and it stopped being funny about the same day we discovered "hanging chads" was just as funny... get your facts straight....

Re:I Invented... (1)

ReverendJake (667502) | more than 10 years ago | (#7631825)

At the risk of being an ass, I must point out that he never actually claimed to have invented the Internet.

What he said (and is true, by the way) is that he pushed through funding in Congress that led to the modern Internet.

That a first post is funny. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7631739)

sucka

YUO = TEH FAILURE!!!111!!1!!!!!ONE (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7631763)

Funnily... (1)

kid-noodle (669957) | more than 10 years ago | (#7631740)

The quote on the wall of my highschool computer lab was the IBM one...

Never did figure if it was meant to motivate us, or keep us out...

Obligatory Simpsonism (4, Funny)

Raul654 (453029) | more than 10 years ago | (#7631742)

...I predict that within 100 years computers will be twice as powerful, 10,000 times larger, and so expensive that only the five richest kings of Europe will own them. --Prof Frink, Much Apu About Nothing

Cringly (2, Interesting)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 10 years ago | (#7631744)

Anything Robert Cringly says is going to happen, won't and anything he says will fail, won't.

He's my bellweather.

Video hardware... (5, Funny)

kneecarrot (646291) | more than 10 years ago | (#7631752)

How about the assumption that my $500 graphics card will last at least until next year.

Right...

gates. (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7631754)

"64K is enough for anyone!" - Bill Gates

My favorite lie (1, Funny)

IGnatius T Foobar (4328) | more than 10 years ago | (#7631757)

And one I hope to see laughed at soon...

"Linux will never make it on the desktop"

Re:My favorite lie (1)

hchaos (683337) | more than 10 years ago | (#7631855)

And one I hope to see laughed at soon... "Linux will never make it on the desktop"
It's not incorrect until Linux actually makes it on the desktop.

Re:My favorite lie (4, Insightful)

GoofyBoy (44399) | more than 10 years ago | (#7631863)

Conversly;

"Linux is good enough right now for the desktop."

is being laughed at right now.

Best Way To Make It Clear You're An Idiot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7631758)

Bring up 'Moore's Law' in a technical conversation.

You're An Idiot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7631836)

Or Post on slashdot, and then bring that up in a technical conversation.

Interestingly enough (1)

Steve 'Rim' Jobs (728708) | more than 10 years ago | (#7631761)

Most of these assumptions about future computing technology (AI aside of course) were underestimating rather than overestimating. Let that be a lesson - computers may yet surprise us in the near future with what they can do. Never say never.

Incorrect (3, Funny)

IANAL(BIAILS) (726712) | more than 10 years ago | (#7631770)

The whole "Apple is doomed" senerio seems to keep coming up despite never actually living up to promise...

Re:Incorrect (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7631885)

Yes. That was listed in the very article summary as an incorrect assumption.

I guess I must be new here, assuming that people would read that far.

my personal favorite (5, Funny)

kurosawdust (654754) | more than 10 years ago | (#7631775)

people will be thankful to have a anthropomorphic paperclip tell them what to do.

Re:my personal favorite (2, Informative)

Carnildo (712617) | more than 10 years ago | (#7631835)

people will be thankful to have a anthropomorphic paperclip tell them what to do.

Remember "Bob" from Microsoft? The predecessor to "Clippy"?

Storage Space (5, Informative)

kidgenius (704962) | more than 10 years ago | (#7631778)

Whenever I get a new harddrive, i invariably say "I'll never be able to fill that up" and somehow within about 2 years time I'm out buying an extra hard drive.

The truth might be out there (2, Interesting)

andy@petdance.com (114827) | more than 10 years ago | (#7631779)

I wonder how many of the stories and anecdotes that will soon be posted are actually true, and how many are apocryphal.

I've never seen a citation of the Bill Gates 640K quote, or the market for five computers quote, for example. They sound reasonable, but so are lots of supposed "facts".

Cute girl Link-NOT Goatse! Nice Nice (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7631786)

http://rolltidebama.com/bamaarkpics/img0050.jpg

wow check those pantyhosed legs out!

download (4, Informative)

mrscorpio (265337) | more than 10 years ago | (#7631787)

Download (supposed) - definition of the transfer of data from any source to another.

Download (actual) - definition of the transfer of data from an network to your machine.

Uses:

1. "I downloaded the software from the CD to my computer."

2. "I downloaded the file from the internet."

3. "I downloaded the file into my e-mail and sent it to him."

Only #2 is correct.

I had to berate my father for WEEKS before he learned the intricacies of Download vs. Upload vs. Install.

Chris

Re:download (5, Funny)

haystor (102186) | more than 10 years ago | (#7631900)

Demonstrate with a beer.

Upload it to the refrigerator.

Download it from the refrigerator.

Install it.

Uninstall it.

Re:download (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7631912)

Thank you computer term nazi!

Home Computer (4, Insightful)

southpolesammy (150094) | more than 10 years ago | (#7631792)

"There is no reason for any individual to have a computer in their home." -- Kenneth Olson, 1977, founder of Digital

Al Gore (3, Insightful)

-Grover (105474) | more than 10 years ago | (#7631795)

Not technically "computing" but this is my All time favorite thus far.

"GORE: Well, I will be offering -- I'll be offering my vision when my campaign begins. And it will be comprehensive and sweeping. And I hope that it will be compelling enough to draw people toward it. I feel that it will be.

But it will emerge from my dialogue with the American people. I've traveled to every part of this country during the last six years. During my service in the United States Congress, I took the initiative in creating the Internet. I took the initiative in moving forward a whole range of initiatives that have proven to be important to our country's economic growth and environmental protection, improvements in our educational system.

Shamelessley pulled from here [sethf.com]

Re:Al Gore (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7631896)

Claim: Vice-President Al Gore claimed that he "invented" the Internet.

Status: False.

Origins: No,
Al Gore did not claim he "invented" the Internet, nor did he say anything that could reasonably be interpreted that way. The derisive "Al Gore said he 'invented' the Internet" put-downs are misleading distortions of something he said (taken out of context) during an interview with Wolf Blitzer on CNN's "Late Edition" program on 9 March 1999. When asked to describe what distinguished him from his challenger for the Democratic presidential nomination, Senator Bill Bradley of New Jersey, Gore replied (in part):

During my service in the United States Congress, I took the initiative in creating the Internet. I took the initiative in moving forward a whole range of initiatives that have proven to be important to our country's economic growth and environmental protection, improvements in our educational system.

Clearly, although Gore's phrasing was clumsy (and self-serving), he was not claiming that he "invented" the Internet (in the sense of having designed or implemented it), but that he was responsible for helping to create I also invented the microphone the environment (in an economic and legislative sense) that fostered the development of the Internet. Al Gore might not know nearly as much about the Internet and other technologies as his image would have us believe, and he certainly has been guilty of stretching (if not outright breaking) the truth before, but to believe that Gore seriously thought he could take credit for the "invention" of the Internet -- in the sense offered by the media -- is just silly. (To those who say the words "create" and "invent" mean the same thing: If they mean the same thing, then why have the media overwhelmingly and consistently cited Gore as having claimed he "invented" the Internet when he never used that word? The answer is that the words don't mean the same thing, but by substituting one word for the other, commentators can make Gore's claim sound [more] ridiculous.)

However, validating even the lesser claim Gore intended to make is problematic. Any statement about the "creation" or "beginning" of the Internet is difficult to evaluate, because the Internet is not a homogenous entity (it's a collection of computers, networks, protocols, standards, and application programs), nor did it all spring into being at once (the components that comprise the Internet were developed in various places at different times and are continuously being modified, improved, and expanded). Despite a spirited defense of Gore's claim by Vint Cerf (often referred to as the "father of the Internet") in which he stated "that as a Senator and now as Vice President, Gore has made it a point to be as well-informed as possible on technology and issues that surround it," many of the components of today's Internet came into being well before Gore's first term in Congress began in 1977, and it's hard to find any specific action of Gore's (such as his sponsoring a Congressional bill or championing a particular piece of legislation) that one could claim helped bring the Internet into being, much less validate Gore's statement of having taken the "initiative in creating the Internet."

It's true that Gore was popularizing the term "information superhighway" in the early 1990s (when few people outside academia or the computer/defense industries had heard of the Internet) and has introduced a few bills dealing with education and the Internet, but even though Congressman, Senator, and Vice-President Gore may always have been interested in and well-informed about information technology issues, that's a far cry from having taken an active, vital leadership role in bringing about those technologies. Even if Al Gore had never entered the political arena, we'd probably still be reading web pages via the Internet today.

Last updated: 27 September 2000

The URL for this page is http://www.snopes.com/quotes/internet.htm

here we go :) (0, Redundant)

Dylan_t_p (630258) | more than 10 years ago | (#7631805)

Microsoft Works. if one were to go by the name of that product they would probably get a pretty bad misconception

Anti-Microsoft/Anti-Apple (1)

lukewarmfusion (726141) | more than 10 years ago | (#7631807)

Everyone who claims that it's the end of the road for [Microsoft/Apple]. Their business decisions have alienated customers for too long. They can no longer be truly competitive. Their OS just isn't going to stand for much longer. There are too many problems - usability, security, bugs, configurability. --- Both of these companies have their own markets, and though I use primarily MS, I also use Linux and Mac. I shudder at the classic argument over who's better and who's doomed. Dinosaurs they might be; their size and age are not disputed. But I don't see either of those companies going extinct any time soon.

There have been some real humdingers... (4, Funny)

gklinger (571901) | more than 10 years ago | (#7631811)

"I think there is a world market for maybe five computers." - Thomas Watson, Chairman, IBM

"There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home." - Ken Olsen, Founder, Digital Equipment Corporation

Or my personal favorite...

"Trust me, this is way better than OS/2." - The dude at Computer City that sold me my copy of WIndows 95. Bastard.

computer store salesman (1)

galacticdruid (569137) | more than 10 years ago | (#7631813)

once said to my friend:

"this 8mb of ram is all you'll ever need for your computer to run fast".

heh

Hmm, there are so many, but... (1)

lembree (53531) | more than 10 years ago | (#7631814)

The next version of will be faster/more reliable/more efficient/more secure.

A little Googling and: (5, Interesting)

Liselle (684663) | more than 10 years ago | (#7631815)

"I believe OS/2 is destined to be the most important operating system, and possibly program, of all time. As the successor to DOS, which has over 10,000,000 systems in use, it creates incredible opportunities for everyone involved with PCs."

-- Bill Gates, from "OS/2 Programmer's Guide" (forward by Bill Gates)

Broadband (1)

IANAL(BIAILS) (726712) | more than 10 years ago | (#7631819)

Back in the day, I remeber there being discussions that high speed (cable, ADSL, whathaveyou) would never catch on, and all the masses would want would be their dialups. My how times have changed.

Computers make life easier? (4, Interesting)

DenOfEarth (162699) | more than 10 years ago | (#7631823)

I remember working at a research firm for an internship, and the head of our department said over lunch one day that he actually spent more time dealing with problems he was having with his computer than actually doing any useful work. I've noticed this with myself also, and even though I enjoy figuring out what's going on with my computer, I imagine many people don't. Email and websurfing always suck away my working hours, what with a PC right here on my desk, and not to mention that I get asked to help other people out with their machines every once in a while, it wastes both our time.

Makes me think though...wasn't it always implied that computers would save peoples time? Has that assumption yet proved that it is indeed true? I'm not so sure it has, although maybe that's because we aren't using the things the right way. Perhaps we are waiting for a computer savvy workforce and then this might be true...but then again, who knows...

And the biggest fable of them all... (1)

llZENll (545605) | more than 10 years ago | (#7631824)

"A person who reads Slashdot is a geek..."

Now we all know Slashdot readers have multiple girlfriends, got less than A's in math, science, and physics, didn't attend college, and don't earn an average of 100k+/year doing IT work...

Eat your heart out MSI/Biz/Marketing peoples!

100MHz was the absolute limit (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7631828)

100MHz was the absolute limit for the speed of a CPU

Yeah, but that was because your MHz display had only two digits.

3D accelerator (1)

HeaththeGreat (708430) | more than 10 years ago | (#7631831)

-No one will ever defeat 3dfx; they rule the 3d accelerator market.

Its so sad. They were my favorite graphics card company, and I always thought that ATI and nvidia blew goats while 3dfx cranked out great 3d accelerators that diamond slapped onto awesome cards.

Two bad my two favorite graphics card companies were later absorbed and eventually died. But I hear that Diamond's at least making a comeback. Hoo-ray!

Ars Technica: Ultimate Limits of Computers (5, Informative)

briglass (608949) | more than 10 years ago | (#7631833)

Check out this article from Ars Technica: http://www.arstechnica.com/wankerdesk/01q2/limits/ limits-1.html

Entitled "The Ultimate Limits of Computers," it deals with issues including not only Moore's law, but quantum mechanics... such as Plank's constant, Boltzmann's constant, the gravitational constang, the application of quantum mechanics to thermodynamics, and other interesting things that I barely (read: don't) understand.

Multi-tasking (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7631837)

There were a slew of columnists circa 1985 that said "Multi-tasking? Why, other than to download a file while you are working on something else?" And just about anything John Dvorak says...

Memorable ones (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7631842)

Here are mine:

All your bases are belong to us.
No soup for you!
I did not have sex wi...wait what was the question?

My personal assumption... (1)

ajservo (708572) | more than 10 years ago | (#7631843)

This is the last windows OS I'll ever run... Said in on '98se, ME, 2K, and I REALLY mean it this time on XP... A popular technology one in general, is this constant belief that Nintendo only caters to kids...

my personal fav (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7631847)

that the .com explosion would revolutionize every industry overnight, and make us all rich.

now, almost 7 years later, i'm unemployed, taking more classes, and trying to compete w/ developers in India making 1/5th of what i was making employed.

www == widespread wealth wipeout

Family Tech Support Prayer: (1)

mtnharo (523610) | more than 10 years ago | (#7631850)

Maybe this year I won't get one of those phone calls... "How do I make the letters bigger in the Typewriter program again?

How about Fark? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7631851)

Hilarity Ensues

Not once was there any general happiness in those linked stories. I think they may be cynical or even sarcastic.

Which is nice.

SCO tells it like it is (3, Funny)

morpheus98 (680698) | more than 10 years ago | (#7631854)

"SCO will remain on course to require customers to license infringing Linux implementations as a condition of further use." 8/7/2003

40MB Hard Drive is Plenty (5, Interesting)

Alan Livingston (209463) | more than 10 years ago | (#7631858)

I remember telling my father once after he had bought a 40Mb hard drive that this should last him forever. Nothing could ever fill up more than this. Of course this was well before the days of .mp3 and .mpg.

When I was a kid, I remember watching the Jetsons and when George came home from work he coomplained that he had just finished a hard day at work pushing buttons. I remarked to my father that Noone could ever get a job where all they did was push buttons all day. Now, except for the one knob on the 'scope under my desk, all my interfaces to the outside world ARE buttons.

I guess I'm full of underestimations...

How about... (1)

Tuxedo Jack (648130) | more than 10 years ago | (#7631859)

Nobody will ever need more than 640k RAM! (Bill Gates, 1981)
Windows 95 needs at least 8MB RAM! (Bill Gates, 1996)

Courtesy of http://www.leo.org/information/freizeit/fun/windoo fsengl.html

How about this one... (1)

Quarters (18322) | more than 10 years ago | (#7631864)

Stories posted to Slashdot, and their follow up discussions, will be deeply researched, exhaustively fact checked, and expertly written.

The most often used one for the past 5 years. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7631867)

'Final nail in Microsoft's coffin'

BSD is dead... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7631868)

Yes, it really is...honest!

My favorite... (4, Insightful)

Wakko Warner (324) | more than 10 years ago | (#7631870)

That idiot Bob Metcalfe loves trotting this one out every few years:

THE INTERNET IS GROWING TOO FAST, AND WILL COLLAPSE UPON ITSELF PRESENTLY.

I think he just wants everyone to know that he invented Ethernet, and needs to throw this story out there every couple years so people don't forget he actually did accomplish something at some point in time. Like 20 years ago.

- A.P.

One year from now... (5, Interesting)

zeux (129034) | more than 10 years ago | (#7631873)

... we won't need floppy disks anymore.

It's been ten year that I hear this statement continuously. Last time I broke the MBR on a server without a CD drive, I had no other choice than to boot on a floppy.

Moore's ... (1)

bperkins (12056) | more than 10 years ago | (#7631874)

Since people seem to object to the name "Moore's law " since it isn't really a law, perhaps we should rename it to "Moore's Curse."

Moore's Curse (n):

1) The tendency for technology pundits to be proven wrong again and again.

2) The fact that your fancy computer will be little better than a door stop in 6 months.

Apple is dying... (2, Interesting)

BWJones (18351) | more than 10 years ago | (#7631878)

Apple is dying... has got to be my favorite for a number of reasons including most significantly, Apple has been the company that the rest of the industry has depended upon. Apple has been the personal computer industries R&D lab now ever since the Apple I. Just think about all of the firsts in Apple computers. First to build in color support, first to build in CDROM drives, first to include built in networking presaging the Internet, first to include a GUI, first to create the modern laptop format with palmrests up front, first to include a built in pointing device in laptops, first to etc....etc.....etc..... You get the point.

Ken Olson of DEC (4, Funny)

DickBreath (207180) | more than 10 years ago | (#7631880)

"Why would anyone want a computer in their home?" -- Ken Olson of DEC in late 1970's regarding personal computers.

or something to that effect.


"Whereas computers today weigh 1 ton and require 18,000 vaccum tubes, computers in the future will weigh only 1/2 ton and have under 1,000 vaccum tubes." -- Popular Mechanics, 1949.

there's always the standard... (3, Interesting)

homerjs42 (568844) | more than 10 years ago | (#7631887)

bogus_prediction ::= (some_new_spiffy_language_that_actually_sucks) is the future of (computing|operating_systems|networking)+
--dw

BSD... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7631890)

What, no "BSD is dead" yet?

One Size Doesn't Fit All (2)

illuminata (668963) | more than 10 years ago | (#7631903)

How about this assumption?

One license is good for every piece of software.

Remember, put your hips into it when you stir the pot, baby.

.com bubble is sustainable... (5, Funny)

CHaN_316 (696929) | more than 10 years ago | (#7631908)

and given enough venture capital, an internet start up will be super profitable on the internet even though it has never made a profit, and doesn't have a sound business plan, and has a super inflated stock price.

But, it does have a great shiny mission statement:

"It's our responsibility to synergistically provide access to world-class sources as well as to assertively facilitate enterprise-wide opportunities" - Dilbert Mission Statment Generator [dilbert.com]

(Stock brokers in a flurry) BUY! BUY! BUY! BUY! BUY!
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