4 Things About Software (That You May Not Have Known)

A few decades ago, if you had said “software” to the average person on the street, they might not have known what you meant. Today, you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn’t have at least a vague idea of what is meant by the word, and it would be even harder to find someone who doesn’t use it in their everyday life. Despite the stereotype of older adults being befuddled by technology, even those in their 70s and 80s probably worked with computers toward the end of their careers if they were in a white-collar profession, and some of them were instrumental in the development of the software-saturated world that we inhabit today. Despite this, there is a lot that you may still not know about the role software plays in your everyday life, and the tech we use on a daily basis now has far older roots than you may imagine.

Software Dates to the 19th Century (At Least)

Ada Lovelace, who was alive from 1815 to 1852, is sometimes called the first programmer because she realized that a machine proposed by Charles Babbage, known as the Analytical Engine, had the potential to do more than just calculations. She wrote an algorithm that would allow the machine to determine a sequence of numbers known in higher mathematics as Bernoulli numbers. All of this remained theoretical, and some argue that Babbage himself had already written things that could be considered computer programs. Nevertheless, the fact remains that software development trends are not something that someone thought of in the 20th century; it was conceived long before.

Read: How To Manage Open-Source Software

Dispatchers’ Jobs are Completely Different

When you think “dispatcher,” what comes to mind? You might still have a mental picture of someone at the other end of a phone line, taking calls, writing things down with a pen and directing drivers to the right location. Dispatchers still exist, by many of them are helped by or have been replaced by dispatch software. Even if you don’t know what it’s called, you might be vaguely aware of dispatch software if you’ve ever watched on your phone as the delivery of your pizza or the item you ordered online gets closer and closer to your address.

What you might not know is the degree to which it has transformed the industry, which at the beginning of this century really did involve someone sitting in front of a handwritten grid with a cell phone to keep up with drivers. Today’s drivers and dispatchers can be far more efficient and independent. Most of the information is now transmitted by software, including data on fuel use, safety, and routes. Dispatchers and fleet managers can use this data to help them ensure satisfied customers. If you’re looking for dispatch software for your own fleet, you can read about the things you need to keep in mind as you choose what’s right for you.

Read: Why Software Can Actually Improve Customer Experience

Your Smart Devices are Listening to You

You probably want to get more out of your smartphone but it’s also important to know the other side of that. Companies have acknowledged that voice-activated devices are listening to you even when you aren’t talking to them, but they have also included ways for you to deactivate, erase, or reject recordings. In some cases, this can be done by turning off the microphone. With others, you can disable the function that saves recordings or links them to your account. Look up your device to see how to turn off or disable this aspect and delete any existing recordings if it bothers you. While this is ostensibly done to improve search results, it can feel like an invasion of privacy to some.

Read: Outdated and Outmoded: The Legacy of Obsolete Programming Languages

Video Games are Older Than You Think

As is the case with words such as software and computer, what exactly is considered a video game is somewhat in dispute, but in 1947, two inventors decide to apply for a patent for a device that could arguably claim that title. If you had played it, you would have found it very different from today’s video games, you would have turned knobs to control a dot firing at targets. It wasn’t technically a video game, but it was certainly the start, and further games were designed throughout the 1950s and 1960s, leading to the release in 1972 of the first video game system.


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