Originally posted by Twistin'Ghost
Good thread...a lot of good ideas here.
As for programming to the hardware, it seems to me that the only thing hardware-wise on the PC that's any different from the old days is the faster processor (needed to deal with the bloatware) and external cards. Not much to compare with the custom co-processors offered by the old school machines, namely the Amiga. Everybody these days programs in high-level or object-oriented languages and everything relies on the system. And that system is simply poor, buggy and limited for programmers with so many undocumented API's. A programmer's hands are tied, both by design and by choice. The attitude is nowhere to be found. Creativity is a long lost concept.
And that's the fault of your analogy. Today's computers can't basically do anything. They have a lot of horsepower and a lot of apps - most of which claim they can do this and that in their blurbs, but in actual usage, fall way short. Sound packages swear they can deliver this effect and that effect, but they are buggy and the end product is nothing like described. Same thing with gfx plug-ins in image software. If you believe all the press releases, then yes, modern PC's can do almost anything. I still find graphic-intensive software on the PC to be jerky (except maybe on the very fastest machines of today and even then, I doubt it). Yet an A500 could display stunning demos from a floppy on a 1-meg machine. No bloat, no system overhead doing God-knows-what - just an advanced machine doing what it was created to do: multimedia. The PC cannot make this claim.
I don't believe new PC hardware makes most anything possible, just some things. Stability and compatibility would impress me.
Maybe I am missing something here.
The hardware is unlimited in what it can do compared to old machines, look at what beos could do with multiple video streams. Dont blame the hardware for buggy software problems. The high level programming languages allow faster development since you can get pre made code for all the network, video, interface apects and you can spend most of your time on the main function of the application. There is nothing stopping you from booting a 3ghz P4 system from a linux (dos etc) floppy and running your own c code that interacts directly with your chosen hardware. The amiga stopped being advanced a long time ago, the stunning demo's you refer to were only stunning at that time if somebody was shown those demo's today for the first time I dont think they would think it was state of the art. The audio and video packages today offer many more features then were available 10 years ago. I think your problems lie with the software/OS and not the hardware. I still stand behind what I said, new PC's make most anything possible. It doesnt matter how efficient you program anymore (alot of the old demo's pushed the hardware to its limits, but tooks many years of programming knowledge of the non-evloving hardware to get there), just that you can do what is needed to be done.