I’m excited about the direction that Michael Littman is taking with his new blog. It’s a different argument for “Computing for Everyone.” He’s not making a literacy argument, or a jobs argument. He’s simply saying that our world is filled with computers, and it should be easy to talk to those computers — for everybody. Nobody should be prevented from talking to their own devices.The aspiration of the “ Scratch able Devices” team is to help move us to a future in which end-user programming is commonplace. The short version of the pitch goes like this. We are all surrounded by computers—more and more of the devices we interact with on a daily basis are general purpose CPUs in disguise. The marvelous thing about these machines is that they can carry out activities on our behalf: activities that we are too inaccurate or slow or fragile or inconsistent or frankly important to do for ourselves. Unfortunately, most of us don’t know how to speak to these machines And, even those of us who do are usually barred from doing so by device interfaces that are intended to be friendly but in fact tie our hands.
We seem to be on the verge of an explosion of new opportunities. There are new software systems being created, more ways to teach people about programming, and many many more new devices that we wish we could talk to in a systematic way. The purpose of this blog is to raise awareness of developments, both new and old, that bear on the question of end-user programming.