Audiophiles Love Tubes Why Don't We?

Started 2 months ago | Questions thread
Mark Scott Abeln
Mark Scott Abeln Forum Pro • Posts: 15,538
Narrowing and amelioration of the word "computer"
1

ken_in_nh wrote:

technically, the bombe was not analog. There's debate as to whether it was even a true computer. You could not "program". It only did one thing. Data entry was just to set starting positions, rather like data entry into any other computing device. The most accurate description would be to call it an electro-mechanical automated simulator of the enigma machines. Or a sophisticated calculating machine.

The definition of "computer" keeps moving upmarket. Back in the old days, a simple device with an embedded microcontroller was called "computer controlled" and there was no debate about it. Even stuff that only had logic circuits were "computerized". There was no need for a device to be programmable for it to be a computer.

Linguistically, you could say that the use of the word "computer" is narrowing, with a removal of its use for low-end applications, specifically by what's called 'amelioration' or where the use of the term "computer" has been shifting to mean only the best and highest examples of the genera. For example, a desktop computer running Windows, macOS, or a variant of Linux/Unix is a "computer", while many would not call a smartphone a "real" computer, and certainly not devices with embedded controllers, even if they are programmable, running a full Linux OS.

We see a similar amelioration with the word "camera": a device needs to have a multitude of controls to be a "real" or at least a "proper" camera.

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