David Mitby dmitby at hcs.harvard.edu
Wed May 17 20:27:00 EDT 2000

I'll take the bait; I think it's an unfair attack, but it does trigger a
fair discussion about what the mission of the HCS has become, and I
encourage everyone to participate.

I disagree with the comment that computers are so mainstream as to be no
longer interesting.  I'm still fascinated (and always will be) by machines,
and I'll always have a strong passion for technology.  Many will agree with
this.  However, it is true that some of the development that can be done at
the Society level is mainstream.  A lot of people want to _learn_ how to do
web pages and maybe CGI/database stuff/whatever, but usually it's for a
practical benefit rather than for kicks.  Two years ago it was fun and
cutting edge... not so much anymore.  So what is fun and cutting edge now?
All the Tellme folks will say voice apps, cellphone/PDA users might say
WAP, media lovers might say movies and digital imaging, etc...  Some of
this we can do as the HCS, some of it is out of our reach and better suited
for other environments.

Over the last year I've reconciled the fact that just activity or project
accomplishments should not be our primary measure of success.  We students
can get paid ridiculous amounts of money to code CGI and make web pages;
even without knowing the technology -- people will pay to have you learn on
the spot.  Thus I feel we have two missions -- one, to be a student group
that exists for social benefit; thus our office is frequently open, we have
BBQ's, we hang out, etc...  Two, we should be a group that serves campus
and beyond.  This year we ran several successful seminars, did acctserv as
always, did the Teach program, and more.

Finally, we must look most to the future.  One major factor that will
change the face of the HCS (and as a board, we're already looking at this
and preparing for it) is the creation of TECH, which will definitely be a
reality very shortly.  That institution will be able to fund and support
entrepreneurial studies, research projects, and some of the outreach (like
speakers relating to such issues) on a larger and more stable scale.  This
is another reason why I believe we must focus most on the social and
service aspects of computing on campus.

We might not have spun out any major projects this year, but I think it's
been successful nonetheless.  I, and I'm sure many others, have had a great
time, met new people, learned new skills, and am happy with the Society.
We will continue for years and years to come with more generations of
students who love computing and technology, and will forever enjoy working
with others who share that passion.  I strongly believe that ten years
later, I'll never remember the exact projects or things I did with HCS, but
simply the people involved... and those fun times hanging out in the office
or standing around the BBQ tossing out geeky jokes and chatting about the
latest OS developments.  :)


At 06:33 PM 5/17/2000 -0400, britt wrote:
>Who here thinks it's about time to put the HCS to sleep?  the
>society has been pretty much dead for a year now... 
>but seriously the society has had a pretty dead year, little has been
>really accomplished, there seems to be no real activity going on.
>What should the hcs be doing now that computers are so mainstreamed to no
>longer be interesting?  
>I'm afraid that the HCS is well on it's way to disappearing.  There
>doesn't seem to be any real enthusiasm left in the society.  There aren't
>meetings anymore that i've seen, there isn't the hcs-announce messages all
>that often.  acctserv hasn't been checked in a while.
>are there fall recruitment plans?  we did pretty well 2 years ago, but
>what about now?
>thoughts, comments, anyone?  
>-- --------------------------------------------------------------------
>Britt Bolen               britt at bolen.com               britt.bolen.com 
>hcs-discuss mailing list
>hcs-discuss at hcs.harvard.edu

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