14th February necessary event for digitalisation but would we cope today?

Posted by DBS
Born in England when black and white TV was a novelty in most homes, I have grow
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on Saturday, 11 February 2012
in Digital Blogs

I heard someone on the radio on Saturday sying that on the 14th February 1961 was when South Africa moved off the UK's Lsd (Pounds, shillings and pence) system to the decimal currency that we know today. The person worked in a bank at the time and all banks were closed over the weekend to effect the changes to the bank records.

This was something they had to do manually because they did not have computers in those days.

It was not a particularly difficult thing to do (back then) as everyone would have been used to the Lsd system. For those of you who have been saved it here is a quick summary. 12 pence one shilling, 20 shillings one paound. Easy right?

However they would have had to update all the bank records by hand and then update the client's passbok which was their record. For days it must have been a little chaotic.

Australia went decimal on the 14th February 1966 with the UK on the 15th February 1971.

Did we need to do it? Well no but it does make for an easier life. What intrigued me is that the banks here closed for a weekend to do the changeover. Back in 1961 the population was some 17.9 million and we know that most of that would not have had a bank account or even afford it. Even many "whites" would have received physical pay packs and not a cheque at the end of the weeks work. So my best estimate is that 10% of the population would have had a bank account.


That still means 1.7 million records of individuals to update apart from all the bank accounts of the companies.

Assuming we had to do the same today would we be able to do it? well 17million people voted in the 2009 elections and that took 5 days to get the result out and with computers to assist with the tabulating of the results.

I believe it would have taken at least a week because today the brains we are turning out of school need a calculator to do basic arithmetic.


So my closing thought for you: Has the digital age improved the brain of mankind or reduced it's effectiveness?

Incidentally February was chasen as the month to convert because it is traditionally the bank's quietest month or at least it was in the 1960s

Born in England when black and white TV was a novelty in most homes, I have grown up and dedicated my life to technology.

Came to South Africa in 1970 and completed formal education here.

I have used computer technology all my working life and still am learning more about using it everyday. The speed with which we can now share ideas and information is proof that the dreams and visions I heard in the late 1960's can come true


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CoolAdvertz Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Papyrus scrolls and candlelight

has the digital age improved the brain of mankind or reduced its effectiveness?

i think it depends on the individual simply cos info is available in abundance via internet but that could be used to ones Advantage or Disadvantage. More accesible info means more opportunity to learn but easy access and 'cut & paste" tactics
leads to the "need a calculator to do basic arithmetic" mentality.

25 yrs ago access to info meant a long trek to a library and tedious hours poring over damp smelling papyrus scrolls. that too reading them by candlelight.

Jokes aside, it is really worrying that learners today research online yet the ability to read and understand the content is diminishing which in turn leads to paraphrasing or just simply flaunting copyright.

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. - Arthur
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redsaid Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Tying in to what CoolAdvertz said...

Obviously we all love all things digital, otherwise we wouldn't be here. And as much as we can extol the myriad virtues of technology, however, there does seem to be less literacy, as CoolAdvertz pointed out. I'm not sure whether this can be blamed on the digital age, but it does seem rather telling that a lot of Silicon Valley big-wigs have made the conscious decision to send their kids to schools in which technology is eschewed in favour of old-school books, pens and paper. (I'll try to find the link to the article later, but it was in the NYT tech section a while back).

With such an abundance of information that is literally at our fingertips, maybe we are simply suffering from overload? For myself, I do know that spell check has made me a much lazier speller, in that I don't have to remember the correct spelling of a word anymore. I'll simply type and retype until the tell-tail squiggly red line disappears.

But hey, I do take offense with one of your statements. I will have you know that I was unable to do basic arithmetic LONG before I had access to the Internet! :p

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