Digital Distribution in a High-Speed Society

Have you ever sat and thought about the way software is distributed these days? It really amazes me sometimes. When you think about it, we live in a world that is so high-tech, so connected, that when a new software product comes out it is possible to distribute it immediately, anywhere in the world by simply hosting the program as a download.Digital media distribution over high speed internet is such a big thing now. It’s hard to imagine that even as few as ten years ago we had to wait for a phone call to go through before we could connect to the web. It wasn’t until the late 80′s or so that home PCs even began to become popular, and it was around the mid-90’s before they were truly affordable. Software distribution online was pretty much nonexistent.So how awesome is it that we can now sit at our computers, click a button, and purchase a program like Photoshop, having it paid for, installed and running in a matter of minutes? While it is true that many people like to actually purchase a hard copy of their software as well, it is hardly necessary. Through purchased license information, companies can track who has bought their product and allow a re-download if it’s needed.Additionally, a product doesn’t even really need to be finished before it is released. Programs can be in beta for years now, and see very popular use. This benefits the developers a great deal, as they can get feedback immediately online. What’s even more amazing about this is that they can then update the software remotely, in the form of an uploaded patch or even automatic updating that is hard-coded into the software. That means that bugs and issues can be fixed even post release, allowing an iterative process that truly extends the turnaround cycle of a program.Every once in a while it is nice to really think about some of the conveniences we see in the modern workplace, that many take for granted. The fact that we have developed this far, this fast, leaves me incredibly excited about what’s possible in the next ten years of the Information Age.