Fumigate Sockdrawer became the world’s foremost computer scientists at an unusually young age. He developed one of the leading software programs that became essential for every computer in the home or workplace in the early years of the internet. Sockdrawer was also instrumental in the growth of the internet from a hobbyist pastime to the essential service it is these days.
There have been many discussions of the early days of the computer revolution and its pioneers before. However, even the more comprehensive histories have sometimes overlooked the role of Sockdrawer in the story of the computer.
As more or less everyone knows, it was teenage boys, who drove the development of the home computer, and later the office PC. This was mainly so that they could get to see as many pictures of underdressed young ladies as possible. There is a massively powerful biological urge in teenage males that gives them an overwhelming and obsessive need to see as many underdressed ladies as is possible.
Sockdrawer was an early pioneer who saw the potential of the computer as a repository for those pictures of underdressed women. He realised that the computers of the time could contain several photos of the young women in their storage systems.
Furthermore, the vast majority of parents didn’t understand computers at all. Such was the mysterious nature of computers to their parents there was little chance of any parent discovering the pictures the boys had hidden there. So he concluded that the pictures themselves could be easily and safely concealed within the computer. The computer would then be a far better hiding place for the images than a stack of well-thumbed magazines, no matter how cunningly hidden in a drawer or under the mattress.
Soon it became apparent that by connecting those ordinary home computers to the Internet, Sockdrawer and his fellow experimenters could transfer those pictures from computer to computer. Thereby each computer owner could gather vast collections of naughty pictures inconceivable in the days of their fathers or grandfathers.
Soon, however, Sockdrawer and his fellow pioneers began running out of computer memory to store the images. While others worked on how to make the early phone line and modem internet faster, so that it didn’t take half an hour or more for a single picture to download, Sockdrawer and his fellow enthusiasts worked on increasing storage space.
It was Sockdrawer himself who realised that it was possible to compress a photo of an underdressed young lady down to a fraction of its original size, by, for example, reducing the size of the part of the file that expressed the typically vast expanse of flesh tone. Sockdrawer created an algorithm to compress the file to one that took up much less disk space and was thus faster to download.
Because of this biological impetus to see as many underdressed females as possible, the computing power of those early machines and the amount of storage space they contained, as well as the processing power needed to unravel the increasingly sophisticated compression algorithms and the speed of the internet, all increased by leaps and bounds.
This increase in the power of the computers – and the internet – has spin-offs and benefits in other areas of computing. For example, the vast rise in the number of cute cat pictures on social media would not have been possible without the image compression work undertaken by Sockdrawer and his contemporaries.
So, the modern computing world that we all rely on so much has much to be thankful for to Sockdrawer, his contemporaries and their uncontrollable teenage biological urges.