Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Where I am coming from

I suspect a lot of this blog is going to about my adventures, and misadventures with technology. Technology is moving so fast that a persons point of view is skewed by their age. Therefore it is important I think to give readers an idea of where I am coming from technology wise.

When I graduated from high school, there was but one telephone company. You couldn't hook up any equipment to the phone lines unless they sold or rented it to you.

Video games had just come out. They had plastic overlays that went over the tv screen to make the borders of the game.

Video tape recorders existed only in TV stations, not in homes yet.

A few years before, a TV series that ran for only a couple years forecast days when we'd have communicators in our pockets, video stored on small silver disks, devices that could stun someone, engines that would propel us faster then the speed-of-light and teleporters. A bright future we figured we'd never see. The first three on that list are here today. Who says the other two won't appear in my lifetime? Or maybe at least, my sons?

I was in First Grade when the first American went into space. Thirteen when we landed on the moon.

Bill Gates talks about having access to a teletype hooked to a mainframe in Eighth Grade. So did I, although I have done less with this head start then he has. I also remember there was actually a small computer store in our town. That would have been 1973 or so. I'm not sure what they sold--had to be kits only--but they were there.

I guess it isn't surprising. Our town had six major corporate research centers in it. My senior year, one of the labs installed what was then the world's largest electron microscope. They gave their old one to my high school!

We learned BASIC programming in 8th grade. I forget what criteria was used to choose who got to use the teletype, but I never did. My programs I handed in to the teacher all ran though, but they were pathetically simple things to count to 10, or count in twos, that sort of thing.

So, from a world where video games needed acetate overlays, phones had to be rented from a monopoly and computers were something you never actually saw, to today. Is it a wonder I'm not amazed by the tools and toys we have now?

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