NEW vs. OLD Technology - RE: document your job?

Subject: NEW vs. OLD Technology - RE: document your job?
From: "William Sherman" <bsherman77 -at- embarqmail -dot- com>
To: <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 12 Jul 2012 15:39:12 -0400

My point was that many today sing praises of the wonders of "new" technology
that is really old technology that has grown and improved as hopefully most
things do.

Sitting by the pool is a result in networking technology improving to
include wireless connections. Actually, that goes back a LONG time, in some
way, shape or form. Amateur radio groups worked on ways to send data and
control items by radio decades before any of the current Wi Fi we all have
today existed. They didn't have IP until that was developed in the mid '80s,
although there were other communication protocols.

Sitting around a pool networked with a laptop in 1986 was nearly impossible,
but much of the ideas were in place or moving that way. Unfortunately, the
"laptop" of the day would have been IBM's Portable PC, and you would have
only have had it on your lap by the pool if you were big, strong, and not
real smart having something plugged into an outlet while sitting next to the
water. :)

Doubtful you would even had a network at home, but I knew one guy who did.
Never figured how he got one from IBM, but he did. Still, there was the old
300 baud modem if you were desperate. Same basic technology, just many,
many improvements ago.

It isn't much different in other areas, like cars. Many praise fuel
injection as a wonderful new thing, but it has been around a long time. I
don't think GM has had a carb on a car since 1990. And while you may not
like to take a cross country trip in a 1957 250 hp Fuel Injected Corvette
with a potential for around 22 mpg (or maybe you would - bet your wife
wouldn't after 50 miles, especially in summer), it is the basic technology
that makes the current 430 hp electronic fuel injected Corvette something
you could probably get your wife to actually ride across country in, since
you'd be riding comfortably and getting 30 mpg while running with the air
conditioning and stereo on, two features not in the '57 model. However,
improvements in technology have made the new one much more comfortable and
capable than the old one.

I used my first touch screen in 1987. No way you can compare it to the touch
screen on most portable devices of today. Just like comparing a 1986
Macintosh to a current iMac, the same basic stuff is there like a neat GUI
and a mouse and the click-drag-paste-etc. functions. Yet you would not begin
to do all you can do on an iMac today on an old Macintosh 26 years ago.
Still, how would you feel about someone raving over the GUI of a new iMac as
though it was the "new" thing?

Sorry to leave the old days behind? Not at all. I'm working on a worn-out
seven year old computer (because I don't want the good computer at this job)
that many handheld devices can outshine. Yet this laptop can run circles
around anything we had access to in '86. And the 32 GB stick in the side is
more storage space than 1000 of the PCs I had then, and most wondered what I
would do with all the storage of that "huge" drive, since the typical one of
the time had a 10 Mb drive.

I can watch old episodes of "The Rifleman' or this week's TV shows if I miss
them, but back then, unless I happened to set a tape in the VCR, I couldn't'
watch the TV show and no way would I find "The Rifleman". (Now "Route 66" is
what I really want.)

I can get enough mail from work to make them think I am working.

I can actually do work since they leave me along, assuming I am faking work
and won't answer anyway.

I can take 18 Megapixel pictures, download them to the computer, edit to get
the look I want, and send to anyone in most places of the world in minutes
rather than having to spend a long time framing my shot, bracketing with
several shots to ensure the right exposure, sending the film off to a lab,
to get it back a few days later, marking the prints for custom printing and
waiting more days, then snail mailing the picture to someone as you had to
do in 1986. Although, I was using a scanner in 1987 to digitize pictures to
embed them in documents, but it was a much more involved process than
dropping them on the flatbed today, and clicking scan. And very few had the
equipment to receive such files and do anything with them, even after I did

All while sitting around the pool. :)

This is why you may want to document your job, as you can pull up all the
neat things you did years before all the know-it-all kids of today who think
they invented this stuff were even born.


-----Original Message-----
From: McLauchlan, Kevin [mailto:Kevin -dot- McLauchlan -at- safenet-inc -dot- com]
Sent: Thursday, July 12, 2012 11:25 AM
To: William Sherman; techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Subject: RE: document your job?

William Sherman wrote:
> It is kind of funny to hear people rave about things like VM and "The
> Cloud". IBM was using VM 30 years ago. You sat down at a terminal,
> logged in, and all your stuff was there. I was in Raleigh once, had a
> bad feeling, and found I was gone. I called a friend in Boca, said I
> had three personal files I'd like deleted, gave him the password. He
> logged in, had my VM, and removed the personal files so that they
> remained personal.
> Much of this neat stuff people find amazing today was being done a lot
> time ago. Instant message? IBM had a two line Tell area at the bottom
> of the screen to IM anyone on the system. The current texting
> language may not have been invented in Tell but it was definitely used
> there. After all, u only hd abt 70 char @ a tme so u md t mst of wht
> u wrte, dyk? The Cloud?
> Everything used to be on "The Cloud", some server in some place we had
> no idea of, unless you were directly connected to the group overseeing
> the server.
> The difference today is we have a GUI and most connections wireless,
> but it is all the same stuff really.

Everything old is new again...

But, back in the day, I'd like to have seen you INSTALL virtual machine
instances of each of several other operating systems (from other vendors) on
that mainframe.

And then, I'd like to have seen you sitting out on your back deck (do you
have a pool? in this fantasy you can lounge by your pool...) at home, or at
your cottage or at some hotel, with the company laptop, blithely connecting
to all the things you needed or wanted, to do your job.

When I'm too lazy to walk down the hall to a cow-orker's cubicle, and don't
want to compose an e-mail, I just fire up Office Communicator and initiate a
chat that can include cut'n'pasted material, links to files, and other
supporting material, with no text-length limitations. I can elect to have
the whole conversation recorded, or I can save selected portions for future
(No, not usually blackmail... why do you ask?)

If I want to run a meeting with participation from several people who are at
distant offices, or travelling on business, or working from home (including
me...), I can just use GoToMeeting to share my desktop view with every
attendee, simultaneously. They don't need to have any of my tools installed,
and they don't need access to any restricted files I might all up, but they
can see what I want to show.

Doesn't sound a lot like what I remember of mainframe days.

Taking a different tack, look at massive computational tasks like protein
folding, farmed out and shared across tens of thousands of personal
computers during their slack-cycle times.

Back in the day, you (well, your IT department) would have needed to
purchase and install huge and hugely expensive additional computing, memory,
and storage components in order to attack a similar task.

And I can't say I was sorry to leave behind the days of 7x12 green-on-black
character cells. I admit it was fun to construct ASCII and EBCDIC character
"art". :-)


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