Thursday, September 13, 2012

Isn't Technology Wonderful

I took my tablet with me on our walk this morning so that I could map out the track for distance, etc. I hadn't used the "My Tracks" software before so I did do a minor screw up... but it is still pretty neat. Not only did it map out our route and calculate the distance (until I inadvertently stopped it), when I was done it zoomed into Google Earth and "walked" us around the route - it even paused at the right times. Not only  that but I can send the track to Google Maps and access it later at my conveniece. How cool is that. Of course it would be WAY MORE COOL if I had a phone as well and wasn't carting my tablet around in a backpack (geeks unite).

I started my career in IT fresh out of high school with  no computer experience. Mind you in 1981 there weren't computers where ever you turned. I started on a contract with my friend June's father, documenting master files. I took to it like a duck to water. While I was on that contract I was offered a more permanent job if I took a typing class (being able to type make life much easier), so of course I did. Twenty nine years later I retired/quit from the same spot. Of course I wasn't doing the same thing, but had learned some programming, how to install and manage computer systems, as well as being involved in a slight degree of Data Management, not to mention how to torment developers with requests for documentation that was actually understandable. But, back to the point I was going to make - computing came to me naturally. All these things were intuitive. I sometimes wonder what I could have accomplished if I had a university education (I would have liked engineering I think as I love to problem solve).

But I digress again - back to the early days of work. We worked on a mainframe computer as well as a PDP11 mini computer. Some things I did with PUNCH CARDS. There were no PC's. We had a terminal room where there were a bunch of "dumb" terminals for us to do our work on. It was only a few years though until PC's made their entrance, and not long after that we had connectivity to the mainframe from our PC - we could work in our office (which was good and bad - there was so much data transfer by working side by side with people). Using DOS. And then Windows came along. And years after that the internet.  Now look at the information that people have at their fingertips. No trips to the library for them.

Years ago, we got new data dictionary software (Rochade) that installed on Unix with a windows front end. It was just newly available in North America as it was a German product. Well, I can't count the number of times that I fell to the floor laughing so hard cause an error message was displayed - one giant word that was almost the width of my screen... in German.  The first time I ran to the bookstore downstairs in our building to see if they had a German/English dictionary. They did. The word was not in it. These days it would be a simple query on Google!

Anyway, despite my 29 years or perhaps because of them I am a computer junkie and a gadgeteer. I love technology and would go into serious withdrawal if I didn't have automated tools like Excel, Word (wordperfect was my favorite - I loved macros), Advanced Diary, MyMemories Scrapbooking software, digital photos, CALENDARS!!! oh and Email... and of course I can't forget Blogger.

In fact I wrote the majority of this while sitting out under the awning, glancing up at the water sparkling in the distance and hearing the rustle of leaves in the trees. It is hot - 28C - amazing for mid September. Now time for my book, Kristen Lavransdatter, which I am slowly getting through.

The sky is the daily bread of the eyes. Ralph Waldo Emerson