March 04, 2006


Isn't technology great!?!?!

Well, yes & no.
As long as it is used 'in moderation' and you control it & not let it control you.

The use of computers and the like has just exploded in the last 25 years. I remember in college in my Comp Sci classes how it was nessecary to map out a program (fortunately these first "programs" were ones assigned by the Prof - who knows how long it would have taken to "think up" our own!] [that was, of course, until we figured out how to do the stuff; then we became dangerous with it, 'thinking up our own'!] on graph paper, then feed the info into a card punch machine, have the cards punched, run the punched cards through a reader, test the program to verify if it did what I programmed the computer to do (usually something really "simple" & stupid like make a 14-inch by 6-foot 'banner', printed off on a noisey, monster line printer that would continually jam or need the ink ribbon replaced, which read: "Happy Birthday!", in big 12-inch letters made from the corresponding letter as the 'pixels', I guess, [you know, the "H" was an image made from a bunch of little H's, the "a" from a bunch of little a's, etc.] and a trailing "image" of Mickey Mouse [how appopriate!] or similar animated cartoon character's face & head made from a bunch of little 'profanty' text [i.e. !, @, #, $, %, ^, &, *, ..... ]. Of course it never worked right the first try. This required the "debugging procedure" (you know, as part of "the learning process" - what a pain!). After spending 2 hours in the comp lab just to get to this point, it was entirely possible to spend the next 6 hours to 2 weeks just 'debugging'! Every graphed line had to be checked, every one of the 500 or so punch cards had to be examined & verified - matched to the correct line, punched in the right holes, read correctly & in the right order ... (Oh! And never, never, never drop your punch cards! It can take hours to sort them back into the right order - provided you took the time to number them in the first place. If not, start over!). When it was time to give up (this "simple" assignment was due for mid-term - remember? 6-weeks ago?), the class whiz (now days called "geek") was called and, just for the joy of solving a computer challenge, would fix the problem in about 10 minutes so you could move on to the next assignment, (a more complex "program" - write a procedure to solve some common math problem [like balance a check book] that was due for finals & counted as 1/3 of the grade). More then likely, a half-dozen or so of the non-whizzes (i.e. "ungeeked") would pool their efforts 'til someone stumbled on the solution and sell duplicate punch cards (minus the "author" line, to be supplied by the buyer) in order to pass the course. Truly something was learned in the course: Econ 101 in action - supply & demand; and Business 100 - the free enterprise system! All-in-all, we did manage to learn some computer skills, too. (Even if it became archaic in less than a year due to the speed which the technology was improving!)

Ahhhhh, technology. So much of that mundane stuff is now able to be taken care of for you that I'm thankful the best skill now is being able to "keyboard" (called 'typing' when I was in High School - "Thanks" Mr. H, my Typing I & II teacher, you 'ol wind bag!). That and having offspring that are computer whizzes! ("Thanks!" JNH, my eldest.) While my typ ... er, keyboarding is rusty, it is improving with practice. (Now if only I were a better spiller, I mean speler, I mean speller.)

And "Thanks!" (I think ... ) to Coach & Roug for my initial online chat session last night. Good time and good friends! Let's do it again ('in moderation', of course).

Comments: Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

eXTReMe Tracker