Reminiscing – “those were the days...”

Started talking to a colleague about the 'olden days'. Disaster I know to get me on that subject.

But to put this into context, I'm a IT techie of the 80's. You know the days when computers were just, well, fucking exciting! We were discovering things, right at the operating system level. We were explorers, LOL.

I was banging on to someone about 'CompuServe' (CIS) and how it started the whole ball game of online services. I discovered open source software and installed the commercial variant of FIDO and CIS to form small hubs of information. These look antiquated. ZIPPING (file compression) files was new on the scene! We had ZIP, ARC, LHARC and about 10 other compression engines – ZIP persisted of course.

In those days you could send people forum communications and the system would 'bundle' these messages – overnight and then send on to the next bulletin board system (this is the 80's). That machine (PC usually) would 'unbundle' the messages into the correct forums. When you next logged in a day or so later on your 9600 baud modem, you would download the new messages to your message reader of choice... and so it continued. There was no immediacy.

Things took time, however, we were discovery things like AI (using LISP, ProLog, SmallTalk and other AI based programming languages).

'Standards' as such were not created yet in the software world. Everything was up for grabs. Google did not exist, Microsoft were being beaten by WordPerfect in all areas, Modems and dial up were the order of the day. Companies were only just looking into networking and what this thing called 'email' was... oh the good old days!

We programmed in Assembler with Microsoft Assembler v3.1, and linker. We created crude libraries for character based graphics. We grappled with 'Hercules' mono graphics cards in PC's that had VGA+ resolution (look it up guys...) and squeezed every byte of space out of our 640Kb or less PC (that included the operating system, etc.). We 'cared' about saving 10 bytes here and 5 bytes there Ha Ha. These days graphic files are larger than the whole memory of the machine!

My Microsoft assembler and linker (MASM and LINK) plus all my programs and libraries fitted on a single sided 360kb floppy disk (5.25inch). And ran straight from that disk. WOW, it even compiled programs in SECONDS that worked really well...

I'm constantly looking around at new innovations in all IT related areas. Where is it? Since Google took over the world everyone seems to of given up trying. Where are the innovators? Has everyone just jumped in with the big boys and made a living being a servant to them?

I did come across a local company that seems to be making a difference. They have innovation. They are trying to make a difference – I'll keep you posted if you can bother to read my mumblings...

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