Back in college, I recall as a freshman, I had to work with a bulky dumb terminal with monochrome green monitor. I also recall in my sophomore year the university set up modem connections so that the students can dial in into the university’s mainframe. Even at 110-baud modem speed, I was overjoyed that I could do my programming assignments from home. Winter in Indiana can be bitterly cold. I would rather stay in a warm and cozy room with a mug of hot coco in front of my 4-mHz Tandy-1000, instead of going to the campus computer lab to do my computer programming assignments for the winter semester.
A couple of years later, I was visiting some friends in Champaign-Urbana Illinois. I was intrigued with what I saw there. The students were experimenting with a browser called Mosaic. Back then there were not many pages or sites to browse. However, the students were encouraged to create personal pages with links to post messages to the bulletin board, participate in the community forum, and sharing their thoughts and ideas with other students, within the university network and other students across states on remote networks. The system seems very sophisticated and end-user friendly compared to the networking on Unix platform, the FTP and “Talk”, the computer system I had at my college.
After college I experienced the shift of technology from centralize to a distributed computer systems. Companies and computer firms everywhere were implementing client servers as opposed to the mainframe and migrating from their “legacy” systems to embrace the new technology. Get rid of the dumb terminals and replace them with smart ones. There were bunch of software that promised to deliver the next programming language. Visual Basic, Visual C++, PowerBuilder just to name a few. I recalled my required programming classes in college include C, FOTRAN and COBOL. I was quite overwhelmed being exposed to the information technology world that seemed humongous.
The information technology world is never boring. There are a lot of things to discover and re-discover. Building new ideas and implements new ways to make things working between the old and new technologies. I was totally content working on my first ever work assignment using PowerBuilder on Sybase and then experimenting with embedded C program calls from COBOL for a client who was migrating from the legacy system to client-server environment.
Looking back, I never had any idea that the internet is going to be the “it” thing. I saw the preview of Mosaic, way back when I visited my friends at the University of Illinois. I have to admit it was not that easy to create and publish a webpage back then. I did use the cyber community bulletin board to inquire someone for a swap of some hardware parts for my old Tandy. Well, the bulleting board did not have the bells and whistles but it did convey the message. Now it seems that the internet can offer more than just posting a simple cute message.
Looking forward, I would like to learn and experience more on Open Source, brush up my understanding on OOP, involve and participate in SaaS and get to know more about Cloud Computing.
Oh yeah, I would like to program an iPhone apps. I don’t have an iPhone yet. I guess I did not get on Santa’s list last year.
Information technology is always going to be an evolving and changing technology. Whether it is going to be something resembling to sci-fi or just another re-cycled and improved technology, I am going to be as anxious as a kid on Christmas morning.