I have been working with computers and information technology for over 45 years. I have seen lots of water pass under the bridge of my life and I have learned a few lessons in the process. The biggest lesson has been one of the toughest. Programming is the work of my brain but communicating honestly and deeply with people is the work of my heart. Neither is good or bad. Both are tools I can call upon when the situation requires it, but switching from my head into my heart is difficult work. It requires watching, listening and discerning. From this, my big lesson is:
There are no technology problems. There are only relationship challenges.
Although I have spent most of my adult life as a programmer, I have also done considerable work learning how to be a good communicator. I have learned how to resolve conflicts between people. This has been a truly rewarding process. I learned this skill from my work with The Mankind Project and from sitting in circle every week with over a dozen local men and helping each other become better men.
Much of this blog site is dedicated to my work with MKP, but this set of pages is a retrospective journey through over four decades as a computer programmer. In this time I have worked with mainframe computers, minicomputers and microcomputers and I have learned (and forgotten) many computing environments, operating systems and programming languages. In the sections below, I walk through my history and experiences with both nostalgia and a bit of whimsy. And I share these memories both to offer my perspective on the systems I have worked with and in the hopes that my musings will trigger memories of your experiences. Please share them with me and the millions (well, maybe only hundreds… or dozens… or just a few) of readers of my site.
I start with a trip back to The Dawning of the Information Age to revisit the world of mainframe computing dinosaurs.
I continue with memories of minicomputerslike the DEC PDP 11 and the Tandem NonStop systems.
I have been using personal computers since they emerged in 1980 and have been working with Personal Computers for over 30 years and I have been using the Internet since 1986. Imagine using email for over 27 years. I must have pressed the DEL key over a million times!
And finally, I have been working with web and data based systems since the early 1990s.
No, I haven’t seen it all, but I have seen much of it and what a long strange trip it’s been!