Anybody else remember TechTV? Ah, the good old days of having a channel just for us geeks… I remember it very fondly, especially The ScreenSavers with Leo LaPorte and Patrick Norton. I used to watch that channel quite a bit until it disappeared. I learned a lot from those guys…and still do. Today the content that was that single channel is spread across everything. Maybe geeks are finally becoming mainstream. Yikes! We’re multiplying at an alarming rate, somebody stop the madness!
Seriously, tech and those that know how to use it, is everywhere now, and you have to know it (or at least enough bits of it) to get by. Is your microwave still flashing “12:00” at you? If it is, you might not be a geek…And I’m no Jeff Foxworthy, so I won’t continue with that joke. But with today’s smartphones, small computers, tablets, smartwatches, internet everywhere, etc., etc., it’s clear the world is getting more and more tech-based all the time.
I began in IT in 1981. It’s still hard to believe it’s been that long ago (36 years. You’re welcome, Kev), but then I look at how far the tech has come and it’s mind-boggling. My first computer was a Radio Shack TRS-80 – a “Trash Eighty” as it was known as, with a whopping 4K of RAM (that’s 4,000 “characters” or “typed letters” it could hold in memory). It came as a somewhat-small black * white CRT monitor, which–and I can’t even remember this part clearly enough–also contained the computer components–or at least “some” of them. Need a visual? Here, have a flashback. The rest of it was a big, bulky keyboard, which I believe held the rest of the components to round out the entire computer. But with just these two small pieces, you had an entire computer and you could actually DO things with it! SAVING what you did on it was an entirely different animal–just as it is today. Back then you had to buy a cassette tape drive if you were on a budget, and you’d save and load your programs and data from cassette tapes (yes, just like those old music cassettes you heard of, and might have actually seen or used on occasion,from the olden days) that were high-quality, fragile little storage units. Read and write errors–even with the highest-quality, most-expensive tapes–were frequent, and the loss of dozens or even hundreds of hours of work was almost common. And God forbid if you had a magnet in your house! Those who weren’t on such a budget could splurge and pay thousands of dollars for a newfangled “floppy drive”. They offered a ton more space, were much much faster, and with them you were much less likely to have all of your hair gone (pulled out) by the time you turned 25. I won’t even go into hard drives. Those didn’t even appear on the map for some time later on.
But looking at those details you can see how far we’ve come. As a comparison, the power in that huge, very heavy computer from back then is now fully contained in just a small chip in your smartwatch. Not even the whole watch, just a chip inside it. Mind-boggling, as I said. But our society is fast becoming more and more tech-savvy as all of these gadgets continue to spread, evolve, and shrink. So we’re ALL pretty much becoming “geeks” to one extent or another. Maybe only in certain areas, but geeks nonetheless.
Where I am going with this, I have no idea. I just woke up this morning, this was running through my head, and I needed to write. Like most things in this blog, it’s just random thoughts and memories that come to me. (he says, as he straps on his Moto 360 while listening to his Windows 10 PC connected to his 55″ LG TV, streaming classic 80’s songs from a Amazon Music…) Geek on.