"The unexamined life is not worth living" Socrates

- - scatterings of ideas sent to my younger self, a sensitive girl who was fooled into believing she was a boy because of anatomy - -

Monday, 5 August 2013

A Wonderful Amazing World

I came of age at a time when a computer was something that only large corporations and big universities had. Only one year out of high school, it was my good fortune to learn how to program one of those remote units, connected by a teletype machine and phone line. 

The PDP-10 could not only crunch large files of numbers, but thanks to a program called TECO could also do a thing called text editing. At the push of a button, after a month of file creation and testing, a full report, with text and charts could be created on a larger faster printer, then sent via courier to our office. Amazing stuff for the time. 

This morning by chance, the configuration you see here was staring me in the face. A biography of a visionary, sandwiched by two machines he imagined long before the rest of us ever did. 

I have a good imagination, but am humble enough to acknowledge that I will be as surprised as anyone by the technology that my grandchildren will simply take for granted.

Having longevity on my side genetically, I hope to be allowed to use in amazed wonder several more generations of magical devices that currently reside only in the imagination of some genius. 


  1. Darn computers! Helped trip up my university career!

    I took a programming course as part of a maths course and after the best part of two decades on the planet and countless years of tests with 50% pass marks I could be forgiven for the simple mistake of thinking that I could get 100% for the programming, high marks for applied maths and something but not spectacular for the black arts of pure maths.

    Seems that I set a record for the highest fail mark in the history of the department, being mathematicians they were too dumb to tell anybody about their stupid pass every section rule.

    Thankfully punch cards are no longer needed nor an overnight wait for a result, just punch the on button...

    I do wonder if computing will advance, unless the criminally minded can be kept out and they are as smart or smarter than the software creators, the whole system could just speed up the demise of civilisation once we become too dependent if that point has not been passed already...

    1. After my summertime working on that computer one of my university classes was an introductory course in computer science. Punched cards and overnight turnaround... remembered as a terrible comedown!

      Caroline I can only hope your fears of over-dependence are unfounded. Maybe there will be a renaissance of home grown art, or a blossoming of cottage industry instead!

      I do love that I can see a friend's photos or read what she has to say about my Pollyanna-ish view of technology:-D

  2. The only incentive for my keeping up with technology was my salary. Now that I am retired I am turned off today's gadgets.

    1. I respect your feelings about "gadgets". my own parents have a similar way of expressing their dislike of the way these technologies have invaded our lives.

      This me wonder if there is more to it than a dislike of the technology. Perhaps it's connection to modern media, or the way it intrudes rather than simply serves the user.
      Something for me to ponder.

      I'm just so glad you have continued to put up with just enough technology to carry on our virtual friendships Ellena.

  3. I read recently that when mailed thank you cards were first being sent people had quite the disdain for them. Before mailed greeting cards in order to properly thank someone you walked over to their house and told them thank you. It was considered rude to simply be lazy and mail a card. Funny how no matter what the "new" technology is, there are those that despise it.

    Me, I love/hate technology. I love it because of the massive amounts of information now available at our fingertips and the amazing speed of it all. I hate it because most of it is an imperfect technology that does not always have the reliance of a light switch. 99.9% of the time when I flip the switch it works. Now my internet connection does not work 99.9% of the time, more like 25%!!

    1. I'd never read about the thank you cards. Not surprising really for as you suggest, every new technology produces a similar reaction.
      Wow that is a very poor record for your internet connection. You are making me feel thankful for ours that is about 95% reliable.

  4. My Mac saved my life. Now a few years down the line with that project practically finished, these sorts of projects only ever finish when you do, I find the rest of the net and the connecting toys a real turn off.

    I have an ancient mobile phone which hardly ever gets switched on or used and then I feel obliged to find a quiet solitary place to make my "private" call. What on earth would I want to carry about an expensive and delicate miniature computer with a screen too small to see? When pads were first announced I thought that I would be tempted but I would only read books on it and nobody has yet worked out that the price to read a book in the virtual world should not be more than buying a physical book which you can lend to friends...

    I tried social media and hated much that seemed to flare up there even in my quiet corner of the net. People would ask to be my friend but were incapable of even returning my initial inquiry as to how the found me and why they wanted to be connected! I have had many short lived connections online and a few long-lived ones too but as the world speeds up few want to write a lengthy email when they can be witty to hundreds with a quick tweet... ( So I have been told.) Shame really, the potential for long distance close relationships is out there but somehow we all keep missing each other in the void...

    1. Tweets and status reports make little sense to me and as you suggest there seems to be a devaluation of friendship in the whole process.
      Your comment also reminds me that we have gone too long between letters my liking. More to come Caroline. xxx

  5. Well, after trying out various smart-phones, and after being a die-hard Blackberry user for years, I finally got an iPhone. Oh my, what have I been missing? So much better than the old Blackberry. And, yes, he was certainly a visionary.

    By the way, I took a class in computer programming when in college. My brain was spinning. Just not something I can do, which is strange because it seems to be the career of choice for we trans types....

    Calie xxx

    1. I've also noticed a statistically improbable concentration of computer geeks here in Blogistan!
      In my case it was a satisfying and solitary activity, and non-competitive which has always suited my temperament.