Back in the day…when AOL was usurping CompuServe and the ZIP drive was rocking the storage world, techies were a pretty complacent bunch. We could wear wizard caps and put a curtain up around our work space and chant incantations and people pretty much left us alone. Any question about the technology was met with a bored look, a wave of the hand and a few mumbles while mixing in words like CP/M OS <mumble> sneaker-net tape drive IO port’s connected to the com port…”oh, are you still standing there? Make yourself useful and get me another Jolt cola then.”
Life was grand. Tech was black box and if you could swap cards while sounding, well, technical, you had a cushy job and even the CEO left you alone for the most part.
But the dot com bubbled up like Violet Beauregard in Charlie’s Chocolate Factory and got sent to the juicing room. After the pop that left investors and techies both holding worthless stock and options by the dump truck-load things started changing. Suddenly businesses wanted to hold the tech crowd accountable…unbelievable!
It sure didn’t stop the pace of technology though. In fact we’ve seen things moving from faster than a locomotive to the speed of sound to the speed of light to Warp 9.6 in a little more than a decade, and rumor has it that Warp 10 isn’t far away. Meanwhile the CEO wants us to learn soft skills, business analysis metrics and where a blasted tie to the office! Oh…and work with a smaller staff while taking care of more users, more servers, mobile devices and monitor people’s surfing habits?
There is just no time for a good, mind-clearing Quake Death match these days, and forget about all the slogan t-shirts we invested in during the milk-and-honey era of IT.
Nowadays it seems we need to get certified by Burger King just to order fries, and the training it takes to get my Droid 4.0 working properly takes more effort than learning Basic on the old Commodore 64. Right now I think I’d rather actually have a real Ice Cream Sandwich than futz with this virtual beast. I think it took a picture of my credit card statements and sent it to LulzSec via Facebook. The joke’s on them though…that card is maxed out after a gluttonous home electronics shopping spree left me on the verge of exhaustion.
Yeah…the good old days. I can’t say for sure that I miss them, but it sure is fun seeing the look on the faces of the next generation of IT. When you tell them a CP/M NIC was the size of the average flat screen monitor and 2400 baud used to be SCREAMING fast, they just look at you like you’ve finally lost it. The joke’s on them though.
Wait til it’s THEIR turn to usher in the next generation.