Monday, February 05, 2007

Machines and advances

At one point I was really into computers. I started with eighty hole punch cards and magnetic tapes. I learned Basic and worked with one of the original search engines for library books called OCLC. No longer. I looked at the code today and sighed. Computers do so much more than they used to and I certainly don't want to learn how, but I am grateful for them.

I've cleaned out sorting machines that jammed with the punch cards. I've had my hands blackened after ribbons tangled. I've worked with typewriters, stencils and copy machines where you sent things through twice - first your original with a special piece of paper and then that special paper with another piece to form the copy.

Mostly I'm grateful for the improvements. Every time I want to throw the computer in the trash I remember what I can do that I used to be unable to do and give thanks - right after I bang my head against the wall in frustration.

P.S. I'm not going to define any of the terms. If you know them you'll understand and if you don't you'll understand the confusions we went through.

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