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Nothing Changes

Entry 749, on 2008-04-20 at 21:34:39 (Rating 1, Computers)

I have been working with computers for many years now. I started playing with them in the late 1970s or early 1980s when I programmed a Burroughs using punch cards (I had dabbled in programming at school even before that, but that hardly counts). I also programmed calculators like the Texas instruments TI58c. I did some programming in machine code and BASIC on the Sinclair ZX81, Atari 400, Apple II and a thing called the Compucolor. Things have certainly moved on since then: speed and capacity has increased by many orders of magnitude.

But what has really changed? I find I spend a lot of time using a text editor. OK sure, its a brilliant text editor (BBEdit) compared with the ones I used decades ago, but its still a text editor. I also spend a lot of time on the Internet and that's a lot more recent - I first used the Internet in the early 1990s - but its still nothing really new.

And what operating system am I using? Well its Mac OS X which is the world's newest and best operating system, but its based on Unix which originated in the 1960s, so in some ways its hardly new at all!

And most of my work is done with scripting and markup languages. I used these sorts of tools in the 1980s, then transitioned to GUI and WYSIWYG tools in the 1990s. Now I use markup languages (especially HTML) and scripting languages (PHP) to make databases. Maybe the experiment in making easy to use tools (FileMaker, etc) was a failure. It certainly was for me because I've converted dozens of those databases back to good, old fashioned scripting solutions!

So maybe nothing really changes, even with computers. Now that's this blog entry done - written in a text editor. Now I need to use a MySQL, PHP database to post this, then write some XML to generate the feed. Yes, its just like back in the 1980s!


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