You Know You’re Old When…

Microsoft MS-DOS is now 30 years old.

When I first started in computing, operating systems were mainframe systems and hobbyists had home-grown systems. Then along came CPM and everything seemed so much simpler. Later came the IBM PC with a cassette interface and 64Kb of memory – it booted into ROM BASIC – and set the industry back 20 years. Then the mega upgrade to a floppy disk and MS-DOS with 640Kb of memory. Bill Gates famously said “Why would anybody want more than 640Kb of memory?” My first hard disk was 5Mb, then 20Mb, then 120Mb…all at well over $1 per Megabyte. (In those days a megabyte was a megabyte – not 1,000,000 bytes*). Ah, they were fun days.

Now we have the software houses pumping out updates by the million and bombarding us with so much choice, each only lasting a few months until we have to upgrade to the latest and learn the product all over again. 3Tb drives are now the norm (but I expect that will be laughed at in 10 years time), with drives costing in the cents per Gigabyte (now everything is metricized rather than using the computer’s power of 2*).

I’m happy to have been involved in the early days of personal computing. These were times of experimentation and innovation.

But now I see a dark cloud hanging over our heads, and it is Cloud Computing. I see this as where large companies take over the internet and decide what you can do, decide what you need and decide what you should pay for the privilege. The Cloud is a push by big business to own and control the internet and to ultimately own and control the users of the internet. To give over all our data, all our information, all our being, to an unknown “cloud” without any way of knowing if the information is secure from predators is not in anybody’s interest. However, many companies see this as a cost saving measure, to reduce their IT costs and increase their bottom line. But if I owned a company (and I do), I would not want to place my company’s operations at risk by relying on a third party to provide everything I need.

My Rant for this month.

(*) I suppose when a Kilo was 1,000 and 1Kb was 1024, that wasn’t too much of a problem. But when it gets up to Gigabytes and Terabytes, the difference is significant and Marketing takes over. Therefore, everyone now claims that the metric system of measurement is the standard.

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2 Responses to “You Know You’re Old When…”

  1. Wow Don, you have left me with all that techie jargon.

    I was new to computers 4 years ago and even today my technical knowledge is limited. I share your concern regarding the amount of information we give out nowadays, it’s frightening where it’s all leading to.

    Bill
    A-U-L, UK
    Bill Murney recently posted..Buddy RichMy Profile

  2. I’m with you on Cloud computing Don, I wouldn’t want to lose control to an anonymous cloud in the internet sky. Unfortunately being against it won’t stop the cloud happening, if that’s what the big companies want.

    John
    Leamington Spa, England
    John McNally recently posted..Contact with Aliens by 2031My Profile

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