Archive for July, 2010

Don’t Blink!

Posted in Ramblings on July 20, 2010 by mjohnsonitstuff

Don’t blink, you’ll miss it!  How many times have you heard those words in your lifetime? More than a few times I’m sure.  However, those words may have never been more relevant than they are now when they are uttered in reference to the continued pace of technology change. Yes, in the time it takes you to blink an eye, something if not many things will have changed regarding technology.

The first personal computer I saw was a Radio Shack TRS-80.  It wasn’t too much longer after that I saw my first IBM-PC.  Both were dual-floppy models! For the younger ones of you that means that one floppy disk contained the programs and the other floppy disk stored the data. There was no such thing as a hard drive in those days. I honestly can’t remember the amount of memory on the machines, but I can assure you it was miniscule!  To say that the processing speeds of these machines were faster than a glacier is simply untrue! Blink!

Rapidly, as hardware began to develop, I hurried through the IBM-XT and the IBM-AT. Blink! Then on to a Compaq Luggable! Blink! Blink!  Then through a veritable plethora of Compaq notebooks and laptops Blink! Blink! Blink! to the HP EliteBook I use today! Blink! Oh yeah, I forgot my Ipad!  So in what seems to be in the blink of an eye I have seen my personal computing resources progress from a stand-alone, oversized, unconnected piece of metal to the light weight almost continously connected composite materials of a touchscreen device! Blink!  What’s next?

While I believe we will continue to see enormous advances in the hardware we use I am convinced that this rapid change is presenting all of us with overwhelming quantities of information and data.  Some of that information and data is valuable, the rest not so valuable. So the issue becomes how we utilize this information to accomplish what we do in our daily activities both on the job and in our personal lives before it becomes obsolete. Blink! Rumors are a second version of the Ipad will be available before Christmas!

And You Thought a Cell Phone Was for……

Posted in Ramblings on July 11, 2010 by mjohnsonitstuff

In keeping with the topic we left earlier, have you given some thought to the question of rapid information technology change in your own life and surroundings? From my vantage point, I believe none of us are exempt from this phenomenon regardless of our level of current technological skills or our desire to ignore the whole thing!  Simply put, every aspect of daily life has been permeated with technology, and it will continue unabated for the foreseeable future.  Let me give you an example.

Let’s start with the mobile phone. It wasn’t that long ago that some of us remember utilizing a “party” line to make a phone call from our home to anyone we wanted to talk with. Okay, it was a few years ago, but the concept of having to share a physical phone line with others has been off of the communications landscape for some time now. As a matter of fact, many folks no longer even have “land” lines for their home communications, because their cell phone provides all the access they need.  In addition, this “single” phone number approach simplifies life enormously by eliminating multiple accounts at different providers requiring multiple payments on different dates and on and on! Not to mention, some of us have trouble remembering one ten digit number, much less two!

That same device we use for all of our voice communications also provides us internet access, instant messaging, emailing, a camera for taking quality photos, contact management, social networking, and lots of other things.  It can also be synced to secure “cloud” based storage locations to provide access to basically any type of information we might ever need such as business documents, stored photos, digitized personal records such as birth certificates, marriage licenses, insurance information, and that list goes on and on also! Fairly amazing stuff ….and you thought a cell phone was just  for talking on!

This convergence of information is exponentially accelerating because of the availability and affordability of broadband services. Not only is it available for your cell phone, but nearly every home that wants internet access can obtain it and in most cases it is reliable and affordable. This development enables continued voice communications capability through voice-over-internet-protocols thereby changing the entire landscape of long-distance calling not to mention video conferencing. Yes, even an individual can participate in video conferencing from the comfort of their own home without too much trouble!

We will discuss these topics further in upcoming posts.

Some Things to Ponder!

Posted in Ramblings on July 7, 2010 by mjohnsonitstuff

Everything changes; nothing stays the same. Boy is that so true today as we are experiencing rapid change in the information technology space. I recognize that it is perhaps not the wisest thing to do to ponder on earlier technological advances, but I can’t help believing that it can put some of what’s happening today into better perspective. So try this on for some comparison points.

When I started college, I was thrilled to secure an HP calculator that did basic math functions.  I think I paid $115 for the device and thought I was something special to have it. It served me well for those unbearable Calculus classes but provided no relief in Western Civilization, Freshman Composition, or Marching Band. All of that knowledge and research came from books weighing twenty pounds each and endless hours in the gargantuan on-campus library. Yes, I even had the privilege of using encyclopedias!  Real ones! No really! 

It all seems so 1970’s right? There was no such thing as a personal computer, a mobile phone, or the internet. You actually had to physically move about to gather the sources of the information you needed to prepare a research paper, meet to complete a group project, and yes, turn in your card deck to the computer center so you could complete a simple Cobol calculation. Aah, the “Good ‘Ol Days!”  Not hardly.

You see, for most of us it seems like a long time ago when these “antiquated” behaviors were common place.  For many, it’s just stories they’ve heard about from their parents and grandparents. But you know, it really wasn’t that long ago, just a short 35 years. It really does seem like yesterday!

But in those short 35 years we have replaced the HP calculator with mobile devices containing the computing power to not only perform the required calculus operations but look up world historical facts in seconds and provide significant computer programming abilities at our fingertips!  We replaced 8-track tape with cassettes, then CDs, and finally Itunes! Personal computers really did become ‘personal’, and the internet basically wiped out the World Book Encyclopedia! So what’s next?

I will continue this later. In the meantime consider, the rate of change you have and are experiencing with information technology devices and tools as we will discuss what’s up with all of that in coming posts.

Everybody Has to Start Somewhere!

Posted in Ramblings on July 5, 2010 by mjohnsonitstuff

I have heard all of my life that sometimes you just have to gather as many facts as possible and just “jump in”.  So that is what I am doing with this blog, jumping in!  Hopefully I can share stories, point to interesting articles and information, and share points of view that you will find helpful, interesting, informative, funny and just whatever! Obviously, your feedback will be helpful, I think!

Anyway, here we go!