Hi there.

I was having a bit of an old thought last night.

About, well, how things are coming and going in IT world...

We have this gypsy book market in a town i live in, you know, sort of eternal garage sail. Tons of books, newspapers and old magazines.

well, its quite daunting, i can tell you. its in the old part of town. there is sort of soggy misty air and old buildings just 2-3 floors high.

it is near the official books emporium, or something.

I am a student, see. I have to buy them books sometimes. And wherever i go there, i have to pass this book junk sail, and it all way down the street.

last time i went there it was misty and cold as hell. so i was walking along, and then i saw this book.

It must have been about, what, 20-30 years old? and it had a title "Professional coding in Pl/1" or something.

I picked it up, just for fun, see. it was apparently second-hand. I sought of buying it for a moment. price was peanuts by the look of it. But the owner of the tray was nowhere to be seen.
So i waited a little, and then left.

Before i did i saw another aged textbook (for children) entitled "Fun programming with Prof. FORTRAN".

And i couldn't help myself wondering was it actually fun for the kid who used it, did it helped him to get a job at all and what about that guy (now an oldtimer) who was reading that stuff about PL/1?
was he a success?

i mean, it is all fun for them, big guys with portfolios and business to do, them who shape the IT world.
they speak about "the necessity of this and that and blah blah blah", and about  the "well-timed changes", and "competitive market", and sort of crap.

and well, there are thousands of languages, some dead (murdered actually) some struggling to live, some in their prime, some over the hill, the whole picture is in the shades of gray.

especially when you know enough to understand that changes and differences are not that significant as they are portrayed.

In twenty-forty years all state of the art frameworks and paradigms and all that undoubtedly will be changed many times over, and books we learn by will be on garage sail, and perhaps someone will by them of shear historic interest or to kill cockroaches . and i am bloody sure that it will be all "new faces old hands"

i understand that this is evolution for you, but is it only me who feels it could be done more, sort of, organized? with a bit of you know what in the head department?

i mean, modern progress is like a tornado, whirlpool, some sort of cataclysm. it leaves people, dreams, firms all wrecked and abandoned, and all this wreckage marks the road to progress, only to many things are left overboard and lying on a roadside.

its not only IT, its any aspect of civilization, but man, IT is sort of lacmus stripe. and if it made me think about this global stuff, and i am not disposed to it, i think its apparent then.

Who knows where IT will be?? Or more important, where you will be?

Sometimes when i watch good old Dr Who and i see some engineers there tuning them spacecrafts and supercomputers and stuff, i envy them the bastards. they have something we will never obtain.

its solidness. its when through out the bloody universe there will be the same bloody equipment, and no one of them programmers will be given early retirement cause the space station Alpha is moving to StarNet framework or whatever.

Posted on 2010-03-28 16:08:49 by Turnip

The changing landscape of IT reminds me of the sea - a stormy, angry, swirling, raging sea.
You have two options: be the Rock of Ages, withstanding the sea until you inevitably crumble, or cast yourself into the sea as flotsam, completely at its mercy, without direction or control - and who can say which is the wiser choice, or which will last longer before sinking forever beneath those torrid waves?

Either way, change is inevitable - whether you embrace it or not.
And yes, I have a lot of those kinds of old technical books purchased at a whim - I even learned things from them ;)

Posted on 2010-03-28 18:05:41 by Homer
O thanks Homer, it cheered me up.
Posted on 2010-03-29 00:53:17 by Turnip
I think the key is to be able to abstract the concepts in your mind.
On the surface, all programming languages and computer systems look different.
But underneath that surface, they are remarkably similar.
They mostly use the exact same concepts, just abstracted in a slightly different way.

So while Fortran may not easily get you a job today... if you know Fortran, picking up a language like C or Pascal should be a breeze, as you will recognize the same concepts, just in a slightly different syntax.

Perhaps it was a blessing in disguise that I grew up in the golden age of home computers. Those early home computers all had their own dialect of basic, and the idea of compatibility had not really reached the personal/home computer market yet.
So I didn't know any better than that the stuff I knew about my own home computer wouldn't help me when I was at a friend's, who had a different brand or type of computer. Likewise, I knew that buying a new computer meant that I had to learn how to use it all over again.
You didn't really think about it, it was just a fact of life.

Another thing is computer graphics... my main interest as a hobby programmer. I learnt most of the basics on a Commodore Amiga.
When Commodore and the Amiga went under, I moved to PCs... but it wasn't all that hard to adapt my knowledge from the Amiga to the PC (except for the frustration about the poor PC hardware :)).
And once I got good at software-rendered 3D, someone had to invent the 3D accelerator... so I had to learn how to use 3D APIs to get accelerated 3D...

Nothing but fond memories though, and valuable experiences.
Posted on 2010-03-29 11:36:21 by Scali
Yes, scali, you are right.

fond memories and expirience, etc.

just shame that things don't last thats all.
Posted on 2010-03-29 12:17:40 by Turnip