I think I am from the first generation when IT was available to normal people. Yes I know about Bletchley Park and the first computers in Universities in the 1950s and 1960s But when I was about 16 I had Computer Studies lessons at my school, the first time they had been introduced. We wrote programs on Commodore PET computers – 2 kilobytes of memory and no hard disk. Compare that with the iPhone that I bought this week, with 256 gigabytes – over 100 million times more memory – in a phone.
In order to program these computers we really did have to understand how they worked. I progressed through a Computer Engineering degree to work in IT and I remember writing software in machine code using hexadecimal numbers, rather than a programming language. These days we get used to everything being really easy from us. I am writing this blog using a WordPress app on my iPad. The app guides me through the whole process, lays out the page and publishes the blog.
And yet, dig under the skin just a little and the complexities of technology remain. I bought the domain name petesblog.uk this week, and wanted to use that for the blog. It took me nearly a day to work out how to do that, working with my domain name provider, my blog provider, choosing domain name servers, getting stuck with cache held at my ISP and more. The complexities of some of the settings no doubt give me options but were well beyond my understanding.
Does this matter? I have very little understanding of how my car works anymore, but that does not mean I can’t drive it. But we are all so dependent on tech these days. As I was navigating the world of blogging on Monday, I was sent a gmail with a link I needed. The email did not arrive, not for once because I had done something wrong, but because google services failed for 30 minutes.
I have probably turned into an old fogey. I love the technology toys we have these days. But I do miss understanding how they work. How about you?