Déjà vu

Monday, 4 January 1999
The year 1998 is over. It is time to look back, and forth.

My first computer was a Commodore VIC20, with colour and sound! You could just plug it into your TV. It had almost 4K of free memory. You could play the most fantastic games, using a joystick. What a prodigy of technology. "A keyboard, screen and joystick. What could a future computer need more? It was impossible for me to envision. To me the computer was complete, finished.

A few years later I learned S360 mainframe assembler. It was the only program language that facilitated a world wide response time (.../responsetime) of three seconds. The 4K boundary returned, as maximum size for a program segment. It was spacious for someone who was used to 3.5K in Basic.

The first Apple Mac The mainframe text processor was the IBM Document Composition Facility (.../DCF370HOME). Documents were platform independent because of various cryptical codes. A few years later the Apple Mac hit the market. Everything was graphical, even the text processor. I could forget the cryptical codes. Great, what a prodigy of technology.

In the nineties I worked on all sorts of Object Oriented PC systems. Today's PC's are fast as lightning and have plenty of memory. A one-second-response time is no problem for most functions. O miracle, what a prodigy of technology.

Internet sets us back in time:

  • It would be great to have a response time of just a few seconds. So better keep your web pages below the 4K boundary.
  • HTML is the little sister of the old mainframe text processor.
  • Web-TV brings Internet on TV. The VIC20 was far ahead of its time.
The computer world is just more of the same. Don't let anybody fool you. Whatever all marketeers may promise for the new year, you have probably seen it before.

Till next week.