Information Technology Oldies
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  Posted January 4th, 2017 by Zdenko  in Edmonton, Uncategorized | 6 comments


By: Zdenko Kahlina

Advances in Technology since I was a kid
This is all about having fun. So let’s have some fun by reminding ourselves of not very old technology devices, that are obsolete these days.

Old Style Communication Still Valid

I recently attended a IBM technical conference. I felt like a bit of an antique in the classes. Everyone was blogging, tweeting, texting, and checking Facebook. I was taking notes longhand. Feeling a bit overwhelmed, I asked the woman next to me if she felt the same. She replied yes, stuck out her hand and said, ‘This is still one connection I trust. Hello, my name is Margy.’

When I was a kid, adults used to bore me to tears with their tedious diatribes about how hard things were. When they were growing up; what with walking twenty-five miles to school every morning…. Uphill… Barefoot… BOTH ways… yadda, yadda, yadda. And I remember promising myself that when I grew up, there was no way in hell I was going to lay a bunch of crap like that on my kids about how hard I had it and how easy they’ve got it!

But now that I’m over the ripe old age of fifty, I can’t help but look around and notice the youth of today. You’ve got it so easy! I mean, compared to my childhood, you live in a damn Utopia! And I hate to say it, but you kids today, you don’t know how good you’ve got it!

Ten years ago most people didn’t even have an email address: by the close of the decade that began with Y2K, we’re wired in like never before.

I mean, when I was a kid we didn’t have the Internet. If we wanted to know something, we had to go to the damn library and look it up ourselves, in the card catalog!!

Writing a letter

There was no email!! We had to actually write somebody a letter – with a pen! Then you had to walk all the way across the street and put it in the mailbox, and it would take like a week to get there! Stamps were 10 cents!

The most important element of writing a letter is your ability to sit down and WRITE! You can hand write a letter, or you could type your letter on the typewriter – if you had one.


A typewriter WAS a mechanical or electromechanical device with lots of keys that, when pressed, cause ink to be printed on a medium, usually paper. They completely disapeared from the earth these days.

From their invention before 1870 through much of the 20th century, typewriters were indispensable tools for many professional writers and in business offices. By the end of the 1980s, word processors and personal computers had largely replaced the tasks previously accomplished with typewriters in the western world.


The electric telegraph is a now outdated communication system that transmitted electric signals over wires from location to location that translated into a message. When my grandma died I sent a telegraph message to the rest of family, and was paying this service at the local post office “per word”.

The non-electric telegraph was invented by Claude Chappe in 1794. This system was visual and used semaphore, a flag-based alphabet, and depended on a line of sight for communication.

Punch Card

A punched card (or punch card) is a piece of stiff paper that contains information represented by the presence or absence of holes in predefined positions.

Now an obsolete recording medium, punched cards were widely used throughout the 19th century for controlling textile looms and in the late 19th and early 20th century for operating fairground organs and related instruments. They were used through the 20th century in unit record machines for input, processing, and data storage. Early digital computers used punched cards, often prepared using keypunch machines, as the primary medium for input of both computer programs and data. Some voting machines used punched cards.  

Punch machine – The cards were then read and processed by a computer or an accounting machine.

Card readers

The IBM announced on May 21, 1952 new machines – card readers. Located to the immediate right of the operator’s station, the card reader was used to transfer information on IBM punched cards into the IBM 701 Data Processing System. It could read 150 cards a minute.

Old Phone

A phone, is a telecommunications device that transmits and receives sound, most commonly the human voice. So, no bilt in camera or address book, games and all other gadgets that come pre-installed these days with any new cellular phone.

Telephones are a point-to-point communication system whose most basic function is to allow two people separated by large distances to talk to each other. Don’t forget this!

We didn’t have fancy crap like Call Waiting! If you were on the phone and somebody else called, they got a busy signal, that’s it!

“Simple” new phone

There weren’t any freakin’ cell phones either. If you left the house, you just didn’t make a damn call or receive one. You actually had to be out of touch with your “friends”. OH MY GOSH !!! Think of the horror… not being in touch with someone 24/7!!! And then there’s TEXTING. Yeah, right.

And we didn’t have fancy Caller ID either! When the phone rang, you had no idea who it was! It could be your school, your parents, your boss, your bookie, your drug dealer, the collection agent… you just didn’t know!!! You had to pick it up and take your chances, mister!

The History of the Mainframe Computer

The 1st Generation: 1939 – The tube-based mainframe computers

The 2nd Generation: 1956 – Transistor Computer Systems

The 3rd Generation: 1960 – Multiprocessing and operating systems make the scene

The 4th Generation: 2004 – Let’s see a PC match that!

The 3/4 ton IBM eServer zSeries 890, dubbed the “Baby Shark” can host up to 32 GBytes of memory. The four PCIX Crypto Coprocessor (and optional PCI Crypto Accelerators) on the z890 have seven engine levels, giving a total of 28 capacity settings overall.

With it’s advanced virtualization technology the 64-bit z890 can run several operating systems at the same time including z/OS, OS/390®, z/VM®, VM/ESA®, VSE/ESA, TPF and Linux for zSeries and Linux for S/390®.

The z890 is upgradeable within z890 family and can also upgrade to z990 from select z890 configurations.

Configured with the new Enterprise Storage Server Model 750 which handles from 1.1TB up to 4.6TB of data, the x890 makes an awesome server.

2007 – System z10 

IBM produces the Blue-Gene/P, a system capable of a petaflop (1,000,000 gigaflops or 1,000 teraflops). It sports 73,728 processors comprised of four cores each of IBM’s 850MHz PowerPC 450, resulting in 294,912 cores. The system can be scaled to nearly three times that size, resulting in a 3 petaflop capability and is all hooked up via a high-end optical network.

Whatever happened to programming? 

A huge part of my job these days seems to be impedence-matching between big opaque chunks of library software that sort of do most of what my program is meant to achieve, but don’t quite work right together so I have to, I don’t know, translate USMARC records into Dublin Core or something.  Is that programming?  Really?  Yes, it takes taste and discernment and experience to do well; but it doesn’t require brilliance and it doesn’t excite.  It’s not what we dreamed of as fourteen-year-olds and trained for as eighteen-year-olds.  It doesn’t get the juices flowing.  It’s not making.

Job Control Language (JCL) is a scripting language used on IBM mainframe operating systems to instruct the system on how to run a batch job or start a subsystem. The term “Job Control Language” can also be used generically to refer to all languages which perform these functions, such as Burroughs’ WFL and ICL‘s OCL.  

Heck I don’t even remember when the last time I received a fax transmission. Duplicates of documents and any printed matters directed to me are now usually sent through e-mails by scanning them. However although fax transmissions have become less and less frequent day after day in my house, I still connect the fax machine to the line, in case in a rare occasion one needs to send me a fax and he or she happens to be Internet-illiterate.

But today, it is a totally different story. E-mails are very common. Uploading a scanned document is also a snap. Moreover, Internet connection is no longer dependent upon low-speed dial-up connection. Cellular, Cable-TV and many other networks offer high-speed Internet connections to compete with Telkom’s ADSL connection. And today, despite still subscribing to Telkom’s services I firmly feel that I no longer need Telkom’s services for the telecommunication purposes. But as usual, when the monopoly-nurtured big company like Telkom began to lose their market share in the stiff competition, then they just realized that innovation and the customer’s satisfaction were the ones worth implementing! That’s really pathetic! When they feel that they are no longer necessarily the numero uno in the league, they begin to appreciate the people that have contribution to their pots of money. But again, of course, as a cliché “better late than never” always prevails when you want to make an excuse for doing correctly so late, a newly invented adage “better early than late” must be more notified in today’s modern market-oriented stiff competition…..

New Communication methods:

Cellular phones

Smart phones








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6 comments to “Information Technology Oldies”

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