Thursday, July 24, 2008

Ancient History

I have been using computers for a long time. I've used punch cards, paper tape, and 110-baud acoustically coupled modems. The first computers I used had core memory, magnetic drum storage, and lots of toggle switches and little lights. I used machines with disk drives the size of washing machines, memory banks the size of refrigerators, CPUs you could listen to on your AM transistor radio, and line printers that caught on fire.

I was an early adopter. I was first among my peers to use computers. I had email back when the only people I could send it to outside of academia were others who, like me, worked for a few high-tech companies. I participated in newsgroups when they were propagated over dial-up telephone lines. I browsed the infant World Wide Web when you could keep up with new sites by reading the What's New page. I convinced my alma mater to run an alumni web server, I set up the initial web pages there and I was the first webmaster. I have been posting free software since way back.

But until now, I have never had a blog.

It wasn't that I made a conscious decision that I didn't want one. I just didn't think much about it. I was content to let other people blog; I would continue contributing to newsgroups and posting my free software.

Recently, however, the subject of blogs came up in a couple of different contexts, both times in ways that emphasized the value of blogs and started me thinking about whether I should blog. As I started contemplating the possibility, I realized I was a bit uncomfortable with the idea. What area was I such an expert in that I could post something of value? How much time would it take and what would I have to give up to open up that time? Who would want to listen to my ramblings?

Other people have gone through the same thought process as I, and in fact Steve Yegge has done a pretty good job of describing it in his blog entry You Should Write Blogs. After my contemplations and the conversations I had with friends about it, Steve's arguments were pretty convincing. And I realized that I did have a few things to say that could be useful or interesting to other people. So here I am posting my first blog entry.

Perhaps some day, after years of blogging - if I am so fortunate as to be able to do so - I will look back on this first blog entry as part of my personal Ancient History, much as I now look back with fond memories to my early computer days on an ASR 33 Teletype. BZZZT!

1 comment:

Chris Bouzek said...

Hey Jim-great to see you posting!