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Chasing the train…

July 26, 2006

The technology train that is.  To carry out the metaphor, the train has pulled away from the station and I’m running alongside looking for an outstretched hand from a fellow passenger so I can climb aboard.

I bought my first computer at age 14.  It was little more than a large keyboard that plugged into the TV set and saved programs on audio cassettes.  I had to vie for time in front of the TV along with the rest of the family, except that I wasn’t watching broadcast TV, but rather a blinking cursor on a 40 column display.

A couple years later, I was mowing lawns to earn money to buy an Amiga, a hot new 32 bit graphics box with a GUI interface, that along with it’s rival, the Atari ST, were chasing the Mac.  I was dialing up BBS systems with my 300 baud modem, exchanging programs, and having technical discussions with a range of people.

Skip forward a couple more years and I was in college, working a part time job building and supporting PC’s, and doing Novel Lan administration.  Intuitively, I felt I had found my career slot.  Over the next couple years, I incorporated, hired some people and assembled, sold, and supported white box PCs and networks out of a storefront in a shopping center.  I was elbows deep in the hardware and the business and worked 12-16 hour days.  It was the early days of the Intel 486 and 33 mhz was king.  I’d de-solder oscillators from scrap video cards with frequencies above 80mhz (since system board logic divided the signal by 2 before feeding it into the CPU) and would overclock my personal systems.  Today, overclocking for performance is so mainstream there are sites dedicated to the practice like this. 

There were hassles in having a business, and in time one of my customers led me into corporate America working for a top tier personal computer manufacturer.  I worked in technical support and development, and over time my focus moved further from the technology and more to the business processes.  I stopped keeping up with the code names for the newest processors, and other than usage, generally ignored the evolution of Internet. 

I fell off the technology train, and now once again I see that I need to be back aboard, but this time from an on-line content standpoint.  So, I’m running alongside, trying to match the speed, learning about RSS feeds, Wiki’s, and blogs while looking upward for an outstretched hand from a fellow passenger…

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