Dumb terminals and Member’s Only jackets

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I graduated college back in 1991. I still remember fondly the first time I ever saw someone typing an email and it had to be explained to me exactly what “electronic mail” actually was. But that story is for another day. I am taking a stroll down memory lane in my mind this evening thinking about those quaint days back then when laptops were 4 inches thick and we used to brag that… “it only weighs 15 pounds!”.

You see, back in those days we had what we called “dumb terminals”. The terminal communicated with that huge server we had in the server room and the terminal loaded whatever information you needed without having to install anything. In fact, I remember the days when I first had to ‘install’ software and it’s quite funny thinking about that now. I remember thinking… geesh, I am gonna eventually need a filing cabinet or something to hold all these disks and manuals! Remember this?? … when I purchased a copy of Microsoft Office, I got a second huge box delivered to me with the manuals.

This is the thing that just fascinates me… for decades the move has been toward the desktop… increase the power of that desktop computer so that you can do more and more things with it. We moved away from the “dumb terminals” because, after all… their dumb. Right? But now that I think about it… it sure was easy to hook a new one up…. talk about plug and play!! And they sure were cheap compared to what we have paid for computers over the past decades.

And low and behold… look what we are doing now? Everything is moving to the cloud… make the computer cheap and thin and get all your services, and software, from the ‘cloud’. Sure, I might be stretching it to make this comparison, but stay with me. We have basically moved the huge server in the server room to that big huge server on the internet. I guess we truly have come full-circle.

So I guess I better hold onto that Members Only jacket… I am feeling confident that it will be back in style pretty soon!

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