A couple of weeks ago I was cleaning out the garage, trying to make things look nice and neat. As I was going through boxes of papers and books, I came across a real throwback – my assembly language book and a yellow card from my days at UWF. They somehow followed Pam and me as we’ve moved our way across the country and back over the past 20-something years.
Back in those days nobody gave a hoot about UI design – why bother when everything was on punch cards and paper terminals, right? Well, it wasn’t quite as stone age as that, but it was close: 3270 screens, ISPF, TSO, VM. All the lovely green-screen ways to talk to the computer. And by “computer,” we all know that we’re talking about a System/370. Everything else is just a poser. Just try to deny it.
The one book that I really wanted to find was my Advanced COBOL book, from Richie Platt’s class. That class was the killer in the computer department. It’s not that COBOL was hard: it was the amount of data validation that had to be done. Tons and tons of writing, reviewing, testing, re-writing. Hour upon hour, late nights and weekends spent in the computer lab and in the little temporary building just outside. Fond memories of drinking Coke and eating peanut butter crackers from the vending machines while puzzling over a tree’s worth of printouts. And the oh-so-tricky tests Richie would throw at us. It’s amazing anyone at all passed the class.
So what do I do to keep a reminder of the past? The command prompt. It’s the sole refuge of a simpler time. Gotta keep it Kermit green with black background.