Travels with Paddles

a sea kayaking journal

Axel Schoevers (Photo: A. de Krook) Name:
Axel Schoevers
Rijswijk, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Spring Clean-Up

One of my 'favourite' things to do this time of year is filling in my income tax form. This year gets more complicated because I started business in 2006. Despite the fact it was my local tax-unit that decided back in 2006 that I was definitively running a business, the national agency still sent me a personal tax-form. I ran into major bureaucracy to make sure that I do receive the right tax-form... Anyway, while I am waiting on a new 'invitation to process tax', I went to my storage-space to weed through old stuff that can be thrown away. I use(d) to be very, very organized. Everything in labelled folders in labelled boxes. Then some years ago our cellar flooded (global warming downpour). Out went my moulded childhood memorabilia. My 'law of collecting' states that one saves stuff as long as one has room for it (waiting for flood, fire or moving house). Out of mind, into a box... Today it was mostly 'post-flooding' old-jobs related documents. And I found two long-lost copies of drawings that intrigued me during my IT college days.
Spider web computer userThe one with the skeleton is from those Digital Equipment Corporation PDP-11 (subtype eludes me now) college computer room days. The Unix machine ran on 256 Kb internal memory. It ran C and Pascal (my favourite English language dialect ;-)), time-sharing 16 terminals. It's 8-inch (yep, massive) floppy disks held 250 Kb of data; my two-years worth of projects... I save you those COBOL punch card stories.
Limited scopeThe other picture made it into my final-year project "User interface aspects when integrating computer information systems". At home I had my Apple //e, 128 Kb with a Z80 card, running Digital Research CP/M (that would become MS-DOS) and Pascal MT+. Found the receipt of it today; I save you the price I paid for it... Apple had introduced it's Lisa computer. The GUI idea not yet stolen by Microsoft (Windows). Today, looking at the widespread "common user interface mistakes" all over the web, nothing really has changed. Now we have fancy Windows Vista Aero. The picture of the skeleton is still relevant to the ever faster computers bogging down in 'design software' that overshadows any functionality. The skeleton is understating that the responsiveness of the computer system is not too bad... Folders thrown away, memories lost? Not quite. Some of it made it onto my blog...

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