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March 7, 2008

Tech, G.P.: Change inevitable in technology


A man much smarter than I am once said something like ``Nothing endures but change."

That would be Heraclitus, and he said it about 2,500 years ago.

I guess he was right. Things are still changing.

First among recent changes, I have to mention in the interest of full disclosure and my desire to keep whatever credibility I have, that I have a new employer.

I now work for Pyramid Business Systems, an Endwell-based business technology company that wanted to expand by opening an office in Oneonta. They're a great bunch of people and I look forward to a lot of interesting technology adventures with them.

As before, from time to time I will probably draw from experiences on the job to fill my allotted column space, but also as in the past, you can be sure I will try to refrain from filling it with ``shameless commerce."

So, what else is new?

I guess "change" is the buzzword we're all hearing about now. All the presidential candidates are vowing to change the government.

But things always change anyway. Like it or not, change is everywhere, all the time, especially in technology.

Sometimes it happens rapidly, sometimes slowly. Sometimes you don't want things to change and sometimes you do. Sometimes you just don't notice. Change can be creeping, but it still happens.

Take, for instance, the way you light your house at night.

The incandescent bulb became popular in the 1920s and became so universal that everyone just took it for granted. Never mind that only about 3 percent of the energy it used was converted into visible light.

Then the fluorescent tube appeared, with a higher efficiency.

Now, "compact fluorescent" devices are rapidly replacing the old style light bulb, and someday in the not-so-distant future we will probably all be using LEDs to light our houses at night.

Sometimes change jumps right in your face.

I have a friend who built PCs for years, as I did, as computers became more and more important to people.

He breathed life into hundreds of them over the years, until a couple years ago, when he gave it up and retired. I think it was probably just about two years ago, not more than three.

The other day he sent me an e-mail mentioning that he got a new PC, one that he didn't build, but bought from a big national company.

He wanted to install a DVD drive he had around the house into the new machine. When he opened the new computer, he found that he didn't see any of the connections he was familiar with inside it.

The IDE connectors, which were so ubiquitous a couple years ago, have been "deprecated," as they say, and were nowhere to be found in his new machine. Talk about making you feel old real quick ...

That's the way it can happen.

Sometimes what goes around comes around.

Microsoft just the other day released a new version of its server operating system, Windows Server 2008. Now Windows has always been famous for its "Windows" interface. You know _ mouse clicking and graphical appearance.

Well, guess what's an option when you install the new version of the software: a command line interface. Command line as in C: prompt of the olden days, if you remember that.

As they say, who'd have thunk it?

I give the Windows people credit, though. It must have been hard for them to take the windows out of Windows, but it's more efficient for some server situations.

Change.

You've got to love it. And if you love it, stick around and watch technology.

Bruce Endries is former systems manager at The Daily Star. He can be reached by e-mail at techgp@dailystarmail.com.