Originally Published: Sunday, 19 December 1999 Author: Jerry Hatchett
Published to: featured_articles/Featured Articles Page: 1/1 - [Printable]

Holiday Reflections

With Christmas and a New Year only days away, I'm entering my annual ritual of nostalgic reflection. I like to look around at the way things are, and compare them to the way they used to be. It puts things in perspective and always invoke a series of different feelings....

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With Christmas and a New Year only days away, I'm entering my annual ritual of nostalgic reflection. I like to look around at the way things are, and compare them to the way they used to be. It puts things in perspective and always invoke a series of different feelings.

First, this time of year tends to make me feel a bit older. I guess that's natural since I am one year older than I was during my last period of holiday reflection, and my birthday on Christmas Eve could certainly have something to do with that. I look around the house and see teenagers instead of toddlers. They used to lug around He-Man and Barbie and a million other icons of childhood. Those things are gone. They've been replaced by truck magazines and cordless phones. I hope and pray that telephones cannot organically fuse to one's ear, but fear that it may indeed have already happened. I look in the mirror and see increasing gray where only brown existed a few years ago.

I ponder the things I've done wrong over the years, and smile with remembrance of the things I got right. I vow to avoid the former and to try to repeat the latter. Then I move on through a succession of emotions and moods, sentiments and personal thoughts, until finally they run their course. Then comes the fun part, when I compare my past from a standpoint of the "things" of life. And these are truly amazing times for a reflection like this.

Twenty Years Ago?

Already considering myself to be a "leading edge" kind of guy, I really wanted to make the move from 8-track to cassette. The only two things holding me back were a nice collection of music on the big tapes, and the fact that I was freshly married and had no money.

I still had very fond memories of a great movie I'd seen back during the summer. It was called Star Wars.

The gold standard for word processing was the revolutionary IBM Selectric with its interchangeable typeface balls.

Linus Torvalds was a young schoolboy.

Ten Years Ago?

I had made the musical move to the amazing compact disc some several years earlier.

HDTV was "just around the corner" and had already maintained that status for some several years.

I was once again having the urge to own a personal computer, even though two earlier buys had left me with machines that I considered quite worthless, an original Macintosh and a Tandy 2000. (See passage above about seeking to avoid repetition of errors in life.) The Mac was cute with its little smiley face, but software was scarce and expensive. The Tandy was, well, uh, er, a Tandy. You figure out the rest of that story. At around $2000 per pop on those two, taking the third plunge proved to be a tough sell around my household.

Linux did not exist.

Today?

The compact disc is still around musically and has taken on different forms.

HDTV is still "just around the corner," as it has been for what, fifteen years now?

I've owned more computers than I could possibly remember to count. I love them. I use them everyday. I cannot imagine my life without them. My computers are constantly connected to a million others around the world via a marvel we call the Internet. I work with computers and I play with computers. Computers have changed my life and changed the world, and that change is just beginning. I try to think ahead ten years from now, and can think of so many new tools to work with and toys to play with that it blows my mind.

Last but not least in my reflective musings: Linux definitely exists, and I can't wait to see how it figures into the computer equation ten years from now. My bet is that the change in its presence between now and then will be nothing short of staggering. We definitely live in interesting times, my friends.

Merry Christmas!

Jerry Hatchett, hatchett@linux.com





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