Sunday, March 21, 2010

How did we ever get anything done?

Last Thursday I got a text message from Jon at work:

"We'll merge in the morning. Be here around 9ish. See email".

We are currently working towards a deadline and we had to come in on our Friday off. I got home and checked my email. He needed my help with the "merge". Friday morning I pulled in the parking lot and I didn't see Jon's car. I was a little bugged until I read my email. It turns out Jon finished the merge about 2:00 am that morning. I quickly forgave Jon and was glad because I could start testing our software immediately. When Jon showed up around 10:30, I was surprised since I knew he had worked late.

Flashback to 1990

Whenever I needed to coordinate with someone at work (no instant messaging, email OR voice mail), I would call on the phone. Usually they weren't there, so the phone would roll over to the secretary. She would leave a note on their desk to call you. They would call back and usually miss you and then leave a note with your secretary that they were returning your call. Sometimes it took a week or two to get a simple answer.

The way I see it that with faster computers and better communication, we should be several times more efficient today than 20 years ago. I actually feel more efficient, I just don't remember how we got anything done that required people working together.

Flashback to 1986

I had a summer job as a research assistant. I was modifying a simple software program for my professor. It took 20 minutes to recompile the software after the smallest change. How did I ever get anything done?

Flashback to 1969

We landed a man on the moon. The computers they used had less computing power than my cell phone. How did they do that?

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