Thursday, February 12, 2009


So my boss came to me, very distressed, with a browser that had somehow started up minus all of its bookmarks and saved passwords. This was bad news. My boss asked me where they might be, so I sat down to take a look.

I was staring into the gaping maw of Netscape; and not just any Netscape, but AOL Netscape! This is a browser that I haven't used since 2002. That's a long time. I poked around for a while, tried a few things, and eventually gave up. I simply didn't know. Now I'm not entirely certain that I could have fixed the same problem on IE or Firefox, but I think I could have given it a better go (had I been dealing with a "pretty" GUI, that is).

It made me wonder why on earth my boss would use such old software. While I was thinking, I turned and looked at the office fax machine. This is a piece of technology that has existed, in one form or another, for 100 years. I thought of all the times that I've helped a customer send a fax as he or she stood transfixed by this ancient technology. Is antiquated ubiquity a problem for young people today? I think so.

Should we be counted upon to understand outmoded technologies? I would say yes. A healthy respect for where we've come from is important for sure. Still, I pray that my boss someday discards the horse-and-buggy for the Maserati.

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