Friday, March 6, 2020

I have seen things

Yesterday Twitter spoke and told me that I am an old man, with overwhelming decisiveness. If this has been with any more votes, I would be declared part of the vulnerable population for Corona virus, one of the expendables as people seem to refer to them.

Twitter followers... I thought we were friends!

But, Ok, I get the point. I have seen things.

I was born in 1976. I understand that in the eyes of millennials 1976 is around the same time period as 1796. My son sometimes asks me if TV was invented when I was a child.

Yes, we had a black and white TV when I was growing up. And a dial phone, that was tethered to the wall.

At 7th grade, my dad got us a Commodore 64, and I played Boulderdash, Load Lode runner, Falcon Patrol etc.

At 9th grade, I saw the TV broadcasting the first Gulf War. I didn't follow it, because at that time it didn't feel like Turkey was part of Middle East. Back then we thought Turkey was part of Europe. We used to call it the bridge to Europe.

In 1993, when I started college, I used the Mosaic browser. The Netscape browser arrived couple years later. My university had Sun workstations, and also black and green terminals.

My university was named Middle East Technical University. (Yeah, somehow, I still didn't connect the dots then...) We learned Pascal, C, Lisp, ML, Prolog. C++ was new back then, the department started a C++ course when I was in my 3rd year.

I started an MS+PhD at The Ohio State University in 1998. My flight from Istanbul to JFK had a lot of cigarette smokers -- smoking was permitted on the planes then. My flight from JFK to Columbus was a slow propeller plane.

In 2000, I was among the first to use 802.11b cards and WAPs at home, because one of my roommates was working at a company developing WAPs and writing drivers for 802.11b cards.

I have seen peer-to-peer networks become a thing, and then not become a thing.

I got my first cell phone in 2004. It was a Motorola Razr. I didn't like it... I didn't have much use for it.

In 2007 iPhone was released, and I bought one. I liked the iPhone a lot.

Yeah, I have seen things, but that doesn't make me old. It was interesting times, and I feel lucky I got to see computers and information technologies taking off.

Not having a Facebook account doesn't make me old.  I am a Twitter person, I never saw much point in Facebook.

I also want to come clean and say it. I never watched the Game of Thrones, not a single episode. I just know that winter is involved (learned this from Twitter memes), and there is a red wedding where a lot of people died (learned this from this CS paper).

When you miss a lot of things in popular culture, you may start to become irrelevant. But I think missing a couple things is OK. I don't want to be the same as everyone else. "If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking." -- Haruki Murakami, Norwegian Wood

In order to delay old age, I try to start new things and get involved in new experiences. Entropy is hard to beat, I know. But, not today old age, not today.

24 comments:

  1. Great experience you shared, i'm 21 and learning in computer science, and i like your share. I agree that everyone has his own experience and shoulnd be "disparage". (i'm also a french guy who learn english ^^)

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  2. Do not read, do not think , inhale you own Flattus. Merry Christmas

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  3. Lol @ METU and not getting the hint

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  4. Seems like millennials may have also started seeing things in the early 2000s. I am technically a millennial (1985) and in high school, as with many people my age, my first phone was the Nokia 5125. Once the Razr hit the market, a general reluctance towards getting one was because of their reputation of breaking easily after being dropped. I couldn't afford the first two iPhones and developed a stereotype that they were for middle- or upper-class white kids. I was finally able to afford the iPhone 3 and did love it, but felt the screen was much too small. I quickly jumped to the Samsung Note II and watched YouTube videos comfortably in bed.

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  5. I stumbled across this on hackernews. I was born in 1973, and we (you and I) have lived almost parallel lives...a world apart (and I suspect many others feel the same). One thing I remember about my Commodore 64 is programming in Basic. There are pictures of me typing what must have been hundreds of lines of code, copying it directly from a computer magazine my father had bought for me. I dont remember what all of that code made the computer do, but I do remember how I would sit there for hours, at such a young age (I was in fourth grade), entering in all of that code, flawlessly, so that it would run properly. Thanks for the memory!

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    1. We (1974) certainely lived a world apart, though I share some similarities with autor, it is odd, commodore 64 was it for you, for me hp48sx and apple IIc, thanks for bringing back the memories.

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    2. Born 1977 & started my path keying BASIC into a VIC-20.

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  6. Great post but peer-to-peer networks are a thing, you missed it while doing old people stuff :D

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    1. Sweet Summer child. P2P networks were *the* thing. Like, the only way you could listen to and discover music. Or afford Photoshop ^_____^

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  7. Having Facebook it all is the tell.

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  8. You think you're old? When you were born I had been programming for eleven years. Been doing it ever since.

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  9. I was born in 1971 and share similar experiences. I remember my folks getting a color television. I grew up on the Sinclair 1000, Apple IIe and dialing into Tandem Computers over modem - the one where you put the phone in a cradle. I tried Fb for six months in 2010 - thought it was daft. You have to be a good Fb friend on Fb to have friends. And besides, it’s like a pantomime where everyone is happy and things are awesome. I’ve never used Twitter so I must be a Luddite or dinosaur. Although, I just shipped a project using modern day blue/green pipes in the cloud with young people. Engineering and solving problems never goes out of style.

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  10. As another official "Old Guy" my contribution is
    "Well we used Hollerith cards and we liked'em!"

    Fred, also another OSU alum, Vietnam-era vet, still programming

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  11. I like how twisted this into you being individualistic and choice conscious. Would it be that hard to find out how stories work? Like 10 minutes?

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  12. I like how you twisted this into you being individualistic and choice conscious. Would it be that hard to find out how stories work? Like 10 minutes?

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  13. another olds here: 1971. still at a large tech co. history sounds familiar.

    but, i wouldnt say anything except the tech is much different (if even). regardless of age most are just gadget guys.

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  14. Same born in 76, had my 15 yo explain to me about few months back what "stories" are :(

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  15. Thnx for the blog, I appreciate/enjoy reading.
    Would you mind asking METU CC why student password are still max 8 chars?

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  16. Murat, How was Bilkent vs Metu at those days?

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  17. At University of Illinois at Chicago's computer lab, we had SPARCstation 5s and I thought my dream job would have one on my desk. But there were also SGI machines and the had the *best* flight simulator SW. Oh, and the MCS lab had NeXT computers but I never got used to the wonky accelerated mouse movement.

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  18. wasn't it "lode runner" ?

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  19. Just wanted to say that it's not your fault that you don't know about Instagram and Facebook stories. It's those platforms' fault, they're actively hiding that stuff from you.

    For unregistered users Instagram currently lets you take a small peek at a person's "feed", if and only if you can somehow find their public profile which is not easy, and will then try to force you to log in to view more. Stories can't be viewed at all without logging in. I've never seen a single Instagram story with my own eyes, but I've heard of them and seen screen recordings of them.

    Facebook is similarly walled off. I've never heard or seen of Facebook stories either.

    I have however heard of YouTube stories, and while I actually do use YouTube, the stories are still very aggressively hidden from me. I rarely see one, and when I do it's usually because I happened to open YouTube on my mobile by chance and saw one.

    It feels like the platforms are ashamed of the stories feature, trying to hide it from people who don't know about it. If I remember correctly, they all copied it from Snapchat, so maybe the platforms feel forced into it by demand.

    Either way, it's not your fault, the current state of social media is just bad.

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