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Wednesday, June 25, 2008

A Hysterical Historical Perspective

We are dangerously close to letting history repeat itself in the field of Information Technology. Back in the day, mainframes were the center - in fact, the only embodiment - of the computing world. Their reach was extended by terminals that allowed interface, but had no means of local computing power.

The model switched from centralized processing to distributing processing as desktop computers became more powerful and more convenient (portable laptops - mobility). Today, we are reigning in our distributing computing power in favor of consolidated data centers, virtualized servers in single large racks of computing prowess. They aren't mainframes, but they sure look like it.

We've gone from accessing centralized information centrally to accessing distributed information distributed-ly and now what can we possibly call our current situation? The web is the new world wide database - or mainframe. Google is the Structured Query Language (SQL) interface. Web based, Software as a Service (SaaS) and cloud computing are reinforcing the move to a "centralized" platform - the distributed Internet.

What's next, the reinvention of the punch card manifesting itself in the form of a touch screen where the user pinches and brushes to zoom and scroll? Unbelievable - have we learned nothing?


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