I confess to being a former mainframe programmer. In fact, I confess to enjoying binary arithmetic expressed in 64-character character set display code, especially while punching operator commands into the master console of Seymour Cray’s Cyber architecture, running NOS/BE (“R-R-R”!).
But the truth that I ultimately had to face was that my technology chops are not as instinctive as many of my peers, nor as pleasantly organic as my much smarter brother, Wayne, who was dealing with the massive amounts of data generated by Fermi National Laboratory’s particle accelerator. Working in IT was a college job for me that I never intended as a career. But I am deeply grateful for the path that providence has allowed me and the continued opportunity to work directly with some of cyber’s most creative talents.
This past Monday, I watched the opening keynote of Apple’s annual World Wide Developers Conference online, seconds after the 5,200 true believers got to see it live and in person at the Moscone Center in San Francisco. The 2-hour presentation (which can be seen online here) left me with a renewed confidence in free market enterprise as only Americans can advance; elegant, valuable, and refined. Even devout Windows fans should watch the first 15 minutes to get a feel for the direction of consumer level technology.
My appreciation for the remarkable design sense of Steve Jobs began around the time of the renowned 1984 Macintosh ad that aired nationally just once during Superbowl halftime. At the time, my head was in the clouds as a cyber security engineer for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratories (JPL). While my prime directive was controlling access within the JPL enterprise, my professional hobby was convincing the mainframe environment to be a friendlier place by writing intuitive user interfaces.