It’s Déjà Vu All Over Again

(Note: With apologies to Yogi Berra.)

I recently received an eMail with the following joke…

After having dug to a depth of 10 feet last year, New York scientists found traces of copper wire dating back 100 years and came to the conclusion that their ancestors already had a telephone network more than 100 years ago.

Not to be outdone by the New Yorkers, in the weeks that followed, a California archaeologist dug to a depth of 20 feet, and shortly after, a story in the LA Times read: “California archaeologists, report finding of 200 year old copper wire, have concluded that their ancestors already had an advanced high-tech communications network a hundred years earlier than the New Yorkers.”

One week later. A local newspaper in Texas reported the following: “After digging as deep as 30 feet in his pasture near Point Blank, Texas, Buck Wiley, a self-taught archaeologist, reported that he found absolutely nothing. Buck has therefore concluded that 300 years ago, Texas had already gone wireless”.

Just makes a person proud to be from Texas.

Interestingly enough, there does seem to be a “Back To The Future” trend in technology. Today’s “Cloud” is based upon lite clients accessing networked data via virtualized Servers. This constitutes essentially the same concept as CICS terminals (lite clients) accessing DASD drives (networked data) via VM mainframe sessions (virtualized Servers) back in the 70’s. Subsequently, slow processing, access limitations, and data management issues lead to the creation of distributed networking and Local Area Networks (LANs) with personal computers accessing locally stored data.

In that same light, we’ve gone from using relayed smoke signals (wireless) to telegraphs and telephones (wired) to cell phones and WiFi networks (wireless).

We’ve come full circle in technology and the ride continues. Let’s just hope we aren’t merely retracing our steps and destined to stumble upon the same problems.

As Edmund Burke opined in the late 1700s, “Those who do not know history are destined to repeat it.
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