Keeping up with technology and tools

The pace of technology is exploding. It was a little more than 20 years ago when individual government workstations began receiving computers.

I joined the Air Force in 1989. At the time, it was the communications squadron’s policy to ration personal computer to only two per office until it was able to give one to everyone. However, the lucky few who had a PC still had to use a typewriter to complete performance reports. Email and the Internet/Intranet were still a couple of years away.

Fortunately, I had a computer since I was a staff writer on the base newspaper at Bolling Air Force Base, D.C., AFDW Beam. The publisher was on the forefront of technology.

We’re a long way from the bulky desktop computer taking up half the desk, monitors emitting green-glowing text and externally storing information on 5 1/4 -inch floppy disks (that are only useful now as coasters, if you can find one). And, what about cell phones? The first time I pulled “on-call” in the Air Force, I had to walk around carrying a cell phone about the size of my shoe. We appropriately call it “the brick.” All it could do was make and receive calls. It’s almost limitless what today’s smart phones and apps can do.

From these humble beginnings, there is a plethora of information tools. Who would have imagined laptops, smart phones or tablets in 1989? Now we can store information and send emails in the cloud, and can access it almost anywhere.

CIO UK published “Six steps to the next generation IT estate, The challenges facing businesses and their IT Infrastructures.” ( It stated organizations not using cloud computing and allowing their people to access information on several devices are falling behind the times. “Users and customers are demanding an IT experience that is: Anytime, Anywhere, Always on and available via mobile, tablet, TV and the PC,” wrote Jason Hill, independent IT consultant.

There may be people who disagree with Hill’s assessment, but I’m not one of them. Where I work, my co-workers and I use a collaborative platform to work on projects and to communicate when teleworking. Using this collaborative platform trumps the “good ol’ days” of passing back and forth folders of marked up paper, and is easier than the recent process of sending files via email (and its inevitable version-control nightmare).

In addition, I take advantage of cloud technology, which allows me to access information wherever I may be. There’s nothing like storing a document on the cloud, reading it on my smart phone or tablet during the Metro commute, and accessing on any computer or laptop.

All this in 21 years. What about 21 years from now? I’m banking on “attending” meetings as a hologram.

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