No one can argue that the various forms of technology have changed our society, our world, and indeed our very lives. Not many people can exist without some form of computer, even if it is indirectly through the use of banks, government, or other companies. This is not a revelation. Neither is the fact that technology changes. We now have flatscreen TV’s that weigh less than the stands we used to use. Cell phones have almost replaced laptops for many people, while laptops have pretty much replaced desktops for many more. My cell phone is more powerful in every way than the computer I upgraded to when I was first exploring digital imaging.
One curious quirk of this evolution is the full circle our use of computers has taken. When computers were first being used in business, all processing and storage was done by a “mainframe” connected to “dumb” terminals where employees input data etc. When personal computers became a thing, they were, by necessity, self contained. All processing and storage was done by the machine on (or beneath) your desk. Today we are going back to the concept where much of the processing and storage of data is done “in the cloud”, in other words, done by servers connected to your computer through the internet.
The programs we use on our computers have changed with these trends as well. As computers became more powerful, we had more advanced and more capable programs at our fingertips. With the advent of interconnectivity, such as the world wide web, we were able to share ideas, observations, and events.
The price of this advancement and ease of use is, ironically, less ease of use. When I received my first computer (a TRS-80) I spent several months writing a program in BASIC to help catalogue 100’s of my photographic slides. It was a relatively simple program, but I understood it inside and out. I could look through the (several page) printout of the program to see where and how to make changes or improvements. Today I use Adobe Lightroom to catalog 10’s of thousands of images with way more versatility and control, but even if I could see the source code, I would probably have no idea of what is going on.
Which brings me to the point of this lengthy post. The first website I wrote was quite simple and easy to change, but difficult to maintain. As this site has changed and grown I have tried several programs to make maintenance easier, but the technology keeps changing, and each new program requires a learning curve (granted more gradual, but arguably longer). A couple of the programs I used to use are either no longer maintained or are in limbo, so I must once again try to find something that will suite my needs.
Maintaining a website has gone from writing HTML to changing settings and checkboxes. I’m not sure which one is easier…