It is very interesting reading about pre-internet-times. My first memories regarding computers date back to the early Nineties when my father bought our first PC, an IBM.....and at school, we had a voluntary weekly lesson in informatics where we learned to write small programms in Turbo Pascal....
I think that on a rather abstract level, certain penomena turn up again and again, and definitely any change comes with advantages but also disadvantanges.
The question is how we deal with it and what we make of it.
Lavinia, I am also old enough to remember those days. In fact, I worked on one such network, General Electric Information Sercices (GEIS). Back then they were called service bureaus. They also had their own world wide packet switching networks.
The question I have is when will the balance tip, as it did for service bureaus. The real reasons they existed, by the way, was the expense of the computing platform (the mainframe). They died off (mostly) when computing could be bought in smaller units (the minicomputer and workstation).
On the network side, many companies had their own worldwide networks, often based in DECnet (remember DEC?). Given the issues with the NSA and hackers, it will be interesting to see how that aspect evolves.
California State University, Chico was the first school in California to offer an ABET-accredited degree program in mechatronic engineering. Now its California Mechatronics Center works with industry on machinery, robotics, and surveillance vehicles.
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