Working in the Cloud, in 1990
by Dwayne Phillips
Back in 1990, I was part of this cloud computing and remote work — in a manner of speaking.
Cloud computing has enabled remote work — as we know it today. I guess the last five words are the key — as we know it today. Some of us have done this type of work for decades.
Back in 1990, I wrote magazine articles for several publications. The most frequent magazine was C/C++ Users Journal. This was so long ago that people talked about the C programming language. It wasn’t until later that we tossed in “C++.”
Yes, in 1990, there was a form of electronic communication. The ARPANET had led to email and bulletin board services for some of us. I was not one of us at the time. I wrote proposals on the computer, printed them, and mailed them to magazine publishers via the US Mail using envelopes and stamps and all that. The magazine publishers replied via the same US Mail.
After a few articles were published, a publisher might call me on the telephone. We would talk about future articles and series of articles. I would write the articles and mail the paper and the floppy disks to the publishers.
I was working remotely with people I never met. Our relationship was in the cloud of uncertainty and suspense. It worked. I met a few of the publishers with whom I worked at conferences. That was a great joy. It was rare. Perhaps the rarity increased the joy.
Around 1995, Windows 95 arrived. It was the first Microsoft Windows that really worked for everyone. Also arriving was America OnLine (AOL) with its free CDs that gave free but limited accounts. AOL had email and such. Magazine publishers created websites with editorial guidelines, publication schedules, and requests for articles. We communicated via a cloud of networks that I really didn’t understand. It worked. We were remotely working with one another. Gone were the envelopes and stamps.
I guess times have changed with advances in technology. We don’t use external cameras, microphones, and speakers. I have half-a-dozen external plastic microphones in a cardboard box at the bottom of a pile in a closet somewhere. Everything is built in and “just works” in a manner of speaking.
Still, let’s not forget that this is old stuff for many of us.