My life (so far) in tech

By Bill Bertram - Own work, CC BY-SA 2.5,
By Bill Bertram – Own work, CC BY-SA 2.5,

I was at a meeting today at which some people were using BlackBerrys (I know, I know). They were lamenting the fact that their IT team were about to replace them with iPhones or Androids or some such. It made me think of when, about 12 years ago I delighted managers by introducing these new fangled BlackBerry devices to my then council. And that got me reminiscing about tech in general…

My life in tech so far

Born (1971): family had a phone line. Not unheard of but still not that common (Dad worked for the Post Office and they wanted to be able to call him out in the wee small hours).

Some time in the 70s. Dad got sent a computer as part of his Open University course. It was programmed in binary. I’ve never been so disappointed.

1981. Got a ZX81. As a kit. Dad built it into a super-duper metal box with full travel keys. Typed 10 Print “Hello” 20 Goto 10. Blew mind.

1982 – 1987 Did not get a ZX Spectrum. Played WOTEF round at Jon’s on his ZX Spectrum. Played Chucky Egg round at Dave’s on his BBC Model B. Played… er… something round at Richard’s on his C-64. Played with Prestel at uncle’s house. Could not see point.

1982 – 1987 Did not get a BBC Model B or a C-64

1982- 1985 Obsessive reader of Computer and Video Games

1985 Started reading PCW obsessively

1983 Was bought a TI-994A as they were selling them off in Asda. Crushingly disappointing.

1989 Went to Cardiff University. They had a computer classroom. 40 286s running MS DOS and Windows. Blew mind. Sent first email using Coloured Book Software.

1992 Did sandwich year with National Rivers Authority. Used Lotus 123. Finally saw the point of statistics.

1993 Became obsessed with statistics and computer modelling. Discovered Internet. Discovered usenet. Starting telling all of my friends that this Internet thing was going to change everything. Saw less of friends.

1994 Р1996 Postgrad research. ArcView on a DEC Alpha. Saw Unix for first time: fell in love. Built first website. Built more websites.

Sometime between 1998 and 2001 Got ADSL. Blew mind.

Sometime in early 2000s. Got first mobile phone. Blew mind. Installed WiFi at work. Spend weeks gazing at laptop on table connected to Internet WITH NO WIRES.

2002 Was running an information service for community groups across UK. Noticed I had largely stopped using the phone for research and switched to using the World Wide Web.

2005 Was put in charge of a local authority website. Mixed success. Brought in BlackBerrys. General delight.

2008 Got Twitter account. Couldn’t quite get head around it. Later in 2008 Twitter obsessive. Thought: this social media is going to be big in emergencies.

2009 Stopped reading PCW. But only because they stopped publishing. Why? WHY?

2010 First unconference (GovCamp of Yorkshire and the Humber). BLEW MIND. Around this time first smart phone. Wow.

2011 Learned about Open Data (from Hadley Beeman). Blew Mind.

2012 Put in charge of a local authority website again. Quite pleased with results. Considered buying Mac. Bought ChromeBook Pixel. Bad decision

2016 Finally decided to embrace Mac at exactly moment Apple lost it and Microsoft became OK. Still on Twitter. Excited enough by new web browser (Vivaldi) to keep banging on about it. Slack!