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Dinner and Memories

PostPosted: February 5th, 2018, 8:01 am
by Flack
Blog Title: Dinner and Memories
Blog Link:
Date: Mon, 05 Feb 2018 12:06:45 +0000


Last Tuesday Susan and I were able to have dinner with Susan Wood-Butorac, a person who directly changed the course of both of our lives.

In the winter of 1995 I was twenty-two years old. I had been working as a contractor at the FAA for eight months, and had only been married to Susan [...]

Re: Dinner and Memories

PostPosted: February 6th, 2018, 8:15 am
by Sumer
Great story! I am guessing the mid-90s was pretty busy around government buildings trying to get everyone on a network. We have people in our office who are about ready to retire talk about using a computer for the first time in the 90s, as they never had to use them in their government position prior. But then, all of the tasks they do now got migrated to the computer, so they were forced to learn what a mouse was and such.

I am still amazed that I find people who still "hunt and peck" when typing in this day and age, but the person I am speaking of, who is about a year from retirement, is one of those people I described above!

And of course, some things stay the same in the government: correct me if I am wrong, but they still ship the IT equipment directly to the office instead of letting the IT people bring it in. At least, that is how they do it with my agency. Everything has to be tracked from HQ to the field with a tracking number, then bar coded, and then input into our inventory system, and THEN the IT people can get their hands on it!

Re: Dinner and Memories

PostPosted: February 6th, 2018, 10:08 am
by Flack
Yeah, the 90s were kind of insane.

I came on in 1995. I believe that our organization was using dumb terminals until around 1993. I never supported those, but I remember seeing the equipment still around the office when I started. By the time I came on, we were running Novell 3.1 file servers with Windows 3.1 workstations. I don't think we upgraded to Windows 95 until late 97, early 98.

The weird and exciting thing about that time is that, with 130 offices across the US, what we obviously needed a WAN and didn't have one. So instead we had all these things like email servers (CC:Mail) that tossed mail every 5-10 minutes over a phone line to a centralized mail server for distribution. All the safety inspectors input their information into a DOS-based program; each night, we did an upload to the mainframe, and each morning we received a download which consisted of compiled information from all 130 locations.

The office I worked in had safety inspectors and maintenance inspectors, most of whom were retired pilots and retired airline mechanics. By the time these guys started they were in their 40s or 50s, and being the mid-90s, for some of these guys, our workstations were literally the first computers they had ever used. These guys were used to filling their reports out by paper and handing them to a secretary to type up. Some of them felt directly using the computer was beneath them.

My job in Spokane was so much fun because I did everything. Today my job is pretty compartmentalized -- everyone here only does and specializes in one or two things. Back then, I was the sole tech guy for an office of ~30 people. I ran the server, fixed workstation issues, repaired printers, ran network cables, and even punched down phone connections when people moved cubes. I had my own office and a server room and because I was 22ish and everyone else was 50, nobody bothered me much. So the good part was, the job was a lot of fun and had a lot of variety. The bad part was, I was a GS-9 and made less than 1/3 of what I make now. :)

Re: Dinner and Memories

PostPosted: February 10th, 2018, 9:17 pm
by Kid Ice
Being young, newly married (*cough* no kids *cough), embarking on a successful career... what a great time of life.

Re: Dinner and Memories

PostPosted: February 10th, 2018, 10:22 pm
by Flack
It really was. I moved to Spokane before my wife (she stayed behind to sell the house) so everything I took with me went in my Dodge Neon. Can you imagine? I couldn't even get all the computer equipment I'd want to take today in a Dodge Neon. And part of what I took was every CD I owned. Ridiculous! And when I got to Spokane, I didn't even have a place to live! I rented this ski hut (which was the back half of a mobile home) until I found an available apartment.

We were there for 18 months. My dad drove to Spokane with my wife in the moving truck, and flew there to help drive the moving truck home. My mom came once. My friend Jeff came to visit once. That was it. Mostly it was just the two of us, working and exploring a brand new city. It really was a great time of life.