Monday, March 09, 2009

Sam, Sam, the programmer man


That's a picture of an original Jim Franklin poster for the 'Thirteenth Floor Elevators,' one of the first real hippie bands that played at a cool place called the Vulcan Gas Company up in Austin, late 60s ("Conquero"). Jim went on to Armadillo fame later but these old posters are quite rare. I never got any prints but I do remember getting a bunch of cheap copy paper to staple them onto telephone poles downtown, which made for some rather unusual telephone poles.

But I digress, at the same time these hippies were blasting out electric rock 'n' roll, folks were programming on computers. I think this had something to do with the hippie movement. In essence, kids were making up any entire new language to communicate more effectively. I will never forget when one of the UNIX originals told our training class that "disk slash dollar dot splat" was the ultimate insult ... well you had to be there but the training was at the UT think tank technology incubator facility, millions of bucks and chaired by Admiral Inman himself.

So getting onto my point, since those days programming has changed, and boy has it. RegularHTML and SQL programming has gone nuts, and no telling what they do to jack up all those freaking graphics. It's amazing. DO YOU KNOW THERE ARE PEOPLE WHO PROGRAM IN FREAKIN' 'TWITTER'?

Ahem. I guess I am old school and went into a kind of statistics programming language called SAS, which was strange for a former English Major like me. SAS started in the 60's too, by a couple of hippies who left Big Blue (IBM) to work on applied mathematics, including such stuff as linear regression to analysis of variance and quality control. Unless you "sex up" your SAS output it looks like it was printed on one of the first linotype mainframe printers you ever saw.

Me I don't mind it a bit, and while I'm not getting rich I can make in the low six figures in the little job niche I wandered into. SAS has been berry, berry good to me. I guess I'm graphically challenged but viewing data in different ways, formats, and structures has always appealed to me, and a picture or movie is always better than reams of data. An emerging consensus is that when you really view data and visualize it, many of the common urban myths and old wive's tales turn out to be completely false!

So there I am, like the "best of 1998" and these mainstream programmers today are really hot. It's OK and it's all good, and as more people use computers communication will increase. I did put in a major plug for data programming, which can always use sexing-up. Just like them good old boys and girls did down on Congress Street at the Vulcan in Austin, Texas, light show and all.

1 comment:

Mike said...

I waz there as well....Good times!