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Do you remember when?

Hey, do you remember 25 years ago?

It was 1987. Ronald Reagan was president, just halfway through his second term. Nobody had ever heard of the Internet, a smart phone or an “app.” Want to take some music on your jog? Load up the Sony Discman with a CD and hit the trail. That’ll keep you entertained for 45 minutes or so.

Meanwhile, in Washington D.C., a specialized newspaper called Federal Computer Week launched, bringing federal managers and contractors news about the technology world and how it was changing.

And oh, how it changed. That era seems quaint today, even though many of us are old enough to remember it fondly. Here at Federal Computer Week — still going strong all these years later — we’re preparing a special issue next month to trace the history of federal IT during those years.

So we’re asking you to share your memories — fond or not — of the past quarter-century. What do you see as the important trends, milestones or turning points? What regulations helped move things along — or contributed to holding things back? What technologies do you miss?

Share any thoughts you have about the era in the comments here.

Posted by Michael Hardy on Apr 23, 2012 at 12:18 PM


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Reader comments

Thu, Apr 26, 2012 Kaffie

I remember how excited we were when we received new computers with 20mg hard drives for our computer room! We put those puppies right next to the big old Honeywell system, so we could use them while doing the tape backups. Next we got a whole mb of memory (yes ONE whole mb to call our own)! We pushed our old computers right out to our users and installed our new computers immediately. Of course, we had to reload DOS from the 5-1/4" floppy disks before we could do anything else :) And, if I remember correctly, we received our Federal Computer Week in a newspaper format, on real paper.

Wed, Apr 25, 2012 SOTE COntractor Federal Agency

By 1987, I had finally trained our Federal systems programmers that there were only three things we could not do with our mainframe from HOME (yeah, telework, 25 years ago). We could not take paper off the printers, we could not mount tapes on tape drives (remember mass offline storage), and we could not hit the POR (Power-On-Reset) switch (for you PC people, that is the PC's big red switch). Telework is nothing NEW to real computer professionals.

Wed, Apr 25, 2012

Systems Network Architecture was the buzz word in the late 80s!

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