How many operating systems and applications?

by admin on February 19, 2008

I'm visiting a new client tomorrow to do some configuration on a computer that will be acting as a file server for the office. Because it's running Vista, that means I have to do some homework tonight on what MS has changed from Windows XP (and Windows 2003).

This got me to thinking: How many operating systems have I worked on over the years? Let me make a list:

1. At Elty Publications, they had a Mac running OS Classic 6 (I think), an ad-layout program running off Dbase and DOS (don't laugh, it was very fast) and QuarkXpress on Windows 3.1 (I kid you not). That was the early nineties.

2. At Laser's Edge and Superior Imaging, it was Windows .31, then 95 and the beloved Mac OS 7 and 8.

3. Joined Creo in 1997 and I had to learn Window NT 3.5 and 4.0 fast - very fast. Just before they kicked me up to management in 2000, I did some Unix connectivity stuff with Solaris and SGI. I briefly touched Red Hat at the time and thought it sucked huge rocks. Didn't really touch OSX at the time but it was easy to pick up.As a bit of executive fluff, I had to learn Windows XP if only for Powerpoint (heh).

4. Started Blue Butterfly Consulting in 2004 and had to brush up on my techie skills so I went into Mac again to dig deep in OSX. Windows 2003 came down the chute as well as lovely rock-solid Ubuntu (Debian distro) and now Vista.

So I have worked on all three platforms with the 2 major Mac OSX, and all the Windows flavourings back to 1991, as well as MS-DOS. With Unix/Linux, I have worked on 3 distros (I don't count Red Hat). By the way, I have a trivia question: Why did Unix die?  Because all the Unix sys admins I ever met were pompous prima donna pricks. Thank you, I waited almost ten years to make my feelings public on this matter.

Gees, I don't think I could list all the applications that I have ever learned. I think I must have used at least 3 dozen major applications in the last 17 years, with twice that many minor applications & utilities.

For example, in 1997, I had to learn PreScript, a Harlequin RIP Postscript cleaner, as I was the application specialist for that product. So I had to know Acrobat Distiller (still pretty new at the time), Quark, Photoshop, Pagemaker, Illustrator, Coreldraw (to produce Postscript samples) and there were a couple of exotic Postscript manipulation tools floating around that I made use of (now obsolete of course). I made heavy use of Slickedit (One of my chief jobs was to slice and dice naughty Postscript code for our  RIP developers to look at). And naturally I had to use the MS office suite.

Oh gees, I have to stop now because that was just one year more than a decade ago. And I wouldn't say that the learning has stopped either. This last twelve months I am getting up to speed on the Google applications such as Adwords, Adsense, Webmaster and the big interesting beast, Analytics.  Outside of Google, learning both Dreamweaver and WordPress has put money in my pocket.

Would I say I have an unquenchable thirst for knowledge? Or do I have a huge mortgage and three little ones at home to feed? I will let my readers reach their own conclusions ;-}.

{ 1 comment }

ALarson February 20, 2008 at 1:39 pm

You brought me back to the Laser’s Edge days and I wanted to jog your memory on the SunSparc10 UNIX machine for the AGFA machine as well as the SGI Indy running the Cyclone under UNIX (sweet flight simulator). There was also the Amiga (or was it Atari…?) which was the only service bureau west of the Ozarks that could image to a Linotronic. Back before Laser’s Edge was on 789 West Pender, we also had a Ventura Publisher pig that took like 20 minutes to boot up if you had a font loaded. I seem to recall it was a GEM OS.

Somewhere Dan Beaudoin has all these OS’s backed up on floppy disks in case…

Sometimes all this technology feels like buying milk. You still feel good that it’s before the expiry date, but give it a couple hours and there’s something newer, faster, cheaper.

Give me back my 128K MacSE with the dual floppy drives and no fan or hard drive. That was tidy and didn’t wake up the kids when you boot it up…

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