Julian Knight’s Potted IT History

Julian Knight’s IT History

I occasionally find the need to try and work out what technology I used
when, this page is a rather belated effort at capturing some of that information.
It may not be correct and it certainly will not be complete!


Year What happened to me? What was everyone else doing?
1964 Introduction of IBM mainframe computers
1969 Charles Goldfarb at IBM helps invent “Generalised Markup Language” (GML) the first forerunner of HTML [1]
1974 Charles Goldfarb developed
“Standard Generalised Markup” (SGML) language. The direct forerunner of HTML.
1975 Information Builders introduce FOCUS for IBM mainframes
1978 Left school and did summer jobs for the next 3 years in a mainframe operations department using IBM mainframes IBM’s “Document Composition Facility” product introduced using GML
1979 Commodore PET released
Sinclair ZX80 released
1981 Left Uni having been exposed to the joys of Fortran Programming via punched cards, a 72 step programmable Commodore calculator, analogue computing (!) and a PDP-11 Early ’80s sees launch of Acumen
, an OLAP/BI language & database developed in the UK by Mars – based on Strategem
1981 Started work in IBM Mainframe operations, also learned to programme in IBM’s APL mathematical language December: Launch of the BBC Microcomputer. Purchased a “Model A” and waited several months for it to arrive! BBC Micro launched, Sinclair ZX81 launched, Commodore Vic-20 launched
1982+ BBC Micro arrives, upgraded it myself to a “Model B”. Taught myself to programme in a variety of languages including BASIC, FORTH, PASCAL, LISP and 6502 Assembler BBC Micro arrives, Sinclair ZX Spectrum launched, TCP/IP comes into being
1983 Acorn Electron launched, FidoNet starts up
1984 Became an Analyst/Programmer learning COBOL and structured analysis and design DNS services start, JANET starts, Moderated newsgroups introduced on USENET, Apple Mac introduced
?? Replaced the BBC Micro with an Amstrad 6128 running CP/M, big mistake, a very boring machine
1986 Commodore Amiga A500 launched, NNTP created
1987 Acorn Archimedes launched
1988 FidoNet is connected to the Internet. IBM Mainframe spreadsheet: Dynaplan from DynaSoft already in use
?? Moved from COBOL programming to “Personal Computing”, mainframe style using ISPF, APL, Information Builders FOCUS (a 4GL reporting tool), a mainframe spreadsheet called DynaSoft Dynaplan
(AFAIK the first spreadsheet to use 3 dimensions) and and 4th generation tool called Acumen (which would now be called an OLAP tool). Also taught myself PL/1 to do some utility programs. Document processing was done using a mainframe SGML based tool – a good early grounding for later HTML. Later on started to work with PC’s as well, OS/2 and IBM LAN Manager. Word processing using IBM Displaywrite then Lotus Ami Pro.
?? Replaced the Amstrad with a Commodore Amiga 500, a fantastic and imaginative personal computer.
1990 March –
Lotus introduce IBM mainframe version of 1-2-3 spreadsheet (DynaSoft release Dynaplan v4.0 same year)
1998 Acorn leaves the personal computing market
?? Got myself an Amiga 3000 under Commodore’s developer program. Great for 3D modelling (Imagine, Real-3D and Lightwave) and experiments with video.
1990 ARPANET ceases to exist, Archie released, first commercial dial-up Internet provider
1991 Moved from Mainframes to PC’s full time, Introduced to Lotus Notes (release 2) and loved it WAIS, Gopher and WWW started, PGP created
1992 Demon Internet Services started up in June, 1st low cost (£10 per month) service in the UK
?? The Amiga’s got stolen along with all my disks and backups!! Replaced them with an Amiga 4000
?? Got my first palmtop, a Psion 3
1994 “Official” start of SPAM (US law firm Canter & Siegel spam Internet newsgroups)
1995 Moved from using FIDOnet to the Internet thanks to Demon Internet Services.
?? Got my second palmtop, a Psion 3a
1996 Finally got my first PC at home after holding out for so many years! Demon Internet offers ISDN access for £10 per month
1997 Got my 3rd palmtop, a PalmPilot Professional
2000 Got PC number 2, an AMD 1200MHz based one with 512MB of RAM
2001 Got my 4th palmtop, a Sony Clie PEG-T625 (Palm OS 4.1)
2004 March – Finally got broadband! Say bye-bye to Demon Internet, hello to PlusNet
2010 August – Got iPad 1 32GB
2011 January – Got a Humax HDR Fox T2 personal video recorder. Freeview HD, 2 channels
February – Got iPhone 4 32GB – A massive step up from Windows Mobile.
Apple iPad 2 introduced
2012 Moved broadband onto an FTTC connection from Origin Broadband. 40Mbps down, 10Mbps up (could have more!). Bye-bye to “slow” old 2Mbps ADSL 2+, hello to downloading films in 5 minutes!

To Do

  • Psion 3a and 3c
  • Other work stuff: Directories (LDAP, X.500), PKI, etc.


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