The More Things Change?

Internet Bookstore

Internet Bookstore

I first started working with computers in 1968. They looked a whole lot different then. A computer was a line of metal cabinets that filled a room the size of a house. It read in stacks of cards, and printed out piles of paper. That’s pretty much all it did. A computer did not show pictures, did not sit on people’s laps, did not link to other computers, did hardly any of the things we expect them to do today.

“The more things change, the more they stay the same.” I heard that somebody said that once. It seems like a great tag line for this piece that I’m writing now. But who said it? Am I remembering it correctly?

In 1968, I might have gone to the library, looked for it in books, and found it within a few hours. Just now, I did a Google search, and, in a few seconds, got back the information that who said it was Alphonse Karr; and that what he actually said was, “The more things change, the more they are the same”. Thanks to a collosal network of mind-boggling computer power, I can almost instantly pull this one small drop out of a vast sea of information

Four laptop Computers

Four Laptop Computers with Three Blue Men on Each Screen

Computer things have changed enormously. And yet I still find a lot of wisdom in Alphonse’s quote. The Internet tells me that he was a French critic, who lived from 1808 to 1890, about whom Amazon has several books and posters for sale. I picture him sitting in a Paris café, sipping wine and trading quotable quotes with artists and writers. What else did he do? It would be easy to find out. I could follow this trail of information from web server to web server, letting seconds become minutes, minutes become hours, days, weeks…. could, but won’t … but there are other trails that I have followed for years, without ever coming close to the end of them.

As you might expect, knowing that I was working with computers in the 1960’s, I am the kind of person who spends a lot of time in libraries. I have wandered among seemingly endless shelves of books, wistfully wondering at the impossibility of reading them all. Today, the contents of all those books would fit comfortably on my “c” drive. But what difference does that really make?

Knowledge has no limit. There is always more to know than you can possibly learn. And always has been – that is something that actually has not changed. I think, though, that before the Internet, this was not something that mattered to most  people. You had to be a nerd like me to even be aware of it. Today, anyone can share the experience of losing themselves in the information ocean.

Do you still loose yourself in the information ocean?

Thanks to Ed, my husband and best friend, for this guest post. I am honored to have him as a guest. He may visit again sometime.


About ClaraBowmanJahn

Journal writer. Author of "Annie's Special Day" And coauthor of Edmund Pickle Chin, A Donkey Rescue Story." Proud mother and grandmother of wonderful kids. Wife of brilliant husband. Servant of two cats. Member of Pennwriters and SCBWI.
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13 Responses to The More Things Change?

  1. I sure do. See my blog post about writing so much I have no time to write. Sigh


  2. nrhatch says:

    The access to information on the internet boggles the mind. I love being about to search for quotes, movies, books, articles, and other esoteric facts at the speed of light.

    Thanks for a great guest post.


    • clarbojahn says:

      Yes, but, it has its dangers … danger of finding your time consumed by it … and danger of getting bogus information, of which there is a lot out there :-/
      (This is Ed answering, though signed in as Clar because I don’t have a WordPress account.)


  3. suzicate says:

    I LOVE having information at my finger tips! I only wish I had the technological intelligence of my hubby!


  4. clarbojahn says:

    I know what you mean, Suzicate, my hubby is so much more techy than I am and even he doesn’t know how the blog works or anything much with the blogosphere. I am trying to figure out if I need to change to instead of continuing on and he can’t help me. If I do change to I think I’ll need to be more techy. I’ll need to know how to write html and use the html editor and all this stuff that I don’t even know what it means.


    • suzicate says:

      Why do you want to change to .org. My friend had .org which is a paying site and much much difficult to maneuver, also does not offer much of the same things free wordpress offers…after a couple of years she decided to switch to the free one, even though she is quite techical (it’s what she does for a living.) I think she originally oepened it so she could use her name and thought it would be better for phototgraphy.


      • Wow Susicate. I thought .org would be so much better because I could sell my book from my site. Also if people want to sign up to Alist blogging club, they could do it from my site. But really these are the only reasons I have. And after thinking about it I could direct traffic to my web page about the book once I have that. I just thought everyone has a .org site so it must be better. But I need to do more research on this. I’m not sure if everyone at Alist does have .org. I am pretty happy with .com. Especially now that I’m finally learning more about it.
        Do you know what the HTML tags are at the bottom of this comment and before “Post comment”?


  5. jannatwrites says:

    Wow, it’s hard to imagine computers of that size – especially since my work computer is laptop that I can take home with me (convenient, right???)

    I do remember the Dewey Decimal System and card catalogues in the library, and checking out a book meant a date stamp on a card that slipped into a pocket on the inside cover of the book. Now, the library has bar codes and sends email reminders when a due date is coming up.

    I love the accessibility of information on the internet, but it can get overhwelming at times.

    Great guest post – I enjoyed the read 🙂


    • clarbojahn says:

      I didn’t work in computers but in 1975 when I worked as a nurse in the hospital, there was a whole room devoted to a/one computer that had to be kept in a special air conditioned environment, cooler than the other rooms. At the time I didn’t know what it did. I don’t believe anything in the hospital was computerized at that time but things were being turned over. Everything was done manually. And I left hospital nursing in 1995 just as nurses notes and things were being computerized in that way. I was totally computer illiterate till about five years ago when I started doing email. Then two years ago I got face book and last October started blogging. I am not at all techy and don’t even know how to set up a face book page because my son did it for me two years ago. I’m still in awe of google and wikipedia and am not in the habit of searching. I have learned how to surf the net for blogs though and I think it’s fun and I can loose hours reading blogs. 🙂


  6. widdershins says:

    I too can get lost in the internet ethers if I’m not careful… A little while ago I bought a clockwork kitchen timer and I set it for 30 minutes …

    … once it rings (like an old fashioned alarm clock with the bells on top) I MAKE myself get up and at least put the kettle on for a cup of tea … otherwise three hours can go by and I haven’t moved, at least in real space/time …

    … it’s the same when I’m writing, only I set the timer for 45 minutes and take a 15 minute break…

    … its hard to ignore a bell ringing right in front of me!… not that I haven’t tried mind you!


  7. clarbojahn says:

    Yes, I know what you mean. Setting a timer is a good idea, one I have started using. When I forget I’m usually sorry. Now I have a rule to write my WIP in the morning before anything else. That’s good for a couple of days a week until life hits me again.


  8. Pseu says:

    I reckon your hubby needs to register for his own blog and then he can be a proper guest author on your blog (with an avatar and all)…. he’s good!

    Is there a difference with or org?


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