They promised us home nuclear generators, flying cars, and robots. You can look it up in old editions of Popular Mechanics. But no-o-o-o. I'm still paying the power bill and still driving around in a thing with wheels, on the ground. Isn't that dangerous? I mean, don't they run into things and stuff?
Oh well, at least I have robots. Not the "Danger, Will Robinson" kind. But robots. Faithful electromechanical servants.
My clothes washer is smarter than the first computer I worked with. Doesn't work any better than the clockwork-timer jobbie we started with, but it's quieter, and they tell me it's more energy-efficient.
I have a robot in my kitchen that's kind of cool. I put soft, squishy food waste into this thing through a hole in my sink, and then I turn on the water and tell it to take out the garbage, and by golly it disposes of that stuff.
But my favorite robot is the one that does automatic data backups at work. I bet that between 1982 and 1992, I spent a thousand hours backing up data onto removable media. I missed out on 8" floppies (but I remember our early version of dBASE came with 8" as well as 5-1/4" floppies! I used 5-1/4" floppies in all varieties; I used 3-1/2" floppies low and high density; I used Quarter Inch Cartridge tapes. The QIC tapes were supposed to be a vast improvement because it promised "automatic" backups onto a single media destination tape. Only problem was it didn't always work, so you sort of had to attend it anyway -- and it violates the Popular Mechanics promises if the human has to be the attendant of the machine.
Since 2005, however, the core of the backup strategy has been CDs (and now DVDs). I have software that actually does reliable automatic backups while I am home not thinking about my employer's data.
When it requires a disc change, it politely opens the drive and waits for my presence in the morning; in my mind's eye it seems to bow slightly at the waist as it hands me the completed disc on a butler's silver salver. "Thank you, Minion, you may go," I say.
At last I am the ruler of my mechanical minions!
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