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November 18, 2004

You know you're getting old when...

Awkward moment of the day:

Me: Look, we'll wait forever for IS to sort out your FTP client while the purchase order is being raised. I'll show you the quick and dirty way to ftp files off a server.
Her: OK, cool. That'll be really useful.
Me: Okay, so you go to your start menu, choose 'run' and then type in 'ftp'. This is a reworking of the old-skool Unix utility, so you can type in "?" and it will give you a list of the various options.
Her: Aha.
Me: <wishing he'd picked an example before he started> okay, so you have 'ls' or 'dir' to list files, um and 'lcd' to change directory. Tell you what, lets start with the DOS prompt so we can see what's going on. Ah, that's better. Okay, so to start with we need to change to the c-drive and go into somewhere safe. So type 'c:' and hit return, now 'cd \', and then (and I start speaking increasingly slowly at this point) type 'dir' to list the files.

The reason I have slowed down is because I have realised that the very smart and well-educated person I'm explaining this to is young enough that they have *never* used a non-GUI computer interface. They have used Windows Explorer or equivalent all their life. DOS is a foreign language from archaic times.

I am a dinosaur.

(It got even worse when I tried to explain the difference between binary and ascii file transfer and realised that for all of her internet career this person has worked with FTP clients that have come with all the ascii file types set up as standard. They have never needed it set to anything other than 'auto'.)

Thank heavens they dealt with my floundering old-fartdom with such good grace.

Posted by Tom Dolan at November 18, 2004 02:30 PM

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Posted by: Euan at November 18, 2004 02:47 PM

Ah, now, this is interesting. This makes me a semi-dinosaur. No, I've never FTP'd via DOS. I wouldn't even know how, and it would scare me. However, I have used WS-FTP ever since a time that man forgot, which is why I feel like a semi-dinosaur when people (no names, no numbers) try to upgrade me to a shiny web-based 'publishing interface'. You what???

Posted by: Vaughan at November 18, 2004 05:06 PM

Although im 20 - being brought up on a ZX Spectrum has allowed me to fell warm with the console - typing in what 'I' want rather than letting the GUI apps 'guess' is surely a time saver (how many times has someone let the 'auto' option upload several hundred files as binary when its meant to br ascii?)

Posted by: Dan at November 18, 2004 10:45 PM

People call me a dinosaur when I use command line utilities instead of the 'pointy-clicky-gui' tools. I accuse them of needing a crutch to get their work done. But then again, I *am* a curmudgeon.

Posted by: Andy Todd at November 19, 2004 01:01 AM

...streaming via kermit, back when ftp was the shiny new up-and-coming wonderstuff

Posted by: Saltation at November 22, 2004 09:14 PM

Dinosaur? Ha, whippersnapping pup! I wrote email using punchcards, I connected to the ARPAnet by placing my telephone handset in a cradle with rubber cups and my "PC" had its own bungalow and a team of lab coated technicians to replace its frequently blown valves. Try telling that to the young people of today, and they won't believe you.

Posted by: jamie.cason at November 25, 2004 12:00 AM

In my last job (about four years ago) I regularly had to bypass Internet breakdowns/slow email servers etc in order to get time critical file transfers from remote offices by using plain old modems to dial each other, then using Zmodem to transfer files. Some of my colleagues thought this was voodoo. Or cheating. Or something.

Posted by: Phillip at November 26, 2004 04:36 PM

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