Regular readers of this column—and I know there are at least six, not including immediate family members—might feel a sense of déja` vu with this weeks version. It is my last column. Honestly.
I wrote a goodbye column last year, when I relinquished this exalted tract for a few months. Alas, my duties changed again, and last fall, I picked it up again. But after 16 wonderful years, I am leaving eWeek and, more recently, Baseline magazine—both where I plied my craft as a columnist.
Its been a great run since I started with PC Week in July 1983, seven months before the first issue appeared on Feb. 28 the following year. The Raiders had just annihilated the Redskins in Super Bowl XVIII, 38-9, and PC Week was off and running. eWeek, as most readers know, was PC Week until May 2000. And for those of you doing the math on my tenure, understand that I left PC Week in the late 80s for a couple of years.
Things are a lot different today than in the heady days of double-digit PC growth, which wasnt that long ago. The tech wreck has been in full swing for two years. There are hints the recession is lifting, but any rebound will be modest compared with the go-go years of the late 90s.
Building and selling PCs and PC servers, if Walter Hewlett is to be believed, is a lousy business. Hewlett is championing the campaign against the merger of HP and Compaq, claiming heavier reliance on the PC business will sink the merged companies.
But just because the PC business is tough doesnt mean it isnt fun! Remember the "screwdriver shops" that flourished assembling and selling el cheapo PCs? Who can forget Tecmar, Quadram and AST, which led the PC add-on business in the 80s? Novells dominance? Digital? Wang? Osborne?
IT has come a long way in 20 years. Two decades ago, most companies still had data processing departments, which in stature ranked somewhere between Facilities and HR.
About as fancy as the title got then was MIS director. Despite comparatively lowly status, everyone knew IT was climbing the corporate ladder. The number of IT titles, a dozen or so then, have grown to 200 or so today, reflecting the diversity and depth of the profession.
I called them like I saw them in my 1,100 or so columns here. As for my new professional digs, Ill be writing for Bio-IT World, a monthly about IT in the life sciences.
Stay in touch. Write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.