days that used to be

fortranHere’s something I’ve observed, and can’t quite understand the psychology at work.  You’re in a group of web developers, listening to someone describing some new gadget or system.  The guy who is talking is probably about 50 years old, and maybe started as an engineer but is now in marketing or sales.  The group he’s talking to includes some people from his era, but just as many would be young folks.  And every once in a while he’ll stop to describe some obsolete technology – sometimes to contrast with the features of the new device or system, but not always.  It’s often demonstrated by waving his arms in a “show of hands” gesture, and asking “Fortran?  Remember punch cards? Anybody?”.  Why would he do this?  Is it to highlight his many years of experience, or to make a connection with his contemporaries in the audience?  Doesn’t it also insert a barrier for those who don’t personally recall Fortran?

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