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I Don’t Do Birthdays. . .Happy Birthday

August 8, 2019

It’s popular to complain about facebook. I don’t. Not really. I use it for some stuff, like posting these scribbles and keeping in touch with a few close friends. And I don’t use it for other stuff. I don’t do games. And I don’t do birthdays. If you look at my facebook profile you won’t see a birthday. You won’t even see a high school graduation year.

Oh sure, you could figure it out if you cared. None of us are more than a couple of clicks away from having our secrets laid bare.

Do you know how long it would take a professional thief to steal your car? Less than 30 seconds. So, why do you lock your car if it won’t slow a professional down more than half a minute? Because you are not trying to protect yourself from a professional thief. You are trying to protect yourself from some kid walking through the parking lot testing door handles.

I’ve been in computers long enough to know that there are a lot of kids walking through your digital parking lot testing door handles. I keep my doors locked. Even if the professionals wouldn’t be slowed down by not posting my birthday online.

So, you’ll never see my name pop up on your timeline with a “Today is Rodney’s birthday.” I have friends that know my birthday and most of my kids remember it, so I’m good.

I also don’t post happy birthday wishes on people’s wall. If it’s a friend, I might private message them. Or better yet, call or text them.

If you want to post happy birthday wishes on people’s walls, I think that’s great. I really do. But, it’s not for me. I don’t really do public birthday wishes.

But, today is an exception. It is an exception every year and has been for the past 30 years. Today, August 8th, is the 31st birthday of a program. Like a young girl whose name changed when she got married the program changed it’s name.

WordPerfect Office was born on 8/8/88. It was not a productivity suite. That was the other Office, Microsoft Office. Instead, WordPerfect office was an email system. It was actually several products. It had a DOS Shell program, a Macro Editor, a Program Editor, a flatfile database program and, of course, the email program.

Office was a solid email program. In fact, it was better than Microsoft’s email program. I should know, I supported both of them at different times. Microsoft Mail was a pretty frontend with a terrible backend. Microsoft had purchased a company called Network Courier. They repainted the front end and released a Windows version. Office on the other hand was a solid engine with an ugly frontend.

After a few years, WordPerfect got married to Novell. In the marriage, Office changed it’s name to Novell GroupWise. Meanwhile, Microsoft created an email system from scratch. It was called Microsoft Exchange. The frontend, as you probably know was called Outlook.

Actually, it started with a couple of different frontends including a basic client called “Exchange Client” and the more fully featured Outlook Client. If you’ve ever used Outlook Web Access Client, you might think that was a third client. You’d be wrong.

Outlook Web Access was originally a sample application that was designed to show what Exchange’s short-lived development platform was capable of. It was never designed to be used in production.

Groupwise is still around. It holds a tiny market share. Microsoft Word beat WordPerfect’s word processor and Microsoft Exchange beat Novell Groupwise.

Thirty-one years is a long time for a program, especially a PC program. The PC really started around 1980. The entire industry is only about 40 years old. So, Groupwise, as long in the tooth as it is, is one of the old guard.

So, happy birthday to one of the oldest programs still being used.

Happy Birthday, Groupwise.

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren.

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(c) 2019 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved

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