By Haluk Direskeneli
I was in primary school. We had a wire cabinet hanging high on the wall in the kitchen in a cool place to preserve the fresh food. We tried to consume freshly cooked food on the same day. The next day, the remaining food was finished or thrown away. One day, a refrigerator was bought into the house. My father carefully read the users manual of the refrigerator, then he gathered us all in front of the refrigerator and gave us a refrigerator using training. Very hot food would first be cooled outside to ambient temperature and then placed in the refrigerator. The refrigerator door would remain open for as short a time as possible. Foods such as vegetables, fruits, fresh meat and chicken had specific places. The food in the big container would be taken down so that the shelves would not deteriorate, and the food containers would definitely be closed. When the electricity was cut off, the plug would be pulled off so that the refrigerator cabinet would not be damaged by the voltage change, and the plug would be inserted after a while after the electricity came on. Only perishable food would be put in the refrigerator. There wouldn’t be much use of ice.
Then came home the simple phone apparat. We had a three-digit number. We were picking up the headset and telling the switchboard lady, the number of the person we wanted to talk to. Mostly we were looking for my father’s or mother’s workplace, mostly they were calling us. When we moved to Ankara, the capital city of Turkey, we did not have a phone at home for a long time, we were requesting to use the phone in a few privileged units within the cooperative houses. Then it was our turn and a four-digit phone was connected to the house. The number of digits became six. Then it was seven. Everywhere in Ankara became searchable. Later, the city code was added in front of it. Dial-up dialing has been switched to keypad. Now, free calls to almost anywhere in the world are possible. When I went to Russia for training, I waited in line for a week to be able to talk to Ankara on the hotel room phone. The line was connected, the listening services of both countries intervened and it was impossible to talk.
In 1968, I took Fortran computer courses for the first time in the first grade of METU university. We were preparing simple programs, printing boxes of punch cards. The whole school was using a single computer. School was over, I graduated then worked in the factory for the first eleven years. There was a simple calculator in the project office. In 1984, I was working as an engineer in a private contracting office that cooperated with American companies. For an international tender, the sales team of our American partner had brought a very new IBM Pc personal computer with them on the plane. The tender was over, they left the computer to us and left. Another American friend brought us Lotus 1-2-3 software on 5.25 floppy disks. Then computers developed, common modems came, desktop computers were placed on everyone’s desks. Now, laptops are used on every desk, at home, at work.
People now bury their heads in iphones on the roads, one-to-one face-to-face voice communication is no more. There are earplugs in the ears and people seem to be talking to themselves on the roads. They are either talking to someone or listening to music. Iphone connections have entered new cars via bluetooth. In company meetings, everyone opens a laptop or iphone, and no one follows the meeting. You go to make a presentation, the attendees do not listen to you. During the meeting, they reply to the email as if they were in a hurry. If I am invited to a company for a sales presentation, I give the powerpoint software, demo application, documents of the presentation to the participants in a USB memory stick. I want them to install the demo application on their laptop computers. “Those who cannot install the software on their laptop computer cannot use the software anyway, so do not bother”, I say. The demo software is loaded onto everyone’s laptop computer, I explain the usage of the event to them on the screen. In a sense, I’m capturing their screen.
I am making “thermal power plant presentation” at the university lecture hall for senior students. All students look at screens of their social networks with iphone. So I found a solution to get their attention. I’m asking about a subject they don’t know, I want them to find the answer with google. Such as, Coal reserves in Turkey, Afşin Elbistan A-B thermal power plants, natural gas pipelines, the effects of the Ukraine war on us. They use iPhone devices more quickly and effectively in order to catch up as I ask. Students find the answer themselves. I want them to download demo applications or powerpoint presentations to their computers from internet web pages. I make them follow on their own screens.
During the covid process, we were all under quarantine, even walking in the open air on the street was said to be dangerous. We got on the elevator wearing gloves and masks. All of a sudden, an online working order from home has emerged, office workers are now doing online computer work without leaving home. Mothers with babies can work as call-center operators at home. “Information technology” specialists, vendors, engineers, sellers, bankers can work remotely from their homes. Courier bring home services suddenly increased. Internet banking has further and better developed. Academicians have started to give their classes online. However, you have to go to your office once in a while and show your face physically, otherwise you will not be promoted.
In summer time, I work on the balcony of our small summer house on Prinkipo island Kadıyan slope near Istanbul. I am writing my article there. I answer my emails there. However, I make a voice phone call with a close school friend every day. I don’t miss family zoom meetings, online zoom friends meetings.
Since modern technology has come to us, we use it for our own purposes. In the future, more advanced technologies will appear, be produced, new modern devices and vehicles will be launched, and we will benefit from them.
When we were at university, the professors used transparent overhead projectors, we quickly moved on to Powerpoint presentations. Let’s not be afraid of innovations, let’s use them for the benefit of all of us.
Haluk Direskeneli, is a graduate of METU Mechanical Engineering department (1973). He worked in public, private enterprises, USA Turkish JV companies (B&W, CSWI, AEP, Entergy), in fabrication, basic and detail design, marketing, sales and project management of thermal power plants. He is currently working as freelance consultant/ energy analyst with thermal power plants basic/ detail design software expertise for private engineering companies, investors, universities and research institutions. He is a member of Chamber of Turkish Mechanical Engineers Energy Working Group.