Medieval I.T.

By Alan B. Combs

The Information Technology (I.T.) specialists of the Middle Ages were in many ways not unlike their counterparts of today. A perceived shady operation, minimal respect, even less pay, and unceasing demands for new services — these were the way of life, then and now. It was a noble endeavor, however, the creation and transfer of information where before there was none. The major difference between the modern and the ancient specialists were their sites of operation. Now, they operate in dank closets containing computers and UNIX servers for the internet. Then, they worked in dank torture chambers containing eunuch servants.

The cry for more and better information was unceasing. One nobleman was always after his folks to come up with new, more effective ways to extract information from reluctant sources. The I.T. people knew that if they were not productive, there was a certain risk of their becoming information sources (I.S.), themselves.

The advance of technology went on at a headlong pace. Nearly every month there was an optimistic report to their master. For example, one report went, “Sire, Sire! We have come up with a new device that may cause excruciating pain to the digits. We don’t know how well it works, yet, but the beta-testers have it under thumb scrutiny.”

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