Throwback Thursday: Internet Printing, 90s Style…
Thursday, March 25, 2021
by Mark Brudnak
As I may have mentioned a time or two in this Blog, I am old. There’s no getting around it. But when I first joined LRS in 1994, I was one of the youngest people here. At that time, I was shocked to learn that rumors of the impending death of the mainframe computer were greatly exaggerated. It was not an easy lesson for me, the Internet-savvy new kid on the block.
I started thinking about those days in the context of LRS’ recent announcement of the LRS Internet Printing solution. “Internet Printing?” Hmmm… I’ve heard that term before.
Although mainframe computers had been performing the bulk of all data processing for several decades, back in 1994, I thought the platform’s days were surely numbered. Why? Because they were generally not connected to the Internet (younger readers can search on terms like “SNA” or “VTAM” for historical context or if you’re battling insomnia).
Mainframes could be connected to the Internet, of course, but in the various LISTSERVs I monitored, there seemed to be a great deal of apprehension about linking these ultra-secure bastions of enterprise computing with the “Wild West” environment of TCP/IP networks and hackers. Even companies brave enough to adopt TCP/IP connectivity ran into difficulties, as legacy applications written in the SNA days sometimes didn’t play well with the newer network protocols. This was especially true when it came to printing, as printers at the time were generally quite temperamental electromechanical devices.
Cue LRS’ first Internet Printing solution: VPS/TCPIP software. This clever extension to our base product bridged the gap between the recognized stability of the customer’s current mainframe print environment and the cost-saving advantages of TCP/IP based networks.
Creating the software was only the first step. Getting the word out to busy IT folks in the pre-Twitter/Facebook/Google days was another. So I wrote an article in a popular trade journal at the time, as shown in the blurry scanned pages below.
Today, keeping customers informed is a lot easier. To learn about our current LRS Internet Printing solution, check out my recent Blog article or watch this space in the weeks and months to come. Secure, reliable, and cost-effective output management is about to take a huge step forward.