A Short Story: Profound Transformation in Ten Years
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 Profound  Transformation in Ten  Years
 When I Was Your  Age...
 Once Upon A Time...
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I was totally unaware that years passed by so quickly when, Cengiz, the person who supervises the CC group which is responsible from the publishing processes of CISN, came up one day telling me that CISN was leaving 10 years behind with this very issue and if I would kindly take the time to write down an article for this exceptional occasion. That was the actual moment when I truely become aware that, my mind, in its unaware situation, utterly disregarded a fact: I was also leaving behind 10 years of service at CC. A nice coincidence it really was, CISN and I started our life at METU CC at the very same time, which is April 1994.

In this article, I aim to bring the past memories with CISN back and take this most suitable opportunity to narrate and immortalize them here. In the past 10 years, though I have always been here, CISN unfortunately (and unwillingly of course) left us at some instances. However, we have been with CISN incessantly since February 2001 and this really makes us pleased as well as happy. We will strive for CISN to be with us for so many years ahead.

It is a well-known fact that publishing a journal or a newsletter with an ameteurish spirit and keeping it going are very difficult responsibilities. Most probably, the most difficult part of the job is running after guest writers and persuading them till you can get a piece of essay or article. Every bit of writing that arrives late takes joy & happiness out of your life and puts you in an extremely painful condition. If your institution is also a "very busy office" like ours, you would most probably hear the following words very frequently from the people you request article from "won't you please ask for another chore, anything else than writing an article?" As it is the case with me now, you will be chased more and get caught in the end, however much you try to escape such a request. Yet, I must admit I was more willing than capricious to write for this issue of CISN; that, of course, lasted until I faced the reality. Reality does bite: how on earth a "busy person" like me tying to survive a jammed schedule would find enough time to create a good work for CISN? Dear colleague Cengiz was already beginning to remind me the deadlines. There was no way out. I was to put my fingers on the keyboard as soon as possible. I did indeed; here I am, writing this piece and sharing a few words and moments with you...

A few minutes ago, just to recall the things we have done, I glanced at the first issue that was published in April 1994. The issue of 10 years ago tells us that, at that time, we have decided to do away with the "mainframe" concept that has been used as a computing architecture for so many years and that has already become outmoded then. Instead, we had decided to use "client-server" architecture. This was an attempt that signifies our first endevaours to transform the systems to Unix server systems. On April of 1994, we announced on the newsletter that we were introducing into service 3 new Unix systems in addition to our Unix system with 8 processors -a newly released technology in the whole world that was able to perform parallel computing.

10 years later, today, some of those systems have "retired" and some of them are going to get "retired" soon. There are currently about 30 Unix/Linux servers in our system room that actually provide service.

Let us take a closer look on the internet infrastructure in those years: in the first issue of CISN ten years ago, it tells that network traffic was increasing on Turkey's only connection to the internet via a 64 Kbps link between METU and NSF/ICM Washington. (between April and December 1993 the total traffic was approxiamately 45 Mbytes). As we approach to more recent times, we see that our total network traffic has reached approximately 100 Tbytes (100 million Mbytes)(*). I think what remained constant in the course of time is the fact that our Internet is still not sufficiently "fast and cheap"...

Again, the April-December graphics from the issue of 10 years ago show that the two thirds of the total traffic of the whole Turkey was the traffic that METU created. Another outstanding fact is that the incoming traffic from abroad is about 4 or 5 times greater than the traffic outgoing from Turkey. This means that we were getting much information from abroad in those years. The past ten years prove to be a time of phenomenal transformation: thanks to "p2p" communication, our outgoing traffic has suprpassed the incoming one. This means that now the world is obtaining much "information" from Turkey!

Let us see what are the most recent issues covered on the last two issues of CISN. In more recent times, it seems to me that the particular attention is focused on a single topic, that is the issue of Security... It is interesting to point out the fact that ten years ago there was no security concern at all in CISN. This is because the issue of security was not bothering us or causing much annoyance/incovenience in those years. But, how the situation changed in ten years? Today, "attackers" are intently looking for vulnerabilities to hack the systems whereas the "others" laboriously seek ways to shield against these attacks. This shift of attention and focus naturally and influentially reflected itself on CISN. See what we have been publishing in the last two issues: PKI (Public Key Infrastructure) infrastructure, things you should do to maintain security on desktop operating systems, most common errors of the end users with regard to the security issues, the security measures you should observe, antivirus solutions, etc... I am sure that more and more security topics will be covered in the future issues of CISN. Looking at these indicatory facts, it is difficult for me to hold optimistic views about the future of the information world. I feel that it is my duty to strongly recommend you to take the imperative security measures on your computer before it is too late. Please do not forget the fact that a tiny bit of neglect not only causes harm to you, it also causes serious damage to your environment. A little snowball may get bigger as it rolls down the hill, and it can turn into a huge avalanche that will paralyze all the "life going on". You may not be able to retrieve anything then, or go back to past to mend your errors...

As I put forth my last lines, I would like to reemphasize the fact that the transformation we are experiencing in the world of information technology since the publication of the first CISN issue is remarkably huge. Our CISN is actually witnessing an exceptional span of time in the history. As years pass by, one is able to grasp better that creating such an archive had proved to be a significant task that helped to create an invaluable resource. In my very last words, I would like to extend my sincere gratitude to all the people that rendered their knowledge and experience as precious contributions for CISN from the very first issue till today. Before it is high time that I ended my words here, I wish to say happy anniversary to CISN, for it has become a "classic" in the history of Computer Center...

(*) According to the data of 2002


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