Similar story for me, albeit replace plotter with miniframe and 87 with...umm...88
I was 16 and working in the summer at my dad's office, where we had an informix db on a miniframe setup - 5 dumb terminals with your typical green & black screen (no amber here, we were *posh*) dumb terminals. I started messing about seeing if I could change field labels, create reports etc. All the while fecking up the inbound connection from our one field based sales rep who dialled in over modem (a whizzy 2400 when home modems were 1200/75).
Next thing I know, I'd volunteered to replace everything with PCs and a server, and a Visual Dbase application. There was some serious parental leeway, don't get me wrong, but I got the whole office kitted out with DX 20s (can't remember the brand, but it was the time of Viglen et al) and coax networking and "wrote" (see the word Visual) database replacement
It was s
5 years later, after gentle encouragement from the parents to go actually learn something, I came back and replaced everything with an Access version.
That was crap, too. Monumentally so.
My final attempt, between support contracts, was a PHP and MySQL revision about 8 years ago. It's still being used today. I was so ahead of my time
However...not one platform has beaten the Informix miniframe for ease of entry and data manipulation. It's just that you can do other things with the PCs now.
Returning to the topic at hand, though - it struck me the other day, as I wandered from my living room to my kitchen, while still watching Top Gear on the tablet in my hand, just how far we have come, and how much we take for granted. Watch your average 1990-2000 scifi show, like Star Trek TNG, and things like touch screens, truly mobile platforms etc, all the day to day stuff they had, are now a reality.
It's only the wilder stuff (transporters, thus replicators too, warp speed etc) that we don't have. I'd *never* have forseen the tablet I'm typing on right now, or streaming a film (paused in front of me, also right now while I type) 15 years ago, let alone 20.
Who cares if Mosler never get that bloody car licenced, we have our toys, they just crept up on us - I cannot wait to see what the next 10 years brings, let alone the next 30.