Technology – Then and Now | Synapsis Software

Nicky Hartel
 March 22, 2017
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Thomas Burckardt, CEO of Synapsis Software, is the eldest member of the Synapsis team. He was born in 1958 (try to be polite and don’t work out his age ????). This is the year that NASA began operations. It was also the year that the first modern skateboard was manufactured (yes, us IT nerds also like to have fun), and the year that the first plastic coke bottle was released onto the market. But more importantly…


How did Thomas survive all these years without a mobile phone?


Before the invention of the mobile phone in 1973, Thomas had to rely on a good old-fashioned answering machine. If he wasn’t at home or in the office to receive phone calls, at least he could check his faithful machine to see who had called while he was away. Forget checking whatsapp or updating your Facebook status, let alone developing cutting edge software. All of this was a world still to be discovered.

Thomas was lucky enough to work on the very first personal computer … the infamous IBM XT. Not many software developers today can lay claim to this and we are pretty sure that programming students today would be clueless if they were put in front of the IBM XT today.

In 1994, Thomas bought his first mobile phone. Very few people at the time were lucky enough to have one, so Thomas was ahead of the pack and feeling very proud of himself. “I remember sitting on a boat on the Kowie River, drinking a beer, and pondering the use of my new device. I sat waiting for it to ring, but nobody called because nobody knew my number”, says Thomas laughing. “Hardly anybody else had cell phones back then, so after a while of staring at my phone and willing it to ring, I decided to make my first ever call. I phoned the local pizzeria and ordered pizza. I told them I’d be there in 15 minutes to collect my order. My first phone call from a boat on the Kowie River – the power of having a mobile phone was thrilling!”

34 years after Thomas was born, in 1992, Lilly Molefe, our fabulous product management assistant was born, and quite a bit happened in between.

1958 – 1992

  • In early 1965, Digital Equipment introduces the PDP-8, the world’s first computer to useintegrated circuit technology.
  • In 1974, old high school friends Bill Gates and Paul Allen form a partnership Microsoft to write computer software and Microsoft was born.
  • In 1990, Tim Berners-Lee invented the world wide web with help from Robert Cailliau and others at the nuclear physics laboratory.
  • Adobe Photoshop 2.5 is released for the Macintosh and for the first time Windows in November of 1992.
  • In 1992, Neil Papworth uses his personal computer to send the first SMS text message.

While most of us have the world at our fingertips with our smartphones at hand and schools are starting to replace textbooks with tablets, Lilly remembers her high school having only one computer and that was the one the principal used. The computer had a now archaic CRT monitor. She also remembers, and surely doesn’t miss, the days of dial-up internet. And let’s not forget thefloppy disk – you know, the “save symbol” as kids these days probably refer to it.

A new era

The youngest member of our extended team is the adorable little Layla, born in 2015. She may only be 2 years old but she’s growing up in an advanced generation where handling an iPad is no big deal and swiping is second nature to her, even at such a young age.


The times certainly have changed, but we can’t wait to see what the future holds and to be part of developing some of the innovative new technologies that will leave Layla’s generation in shock of the soon to become “old-fashioned” world she was born into.


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