Life before programming tools
For my final exam in Swedish I'm supposed to hold a ~5 minute speech about anything that has to do with modern times. I wasn't sure what to talk about but we had to decide on something so I picked from the list of examples "indispensable tools in my profession".
I'm having a hard time figuring out what I should write. Although my class also consists of a couple of geeks the goal is to make my speech as interesting and awesome as possible so I can't really go Star Trek on this. What I'm thinking of is to compare the past with the present by giving some example of how complicated it was to work in a group without version control and such and then follow up with how that task could be done in a single command.
I tried reading the source of all knowledge, Wikipedia, but it didn't give me much insight on how things were "back then". Trying to reverse engineering the problem is giving me headache too. Like, what exactly becomes simpler with syntax highlighting? Orientation?
So I felt like making a thread here to ask the veterans, or anyone with experience, how you feel that things like version control, editors (with syntax highlighting, auto indentation etc), IDEs, make, debuggers and so on have made life easier for you, or something completely different (as long as it stays on subject).
Of course I can't talk about all the useful programming tools, maybe list them, but to manage the 5 minute time frame I'd have to focus on describing the most helpful utilities (= the most interesting).