My first computer was an IBM 286 copy in around 1987. I didn’t really know what to do with it, I just knew you “should have one” and I was late in getting one. But then I got a dot matrix printer and I started writing reports, minutes and speeches (!) for my optometric political career, so I found a use for them! It was only when I could see MY words in print that I really got interested. Funny that.
It looked something like this:
But why own one? According to the ads, you could use it to help your children do schoolwork, organize household finances or recipes, or ‘chart your biorhythms.’ But the ad proclaimed that ‘the biggest benefit is that you and your family increase familiarity with the computer itself.’ The computer-enhanced future was here, and you needed to be part of it. True, that was.
I remember the first time I got a 486 PC – a huge advance on the 386. It went from less than 10 million instructions per second to over 40 million instructions per second. Wow! I don’t remember giving it so many instructions, but hey! go with the flow here!
And I remember backing up: Floppy disk after 3.5inch floppy disk. Insert. Wait. Insert next floppy disk. Wait . . .
Then in 1993 came my first cellphone – with extendable aerial:
Here’s the humbling part: Remember how we said “No need for a home computer?” and “I don’t need a cellphone?” (Yes we did). Now think about virtual reality, self-driving cars and the internet of things; and this time . . be humble. They’re coming ready or not, so get your shit together.