Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Life Before Computers

I long ago wrote a post called Life before the Internet. Most of you haven't read it so feel free to check it out now. In the post I offer the idea that the Internet has changed our life more than any other invention. It has touched all walks of life, but where would the Internet be without its old friend the computer. Sure you can get online on anything from PlayStations to cell phones these days, but the personal computer is still the main device for accessing the Internet.

Braden's fascination with our laptop is endless. He always wants to watch it when it is on. Lately he has become much more aggressive. Arica says he will literally climb on top of the keyboard if he gets the chance.

How can I explain to someone who was introduced to the computer in the first few months of life that we used to live without these magical machines. Certainly Braden will look at me like I sprouted a second head, but he will hear the story nonetheless.

I still remember when we got our first "computer" at my parents house. We were all stunned by the massive computing power of the Commodore 64. I had a baseball game that I played over and over again. The only thing you did was tell the hitters to hit or run and the computer created the rest. It was not a very good game but I loved it. It had the names of all the 1982 Cardinals making it the first sports game I ever played that had real players names and stats. I guess that was a window into the sports gaming world that I grew to love.

I went on to high school many years later and the Commodore 64 was still part of my life. I actually took a computer literacy class using that ancient relic. The lessons learned were about as useful as dinosaur herding or Beta Max repair. As I am typing this I am still amazed.

I then went on to college to find that some people were already on this world wide web thing. I was quickly expected to use Microsoft Word and Excel. Before I knew it we were programming in Matlab and C++. The computer had become a integral part of my life as an engineering student. All this happened only a few short years after the Commodore era. That is how fast this technology thing happens. You get caught up and swept away.

As for Braden computers will always be as much a part of his life as me and Arica. They are as commonplace as electricity and running water. He loves to look at the screen already and no doubt will love the computer for years to come. When there are such wonderful blogs out there and pictures of such good looking babies, who can blame him?


Tom said...

Computers. Love 'em or hate 'em, you can't escape them these days. And I do as much of one as I do the other, particularly given my career choice. Some days I'd rather be baking bread.

surprised mom said...

I'm a little older than you, so my introduction to personal computers came a little later. I remember in college the computers were kept in a seperate room that was climate controlled. These were the ones the students could use. We were still using electric and manual typewritters in the college newsppaer office! My first office computer was a VDT that was hooked up to a mainframe in the editorial office. Now I think they're sitting in a museum someplace.
As a journalist, I found computers useful, except when the electricity went out. Now, I'm sitting and typing on a laptop. How far I've come. The girls have been using computers since they were three and went to preschool.
BTW, the photo is very cute and so is the photo on the computer screen!

GreenJello said...

My first computer was a TI-99 4A. You hooked it up to your tv. I taught myself how to program in basic one summer, because I was bored.

Yes, I am a nerd. Why do you ask?

Tyler - Building Camelot said...

I have found that anything that glows...laptop, monitor, iphone, ipod, whatever must be the coolest thing a kid has ever seen. Our little one is in awe of my laptop every time I pull it out and boot it up. If it's not on then forget it!

Swoozie said...

Funny you should post about this today........I just bought each of my kids a V-Tech Laptop this afternoon and they love them! It is age-appropriate for my 3 yr old; not so much for my 1 1/2 yr old(!!!) BUT if big brother's got one she must have one as well! (this I have learned the hard way---Ackkk!)
Anyways, how in the world are they going to believe us when we tell them we never had computers when we were growing up???? It seems impossible! Downright caveman-ish!
Great post.....

Anonymous said...

Information at his fingertips. For his entire life.

And to think that we walked {gasp} to the library. The library.....

will he know the library soon? I have a feeling so.

Mama Nut said...

My dad worked on some of the first computers when he was in highschool and college. I remember he had one when I was a little girl that took 12 X 12 disks that could hold hardly anything. The computer itself was HUGE and the printer was as big as the computer and the disk it sat on -- with wheels of course.

My grandpa bought us a *new* one that actually had 4 colors!!! And you could play hangman and text games on it.

When I was about 10 my mom went all out and bought my dad one of the first "portable" computers that looked like a large heavy suitcase with a 5 x 5 screen. That was pretty cool, we thought.

Wow, technology has come far in the last 20 years, unbelivable!

seashore subjects said...

Most amazing to me is how quickly the kids are able to navigate and use computers for their entertainment.

My teen laughs when I tell her that I used a word processor in college, and that it was a great gift. (she wants a latop)

Stacy (the Random Cool Chick) said...

Isn't it amazing how far (and how fast) technology has come? Princess Nagger took to the computer really easily - she has so much fun browsing PBS and playing lots of educational and just plain fun kid games... :)