How Times Change

I just read a post about how dependent we now are on the internet and computer use in general.

It set me thinking.

My first introduction to computers was via a manila folder back in the seventies. The class I was a part of was given a couple of sheets of loose-leaf A4 and told to copy a diagram from the board. It went

‘Input – Computer (Process) – Output’.

That was it. Some vague explanation was given that we noted about how computers were being developed and how one day we would all use one. Scoff. Two sheets of A4 did not convince me that there was ever going to be much in it.

A few years later ‘language labs’ were introduced in school and that was truly hi-tech for me. Attempting to speak French into a microphone, having it recorded and the teacher commenting through my earphones on how I was doing, was a bit scary, at first. I thought I was talking to a machine and was giving it a heavy French accent. When the teacher first spoke to me through my headset I nearly peed my pants. My anonymous ramblings could be heard by him? I toned the accent down after that.

Roll on a few years and, by now, I was teaching. A computer – a single computer- was brought into the school and all teachers had to take an in-service course on how to use it. We were taught how to format a floppy disc. I still don’t get it. And I don’t have to now. The computer was wheeled from class to class and children would gather round to see this wonder in operation.

Unfortunately, it had the lowest memory possible 56mb, 128mb? I can’t remember. I do know it crashed and froze a lot. The standard procedure for correcting this was ‘switch it off at the mains and switch it on again’. I don’t think that was technical advice but it usually worked. For a while. Until you had to do it again.

Gradually, more computers were brought in and, with more capacity, they could do wonderful things that impressed me no end. ( I still had to switch it off at the mains sometimes.)

My sister gave me her old Mac when she upgraded. It had no modem but I loved it. What was the internet anyway?

A few more years down the line and I invested in a new computer with in-built modem and whistles and bells.

The beginning of a love affair. As Curious Bloke rightly pointed out,we use it for everything. I don’t know what I would do without my laptop. I’m sure I would survive but I love it. I even manage my own technical issues now and have a vendetta going if the laptop isn’t working up to par. I’ll scour the internet and stay up for hours till I get the answers. OK sometimes, I still switch it off at the mains but that’s usually an act of desperation.

One site I love is Major Geeks. It has lots of neat little programmes to boost this that and the other. I realise now that, if current computers had been available when I was a teen, I would have been one of the major geeks. How times change.