Upgrade your ram for 3 pence?

21 06 2007

When will old people realize that knowing how to do tasks on computers, nay, computers in general, are not a big deal.

I was given some sort of top of the line computer in 1998 (Senior year of high school), it was a 386 with a Pentium (1) processor. It ran Windows 3.1. At the time, it was the shit.

Now, it is worthless, if it still exists. It was probably melted down years ago by the pawn shop I sold it to.

When I got it, my parents were amazed that I had unpacked it, set it up, and was able to play solitaire and minesweeper (can anybody ACTUALLY play minesweeper though?) in under 20 minutes. They thought I was some sort of computer genius.

Since I got my first computer, my parents were always asking me if I could “do” various tasks on it. Other then typing up assignments and playing games, a computer is generally useless (at least before the internet was widely available).

My parents would want me to do silly, nonsensical things on the computer because they thought that it could be done. The kind of stuff that people do in movies, like access remote mainframes to look up information, operate targeting scanners for phaser beams, or draw crazy pictures and animations using only a keyboard (and a light-pen, no doubt.)

If only I had a dollar for every time I had to tell my parents “No, I can’t do that, and I’m pretty sure computers in general cannot do whatever obscure, cockamamie idea you’re thinking of.”

Sure, technology is getting more advanced, but it is also getting EASIER to use. For example, 50 years ago there was no such thing as an iPod. If there was, it sure as hell couldn’t fit in your pocket or get clipped to a belt. And I’m damn sure it wouldn’t be as user friendly as they are today. It probably would have been the size of a warehouse, utilized punch cards and levers as input devices, had one of those brass phonograph cones for a speaker, and been steam powered.

So maybe it’s understandable that when “computers” first came out during my parents generation, they were big, clunky, complicated devices that only engineers and guys with big, thick glasses and ink-stained pocket protectors knew how to use. And even then, all they really could accomplish was the calculation of numbers for rocket launches, or some other task useless to the general public.

I would imagine that if my parents had been exposed to such earlier home computers around the Commodore 64 time period, they would be more aware of how much more user friendly computers have become. If you can consider a Commodore 64 “user friendly.”

My point?

Find out tomorrow (or the day after, if I forget to post it.)

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2 responses

21 06 2007
Nicole

Speaking of user friendly, did I tell you I got a Macbook Pro?

22 06 2007
macgyversrollofducttape

Yes, I’m aware of your new-fangled espresso machine.

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