I was born in 1971. Computers were NOT everywhere. The benefits of having a computer at home was something that most people couldn’t grasp. But then, my dad wasn’t an average dad. Luckily for me, he had a love of computer programming as a hobby and this led him to the local Computers, Etc store to buy an Apple ][ in 1977 for a cool $1300 ($5000 in today’s money!)
At the time, I was only 5 (my birthday is in December) but I remember I was amazed by this magical machine. I wrote computer games on it (including one that simulated the WOPR in WarGames) and did school projects using a new-fangled thing called a “word processor.” This word processor was called Magic Window 1.0 and because everyone who used it was transitioning from a typewriter, it didn’t have a static page of text that you typed on. Instead, you had a virtual typewriter – the page would move across the screen as you typed. In version 2.0 – BREAKTHROUGH – the page stayed static (I recall hating it at the time, lol). Laser printers and inkjets didn’t exist, but my dad had invested in a dot matrix printer, and purchased software from Beagle Brothers called Apple Mechanic that printed out text in something called “fonts” (!).
I could go on for paragraphs, but suffice it to say the love of computers he instilled in me as a child became a passion the older I got. There was the TI-994a, TImex Sinclair, Vic 20, Commodore 64, Coleco ADAM, Lisa, Mac SE and the IBM PC (XT, AT, PS/2, Aptiva). I’ve used every operating system imaginable, from Apple DOS to MS-DOS; from windows 1.0 to 8.1; from UNIX to OS X. Programmed in everything from Sinclair BASIC to VisualBASIC, even going through a trendy-at-the-time PASCAL phase.
And after all of my 44 years on this planet, after spending countless hours squinting in front of screens that were low-resolution monochromatic dinosaurs and are now blessed with millions of colors and gorgeous Retina resolutions, I feel completely blessed and grateful. I have seen the dawn of the computer age and experienced every wonderful moment of it first-hand. I remember being amazed when the first four color monitor came out, impressed when the first chip to pass the gigahertz barrier was released, and satisfied when i got my first 1GB hard drive.
People born later than me didn’t get to see it all unfold in right in front of them. It has been one helluva entertaining ride.