Personal computers


I was fortunate enough to once have a job working with computers! 

I really love personal computers. Of course, that’s because I really loved typewriters. I mean those old mechanical ones whose keys would get all tangled up if you typed too fast. Not that I could type that fast, but I loved to jam them up on purpose so I could figure out which letters to pull down first in order not to bend the arms. Then, I bought an electric typewriter with self-correcting tape. Now that I think about it, that was truly my first word processor! I used that typewriter to publish some of my first articles and I wanted them to look perfect before I submitted them. The correction tape made editing so much easier so long as I caught the mistakes before I went hit the carriage return to go to the next line because the typewriter’s memory was only good for the line on which I was typing. When the first PCs first came out at about $10K, I couldn’t afford to buy one. I used to visit my friend Jim and use his. However, typing any kind of text was still actually easier with an electric typewriter. And typewriters produced better documents than those early dot-matrix printers. The PC word processors required you to learn the operating system and all these arcane word processing commands. When WordPerfect eventually came out with their 5.0 version, I finally bought an IBM computer. This was back when IBM actually mass-produced IBM-compatible computers. They were the number one computer manufacturer back then. My IBM computer actually used IBM-DOS. This was before Bill Gates had the power to rule the computer world. His evil empire may be slowly eroding, but the competition is constantly watching him covetously.

I remember always upgrading my computer because obsolescence was the main component of every PC. I loved opening up that beige box and taking everything apart and putting it back together everytime I upgraded my PC rather than buying a new one. As a teenager, I used to build electronics kits and I became quite an expert solderer. When I joined the Marines, I could solder up to NASA Class 1 specs, the highest rating. I learned electronics in the Marines, but when it became a job to me, I lost all interest in electronics. I remember all this now, because my laptop crashed. I could have fixed it myself if I had had all the right diagnostic equipment. However, I had already paid for the extended warranty so I Fed-Exed it to get repaired. All they did was replace the motherboard, something I could have done, but not as cheaply as they. I have an old computer that I kept upgrading until not one of the original components remained. It reminded me of the knife that Socrates (or maybe it was Aristotle or Plato) described. If you replace one half of the handle, then later replace the other side of the handle, and then finally replace the blade, is it still the same knife? Well, to me, my upgraded computer is still my original computer, at least in spirit, if computers can actually have spirits not projected unto them by their owners.

Bill Gates is no longer the world's richest man. Let's hold a fundraiser for him!

Published by

David Diego Rodríguez, Ph.D.

I write about whatever comes to mind. También enseño español y escribo acerca de los mexicanos y la enseñanza del español.