Life After Computers

Life After Computers

I can’t even imagine it. I am such a sucker for new technology… what would I do if computers were no more?

When I was entering high school, we had to take typing. Now, my son, Tyler, looks at me like I have three heads when I tell him about it.

“Typing??” is the comment.

I can see where he’s coming from if you haven’t experienced it (but isn’t that the way with a LOT of things when you tell kids about them these days. Like, WTH is a telephone booth? – and more importantly, why did Superman change in them?).

Nearing the end of grade nine, the BIG THING was the high school computer lab. It was all high-tech, with it’s big, fat monitors, CPU towers and beeping sounds. The computer lab had it’s own SMELL. I can still remember it if I think about it long enough. If you walked me in there blind now, I would know exactly where I was. But the computer lab was for grade tens. We were still lowly grade nines.

Grade ten was a big year! I finally got to try out these new-fangled things. What could you do on it? Type. Maybe play with some clip art, or a couple of games. We could even type a line of text to another computer in the same room – to your friend. God, we were so cool!

By grade twelve, typing class was on its way out… I wasn’t paying a lot of attention but I’m pretty sure the school donated them somewhere.

When Devin and I were living together, he pieced together a computer for us to use. We got to play DOS-based games, with ASCII characters, on a very loud machine. Are you old enough to remember when hard drives were 32 MB? 64 MB? Yeah… not today, my friends. We’re into TB!

A little later, we heard about BBSing, short for Bulletin Board System. If your computer had a modem (the faster, the better obviously, we started with a 14 400 KBs modem, and slowly worked our way up to a 56K), and you had the right software installed, you could have your computer call another computer’s modem, and play games on their BBS, that they would have set up. You could leave messages for other visitors, play games with them, and could even chat with the “mods” or moderators, the owners of the BBS. You made up a handle for yourself and made the rounds to all the coolest BBSs out there (they were local, unless you wanted to pay for long distance).

It was so much fun. We actually met up with a few other users IRL (in real life) and became great friends. We still talk to a couple of them! We upgraded a lot of parts on our computer, got a faster modem and we created our own BBS. We called it Emerald City, like the Sonic The Hedgehog game (we also had two pet cats, named Sonic and Tails).

Everyone’s biggest fear was the big, bad, Internet. It was creeping up on all of us BBSers, and we loathed it. Mostly because we didn’t understand it. We only saw it as the death of BBSing, and it was inevitable.

Fun fact – Did you know the band U2 got together through BBSing? Yessiree they did. Bono posted an advertisement on a BBS in order to put a band together, and voila!

Times changed, the Interet pushed it’s way through to mainstream, and the BBS became a part of history. There are still BBSs out there, but it’s a lot different than it used to be.

Computer technology really took off then, I think. Faster, smaller systems, more memory… the Internet connection itself changed, now it’s DSL and cable.

I think I’ve grown up in the best time though, because my parents were before that whole era… and now, don’t have much use for it. It’s hard for them to learn too, because they weren’t interested in it and learning about it from the beginning. I’m proud that they Skype and email though!

I recently wrote a post about being without the Internet for two days while we switched companies (still LOVING it, BTW), and I know I couldn’t do it. I despise talking on the phone now. Computers, phones, Internet, and Wifi… all of these are major forms of communication these days! And I know the next generation is just as bad! My boys were lost without the Internet for those two days, while I busied myself with watching movies LOL!

So from typewriters, to pagers, from cell phones to laptops, from smart phones to iPads… we have all come a very long way… and it shows no signs of ever stopping.

What would you do with a life after computers?

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