What’s that?

The |ashnb|referrer|haeri
first quarter of my life was spent in a world where there was no such thing as a “personal computer”. The idea of someone having a computer in their home was as futuristic when I was, say, eight years old as a jet pack or rocket car. By the time I was in my teen years, they were as much of a reality, at least for the folks I knew who could afford one, as a toaster. The generation just after mine, has never lived in a word where personal computers were a not common possession of almost everyone they knew. I’ve been thinking recently about the probability that my two year old daughter may hear about something called a “keyboard” or a “mouse” and stare at me just a blankly as today’s college grads would when you mention running programs off of a cassette recorder (“What’s that?”) from a computer you hooked up to the antenna jack (“What’s that?”)  on a TV. 

When I see Beatrix pick up my iPad and, after some very brief instruction, launch the Photo app, gleefully squeal “Pinch!” and “Swipe!” as she does just that to navigate the interface, I can’t help but think that this is all she will ever need to know about how one interacts with the computer for the foreseeable future. I can’t help but think that one day, we will be down in the basement, and she will see some old system we should have disposed of long ago, and it will have these strange things attached to them, things we never imagined doing without, and she’ll ask “Daddy, what’s that?”.

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