The IT Guy: New tech brings back memories of the first PCs

theitguy@islandpacket.comJuly 15, 2012 

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Within the past three weeks, both Google and Microsoft announced new tablets. Google's Nexus 7 is a 7-inch tablet that comes with very impressive specs (Quad-core Tegra 3 processor, 8GB of storage, NFC, GPS, a 1280-by-800 display and Android 4.1 Jelly Bean) and sells for only $199 -- a direct competitor to and far superior device than the Amazon Kindle Fire.

Microsoft's 10.6-inch Surface tablet is even more interesting, as it will come in two varieties -- one with a Tegra 3 processor, 32 or 64GB of storage that runs Windows 8 RT and another that will come with an Intel Core i5, 64 or 128GB of storage that runs Windows 8 Pro.

They have not announced ship dates or prices, but it's clear the former is meant to take on the iPad, and the latter the MacBook Air, as well as other "Ultrabooks." That Microsoft is making its own hardware and willing to directly compete with its old OEM friends, such as Dell and HP, should speak volumes about the tablet space.

This is the future, people -- and the future is now.

It looks like this is the end of the PC for the most part. Yes, they will be with us for many more years, but only specialized people performing specialized tasks will need them. Joe Consumer really only needs a tablet from this time forward, and all the big tech companies will skate to where the puck is. With this in mind I thought I'd take a second to remember the personal computer, a device that changed how our species lives and set us apart from the animals (though, only by a little bit â€" see the situation in Syria or, you know, Congress, for example).

With this in mind, I thought I'd take a second to remember the personal computer, a device that changed how our species lives and set us apart from the animals (though, only by a little bit -- see the situation in Syria or, you know, Congress, for example).

My first computer was the Macintosh Plus back in 1986. I learned to type on that machine, playing a game called "MasterType" with little alien spaceships that would come and destroy you if you didn't hit the "ASDF" keys fast enough. I also will further date myself by telling you how much I loved playing "Bird vs. Jordan NBA Basketball" on it as well.

Next up was my first PC -- an IBM 386. I would play "Star Wars X-Wing" on that thing for hours and also used my first ISP on it -- anyone remember Prodigy? I could get news about my favorite sports teams in Denver that my local newspaper, of course, never provided.

I was completely enraptured by the thought of gaining access to the information I wanted, instead of having it served up to me by a stranger. I guess the more things change, the more they stay the same as evidenced by my RSS reader, email and Twitter client, which I have running side-by-side on my computer screen as I write this.

From there I moved on to the Macintosh Performa 6200. I learned how to use PageMaker on that computer, setting myself up to start my career in graphic design. Then there was the Performa 6500, which was the first computer I bought with my own money (naturally, I had to save up for a while) and used to chat with far-away girls on the Internet (or, at least they said they were girls).

After that there were various laptops and desktops, computers provided by my work and old computers provided by friends and family who were just going to toss them out when they upgraded.

I guess I'm a strange duck in the sense that all of my computers have been like members of the family to me, but I have such fond memories of them and they each brought something new to my life. I don't sense the same attachment to my iPad -- despite the fact that its home screen alone does more than several of the computers I mentioned, it's just not the same. Maybe I'll feel different in the future, but for now as I see the end of the line coming for the computer I just want to take this time to say ... thank you. It was fun.

Morgan Bonner is pre-press manager and a systems administrator for the Packet and Gazette.

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