Do you remember a time when you didn't even use a computer? Or a time when you, or your family, didn't even own one?
The question sounds a little disturbing, doesn't it?
In point of fact, I still do remember when my family didn't own a computer, or even when none of us even knew how to use one.
Today, we have one one laptop (my sister's Fujitsu), one ancient 486 machine my sister hangs on to for sentimental purposes, one Compaq with a Socket A Sempron, and four custom machines (all overclocked, by the way) that I've built. My married sister, whose family's computers I did not count here, can lay claim to maybe one or two more at her family's house.
Plus I've got lots of spare parts lying about in my bedroom/workshop.
In just a few short years, my family evolved from one that didn't need a computer to one that depends on the machines in one way or another.
For people who frequent OCN and other PC enthusiast forums and websites, it's probably a safe assumption to say that we now live in an age where we take PCs for granted to a large extent. What used to be a specialized tool has evolved into many different subspecies of device.
We have computers used strictly for work. We have machines used for number crunching; for entering data and inputs into other computers; for designing other machines; for producing graphical arts and for making music; and other myriad tasks. You could even say that almost everything manufactured in the modern world was once just a series of zeros and ones inside a computer or two.
But computers aren't just the tools that they've always been; now we have computers used strictly for leisure. Many members on OCN use their machines only for playing the games they most enjoy. Some build PCs strictly to record music and film digitally, or to record TV programs for later enjoyment. Some use their PCs to help them in their creative pursuits; some even make computers simply as a creative pursuit in and of itself. For many on OCN, opening up the case and adding parts, or cleaning out the insides, or installing the latest hardware upgrade is pure pleasure. I'm one of those, for sure!
We even have computers that exist purely to help advance scientific discoveries. Folding initiatives are a great collaboration of many, many machines crunching numbers and code, all in the name of medical science or, in the case of SETI, the search of extraterrestrial life.
Computers have transformed from mysterious machines which only specialists can operate and understand into something far more universally-accessible. For many, and not just enthusiasts like OCNers and others like us, computers have become something that is easily embraced, something that is no longer feared.
Even my three-year old nephew Jacob knows how to use a mouse, believe it or not! He even has a couple of educational computer games he plays at his day school.
Some might say that PCs have become surrogate pets, or even family members. Some even give their custom machines names (I know I do. ). All this is just speaking figuratively, of course, but the point remains the same: The evolution of the computer from an intimidating, enigmatic machine into something that many people actually now take for granted has been nothing short of revolutionary.
Viva la revolucion!
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