Yknow, modern computers are a miracle. I’m sitting here, typing on a keyboard with no physical connection to the computer, using a pointing device with no physical connection to the computer, connected to a worldwide network that it has no physical connection to, and it’s just a little square sitting next to three rather large monitors. I can do so many things with these computers – look at scantily clad anime girls, write blog posts, look at scantily clad anime girls, do my finances, look at scantily clad anime girls, program, look at scantily clad anime girls… oh, did I mention look at scantily clad anime girls?
Actually, I don’t do much of that, but it wouldn’t have been funny if I’d said “look up bible verses”… I don’t do much of that, either, tbh.
Anyhoo, they’re pretty amazing pieces of equipment, don’t you think? They’re also boring. Just little slabs or blocks of whatever with nothing interesting inside. In fact, they’re so boring, that people put RGB LEDs inside them just to make them look even the slightest bit interesting. They’re amazing, and they suck.
Computers back in the 60s were amazing. They had so little memory, so little processing power… I could do almost nothing then that I do regularly now with them. And yet, they were these amazing behemoth towers with blinking lights and lighted buttons and round screens, and their operation was at the same time so inscrutable and transparent. You could see exactly what the computer was doing at any particular point in time, even if you had to be highly trained to figure it out. Hell, on old PDP machines, you actually had to code in the bootloader manually by flipping a bunch of switches. You had to know the code just to turn it on. That is so effing cool. I actually helped dismantle one of those once back in the mid 90s.
Computers used to have this mystique about them – a room full of whirring, flashy, noisy equipment that did so little but had so much potential, and now it’s just a race to make it denser and denser, and there’s absolutely no telling what any of those machines are doing now without some highly specialized knowledge, and other computers.
I miss old technology. A lot. I wish I had such an access to the hardware level of computing as was commonplace back then – but now you just download an app, do cool stuff, and if it fails, you restart it. It’s better, more powerful, and more useful in pretty much every conceivable way – and it still sucks. I wish we’d somehow managed to make computers more powerful and mainstream without losing what made them cool.