My computer, your computer, everybody's computer.
We all use computers, well, at least on this website. They are now simple transparent appliances that we have learned to use for simple applications. Email, news, shopping, learning, friends. To the point where we don't think of our computers as A machine, but as multiple extensions of our lives, as more ways to interact with people, markets and knowledge.
Computers have become invisible so to speak. Black boxes that do stuff we need them to do. Until something goes wrong...
I'm curious as to what are your experiences with your computer. Are you a nerd in love with your machine? A geek who handles all machines with equal no-braining? A comfortable tech-savy dilettante? Or scared shitless by the opacity, apparent fragility and sheer numbers of buttons?
Is it just another multimedia device or does your life depend on it?
Have you ever had notable mishaps or unforgettable catastrophies?
What do you think of your machine(s)?
Hehe. The most annoying 'bug' that could happen to you in these times was... just dropping your stack of cards on the floor.
Talking about bugs - I remember my very first program had an infinite loop. The university had a line to a Cray supercomputer we ran our programs on - the most powerful sipercomputer in France at the time, and also the most expensive in CPU time. Unfortunately the terminal operator had a break at the moment, and it took his replacement several minutes to figure out how to halt the buggy program that was spewing paper like crazy. Luckily we students could use the supercomputer for free, as there was no way I could have paid the standard price for using this computer for such a long time. Of course, I kept the output - way more scrap paper than I needed in all my college years.
Thankfully I was able to skip that and go directly to APL TTY terminals.
You'd type "1+1" and Return, s few seconds later the typewriter would answer "2".
Way ahead of punch-cards.
The power of computers is that they are machines for making machines. Making multiple machines.
I was exposed very early on to computers (no crt screens then, only TTY typewrite/workstations). When they became available to make art I really jumped in. My first Macintosh in 1984 was the real epiphany. I've used them throught my professional career. And I've seen how they actually changed the world; I can imagine what they'll do in the future.
I'm in no way a computer savant, but I'm a tinkerer and I managed to learn programming by myself. I never bothered with Fortran and punch cards, but I learned APL, Basic, Machine Code, Hypertalk, then later on, Unix scripting, a bit of C, ActionScript, some CSS & other scripting languages. I was Product Manager in a couple of instances and wrote the entire design specs for a software suite.
Now my whole life is in the box. All my music, all the digital pictures I've ever taken, I've digitized my vinyls collection, scanned old family pictures, all my graphic works and animations are in the machine, I've got a couple of musical instruments hooked into it with multiple device inputs, and it's a great part of my social reach. It's connected to my xbox and TV, my Itouch is it's mobile extension and I have a portable for travel. Facebook for RL friends, Twitter for the rest of the world and here...
Computers did lots of stuff to me and it's going do do lots more for humanity in the near future. Even social revolutions in unlikely contexts.
I've never been intimated by technology. In my lab I have many high tech pieces of equipment, and I love them all equally :-) I have to use both Macs and PCs at work (software compatible with either one, not the other, etc. , depending on the application. At home, I have a MacBook Pro. I couldn't imagine my life without computers; they are essential to what I do at work, and yes, it's a problem if there is a catastrophe. I unfortunately know no programming whatsoever. I've been thinking of teaching myself Python.
I confess to loving gadgets. I love books, and still love "real" books, but in the end I could not resist getting an e-reader. What i now do is, if I really liked the book, I buy it again when it comes out in paperback, and I put it on my shelves for re-reading or bookmarking important stuff.