Tuesday, July 08, 2008

A reader recalls asking "What is a computer?"

"My father worked at the National Research Council and he used to tell me about the computers that he worked with and how large they were. At the time, they took up whole rooms and the computer cards that we used at church to make Christmas wreaths, always looked so strange with all those holes poked in them.

In the late 70's, I worked in a medical laboratory in Ottawa. At the time everything was written by hand or we used typewriters. The medical requisitions were all handcoded for billing but then we had a team that came in to implement the transition from paper to computer.

I remember being told that the computer would tell you by a beep if you made an incorrect entry. That "thing" beeped all the time. I refused to learn how to use it, I couldn't handle the rejection of a computer beeping. From that day forward, I decided to never get a job where I had to use a computer. Forget that. No way.

Kids do change your life. Looking back, I should have known that I was being set up by my parents when they brought over a computer for the kids. You know the kind, that took the big floppy disks and the CPU was a big thing that sat on the desk. Games, if you have a phobia working with computers, learn how to play children's games. That way you get used to a cursor and how to navigate the mouse. But these games were in DOS, before the mouse and Word.
Still, we spent many a night as a family with young kids, trying to figure out who could go to the highest level during Crystal Caves, my how I miss that game.

Well, eventually, I had to learn how to use wordperfect, as I was too daunted to try Microsoft Word, and eventually I had to learn how to use Word. Even though sometimes the computers still beep at me, I am now considered as the "computer wiz" where I work and I love computers."


  1. Thanks for sharing this wonderful information regarding computers...

  2. Thanks for your story. I bet that a lot of people will relate to it.