It’s official. I have been a PC owner for 25 years. I purchased my very first PC in 1993. That first PC purchase marked the beginning of an amazing new technological era in my life, both personally and professionally. I sensed my life would never be the same again, and I was right!
Living through my 25-year PC era has definitely had its highlights and its lowlights. Like most of us, I witnessed and experienced some astonishing technology transitions, some very pleasurable and some very painful.
My first PC was a Compaq. It came with a whopping four megabytes of RAM (yes, megabytes, not gigabytes). You can imagine my sense of accomplishment when a year later I installed four additional megabytes of RAM for a grand total of eight megabytes! My PC suddenly was a lean, mean, screaming machine! My hard drive was 120 megabytes. I thought I was the Storage King when I later installed a second 250-Mb hard drive.
Upon learning all my PC’s capabilities and software, I immediately began applying my exciting newfound technology to all aspects of my life, both personal and professional. I saw applications everywhere. I remember sitting in a church board meeting declaring, “This has revolutionized the way we can do ministry.” I received several blank looks. One of the older board members disinterestedly mumbled, “My son has one of those.” I quickly learned some people got it and some people did not—and that is still true today.
Speaking of excitement, welcome to the nefarious world of computer viruses and malware! I remember one day suddenly noticing that every single title under my desktop icons right before my eyes was changing into a one or a zero. Obviously, I had an unwelcome guest onboard. Fortunately, in that case, a simple reboot eliminated the problem and its source.
Rebooting, I learned, was (and still is) often the panacea for all sorts of PC problems. I remember hearing a radio talk show host emphatically declare, “No matter what problems your PC is giving you, rebooting fixes them all.” Funny, it seemed to work back in those days. Many things were simpler then, such as working in DOS or manually editing your AUTOEXEC.BAT file. However, simple did not stay simple forever.
This annoying matter of “software conflicts” and “OS glitches” often arose. Technical support phone calls at all hours of the day or night became a common experience. I remember one software conflict that quickly degenerated so badly, I was up until sunrise reinstalling Windows. I did not get much done that day.
Once I gave into the temptation to play an online game. After typing in a code to indicate I was turning my character right instead of left in the warrior’s labyrinth, the game responded, “You are looking at a wall. What do you want to do now?” I did not have much patience for online games.
It has been an astonishing 25-year technological ride filled with great victories and horrific failures. Nonetheless, I am so glad that I have stayed on the ride. Did I really have any choice?
What I encounter today in PC technology is quantum leaps beyond where it started. My PC life still has its problems, but the good news is we just seem to know so much more today about how it all fits together. Overall, problems seem to get resolved faster and easier, and there seem to be fewer of them. I like where we are going. And in spite of what all the critics say—thank God for Windows 10!
My first quarter-century PC ride has been absolutely fascinating. It has been gratifying to see that the PC, like any tool with time and experience, has been refined and strengthened. I can only imagine what my second quarter-century PC ride will send my way. But I remain convinced that I will enjoy all its new benefits and efficiencies. And so will you!