The Computer – Know What You’ve Got.
A MECHANICAL CHAMELEON
There are few things you possess that you may not be able to identify or describe what they are. The computer is certainly one instrument that defies conventional description. In an effort to describe what it is, once and for all, I finally decided to attempt to define it. Like a character from Alice in Wonderland, I found myself face to face with a mechanical chameleon, an electronic device that defies all mechanical definition. In the process, I rediscovered anew the respect and admiration I have for the computer, its capabilities and its inventors, male and female. My revelations on this wondrous machine are shared below.
AN INSTRUMENT TO STORE UNFINISHED THOUGHTS
1. When I was first introduced to the computer, I immediately realized that here was a
mechanical instrument that allowed me to STORE and REFINE MY UNFINISHED THOUGHTS AND IDEAS until I was able to express exactly what I intended to say. So, for the first few months, that was my initial, over-riding impression about the computer. Although I soon became aware of its mathematical ability, I was not overly impressed with that aspect of it. After all, I was a journalist so I was more concerned with its journalistic possibilities. The RESEARCH CAPABILITY of the computer was an added benefit. I no longer needed to visit the Libraries of my homeland only to find citations for my articles. As a RESEARCH tool, it was indispensable and convenient. It allowed me to extend my mental reach beyond my immediate geographic grasp.
AN INSTRUMENT FOR GAME INVENTION
2. It was not long before I invented two GAMES on the computer. My colleagues loved them. They were forever trying to beat the computer’s thought process. These games allowed me to utilize the mathematical capability of the machine to test mathematical equations that I couldn’t figure out on my own. I became so impressed with the computer’s mathematical proficiency that I was now irretrievably hooked! Mind you, I had not realized the personal possibilities for self-education yet during the early months.
3. Before using the computer to produce journalistic articles, I had to leave photo-placement spaces within my news articles. These spaces were then filled with appropriate pictures after processing. With the computer, I was able to include the developed photos right into the
article as I wrote! That was a major breakthrough in my journalistic career! As a matter of fact, that was a major step forward for journalists everywhere.
THE SPEARHEAD OF THE COMPUTER REVOLUTION
4. The added capabilities of the computer came rapidly and furiously in the 80s and 90s.
One day it would be artistic capabilities, the other, it would be music, another, it would be photos, and on and on. During those hectic days, one would have to learn some form of computer
programming to be able to keep up with the latest developments. The bulletin board was the spearhead of the computer revolution.
THE ROLE OF BULLETIN BOARDS
The bulletin board brought the latest updates to light and unconsciously prompted the development of computers as research instruments. It became commonplace to travel through the electronic universe seeking knowledge and rejoicing in the new horizons vanquished by new computer technologies. Today’s user does not even have to do or know any programming to take full advantage of the computer and its capabilities. It allows you to take full advantage of your own capabilities.
THE EFFECT OF MAIL AND MESSAGING CAPABILITIES
5.Mail distribution and messaging may be attributed to the activities of the bulletin boards that once populated the world wide web. Suddenly, the world shrank in size. Instead of taking days and weeks to reach other countries, news could be disseminated around the
earth in minutes. The computer could list breaking news with pictures almost as soon as it happened, expanding the realm of the world’s journalists.
A MEDIUM FOR SELF-EDUCATION
6. The evolution of the computer as a medium for self-education was a gradual but inevitable process. From the early stages, computer enthusiasts were teaching each other how to make processes and programs. Because the early days of computer use depended on the willingness of early enthusiasts to develop needed programs to perform intended jobs, computing in the 80s and 90s was rife with sloppy programming. It was also pregnant with innovative ideas. Many of these ideas were shared through the bulletin board and refined by more qualified programmers.
A PERSONAL LIBRARY AND STORAGE
7. The computer as a personal library and storage facility followed the inevitable progression of self-education. Enthusiasts kept items of interest on their hard drives and disks or Cds. As storage methods developed, these processes also improved, until we have what evolved today. I can say that few people would have considered cloud storage in the early years. This is simply a sign of the possibilities available to a creative mind. We have yet to exhaust the reach of computing’s power.
SOME EXAMPLES OF CHANGES
8. In my lifetime I have seen the computer go through many and varied changes and none of these have even touched the limits of its capacity. To mention just a few: 1. A writing
machine; 2. A thought-refining machine. 3. A math-solving machine. 4. A painting machine. 5. A piano or music machine. 6. A club-building machine 7. A mail sending and receiving machine. 8. A researching machine .9. A recipe gatherer. 10. An idea developer. 11. A reading teacher. 12. A writing teacher. 13. A problem solver. 14. A camera. 15. A phone. 16. A reading machine. 17. A researcher. 18. A radio. 19.A painter. 20. A designer. 21. A tv. 22. A private cinema. 23. A dictionary. 24. An interactive coach. 25. A playmate. 26. A drum coach and drums. 27. A music band. 28. Color designer .29. Clothing designer. 30. Medical machine. 31. Medical doctor. 32. A Light. 33. A language teacher; etc. YOU add what you already use it for to this list. If you give this a little more thought, I can assure you that there is a lot more you can add to the list. Note: we are still talking of the same machine!
A FRESH NEW WORLD
9. Although it may now feel that computers have always been around forever, the world of
computing is fresh and wide open. It is ready for the new wave of innovation to surface and make its mark as it develops to a spectacular crescendo. It does not matter where you live in the world today. Computing is a young, developing area of human enterprise, just waiting for that new capability, that new idea to come forward and change the world as we know it. The world of computing has changed and improved almost every aspect of life that it has touched. It is just waiting for a reformer. Is it you? Who knows? Unless you unveil your creative skill and ideas, the world will pass you by so fast, you won’t even be a memory. This has been just the tip of the possibilities open to you by having a computer at your disposal. Can you think of more possibilities to use the computer for human development? Leave your answer below.