My Technology History

Think Different – all 9 framed

I'm not a typist. I can't pass a typing test to save my life. In high school, rather than take typing, I adhered almost dogmatically to the "college track" classes, save for the typical blow-off course like driver's ed. Yes, I am an idiot, thank you very much.

As such, I had two choices when typed papers were due — get the rough draft done in time to allow my mom to do it for me, OR suffer through the hunt and peck method while allowing me to make editorial changes as I went.

When I hit college, I discovered, in the library, two almost abandoned Apple computers. Since no one was using them, I would go in and use whatever word processing program was available to type my papers. It was a bit faster, I could save and edit as needed, and I could print. No white-out needed (thankfully). Plus, the library I worked out was moving towards full automation, so I was inputting data regularly as part of that process.

By the time I got to graduate school (a fully failed endeavor), there were (gasp) computer labs where I could get work done. Part of my work was to retype and edit, of all things, a "professor's" book. This book was a bibliography. (eye roll). In Spanish. I couldn't spell check for my life. It was miserable, but I got more acquainted with programs. I wasn't good at all — no proficiency — but I wasn't phobic. I kept trying and asking.

When I became part of the work force, computers were more prevalent. I recall needing to use programs that had WYSIWYG so that I wasn't constantly dealing with "is this font right"? Another job, I used desktop publishing for creating a newsletter, and actually took a class in HTML to create our web site. Remember having to conceptualize what the page would look like in advance so you could code in all the elements? Yeah, me neither. I was on the cusp so plug and play programs were available almost instantaneously.

However, it really wasn't until the mid-to-late 90s that I actually started using computers outside of work. It was a heady time Everyone was buying computers — mostly for the Internet access of email, porn, online shopping, and game playing — and comparing results. Once I got into education, I started using the browser to look up lesson plan ideas and resources. Hell, to appease the masses, our school district gave us laptops to facilitate our jobs. Talk about electronic tethers.

Strangely, despite three decades of on-again-off-again use, my usage has not changed much. I use the computer for work (email, grades and attendance, research, pulling materials, etc.) and for personal reasons (email, blogging, wasting time, posting pictures, etc.) but not for anything more.

While probably terribly normal and typical, I find it a bit sad.

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