On that date, Steve Jobs of Apple Computers and Stephen Wozniak, an electronics wizard, together created a personal home computer so that for the first time in history a character typed on a keyboard was displayed on a TV screen. (Please note that this is in regard to “home” computers.)
I came by this information while reading Walter Issacson’s biography of the late Steve Jobs.
After struggling through 571 pages of this biography, I still don’t know anything about the inner workings of my personal computer. But I don’t have to know. I know how to drive a car but I don’t really know what’s going on under the hood either.
We have advanced beyond what might be thought of as “the horse and buggy” era when I began my work experience. Back then, “electric” typewriters were not even found in offices where I was employed.
Many years later, when I retired from the workforce, the revolution in electronic technology had begun.
A search of the Internet (where would we be without that source?), revealed that the first patent for the typewriter was issued in 1868, to Christopher Sholes, G. Glidden and S.W. Soule. They would be amazed to see how far we have come, much like Henry Ford would feel looking at our modern automobiles.
The “qwerty” keyboard has not changed since the first typewriters were invented. With this keyboard arrangement, salesmen were able to type the word “typewriter” on a single row of keys during demonstrations. Also, the letters of the alphabet were arranged to prevent the old-fashioned wand keys from getting tangled during typing. Today’s computer-wise young might ask, “What are wand keys?”
Listening in on conversations between our son and daughter when they were learning about computers in school, we thought they were speaking a foreign language. Bytes, gigabytes, mega bytes, hard drives and floppy discs were all alien words.
“Word processing” was what secretaries now did instead of “typing” letters. I had not heard of e-mail.
I haven’t even scratched the surface in the world of computers. It has been said that “anyone born before 1960 will never know as much about them as those who were born after that year.” But we are never too old to learn.
My motto is, “Be not the first by whom the new is tried, nor yet the last to cast the old aside.”