Alright. I'll admit it. I'm old. Maybe not physically, but certainly technologically. I am technically a Baby Boomer, born in the very last year of the Baby Boom. And when I think of computers, I am prone to thinking about Turing machines, vacuum tubes, UNIVAC, ENIAC, punch cards, Fortran, and Kurt Vonnegut's EPICAC, for better or worse. Yet, the more and more computers improve, I'm left wondering if Vonnegut wasn't a seer after all. And maybe we're all stuck inside the Monkey House.
I am one of those who can remember when calculators became inexpensive enough to own ... and how to type "naughty" words on them. Go ahead, type in 7734 and turn your calculator upside down. I dare ya!
For my ninth birthday, my parents bought me The Bowmar Brain, the very first American-made, mass-produced, hand-held calculator. I think it was the model 901B. I remember it being so outrageously expensive that I didn't get any other presents from my parents and I wasn't allowed to take it outside the house. I'm pretty sure that all it could do was add, subtract, multiply, and divide. Maybe it had a square root function. Maybe. And I think I still have it, tucked away somewhere in one of the many boxes in my parents' basement. Compared to today's calculators, it was like the cave paintings of Lascaux versus Photoshop. No contest.
And that was "only" 38 years ago. Fast forward to today! It's a different world.