Gerald Weinberg said, "If builders built houses the way programmers built programs, the first woodpecker to come along would destroy civilization." I have to agree with Mr. Weinberg about programming. My first real introduction was with the main frame engineering department computer at the University of Utah, using a punch card machine and a stack of IBM punch cards. However, with my present perspective, I would have stayed right there in the U of U computer department and grown up with the country. But over the years, I did do a small amount of programming and debugging.
As it was, I got back into computers after a stint with the U.S. Army during the Viet Nam War. I started again in 1975 with my brother's Commodore computer. I graduated to Apple IIs in the 1980s and almost every single model of microcomputer that came out for the next ten years or so but spent most of time with the Mac, especially after attending the introduction by Steve Jobs in 1984. Now, we always seem to own five or six of them at a time.
Computers have fundamentally changed the way I do things. They are so pervasive, that I can seldom go anyplace, unless I take a computer with me.
The real question is whether or not the computer is a benefit or a detriment to society? Do we really have a better quality of life from banging away on computers? As Robert Wilensky said, "We've all heard that a million monkeys banging on a million typewriters will eventually reproduce the entire works of Shakespeare. Now, thanks to the Internet, we know this is not true."
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