Love and AI

Will an AI ever learn to love? How does that question make you feel? Silly? Embarrassed? Stupid? Love is the source of our greatest power but, paradoxically, is the thing that makes us feel most vulnerable, to the point that most of us avoid talking about it at all. We literally die without it when we’re infants, and we organize our adulthoods around accounting for … Continue reading Love and AI

What’s the First Computer You Ever Used?

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A Hewlett Packard Series 80. This was the first model of computer I ever used.

My dad was a civil engineer, and I was first exposed to computers in his office. The first one I remember using was a Hewlett Packard Series 80. It had a game called “Hunt the Wumpus” and a program that let you print mazes. This was during the period when computers were in use in engineering companies and other businesses but before anybody I knew had a computer in their home.

Around 1984, my dad brought home a Digital computer that he no longer needed at the office. I used this to write horror stories, which I’d store on floppy disks, and which I’d print on our dot matrix printer.

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Mac LC 520. Staring at fractals on this thing was intense, man.

In my second year of college, I got my first personal computer, a Mac LC 520, a thick and burly machine designed for the classroom during the era of Steve Jobs’s exile from Apple. I was excited that it had a color monitor and CD-ROM drive. I spent a lot of time playing with the screen savers and briefly got hooked on the game Myst. It also had a modem, but there were only three or four phone lines into Evergreen’s computer lab and they were always in use, so I was mostly unable to access the Internet.

I remember hearing a student say she was going to go “play Netscape” at the computer lab in the summer of 1995. “What’s Netscape?” I asked. “It’s like the Internet but with pictures and color,” she said.

When my mom first used the term “surfing the Web” I realized that the Internet had changed everything.

Continue reading “What’s the First Computer You Ever Used?”