Linked by Howard Fosdick on Thu 13th Oct 2011 22:14 UTC
Humor Last month we discussed how computers are portrayed in cultural icons like Lost in Space, Star Trek, The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show, and -- of course! -- that lost gem, The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes. This article continues this essential exploration of American culture with more probing profiles of computers on TV and in the movies.
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RE[3]: Computor
by MacTO on Sat 15th Oct 2011 08:07 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Computor"
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I was very young at the time, about eight but she wouldn't hit me if that was the case because she'd be aware that the thing I did was harmless. Also the same women thought, when the mouse broke down, that the pointer got out of the edges of the screen somehow and that you had to try and search it back. She'd spend quite some time randomly moving the mouse in vain.

It is really hard to judge what was going on here because I don't know how old you are now. But I feel that it is worth mentioning that computers were very fragile during the 80's and early 90's and that very few people had the ability to fix them. That includes people who we would now think of as relatively competent with computers. Think of it this way. There weren't journalling file systems on personal computers. Worse yet, people didn't know about buffering (since the buffering that was done was trivial compared to what is done today). So if you just turned off a computer (because there were no software controlled power supplies) a corrupted file system was a very real possibility. And the only chances of recovery were through partial solutions like the Norton Utilities (which is just one example among many). Oh, and it's worth mentioning that such disaster recovery tools were very common until 2000 or so, when consumer operating systems (and that includes Linux) started picking up the slack.

There were other complications too, since operating systems were much more varied back then. I remember being petrified after crashing a school Mac in my teens, mostly because I was familiar with ProDOS and MS-DOS and a bit with Windows. But Mac OS was totally foreign. And I was a pretty intense computer geek even back then.

So in a lot of ways I have a hard time blaming your teacher for her relative ignorance, though hitting you as a consequence of that was totally inappropriate (by any standards in our modern world -- it is, after all, just a machine, no matter how indecipherable and expensive it may have been).

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