Long before phone addiction panic gripped the masses and before screen time became a facet of our wellness and digital detoxes, there was one good and wise piece of technology that served our families. Maybe it was in the family room or in the kitchen. It could have been a Mac or PC. Chances are it had a totally mesmerizing screensaver. It was the shared family desktop.
I can still see the Dell I grew up using as clear as day, like I just connected to NetZero yesterday. It sat in my eldest sister’s room, which was just off the kitchen. Depending on when you peeked into the room, you might have found my dad playing Solitaire, my sister downloading songs from Napster, or me playing Wheel of Fortune or writing my name in Microsoft Paint. The rules for using the family desktop were pretty simple: homework trumped games; Dad trumped all. Like the other shared equipment in our house, its usefulness was focused and direct: it was a tool that the whole family used, and it was our portal to the wild, weird, wonderful internet. As such, we adored it.
This describes my parental home perfectly, except that our first computer was way earlier than the Napster days – we got our first computer in 1990 or 1991 – and that my brothers and I were way more adept at using the computer than my parents were. Still, this brings back some very old memories.
In my family, I was the first who had computer (ZX81, 1986). And for sure no one was allowed to even touch it.
The following years came a Schneider CPC464 and an Atari ST. And still touching it was equal to becoming killed!
I cannot remember of any friend were it has been different. There has been no shared computer in no family . And when PCs became cheaper, there was no need to do so.
Edited 2018-08-10 07:01 UTC