Twenty five years ago, I fell in love. Actually, it was not with computers at all. Computers are only a means to an end.
I fell in love with the internet.
Our children took us to a brand new internet cafe that one of their boyfriends (now son-in-law) worked at . “Internet?” we asked. “Internet?” What’s that?”
In those days, internet cafes were an entirely new idea. Most people didn’t have computers, so you went to a place where you could use one. Internet cafes served coffee and you could smoke there. The one we went to was the very first of its kind where we lived.
The coffee was wonderful – real coffee in proper china coffee cups, no polystyrene cups then – not even paper cups. There were banks of computers lining the walls with ashtrays next to them. Our future son-in-law showed us around. We tried a virtual reality game, (yes – it was around then, albeit in primitive form). And then he showed us “The Internet”.
I remember clearly – the web browser was called Netscape Navigator.
The internet was really basic – no images, not much colour and the pages were mostly from University sites. None of that mattered to me. I was STRUCK with the sudden awareness of how VAST we could become, if all knowledge was accessible to us on this new and wondrous invention The World Wide Web.
I fell in love immediately.
I wanted it.
I wanted it to myself so I could sit for hours and LEARN in the quiet of my own home.
To do that, I’d need a better computer and I’d need to learn how to use it properly. Our first computer was primitive in the extreme – probably Windows 1 with only keyboard controls. I just typed on it.
So I loved computers too – as tools to get myself “The Internet”.
And I found you could do a lot of other stuff with computers. Computers became my best friend. And I spent years teaching old people/hard of hearing people/disabled people to realise they are not the enemy, but tools that make us vast. Creative tools in fact. Tools that can nurture us and relieve the loneliness of old age/disability.