Influential computers


It seemed appropriate that I take a look at his article given my post about the Icon yesterday.

https://www.pcmag.com/news/the-20-most-influential-pcs-of-the-past-40-years?taid=629901b1aa14cb00015e2a78

I was pleasantly pleased and immediately feeling older as I recognized so many of the computers that made the article.

I will say that, being a site administrator and computer science teacher at a secondary school, and later the computer consultant for a district where the technicians were originally only supporting administrative computer, that I learned how to use and trouble-shoot computers in a manner that I never thought I would.

I have no regrets and I think I’m all the better for it but any Top ## List will be easy to disagree with. I didn’t find it that way. There were indeed some fond memories of computers that I’ve crossed paths with. I was even in attend for a big reveal of an Apple Lisa in Detroit. That really cemented in my mind that computers are indeed big business.

The Icon computer didn’t make this list; I’m sure that the author might not even have known that it existed. I’d have to say that it probably had the biggest impact on my learning, not for the computer, but for the networking and learning that a computer need not stand alone. We take networking for granted these days but you’ve never really networked until you’ve crawled around on the floor looking for the terminator that you just dropped.

Some computers reached out at me from the article. I’ve shared them below. I will confess in all my geekiness, there are some in the article that I hadn’t heard of so just reading about them was interesting.

  • 1981: IBM PC Model 5150
    – if there was a computer to make me give up my TRS-80, this was it. Just the fact that it came from IBM lent an aura of credibility to it and a pricetag
  • 1983: Compaq Portable PC
    – I always thought that it would be so cool to be able to take a computer anywhere in the house I wanted. Just make it lighter
  • 1983: IBM PC/XT
    – I guess I was excited for an update and had the idea that XT meant extended but I held my money until the AT arrived. The whole timeline for this type of computer ushered in the notion that you could buy cards to insert and do anything. You just had to make sure that you had enough slots
  • 1984: Apple Macintosh
    – when it launched, it only had a couple of applications but they did some neat things – it’s just that it came at such a price. The printers that came with it had a nice price tag too
  • 1987: IBM PS/2 Model 50
    – I had one of these as a consultant and was a “one of” in the district. I had the monopoly on Microchannel cards
  • 1991: Apple PowerBook 100 / 140 / 170
    – my boss bought one of these, I think the 140, so that I could get my mind out of the IBM mindset! It was heavy and did the things that my desktop Macintosh did and was the first trackball that I’d used since the Icon
  • 1998: Apple iMac
    – our district bought a bunch of these for an early literacy project. I got a Lime one and only used the “puck” when in public; otherwise I had my own three button mouse. I developed a great deal of muscles lugging this thing around
  • 2012: Dell XPS 13
    – when I win the lottery, I’ll buy myself an XPS 13 used to be my motto. But it’s going to take more than a free ticket to seal the deal. Until I got my Acer Nitro, this was the nicest personal computer I’d ever used and it was someone else’s!

It was fun to go through the list of computers to see some of this great technology. It’s also a reminder that, even though they are expensive at times, I had to have one and the moment I bought, I had to think about my next purchase. (or so it seems)

I remember my wife asking me once “Can’t you just buy one and use it for the rest of your life?” In the error of these computers, the answer is probably a justifiable no. Nowadays though, computers do last a long time and serve a functional life. I used my 2010 laptop this morning which has been repurposed to run Linux. It runs a browser just as nicely as any other thing around here.

How about you? Do you have memories from the list? How many computers have you owned in your lifetime?

OTR Links 06/06/2022


Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.