Sunday, July 19, 2009

The Facebook Phenomenon (--or—My Own Personal History of Total Geekdom)

Let me tell you first just a little bit about our first PC (“our” refers to Attrition and myself). Now, I’m not talking about calculators or the Commodore 64’s and other things you could plug into your television and use commands written in Basic to make Mr. Bojangles dance. I’m talking about a real PC with a motherboard, a (then) true 5.25” floppy (very floppy) drive, a single monitor and no mouse. (Mice….who’d have thought)?

Of course, Dad had always been working on computers. His were, in general, the size of a refrigerator or larger and “programs” were written as key-punches into an individual card and stacks of cards represented a single program itself. Not the sort of thing you want to drop accidentally on your way to put it into the computer (which happened on occasion). At that time, all I knew was that it was fun to operate the keypunch machines and fun to color on the cards. He graduated to large, magnetic tape quickly, but I was still too young to care about anything more than whether or not he was going to bring home the plastic storage rings for Attrition and I to play with.

So at the ripe old age of 12 (me) and 9 (Attrition), Buddy Scat decided that if we were to get a computer of our own, we would first have to build one. This didn’t surprise us. Everything in our house worked that way pretty much.

So we did.

It was VERY slow.

And it did only one thing.

It generated prime numbers.

So, we attached a DOT-matrix printer (bzzzt bzzzt bzzz...oh you remember that noise!) to our little computer and it then began printing out each new prime number it calculated. Went lickety-split for the first few…then it had to think harder and harder. The harder it had to think, the more time it took. Soon, we were only getting one number per day…then a number every two days, then a week, then we almost forgot about it, but it was STILL WORKING! So, we found some closet space and moved the whole experiment in there. The sound of the printer zipping off a new number interrupted anything else going on in the house as we geeked out staring at the new number…whoa, dude! 13,111! We did our little prime number dance and then life went back to “normal” for a few weeks. Our own definition of normal, of course.

Needless to say, we got our computer. An 8086, I believe...**snicker**

I remember those were the days when Kilobytes were “big.”

Now, here I sit with a 320 Gig hard drive in my laptop, no less, with 2.5 G memory and an Intel Core processor. All this came to pass in my lifetime. Heck, digital watches, video games, and so much more just weren’t there until I was six or seven years old!

Jump from there to now and holy cow!!! What a change!

And the internet has now reopened my world with the invention of Facebook. I don’t know who started these types of online communities. Well, I know who was behind FB. At first, we had websites, IM and email….but this takes that up a level by far. Now, with Facebook, I have quite literally found every close friend I’ve ever had. I’ve become closer to acquaintances that are now friends, and am now meeting new folks that are exciting, different, and refreshing.

The tone is always one of love and care, advice and suggestions, laughter and joking, encouragement and cheer, and I have yet to see any flaming even amongst some friends I know to be diametrically opposed to each other’s political or religious views. I see that happening to people I know, but I could care less to drag my junk out of the trash (where it belongs) mush less throw it at someone I like. Or dislike.

I have friends in almost every state of the union and several in other countries (including CA—couldn’t resist, A). All are in various stages of life and you just get that melting pot feeling when you’re there!

So, if you’re like and really want to get to know me….following me around Facebook! If you can find me (Challaaaaaaange!) check me out! Or if you already know who I am, find me there. You might just learn some things you never knew.


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