Computers, what would we do without them?

As I stumble sleepily from the bed, I weave up the hall to my office. I swing by my computer hitting the on button as I head to the kitchen to pour a bowl of raisin bran.

I grab an apple as well and head back to sit down at my desk as I take the first bite of my apple, and type in my e-mail account password to check what has accumulated over night.
Before I went to sleep, I had spent at least an hour following up on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube accounts among others.

Computers truly have changed the world. Whether you like them or not, unfortunately they are here to stay at least until the lights are turned out for good.

My first experience with computers came when I was in high school. There was only one computer terminal in the whole school and there was no such thing as the Internet.
In Ms. D’Orazio’s room, we called up a larger mainframe computer over a telephone modem. We were able to play games and create programs by running punch cards including the basic codes through a key punch card reader.

I always enjoyed spending time after school coming up with interesting ways to get the computer to do unusual things.
Of course, as I entered college this gave me a leg up on many of my fellow students.

As a whole though, while I was ahead of the curve on the basics as the innovation of the personal computer stormed across the land, I largely resisted its infiltration into mainstream America.

I knew as each business and home adopted their own personal computer for the center of their bookkeeping and transactions, the business world would change and without electricity, many businesses and services could grind to a halt.
With the Internet connecting all of these individual computers, providing a way for communication, I saw the medium as an innovative way to market almost anything if you could only figure out a way to get computer owners to come to your website.

We have seen companies spend large amounts of money to get their web addresses in front of millions on the Superbowl and other television events.
Of course, many have went bust trying to get people’s attention.

Whether you find success selling something over the Internet or not, the Internet, like any resource, can provide you with good or bad information.

As a writer, the Internet provides endless opportunities for research at the click of a button and to share my thoughts with others. Information is only as good as the source, so users beware. Unlike a printed encyclopedia like my parents bought for us to write our reports, the so-called facts have not all been checked and rechecked.

One person told me it is a relaxing form of entertainment. “I can just get lost in the endless stream of information.”
It perhaps is just that, it is another form of entertainment. We are already to the point many Americans watch television on their computers and similar devices. The latest televisions are created to receive Internet programming as well.

Type in a word and you can just keep on reading, learning and watching.

You can type your own name in a search engine and discover that there are many others who share your same name.
Some may be doctors, lawyers or even actors.
In my case, I discovered myself listed on websites originating from all over the world in numerous languages referencing my work in television, film and music.

I’ve found preachers, athletes, and other writers who also carry a similar name.

I once received a call from a person who followed my career when I was a child. That person tracked me down after calling three other people by my name found on the Internet, one of whom recently passed on. While I was not found via that route, they eventually did locate me and the fan was glad to discover that I was still alive and kicking.

The computer is a wonderful resource, but it can be a negative influence because, much like today’s television, you never know what you are going to find when you turn it on and begin to “surf” the web.

Even the most self-controlled individual might find themselves drawn into things on the net, they wouldn’t even consider looking at if it was in front of them on their desk or a magazine shelf.

Is the Internet a good thing or a bad thing?

Like anything else, it can be used for a tool for good or a tool for evil. It is truly up to the user which master it will serve.
Clearly, when applied to improving your ability to get a job; achieve a better education; learn about the world we live in; further your faith through study; keep up to date on happenings in your community; or connect with old friends, it can be a tremendous force for good.

Now let’s see, this morning I have 150 new Twitter followers, 800 new Likes on one of my Facebook pages, 57 Facebook friend requests, and a 160 new e-mails in one of my accounts. Wasn’t the computer supposed to save me time? I guess I will get started with my work soon. There’s another Facebook message, and someone wanting to talk with me via chat. Maybe, I will get more work done with pencil and paper.

Will anyone join in all the fun, like my various pages on Facebook, follow me on Twitter and subscribe to Randall Franks TV on YouTube. The more the merrier.