Computers truly have changed the world. Whether you like them or not, unfortunately they are part of our lives at least until the lights are turned out permanently.
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 modem. We were able to play games and create programs by running punch cards using 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 especially in the earliest days of the Internet, companies spending 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. Some that have got it have yet to turn a clear profit.
Whether you sell 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. Information is only as good as the source, so you must always check and double check.
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. Type in a word and you can just keep on reading and learning. You can also find videos of your favorite TV shows, movies and music to buy of all types.
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 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.
At the same time it is a wonderful resource, 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.”
Such uncontrolled access to information is what helped bring about Internet filtering at schools and libraries.
Is the Internet a good thing or a bad thing?
We have recently seen it used as a rallying tool to bring about revolutions in the Middle East. Instead of a man on horse back spreading the word, or a telegraph operator taping out a message, today with the stroke of a few keys the world can be moved.
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 in God through study, or keep up to date on happenings in your community by visiting your local newspaper website, it can be a tremendous force for good.
The only thing I suggest to the next generation and all these companies that depend on computers to sell their products – have the ability to use a pencil and piece of paper to carry on when the computer is down. It is ridiculous to thing that we have advanced ourselves into a world where we can no longer do business without electricity or the Internet.