Wednesday, 10 June 2015

THE COMPUTER AND ME




The computers had come a long way. In fact I have seen computers come a long way from being a blinking shiny letters on the black screen to what it is today. Looking back, the computers were more respected when it was needed to be instructed in a language just above a machine language to perform any task. Even the simple task as printing, the instruction was needed to be provided in programming language like GWBASIC. For other calculations involving numbers, we were told that other language needs to be used like FORTRAN and PASCAL. We used to stare at the instructor in awe bare feet. Bare feet because those days computers are so revered that when we entered the computer lab it was compulsory for us to remove the shoes, else the dust would make the computers suffer from cough and other allergies.


Before I could comprehend the language properly I heard that there were many new languages that were being used. The story of reverence and the cleanliness that was provided to the computers were same in India too. When we entered the computer lab in NDA, we were made to remove our shoes and the lab was air conditioned a degree or two below the comfort level of human. In summers the computers class were looked forward to more because of the coolness of the lab than the urge to learn the lesson.


After passing out we have seen a lone computer in the office authorized to be used by only two people – the computer operator and the commander. There used to be a sign written in bold “OUT OF BOUND FOR ALL RANKS” on the door of the computer room, that had created a fear in us in the subconscious level that some of us have hard time even now to understand and use the computers. Laptops were unheard of.


When I purchased my first desktop the configuration was pathetic – 32 MB RAM, 8GB HDD comparing to what we get today, it was lesser than that of a tablet or smart phone these days, but the good thing was it understood human-like language via windows. My curiosity had spoilt it couple of times. In the bargain I came to know more about it and I became fairly expert in assembling the parts too.


By then offices were flooded with computers and at the same time it lost the importance of being revered, it was no more required to be touched with bare feet, the dust was not as harmful to it as it was thought earlier, and touching it by novice did not make it fall sick.


The CRT desktop screens got replaced by the flatter LCD screens. It became sleeker and affordable at the same time. People started owning the PC and Laptops. Now it is a common thing to see people carrying laptops and using desktops without fear of spoiling the machine and it is not as fragile as it was thought earlier.


As I write the journey between me and the computer from the computer typing the story with my shoes on, without AC in the room makes me feel that me and the computers did come a long way together.. but not that long way back, when the super computer was switched on somewhere in America the lights in the cities of America used to get dimmed.