After a long hiatus, I'm back.
of computers and the word ‘computer’ made me think of how the word has evolved
over my lifetime. I almost called it a laptop, which is one word for it now,
although I hardly ever place it on my lap. Too difficult to use that way. I
suppose the word came from the idea that the computer would sit on top of your
lap, but the word is actually more of an adjective, as in ‘laptop computer’.
But most folks just shorten it to ‘laptop’.
time we had desktop computers (are there still any out there these days?),
although most desktop computers sat under the desk, so why didn’t we call them
deskunders or underdesks?
we called computers PCs, short for personal computers, which originally
described any home computers, even Macintoshes and Apples, but then PCs came to
describe non-Macintoshes and non-Apples. What, Macintoshes and Apples were
impersonal computers? Seems most computers are rather impersonal, anyway.
are ads from the early 80s or late 70s, when home (personal) computers were
getting started describing Apple computers as personal computers, so when did
the switch occur with non-Apples being called personal computers, or PCs, and
Apples as just Apples?
trace the computer revolution and evolution back further, before all name-playing
(home computer to computer to personal computer to PC, etc.), computers were
just computers, big lumbering things that existed remotely from you and I in refrigerated
warehouse-sized buildings, attended to by a staff of humans who constantly had
to finagle and wrangle and debug and whatnot with these ginormous ‘electronic
brains’. They had strange acronyms to describe them such as HAL (remember good
ol’ psychotic HAL?), ENIAC, and UNIVAC. And they were lampooned in cartoons,
comic books, TV shows, and movies with names such as WOPR (pronounced ‘whopper’
from the movie War Games), Uniblab (The Jetsons), Brainiac (Superman comics),
and Colossus (Colossus: The Forbin Project).
we had these electronic tools called computers, there were people employed in
various occupations that required high-level calculating abilities. They were
called computers, and used their abilities in surveying, navigational, and
astronomical applications, to name just a few.
there you have it. A brief trip backwards, outlining some of the word origins
for these little electronic beasties that are everywhere. And what am I typing
this bit of meandering on? Yup. A computer, or personal computer, or PC, or