At 9 a.m. Friday, I watched the technician as he pulled wires and disconnected various elements from one another. When he’d finished, he picked up my computer and took it away. He said it had a virus. Actually, it had hundreds of viruses. Indeed, it was one sick puppy.
Sometime around 11 a.m., I felt the first pangs of separation anxiety. The reality set in that I was without a computer, and I started getting chills and fever. I knew that it would be gone all weekend. What in the world would I do for the next three days? My hands started to shake.
If I think really hard about it, I can remember a time when I didn’t have a computer. In those days, life was good. I had already written two editions of my first textbook on my trusty IBM Selectric typewriter. I’d never heard of websites. I’d never done research on the Internet. I had books and journal articles, usually strewn across the floor in my home office. Life wasn’t just good; it was simple.
In the early 1980s, people started talking about how much better life would be when the price of desktop computers fell to a level where nearly everyone could have one. They spoke of how the computer would make life easier. They projected a “paperless” society. When are “they” ever right?...