When I first entered the micro-computer world, I was the only one of my friends who purchased an assembled PC. All the guys in the NYC Amateur Computer Club built theirs. I bought Apple #3, a small white case with a keyboard and a cable to connect my TV as the screen. I loved that machine, carried it around town on the back of my bicycle. I showed it to a junior HS class I was teaching. We opened it, looked inside at the boards–One of my students wanted to see the software.
I met a fellow hobbyist who had a machine that displayed bits travelling over wires–we could see software!
I bought a Pascal card for my Apple. I knew something about programming big machines, so I tried my luck with Pascal. I drew a graphic- an apple logo! Imagine that-a picture on a screen that normally spewed text. I waited all night, the apple slowly took on an outline. When complete, my apple was upside down. No matter. What a magic world where computers could draw pictures.
I had the enormous fortune to land a small job as a technical writer at Carnegie Mellon U Robotics Institute. Carnegie was one of the universities connected to the military’s Arpanet, the pre-cursor to today’s Internet. I had an email account– I could exchange memos with other Arpanet-connected folks.
Years later, I moved to CA where a young Stanford student named Jerry Yahoo created a search engine. Soon there were competitors. A small campus emerged in Mountain View called Google. I watched it grow as I rode by each day on my bike.
Today, 20+ years later, I find everything I want out in the world by querying Google. Our world is completely knit together and indexed to facilitate retrieval. Usually I am thankful to have these years since 1970 to watch the cyber world evolve. It is my world and keeps me alert. But we lost privacy along the way.