'Remembering Your First Computer Is For Old People'

Sarah Perez for TechCrunch, on her first computer and what it means to future generations

But now the future is rapidly approaching. “First computer?, pfft,” the kids will smirk. I may as well be speaking of my first microwave, my first TV, my first vacuum. It will be mind-boggling to them that technology wasn’t just there, like a toaster oven or air conditioning. They won’t think about the iPad as this thing that came into their life, impacting it, changing what’s possible.

It will be like telling kids that, yes, I grew up without a mobile phone. ”That’s so weird,” they’ll say. Kids, I had to remember people’s phone numbers, I tell you. I got lost a lot! Like, crying and alone in-the-middle-of-nowhere lost. I had to rely on the kindness of strangers when I got a flat or ran out of gas. When I went outside to play, my parents had no idea where in the neighborhood I was! I wrote letters from summer camp, and wrote to pen pals. I always had stamps. “What’s a pen pal? Oh my god, you’re sooo old,” the kids will laugh.

Similarly, actually remembering and recounting tales of your first computer will soon be this odd, old-person thing to do, too. Kids’ first computers will be their parents’ hand-me down iPads. There are children being born into the world now who have always had an iPad. Like, from babyhood. I know that you know this already, but really think about that for a minute. To these kids, the iPad wasn’t any newer a thing to them than anything else in the world. It was there, just like air and sunshine, plants and animals, houses and cars, skyscrapers and freeways, boys and girls, dolls and bicycles…TVs and iPads. It’s just another thing.

I remember my first computer. My mentor (and current Facebook friend) in high school gave me one of his old machines that he put together. It ran Windows 98 and I connected to the Internet via EarthLink dial-up. I loved it. I was so excited to get online, and be able to do my homework in Word 97.

I’m sorta proud in a way that I’m old enough (31) to remember a time when social media didn’t exist, I listened to music on cassette, and made phone calls using a rotary-dial unit. I think it gives me perspective. That said, I feel very fortunate to be living the prime of my life at this point in history. Things like the iPhone and iPad have not only given me great joy, but they’ve also improved my life immensely.

(via MG Siegler)