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Good Morning Nanty Glo!
               Tuesday, October 29 2002 

Jon Kennedy, webmaster Who would need a computer?

My favorite current commercial is one for the NASDAQ stock exchange. It features Microsoft CEO Steve Balmer reminiscing about his decision to join his friend Bill Gates in the formation of the company that has since become one of the largest in our economy. Both of his parents wondered about the wisdom of that decision. His mother's reservations were expressed by asking, "who would want a computer?"

I'm convinced that the world is made up of two kinds of people, or two pairs of kinds of people. The first pair is those who hate their teens and high school years versus those who love those years and wonder if it's all been downhill since then (my group; but this is beside today's point). The second pair are those who knew before computers became available to the general public that they wanted one (my group) versus those who hate and fear computers and still hope they're just a fad. Even some of those who've been persuaded they should get one and have become marginally adept in using it are in the latter group.

I remember someone on the Today Show visualizing computers being much more widespread and influential in daily life than they then were, in the late 1950's. Univac, one of the major computer companies (if not the only major one) at that time, was part of, or partnered with, RCA, as was NBC, and the Today Show was one of NBC's biggest programs, so this was no coincidence. I remember discussing with my mother how nice it would be to have the use of a computer. Even she had enough vision to think it would be nice to be able to organize her recipes if one were available.

As I went on into a writing career I still wanted a computer but still thought of it primarily as a tool for organizing information (which is what the Univacs and early IBMs were for); I never dreamed of applications like word processing, typesetting and page layout, photo editing, and email, which most of those of us who are computer literate now use routinely. But even when its best use was to create a manuscript that could be stored in duplicated media, mainly to prevent loss through the dog eating your "homework" and other such contingencies, and to never again repeat your keystrokes, I thought a computer would be worth as much as 10 typewriters, which roughly came, in my mind, to a thousand-dollar investment.

The fact that you can now get the computer and a color printer, scanner, and CD drive all for that amount continues to astonish me.

—Webmaster Jon Kennedy

Only in America...

—Sent by Mike Harrison

Thought for today

Before the war begins, seek after your ally; before you fall ill, seek out your physician, and before grievous things come upon you, pray, and in the time of your tribulations you will find Him, and He will listen to you.

—St. Isaac the Syrian
Sent by Fr. Antonious Henein

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