March 23rd, 2006

Froude number

Retro-future computing

So, as I mentioned before, one of the things I found in that box of books was a pile of Analog magazines. I have to share some great bits from an article entitled "Home Computers Now!", published in 1977. (And to convey sufficient incredulity at the difference 30 years makes, you should pretend that I've put a (!) after everything quoted.)

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I think one of my favorite bits is the letter printed a few months later in the letters column, where someone writes in to say "I may sound like a spoilsport, but is there any real use for a home computer? All the activities on page 62 can be duplicated by an alarm clock or clock radio, a desk calendar, a game board or two for the children, a typewriter, and a telephone.... Face it -- the so-called usefulness is just an excuse for the hobby. The home computer is the model railroad of the future -- nothing more."

I want to write a letter to 30 years ago, saying, "Dude. You have no idea."