Milestones on the road to computer usership

Firsts in a computer user's life

The other day, I was recalling computers as they were about 10 years ago... It struck me how much has happened in the field, how much the computer industry has changed as a whole and how much I've changed as a computer user. But somehow, it always stays new and fresh, for the very reason of change: The industry advances so fast that it's constantly exploring new territory. And even outside the advances that make the headlines, there's so much to know about computers that a single PC can keep a new user occupied for years, learning new things about it. For the computer freak, life is a string of perpetual firsts.

In that spirit, I decided to think back over some major milestones of the life of someone learning computers. This list is born mainly in the spirit of nostalgia, which means I was bored and desperate for content on this site. So if you've been using computers since ENIAC, this list might remind you of a few things you've been through. And if you just started using computers about five minutes ago, you wouldn't be on this website.

No, wait, what I meant is, if you recently started using them, this may be a forecast of what's to come. Then again, it might not, since many of the items on this list are so outdated that nobody does them anymore.

(Oh, I made the list preformatted text, too, so it looks like terminal output to further the nostalgic effect.)

First time hearing about computers First denial that you need a computer First computer First command given to a computer First program run on a computer First document designed and printed with a word processor First sign-on to the Internet First e-mail sent First Web site visited First e-mail received First time shooting a bad guy in an action game First IRC session First DIR command First time winning an adventure game First accidental format of hard disk First BASIC program First cybersex session First installation attempt of Linux First successful installation attempt of Linux First laptop First time you buy a computer without feeling stupid at the store First time you use the word "parity" while knowing what it means First decision to cut down on your computer hobby because it's affecting your health First time telling a newbie about a technology you were using 10 years ago

That's all for now... Actually this list is shorter than I thought it would be so e-mail me any additions you might want to see here if you think of some.

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