Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Columns

March 9, 2014

The monster that changed our lives

ASHLAND — I’m not exactly sure of the date, but it was at least 25 years ago when that “thing” came out of a storage closet and changed my life forever.

It was a personal computer.

I had made my living in journalism and public relations on a typewriter, and I was not anxious to change.

After all, I had an electric typewriter that would store up to 100 documents in a dial-up tape drive.

And it didn’t come with a bulky monitor that required space on an already crowded desk. Frankly, it was as “high tech” as I wanted to be … or so I imagined.

My exposure to personal computing came slowly.

Morehead State University had a mainframe computer and offices were connected via “dumb” terminals that could not store information themselves but could retrieve it from the system.

That system brought about something called email (electronic mail), but, as an experienced reporter and interviewer, I was convinced the telephone was still the best way to communicate, if not in person.

I blame Bill Redwine, my good friend, next-door neighbor and former colleague, for forcing me into the computer age.

He came to my office one afternoon to ask why I was not responding to his emails. He asked if my “PC” had become disconnected.

Somewhat sheepishly, I confided that the machine was still in the shipping box in my office closet. Moreover, I didn’t know how to send or receive email.

It was about 3 p.m. when Bill locked my office door and told me I wasn’t leaving until I had installed, tested and used my own PC.

As I recall, it was about 7 p.m. when I entered the computer age by successfully sending and receiving email for the first time ... and when I moved my old typewriter to that same closet.

Thanks, Bill.

KEITH KAPPES is publisher of The Morehead News, Grayson Journal-Enquirer and Olive Hill Times. Reach him at kkappes@cnhi.com.

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