I remember when my dad brought home the first computer my family ever owned. It was a Tandy. It took about an hour to boot up, and seemed like a box that I knew had a lot inside it – things I didn’t have the knowledge to access. We learned the little tap-dance of command prompts to play games like Kings Quest (run on the big old floppy discs that we had to continually shuffle at the prompting of the game). When my dad wasn’t home, we would play the copy of Leisure Suit Larry that he didn’t know we knew he had. I thought it was so scandalous!
Most of the time, though, I felt illiterate when using the computer. I was constantly messing up the command prompts and felt locked out.
Now I am considered a bit of a techie by my peers. I find it a bit funny, though…I think that it is more the work of many years of improving software design, user experience design, and layers of user friendliness that have made it possible for me to use computers with some modicum of success.
The 7 year old kid is still in there – the one that knows that there is way more to this little box than I am able to access. I still feel a little locked out from time to time – the computer and I can talk a bit more easily now, but I it is in translation, and our jokes often go over each others heads.