I remember it like it was yesterday. My uncle comes in with a bulk of a machine that some may simply refer to as a 486 computer. Its white plastic enveloped with a yellow sheen from being exposed to the sun too long. Its keyboard clanked as loud as a typewriter with each keystroke.
“If you want to play those fancy games your friends are on, you have to learn how to talk with it,” he says. My growing envy of people whose families could actually afford that brand new Super Nintendo or Sega Genesis was intensifying. The routine of spending quarters playing Street Fighter 2 at the only local Billiards that would accept us during lunch hours, the New Toronto Billiards, was getting increasingly old. The selfish motivation to never have to spend another quarter again to the faint smells of alcohol was reason enough for me to learn.
Over the course of a few days he taught me how to use the MS-DOS language and how to issue commands. I picked up quickly and before long, I was typing up exe instructions like I was affluent. I had a mastery over this machine and knew its ins and outs. I knew what made it tick and could ultimately make it better over time. I remember this moment so well, because it’s when my love of technology was birthed. It came from an understanding of what it allowed me to do, provided I understood it.
No, in case you’re wondering, this isn’t going to be a historical column about how certain technologies came to be, we already have enough of that on the Internet — see Wikipedia. This is more about understanding the languages behind it all.
Every piece of technology has its own story. Whether it’s that Mac you may be using, which was created by an introverted nerd in Steve Wozniak, and a loud mouthed visionary in Steve Jobs, or that Internet you’re making use of, which was also created by DARPA to exchange information in the form of the ARPANET, not to be a Kittens and Puppies machine.
No, in case you’re wondering, this isn’t going to be a historical column about how certain technologies came to be, we already have enough of that on the Internet — see Wikipedia. This is more about understanding the languages behind it all, similar to my MS-DOS days, which at times may include looking at the past. Because I spend entirely too long talking to people who are experts in public relations, it becomes hard to figure out what’s genuinely useful to this industry and what isn’t. Whether it’s the gaming realm or the tech industry, brand managers all have a common goal and that’s for you to be indoctrinated within the culture they’re trying to create, particularly financially.
I’ll be frank. A good percentage of what you and I hear is all decorated bullshit. When you’ve spent as much time as I have learning about these things for yourself, you develop a keen sense of smell for it. Here, it will be my job to translate all the BS.
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