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What My Father Taught Me About Life Before Bill Gates

Let me preface this by stating that I was born in 1985 and that makes me 27 years old. Arguably because of this, my life has been defined by the rapidly changing technology of the 20th century.

I recall the first time I encountered a computer — it really was an encounter as the machine looked rather frightening to my 10-year-old eyes. It was grey and weighed at least 25 pounds. It took what felt like forever (minutes — in its later years, hours) to load.

And it made a strange ticking noise, a repetitive sound not unlike the clock that hung in our living room, or the motion of my foot hitting the side of the metal desk as I waited for the noise the machine made once the screen finally appeared. I loved that noise. If the computer could talk I was certain it was telling me, whispering among the ticking, Welcome Home, Natalie! Enjoy your stay!

It was 1995. My two siblings and I fought over that large machine, forcing my parents to give us each an allotted amount of time. We cried and we kicked once 30 minutes had passed, 45 minutes if the gods were smiling down on us or my mother was taking a nap.

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What My Father Taught Me About Life Before Bill Gates

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  1. My grandfather was born in 1896 and died in 2001. His lifetime spanned every technological change from the bicycle to the Internet. He would say to me, “The good old days weren’t so good, things are getting better all the time, and I have great faith in young people.” Words to live by.


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