My first PC: long gone but not forgotten

I’m in the market for a new laptop and I’ve been drolling over the new compact and portable Apple MacBook Airs.

As I scrolled through Apple’s web site the other day, I took notice of all the new “bells and whistles.” I got to thinking too about the first personal computer we ever purchased: a desktop Gateway PC in the mid-90s. Remember them? (Gateway came to prominence in the 90s, helping bring the personal computer to the average user. They fell on hard times suffering huge losses during the dot-com boom and subsequent bust. Senior executives tried various strategies to return the company to profitability before getting bought out by Acer in 2007.)

notebookWe paid a small fortune and the computer and related accessories came shipped to our house in a large black-and-white Holstein cow box. Our Gateway gave out years ago, but up until last year we still used the thick Holstein box to store Christmas ornaments. What’s that say about the state of personal computers in America?

The Gateway was a bulky thing. The monitor and hard drive took up much of our desk. I’ll speak glowingly about that computer though until the day I die because of what it gave us. Like learning to drive and getting my license, the Gateway brought new-found freedom and opened up new exciting worlds.  

I could surf on this fun, new thing called the Internet. I could learn about some arcane topic and not have to traipse off to the library. For someone like me, I could write too and not worry about putting personal items on my work computer.

My kids soon came along and took over the Gateway. They added games like The Oregon Trail and numerous Barney and Mickey Mouse-related ones, and I soon lost ownership.

We rely less on personal computers and laptops now. Like most people, we rely on tablets and cellphones for most of our web browsing. I still count on a laptop though to write.

When I finally sit down and order my new laptop online or hit the Genius Bar at the nearest Apple store, I’ll be like a little kid in a candy store, but nothing will ever be able to replace my Gateway.

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