By HB (15 years old)
Since the industrial revolution, many significant inventions had been invented, bringing much benefit to mankind. One of the most brilliant and powerful innovations in the 20th century was the computer.
John Presper Eckert and John Mauchly invented the first computer at the University of Pennsylvania in 1946 and called it ‘ENIAC’. Significantly larger than today’s computer, it occupied about 1,800 square feet and used about 18,000 vacuum tubes. It is difficult for me to fathom a computer that takes up a space as big as a house. Over time, with technological advances, the computer was scaled down immensely.
Before the creation of computers, secretaries and clerks relied on typewriters to type letters and documents. Try asking any teenager to type a short letter using a typewriter. He will probably give you a look of horror and blurts out, “Dude, what’re you up to? This is the 21st century! Hello?”
The greatest advantage that the computer has over the typewriter is that it only takes a split second to rectify a typing error on the computer by hitting the delete or backspace button on the keyboard whereas it will take a longer time to do the same task on a typewriter. Another boon is the spell checker that ensures correct spelling on a document.
Thankfully, the only place where typewriters are currently welcomed is the museum. It certainly has no place in the modern society where fast and convenience are the rule of the thumb. The Y and XY generations grew up in a high-tech and fast-paced world. The idea of achieving success through long hours of toiling is a foreign and horrifying one.
Computers now come with numerous applications like Excel, PowerPoint, Microsoft Word, Photoshop and Illustrator, which are helpful to a lot of people, including myself. Excel is handy in sorting data in an efficient way. If you want to create a complex photo image, Photoshop or Illustrator is ready to lend a hand. College students use Microsoft Word to type their dissertations while students and adults alike use PowerPoint for presentations in classrooms or at work.
With the creation of computers came the development of the Internet which was brought online in 1969. From its secretive start as a military project, the Internet is used today by billions of people around the world. Its usefulness is limitless. Students carry out research work for their projects on the Internet and because of the easy access to information, pesky teachers like mine love giving their students “tricky” assignments.
The computer also provides entertainment. One does not have to rely on a television to watch movies for the computer can do the job as well. Most kids are glued to their computer games. I cannot imagine myself without playing computer games. Life will be so appallingly dreary for us kids though our parents would be happier if we are not addicted to computer games. Instead, they would rather have us work our socks off at studying.
Today, most of us are familiar with the personal computer aka the PC or the laptop. We are able to perform a staggering number of computations at dazzling speeds. Information can be organised and displayed in the blink of an eye. As technology continues to advance, the computer will no doubt continue to revolutionise to become more versatile and pervasive. In fact, it has already revolutionised from a monstrous machine to a tablet in the form of iPad.
I recently asked my 5-year-old cousin what his favourite pastime was. “Playing with my iPad!” he enthused. Indeed, the computer has become an integral part of our lives. Without a computer, life will be as torturous as counting fleas on a smelly old hound dog!