I was a young boy, about nine years old when I started hearing about “magic” tools named computers. Like other schoolmates, I began asking for it, but it wasn’t a cheap present, and I needed good reasons to convince my parents.
Luckily, just before Carnival, I had the flu and lost the opportunity to participate in a short trip to a town with a special celebration with many masked people, dances, and so on.
I was so sad, but I promptly took the chance and asked for a computer. My slightly reluctant father finally said yes, and my dream began.
Some people suggested different brands, but I knew that the only authentic, supreme computer was only one: the fantastic Commodore 64! After a few weeks, I succeeded in having one with a cassette reader and a very simple joystick. I still remember that day after about 35 years.
I was so excited that I started reading the instruction manual, which explained the BASIC language, and after a couple of days, I wrote a simple program to do some calculations and showed it to my parents.
That was the beginning of a very long programming experience, but to be honest, it was a crescendo only till I switched to an Amiga 500. After that, the magic of such esoteric activity began to vanish. Thanks to Bill Gates and his plan to place a PC in every home, everything started to be simpler, and more and more profane people started using computers.
It was a shame when so many office clerks received their terminals and began considering themselves tech-savvy. I knew how hard the learning path was when no graphic interfaces were available. When every error in the code (I used to write in Assembly) crashed the operating system and I needed to wait for another slow reboot (with floppy disks).
I probably need a very long time to write everything about the beginning of my first passion. Hence, I prefer to skip it because the end is quite apparent. When informatics became so popular, writing a program wasn’t an “artistic” work anymore.
Even if I continued to love the development of new technologies, my interest faded out, leaving room for increasing boredom. That’s likely the end of the story and the answer to the second question.
I think all current developments are extraordinary results that have led humanity to another concept of life. I’m grateful to all the engineers who spent time making today’s technology possible and easily affordable.
However, a Commodore 64 was a tool for magicians, and if you were an “expert,” everyone looked at you with admiration. Nowadays, a much more powerful and capable notebook is only a commodity you can buy everywhere and start using in a few hours.
I’m sorry, but I was much happier with my Commodore 64 with just 32 KB of free RAM. It’s time to start looking for other “magical” activities, precisely what I do daily.
Farewell, big, slow, and sublime Commodore 64!