2022/07/20/comments on The Home Computer Generation

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We love naming generations and ascribing vices and virtues to them. Boomers. Millenials. Zoomers. I propose that in the overlap between Generation X and Millenials, there is a home computer generation. If you've ever found yourself muttering "But where are the damn files stored?", wondered why you can't change the font in Windows anymore or been frustrated by how many modern apps seem to lack advanced features for power users, chances are you're part of it.

  • I didn't know until reading this article that Windows won't let you change the font anymore, since I never use Windows for myself (...but this goes some distance towards explaining why Linux distros seem to be taking a much more {cavalier attitude} / {your-choice-of-black-boxes approach} towards look-and-feel configurability lately)
  • "But where are the damn files stored?" - this, frequently, on Android (though at least sometimes they are findable; the rest of the time, I presume it is "in folders to which you have no access until you root the damn thing")
    • Harena and I were just having this discussion with regard to a maybe-dying Android tablet: how can you back everything up if you can't access all the files?
  • "many modern apps seem to lack advanced features for power users" -- I think this has been a thing I have griped about for at least a decade now. It overlaps with the "design for desktops first, you plitherplods! nobody wants to do this stuff on their damn phone!"
    • or, put another way, "don't infantilize my desktop!"

...and yet I'm technically right on the other ("baby boomer") edge of GenX....

...but I guess I got exposed to the idea of computer as an intensely personal and transparent tool similarly early, i.e. in my teens (first the Tektronix and then the NorthStar CP/M machine we actually had at home).

The timing was perfect for a generation of more or less involuntary autodidacts to enter the job market. By sheer luck, they could turn skills gained from a hobby during their most formative years into gainful employment.

Yup, that's exactly how I got my first real job.