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Computer technology, users have changed a lot over years

Published: Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2013 11:47 a.m. CDT • Updated: Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2013 12:07 p.m. CDT

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I distinctly remember our family’s first home computer. It was an Apple III that my dad used for computer-aided drafting and for engineering and land surveying calculations.

Even by today’s standards, it came at an obscene price (more than $10,000 in 1981), but it really wasn’t meant for home computing and/or entertainment purposes, like the popular TRS-80 (Tandy/Radio Shack) or VIC-20 (Commodore). But we did splurge a little on one recreational program, an adventure game that had a visual component to it.

Our Apple III didn’t last very long; a couple years later, IBM came out with the PC, which was arguably cheaper and better. But I kept the game to use during study halls and open periods in my schedule at school.

It took quite a while to load the game, which meant I only got to play it for about 10 to 15 minutes at a time, if I was lucky. And, eventually, it just didn’t have the appeal compared to Nintendo, Sega and — eventually — Playstation.

But, about five years ago, I got a little nostalgic and decided to see if they ever created a PC version of the old adventure game I used to play with my father. Sure enough, they did, and put all of the subsequent expansions on a single CD.

So, I bought one for myself and one for my father as a gift for Christmas one year. I tested mine out before my father got his as a gift, and I think I loaded the program on my hard drive six times before I realized there wasn’t a problem.

The game that used to take nearly 30 minutes to load on our old 8-bit Apple III now uploaded in less than a second on today’s PC-based computers and laptops.

Sadly, the game still lacks the appeal, even for someone nostalgic for the “good ol’ days,” as some of today’s adventure games. But it certainly opened my eyes to just how much technology has changed in the course of my relatively short lifetime.

But now my own children are further advancing that lesson for me. My daughter, Hannah, who is still younger than I was when we got our first computer, has her own laptop she uses for educational games and to watch her favorite horse videos on YouTube and Netflix.

I wasn’t able to operate the computer without adult supervision until I was 12.

But it’s my 4-year-old son, Jayden, who really has driven the message home. Just last night, we engaged in a fun little across-the-room “chat” on Facebook; I on my laptop and he on his mother’s.

It scares me to think sometimes where we’ll be when they’re adults.

Goodbye and Hello

Next week we will be saying a very fond farewell to niche publications editor Amy Martens. Not long after she got married in October, she received word her new husband would soon be transferred out of the area by his employer, John Deere.

Amy has been a delight to work with, and she will be sorely missed by everyone in the newsroom. I just want to personally wish her all the best in this new chapter of her life. Her last day will be next Friday.

Having the advance warning of her impending departure, however, has afforded us the opportunity to put together a succession plan. Over the last several weeks, staff writer Nicole Wiegand has been learning the ropes of our many special sections, including Newton Living, which will come out again later this month a whole new look and format that we think readers will really enjoy.

To take over Nicole’s general assignment duties, we have hired a terrific young man by the name of Ty Rushing, a recent graduate of the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Shortly after accepting our job offer, he traveled up to Newton to do some apartment hunting and said he was very impressed with the community and the overall friendliness of everyone he met.

Ty’s first day will be next Wednesday; be sure to say hello if your paths should happen to cross.

Bulldogs, Kangaroos

and Bears — Oh, my!

For those of you keeping score at home, the collegiate diversity of our newsroom has changed substantially with our recent new hires.

In addition to yours truly, a former DMACC Bear, and associate editor Mandi Lamb, who is an alumna of Truman State University — they’re the Bulldogs — we have quite the assortment of mascots now.

Sports writer Shane Lucas and staff writer Nicole Wiegand are both Cyclones. Meanwhile, graduates of staff writer Matthew Shepard’s alma mater, Oakland University in Michigan, go by the Golden Grizzlies moniker.

Incoming sports writer Dustin Turner — who starts this coming Monday, by the way — is a graduate of the University of Oregon, which makes him a Duck. And the addition of Ty Rushing as a staff writer will give us our first Kangaroo.

As you can see, we’re really developing quite the zoo here.

If you’re reading this, thank a teacher. If you’re reading this in English, thank a soldier, sailor, airman or Marine.

Bob Eschliman is editor of the Daily News. He may be contacted at (641) 792-3121, ext. 423, or at beschliman@newtondailynews.com via email.

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