Back in the dawn of time this lengthy thread opened with:Sure, we all know what a personal computer is. But this thread is about personal computing, not personal computers.
What is the definition of personal computing?
For those who have recently joined, the goal of this project is to determine
- What led to the end of the golden age of personal computing around the turn of the century?
- Could a suitable first programming language help ensure a second age of personal computing lasts?
Not very helpful or even true anymore.Using desktop and laptop computers for personal use.
That definition says nothing about programming or programming languages or actually using as PC/laptop as a computer as such. Under that definition using a pc/laptop to play games, watch videos, socialize of Facebook are personal computing. Which I think is not quite the kind of activity ejolson had in mind.
Under that definition when I'm tinkering with Pi or Arduino or whatever micro-controllers and such I am not "personal computing", when I create software for my server instances in the cloud I am not "personal computing". My effort to create my own RISC V core in FPGA is not personal computing.
To my mind the golden age of personal computing ended with the death the the personal computer. Let me explain:
The Golden Age of Personal computing clearly started when we could get computers for ourselves for the first time with the creation of the micro-processor and the myriad of machines that were built with it. Machines that people owned and could do what they liked with. There was not much software around at the time so people set about learning to program and create their own. This was "personal computing".
As you know that huge diversity of personal computers died out with the arrival of the IBM PC and MSDOS/Windows. Moving to a world where one did not create ones own software or share ones creations with others. A world when the software one used was anything but personal. Down to the operating system it was owned and controlled by huge corporations.
The PC and the all dominating Windows were "Anti-Personal Computers". Not only killing off that huge diversity of the early personal computers it effectively killed off personal computing and the need/desire to acquire such skills.
The PC led the personal computing dark ages.
Which continues today. Most computers people own are now in phones, tablets, TVs etc. They are owned and controlled by mega corporations. They are anything but personal and their is little computing going on by the persons that own them.
On the bright side, thanks to Linux, the likes of the Pi and Arduino, the WEB, the world of Open Source and Free Software, there are almost certainly more people learning some programming and actually programming for themselves than ever there was during the "golden age".