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Monday, 2 April 2007

Our kitchen in Handsworth, Birmingham

The first computer on our kitchen table was a Commodore Pet - borrowed from work in 1979 (see below). It stored data on tapes which could be used to enter software for a rudimentary version of Space Invaders. This was 10 years after Neil Armstrong walked on the moon. By the mid 80s we had an Amstrad. Academic staff were to do more of their own typing. We flirted for a few days with a Sinclair ZX80. Then came a succession of Dell PCs backed by a laptop. We entered the internet in 1995. We used Windows loaded from floppy disks. The university deluged us with training; licensed our software. Four years ago I switched from Windows to OSX on an iBook and a PowerMac to edit interviews of politicians and officers which, before this, were compressed to CDs on campus. The university's role in my computing is now via one of the campus servers. Computers at home are linked by WiFi. Except our friend Phoebe (playing Patience in the picture), we use Apples, encouraged by the support available at their local store. Buying and, in Lin's case, selling, goes on from our kitchen table. Role playing games get played across continents. Richard designs websites. I write occasional pieces for Wikipedia. I haven't been in the University Library for ages. Unless I'm teaching I can work anywhere, communicating by mobile phone or email wherever there's coverage. Last week I was sending and receiving emails while on a train between York and Dundee on the way to lead a speculative workshop on managing the results of the Single Transferable Voting system to be used for local elections in Scotland on 3 May. I am invited by my friend Nick Booth to do a podcast. A month ago I put a short film I'd made on YouTube which helped us save Black Patch Park in Smethwick.
Lin with our first table top computer - a Commodore PET with 4K of ROM, 8 K RAM- borrowed from the university

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Simon Baddeley