Review: Breathing Machine, A Memoir of Computers

Breathing Machine, A Memoir of Computers
Breathing Machine, A Memoir of Computers by Leigh Alexander

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

If I was to take time to document my memories of growing up with computers, I’d hope it was as interesting as this. It wouldn’t be, of course, not just because my writing ability isn’t up to it, but mostly due to my childhood being full of mundane things like MSN Messenger. Yet, reading through Leigh’s account of her time spent in front of a screen I couldn’t help but think about my own childhood with similarly glamorous vocabulary.

It’s a fascinating account to read if only the way it reminded me that I will have to explain so much to my children. The sound of a modem; what a floppy disc was; that games existed before graphics cards; how to use the command line. The list could go on. It will be like when my dad gets excited talking about when he used Nixie tube calculators at University. What if they’re not interested? All that is to come I suppose, but in the meantime I can enjoy feeling like I was part of a special moment in time when Computers and the Internet moved from obscure to all-encompassing the way we live. For now I still get to think of my youthful self as an intrepid explorer of the digital age. To me, that’s what this little book is about.

The only regret I have in reading this is just how old it makes me feel. Was it really that long ago that I used to feign illness to spend more time playing RuneScape?

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