Still Andrew (I guess) is a user on retro.social. You can follow them or interact with them if you have an account anywhere in the fediverse.

A thing I'm thinking about as I hurtle down the highway at more than seventy miles an hour: what are PCs for?

In this modern world where everything is a computer and computers are somehow more impersonal than ever, what are personal computers for?

What should they enable the user to do?

Still Andrew (I guess) @ajroach42

The way I see it, a personal computer should enable four things. The fact that they all start with C is a nice coincidence.

- Create
- Consume
- Customize
- Communicate

In a perfect world, your PC should enable you to create things, consume the things other people have created, communicate with people, and customize the way you do each of these things to suit your tastes.

Of course, each of those headers has its own sub-items, and that's where things get interesting.

Create and consume are simple enough concepts.

But create what? Consume what? Enable the creation and consumption of these things in what way?

I guess what I was saying with this thread is that, with the right software, everything but highly multimedia based work can be done on basically every computer since the 60s, and even a lot of what we would today consider multimedia (graphics, hypertext, music, animation and even low res fmv) can be accomplished on basically every computer of the 16 bit era.

The real change in computing in the multimedia era was storage.

The 700mb cd-r was a game changer. The steady increase in HDD size was the biggest tangible effect of Moore's law for consumers.

If storage size isn't a concern, the number of things that these older computers can do increases Dramatically.

@ajroach42 For years I got away with running my projector with a low-tier Pentium III; after I put a modern-ish but cheap graphics card in one of the PCI slots it could easily handle 1080p video. One single part was all it took for it to be a multimedia center! I only gave up on it when my last IDE HDD died.