There are some things that just don’t compute

By Mary Drier
In trying to learn how to use my Kindle Fire, I discovered it is actually much more than just an electronic way to read books. It is a mini computer.
When I ordered the Kindle online, I compared the Kindle Fire to the next, lower-level Kindle. I decided it was prudent to use my credit card points to buy the lower-level Kindle rather than the top-of-the line one.
I didn’t realize that I bought the Kindle Fire until it was in the mail. When it arrived, I was just going to check it out and send it back. As soon as I turned it on, it registered me as the owner. I decided to keep it and cut back in other financial areas to pay for it.
The e-reader is about the size of a paperback book and yet it can do everything my full-size desktop computer can do. Plus, it does it faster and better.
I remember watching the news about the machine for Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer (ENIAC) on a black and white television when I was about five to six years old. ENIAC was like the ninth wonder of the world! It was unveiled in 1946 as the first true all-purpose electronic computer.
According to reports, “it was a 30-ton machine (as big as two semis), and filled with 19,000 vacuum tubes and had 6,000 switches. It could add 5,000 numbers in a second, and compute the trajectory of an artillery shell during for World War II before it landed. Before ENIAC, it took days of hand calculations to do trajectories.
Computers were newfangled, expensive and bulky contraptions designed for government and big businesses use.
My how things have changed! Today, computers touch every aspect of our lives from cellular phones to the cars we drive to debit cards and electronic readers.
While technology is wonderful, it has drawbacks. The check engine light came on in my van. I had it checked out. It was fixed by “clearing and resetting the computer.”
When I couldn’t sleep the other night, I got out my Kindle to read. I was at a really good part of the book that I wanted to finish before I went to sleep, but the battery died. I had to get up and find an extension cord and the charger to recharge the book’s battery so I could finish reading the chapter.
Yes, technology is wonderful and has come a long way, but it still has it drawbacks.

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