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If My Father Came Back to Life, I Would Give Him a Computer

Updated on February 14, 2013

He Would Have Loved One...

My father died so many years ago that he never had a computer. So I'm going to give him his very first computer for this Father's Day. Since he only gets it if he comes back to this life, I need spare no expense. I will pick a highly rated model -- which will still be an incredible bargain compared to any time in recent decades.

If you think I am being irreverent, well, maybe I am. But my father has been gone for more than half my life and there has been time to deal with my own losses and the loss to the world of the political scientist Paul M. A. Linebarger and the bizarre science fiction that he wrote as Cordwainer Smith.

Photo credits: All the photos here are family photos in my possession, except of course for the image provided by Amazon or the images of other resources here on Squidoo. In this snapshot, my father was about to fly off on one of his many trips, back in the days when you walked up the stairs to an airplane.

First, PC or Mac? - We'll skip UNIX here.

For my father, I would go with Windows, because he was more a writer than anything else. So he wouldn't need the graphics embellishments that drew me away from Windows to a Mac over a year ago. He wasn't geeky like the other side of my family, so UNIX would not have been his thing.

For yourself or in general, what do you think?

Which is Better, Windows or Mac?

Next, Laptop or Desktop? - Which Do You Like Better?

I've had both, and I've liked both. The only ones I am glad not to have any more are the old Kaypros that were supposedly portable but weighed more than the heavy sewing machines of that era.

Do You Prefer Laptops or Desktop Computers?

Since My Dad Was a World Traveler, I'll Give Him a Laptop - He Used to Tell Me Stories About the Different Color Tapes.

This globe had a place of honor in our house, and I remember watching my father add strips of tape after he came back from a world journey. Trips around the U.S. were too numerous to be logged.

So clearly, a laptop would suit him better. On the other hand, he had a collection of dozens of typewriters I used to play with in the attic. So had he lived in our computer era, I bet he would have had multiple computers. But the operating systems might have annoyed him, so I am guessing he'd have stuck with one.

Hmm, that makes me think of a question....

It's only fair that I answer this question too, but I am not sure I can remember them all... I began with a Kaypro 2, and wrote my first book on it. I then got my first hard drive when my sister gave me her Kaypro 10. She must have been moving up to MS-DOS from CP/M before i did. I soon got a 386. I also had a Radio Shack Model 100, my first truly portable computer... I used it as a travel journal and to write my dreams before getting up. Then I had my first real laptop, and not long after a 486.

That's six. Then I got another laptop, one that would run Windows 95, not just Windows 3.1. This is going on a bit much, but I think I have had six more since then. Or is it seven? At present I have a desktop that runs Windows XP, built for me when I lived in Mexico, and a MacBookPro I got last year.

You might think I am wealthy, but no. Specially not after buying those earlier computers for thousands of dollars. But I've made my living with them ever since the Kaypro 2.

So what about you? How many? What?

Here's My Top Pick for My Dad - There were so many that looked good!

I figured I would just go to Amazon bestsellers and see what turned up under laptops. Well, there are a lot of good choices in the top 100, and at great prices. So I just started at the top and looked down the list, excluding Macs because I had already decided on Windows for Dad. Within the top group I found this one.

By the way, Amazon has a note that most new PCs do not come with MS Office, so I'd add that in. And maybe Dragon Naturally Speaking, since my father used dictation a lot in his writing.

Advice on Living and on Writing from My Father - The image is part of a series of handwritten letters I still have.

He said just before this bit that he was going to write me a series of "loving but serious letters concerning..." and the tiny words say "which I wish."

A bit of writing advice which he gave me, his university students, and probably anyone who would listen was this:

Be yourself. Express your OWN point of view.

So Who Was This Man?

Here are a couple of places where I have written about him.

Your Comments are Most Welcome! - On computers or on my father...

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    • hartworks lm profile image

      hartworks lm 5 years ago

      @JohnTannahill: Well, in truth he was a weird dad, certainly not a conventional one. But years after he passed away, I came to appreciate him more.

    • JohnTannahill profile image

      John Tannahill 5 years ago from Somewhere in England

      What a weird and beautiful lens. Sounds like he was a great dad - he deserves the best.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Looks like your Dad would really have enjoyed a laptop.

    • hartworks lm profile image

      hartworks lm 5 years ago

      @Bill Armstrong: You're welcome. My mother too, but it wasn't Mother's Day

    • Bill Armstrong profile image

      Bill Armstrong 5 years ago from Valencia, California

      I think my father would have loved the computer also, thanks for sharing

    • vinodkpillai lm profile image

      vinodkpillai lm 5 years ago

      I am sure your Dad would have loved the gift. Beautiful lens. Thanks for sharing!

    • profile image

      dream1983 5 years ago

      Great lens, Well done. Squidlike

    • Elsie Hagley profile image

      Elsie Hagley 5 years ago from New Zealand

      I am sure your father would love your choice. Enjoyed your lens, thanks for sharing this interesting lens with us. Blessed.

    • Michey LM profile image

      Michey LM 5 years ago

      Great lens as you related very well with the personality of your father

    • profile image

      nutshells 5 years ago

      Really super and touching! The photo of him is just wonderful

    • vetochemicals profile image

      Cindy 5 years ago from Pittsburgh Pa

      Loved it and your father too! xo

    • profile image

      SteveKaye 5 years ago

      My dad bought a Sinclair in about 1983(?), which had 2k of RAM. He connected it to an old TV and used a portable tape player for the external memory. It cost $99.

    • hartworks lm profile image

      hartworks lm 5 years ago

      @anonymous: Thank you! I am having a lot of fun with these lenses.

    • mtinsdale profile image

      Mark Tinsdale 5 years ago from Mesa, AZ

      What a fantastic lens. If my dad were alive he probably wouldn't know what to do with a computer. However I have an uncle that would have loved one and I could see him using it for all sorts of dealings

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Great lens. I really appreciated the bit at the end where you shared your father's advice (and a snippet of his own handwriting.) I really enjoy your work.

    • hartworks lm profile image

      hartworks lm 5 years ago

      @mtinsdale: Yeah, I wonder about my dad learning to use the thing. Maybe I should have added some basic books on how to learn to use computers!

    • profile image

      lingstar 5 years ago

      This was a simply gorgeous lens - thanks so much for sharing!