If My Father Came Back to Life, I Would Give Him a Computer
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.
- My Squidoo Lens about My Father
Cordwainer Smith was the science fiction pen name of Paul M. A. Linebarger, whose colorful life...
- Cordwainer Smith and His Remarkable Science Fiction
Cordwainer Smith's strange science fiction, along with works he wrote under his own name, Paul M. A. Linebarger, and other names, are covered on this website created by his daughter. His life is discussed, and she reflects and remembers.