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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?

Windows, Because...

Windows, Because...

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    • Michey LM 5 years ago

      Windows, but really doesn't matter, a computer gift will be appreciative for sure...

    • Cindy 5 years ago from Pittsburgh Pa

      I've used Windows for so long that I can't imagine changing, it's done, it's easy and works for me for everything I need, although many people do love Mac too.

    • anonymous 5 years ago

      Definitely a Windows guy. I like being able to choose how I want my computer to be configured - even if the results aren't always perfect. Macs are just setup in a way that is counter-intuitive to me and Apple makes it very difficult to change that. I've worked extensively on both platforms and get more done with my Windows PC.

    • blogmarketeer 5 years ago

      I go with Windows, mostly because that's what I used since, well, since I was a kid and because I wouldn't need all that graphics power either

    Mac, Because...

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      • hartworks lm 5 years ago

        @vinodkpillai lm: Glad to hear that... I am a year into my Mac time and sometimes I crank up the old XP and notice I am getting rusty, but I am still not ENTIRELY at home on the mac!

      • vinodkpillai lm 5 years ago

        After using Windows for nearly 15 years, I shifted to Mac four years ago and my comfort in the experience has obliterated all memories of Windows.

      • Elsie Hagley 5 years ago from New Zealand

        I have used windows for the last 12 years, started with windows 3.1.

        About a fortnight ago I brought a new Mac, I would not go back to windows now, even though I am having a little trouble with resizing photos, but I will get it right one day.

      • SteveKaye 5 years ago

        He will have an easier time being more productive on a 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?

      Laptops, Because...

      Laptops, Because...

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        • Virginia Allain 5 years ago from Central Florida

          Since we travel a bit, a laptop is more sensible for us. We both have a monitor, keyboard and mouse to hook them up to when we are home, so it's almost like having a desktop.

        • vinodkpillai lm 5 years ago

          I like to be mobile with my system.

        • Cindy 5 years ago from Pittsburgh Pa

          Laptops all the way for me, I'm in my sunroom watching the lake and golfers as I write this. Haven't used my office for the longest time!

        • anonymous 5 years ago

          Laptop with Dragon Naturally Speaking and a good headset. The only reason for a desktop these days is if you plan to stuff it full of hard drives or special hardware cards. Almost anything you need can be plugged into a laptop via USB/Firewire. A fullsize keyboard and large monitor can be added easily and you have the option of grabbing the computer and heading out of town (or even down to the library) if you want to work somewhere else.

        Desktops, Because...

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          • John Tannahill 5 years ago from Somewhere in England

            He'd find the whole layout more comfortable.

          • Michey LM 5 years ago

            For an older person desktops are better as they can have large monitors.

          • SteveKaye 5 years ago

            You buy more computer for the money when you buy a desktop.

          • blogmarketeer 5 years ago

            I go with a desktop. I use a laptop most of the time, but when I start writing a long piece of text (report, ebook, ...) I tend to choose the desktop of my husband. Works much easier for me when it comes to writing.

          • anonymous 5 years ago

            your dad was a writer and I think keyboards on laptops suck.

          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?

          How Many Computers Have You Had? - Can You Count Them All? Not Sure I Can!

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              hartworks lm 5 years ago

              @JohnTannahill: Pretty archaic! But seems like a big hard drive on that first one.

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              John Tannahill 5 years ago from Somewhere in England

              I've got about five old ones somewhere and there are others I've thrown out or given away. My guess is eight, not bad in just 18 years. All have been PCs. The first one ran Windows for Workgroups 2.1, 100 MB hard drive and about 15 MB RAM - sorry I mean 15 KB of RAM (I think.) Pretty archaic?

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              Mary Norton 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

              I get a new one every other year.

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              TeacherSerenia 5 years ago

              lets see - the Atari back in 1982, then an IBM generic in 1990, another IBM generic in 1998, the Windows XP I am using now, the Windows VIsta sitting on the other desk and the Windows 7 that's still not hooked up yet. So whats that - 6?

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              Elsie Hagley 5 years ago from New Zealand

              I have had 5 in 12 years, but my new one a Mac. I love it, would never go back to windows.

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              Michey LM 5 years ago

              Just 6, and I love all of them... each was important in his way in that period.

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              hartworks lm 5 years ago

              @anonymous: I never wanted to build one. I'm a klutz with my hands.

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              hartworks lm 5 years ago

              @SteveKaye: Wish I had done that. I tended to keep the old ones around till I had too many!

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              Cindy 5 years ago from Pittsburgh Pa

              I've had 6-7 I think, the first was for business and can't remember when or what I bought but it had to be a desktop first. Now I prefer laptops.

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              SteveKaye 5 years ago

              I've been using Apple computers since 1982. If I add them all up, I've bought more than a dozen. And I've been able to sell each machine when I bought the next one.

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              anonymous 5 years ago

              I'm up to at least 12 or 15 counting employer supplied computers. I have also been building my own PCs since the late 1990's, so some of those computers have had their guts replaced 3 or 4 times too.

            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
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                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.

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                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.

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                Mary Norton 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

                Looks like your Dad would really have enjoyed a laptop.

              • hartworks lm profile image
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                hartworks lm 5 years ago

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

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                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!

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                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.

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                Michey LM 5 years ago

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

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                nutshells 5 years ago

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

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                Cindy 5 years ago from Pittsburgh Pa

                Loved it and your father too! xo

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                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.

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                hartworks lm 5 years ago

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

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                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

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                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
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                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!

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                lingstar 5 years ago

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