Richard Prokopchuk

When was the first time you saw/used a computer and what kind of computer was it?
I first used a computer while in the military in 1975. We used a non-descript front end that was driven by a Vax main frame. We connected from our location in Germany to NSA in minutes instead of hours and days.
When was the first time you actually owned a computer and where/how did you get it?
I got my first computer in 1985 or late 84 at the San Angelo Mall. It was an Apple IIc. It was actually the size of a large laptop, but had a separate CRT and a built in keyboard and floppy drive. I bought it in San Angelo, Texas and got it because I didn’t like the rubber chicklet keys that the IBM had.
How have computers and technology changed your life?
They give me windows to the world. It was like having the Library of Congress on my desk. Or the Louvre or any other library and/or museum you could think of. It gave me access to music.
What did you not see coming?
I did not expect computers to catch on so fast and become so widespread.
What do you expect from future technology?
You know, I think AI is going to be more powerful that anyone can imagine. I think even folks in the Congo will be online.
Tell me of a time when technology screwed up your day?
I worked at AOL Tucson from late 95 till they replaced us. I was working the mid shift at the first Tucson call center. This lady had called and had such a weak grasp on the interweb that by the time we were done, I was crying. A 44 year old man, crying. My whole week was screwed up, not just my day. She hadn’t been able to get on line and I fixed her. She hung up without so much as a thank you” ;
Tell me of a time when technology saved the day?
A lovely lady called because she was totally new to computers and AOL. She didn’t know anything at all, what anything was called, NOTHING. Iwas able to get her Mac online after only a few minutes. She sent me artificial emeralds to thank me; I still have them. I suppose I should have sent them back. She sent them to me via the AOL address in Tucson.
I am a retired military guy. I’m also quite disabled now. I still use my computer as my connection to the entire world.

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