I’m a child of the 1970s, so I remember the rise of the personal computer quite distinctly – as a kid, I messed around with learning Basic, using TRS-80s, and playing Zork on my neighbor’s computer via modem on a Vax mainframe – in those days, modems were a device that you literally nested the telephone receiver into, not wired into the phone line! In 1985, I was in high school and our family got a “Fat Mac” – 512k of ram, dual floppy disc, no hard drive, pure state-of-the-art! I’ve been a diehard Mac owner ever since, which I think has really shaped my use of computers – I’m a savvy end-user, but know next-to-nothing about coding, command lines, and hackery.

Although I’m on my computer all-the-time, the technology that is more defining of my identity is television, as it’s the object of my main scholarly interest and personal fandom. Since I’ve become a media scholar, I’ve seen television shift distinctly at the levels of content (the rise of genres like reality TV), grammar (the emergence of complex long-form narratives like Lost or 24), and medium (HDTV, DVRs, console games with online access). For a more detailed reflection on how DVRs and TiVo relate to my use of television, some of you might be interested in “TiVoing Childhood,” an essay I wrote a couple years ago about raising kids in a TiVo household.