Blast From The Past: IT monsters making a mockery with dongles and cookies

GRAEME COUSINS charts the history of computers – from the first commercial desktop to modern laptops – and their role in turning IT professionals into gods

Monday, 7th June 2021, 2:27 pm
Updated Monday, 7th June 2021, 2:27 pm
Gone but not forgotten are the days of floppy discs, dial-up Internet and the talking paperclip who used to guide you through writing a letter or composing a CV

The Programma 101 was the first commercial desktop computer. It was launched at the 1965 New York World’s Fair.

Since then man’s relationship with Information Technology has been a love/hate one.

While I often reminisce about the innocent times before computers took over our lives, I also recognise the value they add to society. For example, without Wikipedia, I’d have been stuck for an intro to this piece.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Technology is both a blessing and curse.

Thanks to computers a person is able to multitask without getting off their seat – using your laptop you can simultaneously go shopping, have a board meeting and stalk an ex-partner.

However the same machine that puts the world at your fingertips is regularly responsible for causing you to consider reaching for a claw hammer to perform the ‘Ctrl Alt Obliterate’ shortcut when you’re informed that your current application has slipped into a coma and ‘is not responding’.

And as for the person who invented autocorrect – they can go to he’ll.

One of the most galling things about our total reliance on computers to do our bidding is that it’s given godlike positions to IT professionals, who in turn make a mockery of the uneducated masses by making us use their messed-up language.

They must have a right laugh every time some bloke in his sixties is forced to enquire about a dongle.

There is no justification for words like dongle.

Likewise cookies.

Cookies are delicious edible treats. We should never have let those monsters misappropriate our cookies... those cookie monsters.

By using terms like dongle and cookies IT people are trying to make IT cool. It isn’t and never will be.

As things move forward there’s even a certain nostalgia about the processes that are being replaced as technology begets technology.

Gone but not forgotten are the days of floppy discs, dial-up Internet and the talking paperclip who used to guide you through writing a letter or composing a CV.

Sadly, given the rate at which Information Technology is developing, there will come a time when people watch the Matrix films and consider them to be period dramas.

A message from the Editor:

Thank you for reading this story on our website. While I have your attention, I also have an important request to make of you.

With the coronavirus lockdown having a major impact on many of our advertisers - and consequently the revenue we receive - we are more reliant than ever on you taking out a digital subscription.

Subscribe to and enjoy unlimited access to the best Northern Ireland and UK news and information online and on our app. With a digital subscription, you can read more than 5 articles, see fewer ads, enjoy faster load times, and get access to exclusive newsletters and content. Visit now to sign up.

Our journalism costs money and we rely on advertising, print and digital revenues to help to support them. By supporting us, we are able to support you in providing trusted, fact-checked content for this website.

Alistair Bushe