“The great personal computer con” (1984)

Photograph of Olivetti M24 personal computer from 1984

I just stumbled across a great article from the November 1984 edition of Creative Computing magazine where Tim Hartnell claims “those who market personal computers have been conning us for years.”

There are two main approaches they use. The first one runs like this: “Buy a computer or your child will be hopelessly left behind at school and will be handicapped for life.” I reject these claims absolutely because (a) they attempt to arouse parental guilt and feelings of inadequacy; and (b) because they are just plain lies. This direction can hardly, to my mind, be one in which the answer to “what do you need a personal computer for?” can be found.

The second main way to sell personal computers seems to be the “use the computer as a Gee Whiz Aid around the house.” Balance your checkbook on it, store recipes on it, catalog your books.

It’s a hoot.

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