Thursday, December 29, 2005
Nita van Praag I.M.
She was a visionary. Possibly aided by her round the clock listening to interesting radio programs, she could always tell me what the future would bring. Two decades ago she predicted that, some time in the future, you would be able to bring the library into your home, that all libraries in the world would be connected.
Thanks to Nita, I got my first laptop, an IBM compatible Commodore, in 1990. Mind you, this was pre Windows, meaning I had to learn MS DOS, which I did, no small feat.
If in the Netherlands of the 80's having an answering machine and pager was judged as, "self important bull" (I would sneak out of a meeting to check my messages, clicking the pager's button near the mouth piece of a pay phone), showing ownership of a lap top in the early 90's was out of the question. I carried my Commodore in an inconspicuous music bag, a gift from the supervisor of the costume department of U.T. at Austin, and I never, ever, worked on my laptop in public. The idea!
In 1997 I purchased a table top Mac clone (thereby honoring the advice of a programmer: "buy what your friends have, if your friends have a PC, buy a PC, if your friends have a Mac, buy a Mac, if you don't have friends, buy a Mac). I transferred all of my documents, but continued taking my Commodore on the road, using the li'le ole thing for my studio blog. I had become a bi-lingual computer user: MS DOS/ Mac.
By 1999 our household counted a table top Mac clone, an IBM compatible laptop and a Mac Powerbook. While I could no longer close the Commodore, I remained faithful to the old thing, only reluctantly willing to use the small iBook my sweetheart presented me with in 2001.
Not long after Nita died, on December 29, 2002, the Commodore expired.
I write this on a smart G-number with Tiger abilities, smooth, fast, and yes, able to bring the libraries of the world into my living room. Just like my mama predicted.