Ah, computers. Where do I even begin with computers. We have a complicated relationship, computers and I. Sometimes we’re in love, and everything is unicorns and meadows full of daisies. Sometimes they allow me to enjoy my Internet browsing or my Sims games in peace, with a little assurance of, “Go ahead, do your thing, friend, I got your back.” And then there’s the times where we absolutely hate each other. These are the days when my laptop just gives me two big middle fingers, crashes all my programs, refuses to turn on, and does everything else in its power to infuriate me. I’m not sure it knows just how close it’s brushed with death on these days.
My history with computers goes pretty much as far back as I remember. My parents are fond of telling me stories about how they would find me in my room at three years old, sat at my clunky old desktop and learning my ABC’s. That being said, I’m no computer expert. I know how to use most basic programs – I’ve even been declared a Photoshop wizard on occasion – but if my computer throws a serious problem in my face, I would have no idea how to fix it. I have the basics of a tech savvy person, but I don’t really know what makes computers tick, or how to play around with their codes. In that case, I suppose I’m similar to Patty Ordóñez from the podcast we listened to this week – if I was sat down in a computer class like she was, I’m sure I’d get plenty of stares that just screamed, “Wow, how basic are you?”
That being said, I feel like I fall right into the category of young adults that Williams’ mentioned in his article, that percentage of us that are on our phones even in our sleep. The familiar set up of the Internet on a mobile device, or of a computer with a screen, keyboard, and mouse, is basically ingrained in me. I’ve never really thought how my access to a computer could be set up differently, which is exactly one of the points that Williams makes in the essay. He talks a lot about how people who are quote-on-quote “normal” don’t always think about what using technology might be like for disabled people, and that’s a serious issue that should be resolved. Because as he says, people who are blind or deaf interact a lot differently with the Internet and whatnot than most of us do. His whole idea of universal design is something that really should be implemented everywhere, because without it, there are a lot of people who can’t access the same things that “normal” people can, both in regards to the digital humanities and in general. It’s not fair to exclude disabled people from the digital humanities field just because they can’t use a regular computer like a sighted or hearing person can.
As far as the podcast about women and computer coding goes, the words “geek culture” just kept flashing in my mind over and over as I was reading/listening to it. It reminded me of all the dudebro gamer nerds that have an elitist attitude toward video games, computers, and technology in general, like it’s something exclusive for them and above women’s understanding. And based on what the podcast was saying, it would seem part of that is due to how computers were marketed toward boys once they started becoming available at home. Personally, I think that’s just sad. Like the data showed from the podcast, women were extremely tech-savvy until about 1984, when all of a sudden computers became a man’s profession. It’s unfair to exclude women from that technological world, just as it’s unfair to exclude disabled people. The digital humanities is all about sharing knowledge with everyone, and that should extend to all aspects of computers possible. The whole point of the Internet, DH, and computers is to bring people together, so I think it’s about time we start figuring out how to include everyone.