"In September , the General Electric Company sponsored a Digital Computer Course...Twenty-five students and seven faculty members attended the twelve weekly sessions of ninety minutes. Under the direction of E.D. Reilly, manager of the Digital Computer at Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory, participants gained a primary knowledge of computers and the field of programming."
Reading the caption under a yearbook photo, I am stunned to realize the opportunity that I had let slip by. Because of my aptitude for Math, I was among the students chosen to participate in this programming class, surely one of the first in our region. I remember being warned "garbage in, garbage out" as we worked in teams to construct a logical sequence of commands. I remember the cards with punched "slots" that recorded our instructions in a computer-readable format. I remember the computer, worth a million dollars or more, filling the entire basement of a building at Siena College. ONE computer!
I didn't touch a computer again for over twenty-five years. I wasn't ready, didn't understand the possibilities.
Over the past year, I've had an epiphany of sorts. Three decades later, I'm ready to "see something wonderful".
"I do not regret my not having seen this before, since I now saw it under circumstances so favorable. I was in just the frame of mind to see something wonderful, and this was a phenomenon adequate to my circumstances and expectation, and it put me on the alert to see more like it."
-Henry David Thoreau (1817–1862), U.S. philosopher, author, naturalist