When I decided to take a vacation in the US (from the Philippines, the first in over six years) during the holiday season (November – January 2012), I knew I would have to share a computer at my older son’s house. I didn’t know, however, that it would turn out to be as bad as it was. I thought computer time-sharing would be at a minimum and it wasn’t. In fact, it was just the opposite.
Waiting My Turn
When it comes to computers and creative writing along with server maintenance and PHP scripting, I’m kind of a workaholic. I want to stay busy and it’s primarily because I don’t watch TV even when others are watching. I prefer an alternate means of entertainment and I’ll leave it at that.
Since November, I’ve found myself twiddling my fingers more often than not. During my own waking hours, I have to wait my turn and my turn seems to be in between my older son’s online college homework, my younger son’s anime habit, my wife’s need to be on Facebook or Skype (chatting with relatives in the Philippines and my daughter-in-law’s desires. I’m lucky if I can squeeze in two uninterrupted hours during the day.
I shouldn’t be complaining and I’m not really complaining. I have my own house (vacant except or me right now) with more than one computer and more than one TV (should I feel the desire to turn one of them on) in the Philippines. Fortunately, I’m less than two weeks away from being back in a position where I can have as much uninterrupted computer time as I need.
I feel for the people who don’t have that luxury. Internet cafes are widely used in under-developed Asian countries like the Philippines, where maybe one in ten households have some kind of computer, which is usually shared by multiple household members (and usually just to get on Facebook).
In America, computer time-sharing isn’t as prevalent because most households have at least one computer and many have multiple computers (if you count tablets like the iPads) but it still exists. Time-sharing was a necessity before home computers became widely available because the computers in use were large, expensive, and few in number. It seems it’s still a necessity simply because there are more computer users than computers, even with the proliferation of desktop and notebook computers.