The first computers I ever used were Apple IIe systems. At the time, to me they were machines for playing video games that my SNES couldn't. They were magical devices.
Two years later, I found myself using some sort of Microsoft-running machine for typing class. We even had cardboard boxes covering our hands so we couldn't cheat for a better WPM score! Not as fun as Oregon trail, but I was still fascinated by these things.
Finally, one day during my senior year of high school my anti-tech father decides he wanted to buy a computer. I wasn't asking why, at last I could have my own Diablo II machine (although it also came with a couple of other games, I didn't really give two shits about them. Some nice ones, too including Elite Force II and the original Tropico.)
Just another vessel of escapism... but little did I know that one day...
Nowadays, I have a much different attitude about computers and technology in general. Yes, they are still partially vessels of escapism but they are also powerful, useful tools. And they require great care and knowledge to properly use. Like any good tool, really.
I think this way partially from simply working professionally with all kinds of technology for almost ten years, but I'd say a large chunk of my mental refactoring comes from using alternative software and operating systems - such as GNU/Linux and other amazing Free and Open Source softwares.
I think part of my affinity for this comes from a personal appreciation for DIY, I've always loved just doing things myself and have clung to cultural casts that focus on this idea (punk rock, anyone?) Yes it might be more work to go this route, but the end goal is not only achieving what I wanted to but also adding a wealth of knowledge about the very things that are now driving pretty much every aspect of modern life.
To be sure, lacking proper knowledge of how technology work is like lacking eyesight; without this understanding one misses out on so much and is forced to rely on media and news for their information about technology. This is a horrible prospect when one considers that even "respectable" media outlets like Chicago's own WBEZ are at best wrong about their tech reporting and at worst - they are flat out lying.
So much of our lives are now drivien by powerful technology, but despite what we've been taught by the likes of Microsoft there are no wizards and none of it is magic. If you don't want to be a victim of hacks, theft, and all that bad stuff it doesn't require that you become a computer scientist. No! You just need to peel back the covers a bit and not be afraid.
This is why I feel it is important to not fear the unknown vast expanses of all things tech, but to embrace and dive straight into it! After almost a decade of trial and error, I'm at a pretty nice place with my relationship with technology. I use GNU/Linux on at four computers at home, my server, and my workstation at the office. While one can totally pick a distro that is essentially plug-and-play, the rewards reaped from diving deeper are worth it.
These days Linux Mint Debian Edition is my go-to distro. This is a great OS for anybody, whether you loved Windows XP or you're a UNIX beard die-hard, with a solid Debian core minus systemd (another discussion for another day...), this core is perfect for sculpting into my ideal setup.
So what is the point of this rant, you ask? Well, I guess what I want to say is that even though sometimes a little extra work can go a long way. Sometimes, a bit of extra work can really be worth it. If you keep reading, I'll show you the basics of how I am successful with GNU/Linux and technology in general.