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The computer kid

Described as "gigantic brains," computers were once so big they filled entire rooms. It all started with ENIAC, the world's first computer, that cracked and buzzed and weighed 27 tonnes. By the 1960s, ordinary Canadians were fascinated with these new high tech devices: IBMs could set up blind dates, select Christmas presents and mysteriously dispense money. A novel idea until computer technology replaced real people on the job. These days computers continue to revolutionize — this time changing the way people communicate by way of the Internet.

"They're new technology, and they're different from anything else," explains 12-year-old Ted Curylo when asked why he likes computers so much. It's 1981, and computers are still something of a mystery to many Canadians. So when the young boy strolls into a Vancouver computer conference with such a good grasp of the technology, everyone else at the conference is quite surprised. "His attitude so impressed the (conference) organizers, they made him a kind of mascot," says host Jan Tennant in this TV clip.
• The late 70s and early 80s saw the emergence of home computers. The first one to make a significant splash was the Apple II, released in 1977, followed by the IBM PC, introduced in August of 1981. Other popular home computers of the early 80s included the Commodore 64 (1982) and Apple Macintosh (1984).

• Home video game consoles also hit the market during this era. The first to become widely popular was the Atari 2600 (1977), followed by the Mattel Intellivision (1980) and the Colecovision (1982). • It may have been unusual to see a child computer expert in the early 80s, but today, kids often have more computer proficiency than their parents. A 2004 Prince Albert Daily Herald article described a seminar called "Parenting the Net Generation" held at a local school. "My kids are between the ages of five and 22 and they are all Internet savvy," said one attendee. "I wanted to learn more because I have a house full of kids who know more about computers than I do."

Medium: Television
Program: The National
Broadcast Date: Feb. 21, 1981
Guest(s): Ted Curylo, Sid Treur
Reporter: Genevieve Westcott
Duration: 2:23

Last updated: January 27, 2014

Page consulted on January 27, 2014

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