When I was a kid, I had a book that describes how things work. It was not the current The Way Things Work, by David Macaulay, that is (rightly) popular these days. It was an oversized book, huge in my small hands; which means that it was likely the 14" x 12" size. It had a hardback cover, wasn't very thick, and was incredibly fascinating. I remember reading it over and over and over again.
I also remember being fascinated by the last entry in the book: "What is a Computer?"
I struggled to pronounce the word computer. I am clearly not a digital native, though I like to believe I'm keeping up well with current technologies. Digital wasn't in my vocabulary at that young age.
What I remember most about the "What is a Computer?" page is the illustration of the computer. It had 4-5 people working on it, it was the size of a small room, with lots of box sections, lights and buttons.
I, perhaps incorrectly, recall the blurb on the page described the computer, explained what it did and why it was great, and had the prediction that future computers would be smaller. Oh, boy, are they smaller!
I've looked for the book, and failed to figure out what the title of the book really is. I recall it only vaguely, I remember reading it in my brothers' bedroom, where, oddly, I recall reading most of my books. I have no idea why that is, why I recall reading books in their room, given I was the one who read the most of the three of us and could probably read just as easily in my bedroom as theirs.
That last page, though, "What is a computer?", just cracks me up. I was mesmerized by the puzzle of it, the one thing in the book I couldn't understand. The one thing in the book that stuck with me.