Computers & the Internet


While he uses them daily, Mr. Burrow is not a particularly big fan of computers. He sees them as a necessary tool to get things done, but he does not see a need to have the latest state-of-the-art technology. For fifteen years he did most of his work on an Apple II-e he bought in 1984 (and also a Laser 128, a clone of the "compact" Apple II-c).  He really liked this dinosaur of a machine (and particularly the "Appleworks" word processor) because it was NOT mouse driven; all the commands were entered simply and easily via the keyboard. For better or worse, in 1999 he replaced the old II-e with a Windows-based Gateway computer. The Gateway also became obsolete, and in 2005 he became the latest dude to get a Dell, a Windows XP machine. In 2009 he supplemented that with an Acer netbook (also Windows XP), which he loved.  Unfortunately that computer was stolen, and he replaced it with a larger Dell laptop with Windows 7.  At work he uses a variety of computers, raniging from ancient to new.  In 2014 he acquired another Acer netbook, which is now his primary computer.  Both it and the Dell laptop have been upgraded to Windows 10.

Mr. Burrow got his first smartphone (a Motorola Moto E) at Christmas 2015.  He likes the idea of a smartphone, but he is not a fan of the touchscreen interface and particularly the absurdly small virtual keyboard found on a smartphone.

For several years Mr. Burrow accessed the internet through Web TV. He was one of the first subscribers to the WebTV service, and he maintained his account, and he kept his "classic" web box until May, 2000, when a theoretical "upgrade" from WebTV Networks completely ruined the electronics. He now uses Yahoo as his main online news source, and he searches the searches the web almost exclusively via Google.  He has both Microsoft Internet Explorer and the Google Chrome browser installed on his home computers, and he finds both useful for different purposes.  He visits sights like and a couple of blogs daily, he does a large part of his shopping through Amazon, and whenever he needs an answer he goes to Wikipedia.  He also enjoys wasting time playing Google Maps' Smarty Pins game

While he spends a lot of time on the internet, Mr. Burrow fails to see the attraction so many people have to sites like Facebook and Twitter.  He prefers to keep his social interactions with real people, rather than "friends" from online networks who are barely even acquaintances.  Whenever he has been to sites on social networks, they just seem like fluff, with little content anyone but the creator would care about.  It also strikes him as a bit creepy that some people want to share embarrassing and sometimes incriminating pictures of themselves or that they feel the need to constantly update the world on the trivial details of their lives.  Similarly, he fails to see the need many people have to "interact" by posting their pointless responses to blogs and news articles.

He prefers words like "explore" to the ubiquitous "surf" to describe his usage of the Internet. He dislikes sites that are graphics intensive and especially those that make unnecessary use of "Flash" and other rich media formats, because they take forever to load and rarely have much content to them. For years he had dial-up internet at home, and now he has the slowest broadband option, so load time is a major consideration.  Moreover, he absolutely detests sites that restrict access to only those people who have the latest browsers and plug-ins.  He fought hard against changing the school website (which he maintains) to a service that would have been Flash-based.

Mr. Burrow learned how to program in traditional BASIC when he was in high school. In college he continued his work in BASIC, he learned Fortran (the language from which most recent versions of BASIC appear to derive), and he did a small amount of work in elementary Pascal. As an undergraduate assistant, he helped author and de-bug numerous educational software programs, most of which seem absurdly primitive by today's standards.  While he enjoyed programming in these now archaic languages, he never seriously considered a career in software design.

As an adult, Mr. Burrow has enjoyed teaching himself HTML. He likes the language, and it amuses him that many HTML commands are analogous to the commands used in the "Appleworks" word processor he liked so much. He believes that most web authors spend far too much time on needless "bells and whistles" of presentation, at the expense of useful content.

Mr. Burrow tends to prefer language and menu-based interfaces.  Having become very adept at using older versions of Microsoft Office, he was extremely upset at the Office 2007 "upgrade" and its bizarre "ribbon" interface.  (Interestingly, most people who are longtime Office users seem to prefer the old interface; Office 2007 (and later) seems to appeal mostly to less experienced users.)  He currently uses Office 2013 with an add-on tool that emulates the traditional menu bar.

This website began in 1998 on the free server at Geocities.  The original URL was extremely lengthy: (a URL that was still supported for several years after GeoCities ceased to exist). Eventually Yahoo took over the Geocities service.  As the site expanded and Mr. Burrow began storing information for his colleges classes on it, he began to pay for an ad-free service.  In 2008 he moved to the domain (still served by Yahoo and spun off in 2015 as the new company Aabaco), mostly because doing so cost less than continuing at a Geocities "premium" address.  Geocities permanently closed in 2009, since like most ad-supported free web services, it failed to generate significant money.  Hopefully will remain on the web well into the future.

Although he believes all authors should exhibit responsibility, Mr. Burrow strongly defends the right of free speech--both on the Internet and in the physical world. He believes, however, that government, citizens, and web publishers must work together to solve the problem of youth access to adult sites.


Advice on computers
(from Dixie (Julie London) on the '70s TV show Emergency)

Responsible Free Speech Any Browser Free Speech Online!

Picture from the webcam on Mr. Burrow's Acer Aspire netbook

David Burrow's now-defunct WebTV inernet terminal

Mr. Burrow has earned diamond status in Smarty Pins multiple times.

***** Links to other sites on the Web

* Stupid Internet Surveys (and How David Burrow Scored on Them)
* The Electronic Magic 8-Ball
* Apple II Computers
* WebTV
* Gateway Computers
* "Flash is Evil"