Mossberg: The Disappearing Computer

This is my last weekly column for The Verge and Recode — the last weekly column I plan to write anywhereI’ve been doing these almost every week since 1991, starting at the Wall Street Journaland during that time, I’ve been fortunate enough to get to know the makers of the tech revolution, and to ruminate — and sometimes to fulminate — about their creations.

Now, as I prepare to retire at the end of that very long and world-changing stretch, it seems appropriate to ponder the sweep of consumer technology in that period, and what we can expect next.

Let me start by revising the oft-quoted first line of my first Personal Technology column in the Journal on October 17, 1991: “Personal computers are just too hard to use, and it isn’t your fault.” It was true then, and for many, many years thereafter. Not only were the interfaces confusing, but most tech products demanded frequent tweaking and fixing of a type that required more technical skill than most people had, or cared to acquire. The whole field was new, and engineers weren’t designing products for normal people who had other talents and interests.

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