Like CD is to compact disc, it’s easy to forget that PC (in technology terms) stands for personal computer. Though most people know the words behind the acronym, most of us arguably haven’t used it that way in two, maybe three decades. Computing is now so ubiquitous, and so individualised, that the P is essentially redundant.

Cast your mind back to the 1970s and 1980s: the idea that industrial-scale computing machines could be shrunk and repurposed for things like word processing and entertainment was mind-blowing, especially when this term was vying for dominance with “microcomputer”. The idea seems positively quaint today. Remember when Bill Gates shared his aspiration to have a computer on every desk? How ambitious and impossible that seemed...

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