No More Downtime

Personal-computer makers are up and running again

Order a round of Dom Perignon. Put on a party hat. Grab a noisemaker. Get ready to shout "Happy Anniversary!" After all, it was just ten years ago that Americans walked into retail stores and saw the first fully assembled personal computers sitting on the shelves, waiting to be taken home and plugged into the socket. It was the beginning of the computer era for millions of people, ranging from sixth-graders learning to log on, to secretaries spinning out reams of letters, to hopeful authors plugging away at their novels on the screen.

Nowadays a zippy chorus or two of Happy...