[Note, I use the term "computer" here to refer to both the hardware and software. Did anyone think that a computer did not include software?]
A computer is not just to demonstrate a bankrupt user interface idea discredited 20 years ago at SIGCHI and implemented by morons: a computer is actually a tool intended to accomplish something that the biped mammal thinks is worthwhile... something as simple as writing a letter or as complicated as mapping the human genome. (4) Or that was the naive and idealistic belief held by many of the original users of computers back in the day when we thought computers were going to help the world and not just torture it.
Consider the following four case studies: Redhat Linux 9.0 circa 1988, the DEC PDP 8E circa 1970, MAC OS X and the Android Nexus 7.
Redhat Linux circa 1998. The subject was able to find a shell within about 30 seconds, a text editor in about 5 seconds, write a program in about 1 minute, find a compiler in about 20 seconds and compile and run a program in about 30 seconds after that. The subject had trouble finding documentation because he had inadvertently not installed it by default, and he had to learn about the stupidity of the Info system for which GNU should be shot. Definitely a computer.
DEC PDP 8E. The subject discovered that the DEC PDP 8E, which his high school acquired about 1970, came with a built in line editor, a built in compiler (for FOCAL), and was running his own program within about 5 minutes. One got data on and off with paper tape. Definitely a computer.
More toaster oven than computer, I think.
2. In order to discourage users from using public and open standards, Microsoft Office would put you through a battery of questions before allowing you to save a .txt file, including about line feed encoding in the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, or whatever that socialist paradise is called these days.
3. Sarcasm intended.
4. Or, conversely, as complicated as writing a letter and as simple as decoding the human genome.