Author Topic: Back in MY day... aka, the Computer Thread  (Read 3484 times)

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darling

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Back in MY day... aka, the Computer Thread
« on: June 13, 2014, 12:57:52 PM »
Yep, we needed this! Cheapskate Thread readers, here is your computer thread!

Hillia

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Re: Back in MY day... aka, the Computer Thread
« Reply #1 on: June 13, 2014, 01:16:36 PM »
I'll go:
- 40 MB hard drives, which we so cleverly partitioned into 8 MB C drive for our DOS and 32 MB D drive for our applications and data
- Windows, Excel and Word coming on sets of 1.44MB floppies, between 25 and 35 of them if I remember correctly, and spending hours swapping them out during installs
- extended vs expanded memory
- config.sys files, and all the weird stuff you had to do with them to get your various programs and hardware to work together
- manual switches to share non-networkable printers and other devices

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Outdoor Girl

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Re: Back in MY day... aka, the Computer Thread
« Reply #2 on: June 13, 2014, 01:18:25 PM »
My first computer was a Commodore PET with a cassette drive.  I had a dot matrix printer and I used that thing to type up essays and projects in high school.  It didn't go with me to Uni, though.  It was too big!  The only people with computers in my residence were those taking computer science.  I did have an electric typewriter, though.
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Re: Back in MY day... aka, the Computer Thread
« Reply #3 on: June 13, 2014, 02:04:20 PM »
My first was a Commodore 64, also with a cassette drive. I wrote BASIC programs on it as a kid. When I went to college, they had computer labs for us engineering students, since it was so rare for anyone to have their own computer.

My dad still has a handful of punch-cards. When my DS(9) used one in his "Communication Timeline" project, even the teacher was barely familiar with them.


Amara

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Re: Back in MY day... aka, the Computer Thread
« Reply #4 on: June 13, 2014, 02:07:17 PM »
I am so grateful the guys at our local Mac store didn't roll their eyes when I recently brought in my PowerBook G4 (circa 2000) for them to transfer the data over to the new(er--2007) MacBook Pro I just bought.

athersgeo

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Re: Back in MY day... aka, the Computer Thread
« Reply #5 on: June 13, 2014, 03:10:27 PM »
My first computing experience was with a friend's Sinclaire, my parents' Amstrad PCW and the school's (brand new at the time!) BBC Basic.

This experience taught me how to type, how to control a sprite with O P, A, Z and space bar to fire, and the correct sequence for going to the castle, the lake  and the forest...

AzaleaBloom

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Re: Back in MY day... aka, the Computer Thread
« Reply #6 on: June 13, 2014, 03:11:16 PM »
I remember the *real* floppy disks - those big flimsy things that got damaged or corrupted if you looked at them funny. 

My parents bought the first family computer in 1988.  I think it cost several thousand dollars.  It was so outdated within about three years that they weren't able to buy any programs for it.  It became a fancy word processing machine at that point.

Luci

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Re: Back in MY day... aka, the Computer Thread
« Reply #7 on: June 13, 2014, 03:43:22 PM »
Lucas took a course for his Master degree in 1974, when Son was 3. Because of my typing skills, I did the entering for him. We had to go to the computer lab at Northern Illinois University at 3 AM while Son and Daughter styed at grandparent's. We had a true telephone modem that we took the phone receiver and carefully placed it in a holder. Even then, I had to SAVE every few minutes.

 I took a computer course for teachers and had to do a lot of programming and so taught Son to program with me when he was in middle school. I had to take the thing home at night because we didn't have one. Our school district had a grant from Apple. (1983)

 We still have Son's Commodore in the (dry) basement, along with the disc drive and printer. We used an old portable tv for a monitor. That's the one he took to college for word processing and found the joys of the internet with. He used to go into games programs if he didn't like them and change them. He changed Snake a lot! (1989).

We had a family C64 but only used it for games like Oh, Deer! and as an adding machine. I did a couple of documents on it, saved to a disk, and took somewhere to have it printed. Our first real PC of our own and online with a printer was a Win 95. It was so nice not to have to load the program from the disk everytime we wanted to use it! Even then I got irritated at how slow it was. It was $1500, and I had to save several months for it.

I remember when the first word processing was being done in the high school and one of the tech teachers told the students to store the floppy disk inside their locker doors, held with a magnet. That nearly took a week to solve the mystery of the lost data!

We've pretty well kept up every few years, and of course now computers are so powerful that most possibilities are wasted on us, but it's still fun for email, social networks, research, games, and word processing with pictures.

magicdomino

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Re: Back in MY day... aka, the Computer Thread
« Reply #8 on: June 13, 2014, 03:58:35 PM »
Ah, the joys of punchcards.  Just kidding, those things needed to become obsolete. 

Once upon a time, I was the proud owner of a hot-to-trot Commodore 128.  I don't think I really exhausted its possibilities, and since a few years ago it was given to a young man who was collecting computers made before he was born, I never will.
« Last Edit: June 13, 2014, 04:21:58 PM by magicdomino »

Jinxy

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Re: Back in MY day... aka, the Computer Thread
« Reply #9 on: June 13, 2014, 04:13:37 PM »
My DH reading over my shoulder asked me to post the following.

My first computer was a TRS-80 Pocket computer (hand held) that I bought in 1980 and had 1.9 K of memory.  I was able to hack the OS and use some restricted memory to get it up to 2.4K of memory.  After I went to college and decided that Punch cards were not acceptable, I bought a Zenith PC clone., it had 3 floppy drives, and 384K of memory.


and I'm pretty sure that almost every machine he's ever owned is in his office. I keep saying we should have it declared a museum to out-dated tech
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Ms_Cellany

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Re: Back in MY day... aka, the Computer Thread
« Reply #10 on: June 13, 2014, 04:56:58 PM »
The Voyager I spacecraft (which left the solar system recently) has 69K memory, and runs on 8-track tapes. (Source: Wired)
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jedikaiti

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Re: Back in MY day... aka, the Computer Thread
« Reply #11 on: June 13, 2014, 05:01:52 PM »
My first was a Commodore 64 bought when I was about 11 or 12. We had the tape drive, later a floppy drive and printer, too. And an ergonomic joystick that the dog chewed on. <G>

I remember my favorite games on that were LeMans (which was on a cartridge) and one that I forget the name of, but it featured little guys running around buildings to paint them, and there were paint buckets running around trying to stop them. The theme music was the Nutcracker march, which at the time was also being used in a cereal commercial. That game was on a cassette tape and took about 15 minutes to load, so I'd get it started and go do something else until I heard the music start playing.
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camlan

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Re: Back in MY day... aka, the Computer Thread
« Reply #12 on: June 13, 2014, 05:09:27 PM »
I remember having to send a file from work to one of our member offices, back around 1982. We had to buy a modem and I had to hook it up to the computer. Then I had to figure out how to take the word processor file (MultiMate, for those who remember that) and convert it to an ASCII file.

Then I had to call the other office and get them to turn their modem on, so that I could have my computer call their computer. Then I had to follow a series of DOS commands to send the converted file.

From start to finish, to send one 10 page document, it probably took 5 hours, not counting the time it took to go to a store and buy the modem. No on-line shopping back then. No internet outside the universities, no email.

I worked in a small office with just four employees. We all had our own computers. No hard drives. Just the large floppy disks. At one point, one of the employees needed more memory on his computer. He bought the chip, but was afraid to install it, so I spent a fun three hours one afternoon taking his CPU apart and figuring out how to put the chip in. I was kind of surprised that it worked.

I can't imagine a company letting just any old employee do that with a company computer these days.
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atirial

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Re: Back in MY day... aka, the Computer Thread
« Reply #13 on: June 13, 2014, 05:18:40 PM »
My first computing experience was with a friend's Sinclaire, my parents' Amstrad PCW and the school's (brand new at the time!) BBC Basic.

This experience taught me how to type, how to control a sprite with O P, A, Z and space bar to fire, and the correct sequence for going to the castle, the lake  and the forest...
Ah, the Acorn BBC. 32K of memory, an old portable TV, and floppy discs that waggled. Software installed by opening the computer up and plugging the little chip in while praying you didn't break anything. Such fond memories... I still have mine somewhere (and I still have an emulator on the PC. Those games were good!).


magicdomino

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Re: Back in MY day... aka, the Computer Thread
« Reply #14 on: June 13, 2014, 05:35:24 PM »
Not a computer, but did anyone else work in an office with a DEX facsimile machine, the ancestor of the modern fax machine? 

To send a fax:

Call the other office.  Let them know that you want to send a fax.

Hang up and go to your DEX machine.  Use its phone to call the other machine.  Wait for the other person to pick up, and load a piece of silvery heat-sensitive paper into their machine.  Meanwhile, insert your paper into the roller.

Simultaniously, both of you put the phone receivers into the DEX machines' cradles.

Cross your fingers that the paper doesn't tear.

Repeat for the next page.