Author Topic: Back in MY day... aka, the Computer Thread  (Read 3703 times)

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2littlemonkeys

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Re: Back in MY day... aka, the Computer Thread
« Reply #45 on: June 16, 2014, 12:22:24 PM »
My first ever computer was an Apple IIC in 1985 and we had to use the big 5" floppy discs to do anything on it.  We had one disk for word processing (and boy was I happy to say adios to my mom's old manual typewriter!).  We had a few other discs for games.  When I was a senior in HS, I took a journalism class with the Macintosh Classic.  It had a mouse!!  And a desktop!!  No more manual DOS commands.  I used these through college.  When I got into the workforce, we had the standard desktop PC you see now (though no sound and it was slooooooooooowwww.)

DH still has a Dell he bought back in 1998.  He still uses it for file storage (or something) but it's like a giant paperweight.  He has a newer Dell that he uses for everything else.  I currently use a MacBook Pro for work.  Using DH's computers is like going to a foreign country where I kind of speak the language but I have to be re-acclimated.

Ms_Cellany

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Re: Back in MY day... aka, the Computer Thread
« Reply #46 on: June 16, 2014, 12:32:24 PM »
When I was in grad school in the early '80s, I worked on a PDP-11, the size of a file cabinet with the power of a Waring blender. You could ask for help with commands, but the Catch-22 was you had to know exactly what the command *was.*

Samples:

"Help concatenate"
"CONCATENATE: info info info info."

"Help concat"
"No help available for concat."

"Help del"
"No help available for del"

---------------
One day I cracked up at the programmers' understanding of human nature. I forget what the actual command I wanted was, so I'll make something up:

"Help compile"
"No help available for compile"

"Help comp"
"No help available for comp"

"Help concat"
"No help available for concat"

"Help me"
"No help available for you"
« Last Edit: June 16, 2014, 12:34:11 PM by Ms_Cellany »
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artk2002

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Re: Back in MY day... aka, the Computer Thread
« Reply #47 on: June 16, 2014, 03:10:01 PM »
I forgot to mention some of the very first devices that I learned to program, back in the very early 1970s. These were programmable calculators from CompuCorp and Monroe (CompuCorp built them and Monroe labeled and sold them.)

http://www.oldcalculatormuseum.com/d-compucorp.html

These were the CompuCorp 400 series of programmable calculators.
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bow lines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. -Mark Twain

VorFemme

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Re: Back in MY day... aka, the Computer Thread
« Reply #48 on: June 16, 2014, 08:42:36 PM »
This would have been around 1989 or so...

VorGuy was teaching classes that used computer software, such as it was back in that day, and would put together "buys" of computer parts from Houston or Dallas-Fort Worth so that his students could get them for less than the local "computer store" was selling them for (significant savings, since he was covering his COSTS for the parts & shipping costs and they were "newer" and slightly more powerful than the ones in the local stores.  This was back in the day when a 10mb hard drive was large and the 5 1/4" floppy ruled.

Since they were using a lot of spreadsheets and the monitors (monochrome) didn't go wide enough for the whole spreadsheet to show up, he researched (using computer magazines printed & sold - no internet quite yet, except at the college which his students might use for homework if they didn't have a computer of their own - but finding parts "on-line" wasn't going to happen for about a decade) how to get a crystal that would modulate (I think that was the word) the monitor so that the  spreadsheet would have smaller print and show all the rows & columns (especially the columns running side to side).

He found a supplier in California - but asked me to phone a local supplier who might be able to provide them locally & faster.

Nope - they'd never heard of such a part, the crystal for it would have to be custom cut, would cost more, and they couldn't guarantee how many rows & columns each monitor might end up displaying as there would be a certain variance (I forget the percentage they quoted) between one custom cut crystal and the next. 

We ended up paying for the more expensive "standardized" boards instead...

Back then I phoned in the orders and the parts were delivered to our house - but VorGuy put them together, or he talked me through simple troubleshooting over the phone if he was out of town.

I also had UPS try to hand over a printer that had been in an accident with a forklift (box & printer were doing a pretty good impression of a large square donut with a big hole in the middle) - he came to the door & put his foot down that they put a hole in it, they could pay to take it back to the repair place and get it fixed...

« Last Edit: June 17, 2014, 01:13:08 PM by VorFemme »
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TootsNYC

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Re: Back in MY day... aka, the Computer Thread
« Reply #49 on: June 16, 2014, 09:17:49 PM »
I had a Timex Sinclair.

Lady Snowdon

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Re: Back in MY day... aka, the Computer Thread
« Reply #50 on: June 16, 2014, 11:14:58 PM »
Growing up, my mom worked for one of the Baby Bells in their IT department, and did not want any office technology in our house.  I could handwrite everything, or I could type on the computers at school if it needed to be typed.  We got our first computer just a few years before we got the internet (over a dial up modem, naturally) on my mom's secondary work phone line. 

I will never forget the experience of playing "Where in Time is Carmen Sandiego?" as a DOS program when my dad was trying to fix something on the computer.  It was awesome!!

ladyknight1

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Re: Back in MY day... aka, the Computer Thread
« Reply #51 on: June 17, 2014, 01:12:04 PM »
I remember fondly the Amiga system we had in the late 1980's.

We now build our own machines and still enjoy the computer dinosaurs.

Amara

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Re: Back in MY day... aka, the Computer Thread
« Reply #52 on: June 17, 2014, 02:16:44 PM »
Hahahahahahahahaha! I just found a wanted ad on CL that included this picture, perfect for this thread! This is what our home computers looked like in 2004. Who knew?  ;D



SamiHami

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Re: Back in MY day... aka, the Computer Thread
« Reply #53 on: June 17, 2014, 02:49:45 PM »
Our first major purchase as a married couple was a PC. This was 1989 and it cost $3200. We took out a loan to purchase it, as well as a dot-matrix printer.

I recall being very, very resistant to switching over to this newfangled thing called "Windows," because I didn't need it. I knew DOS already, darn it, and didn't need it!

What have you got? Is it food? Is it for me? I want it whatever it is!

ladyknight1

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Re: Back in MY day... aka, the Computer Thread
« Reply #54 on: June 17, 2014, 03:12:43 PM »
Our IT specialist has a piece of dot matrix paper on his office wall. Not only is it dot matrix paper, it is braille dot matrix printed paper. The coolest thing ever.

magicdomino

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Re: Back in MY day... aka, the Computer Thread
« Reply #55 on: June 17, 2014, 03:45:51 PM »
Hahahahahahahahaha! I just found a wanted ad on CL that included this picture, perfect for this thread! This is what our home computers looked like in 2004. Who knew?  ;D



"With teletype interface and Fortran language, this computer should be easy to use.

Yo, Siri, what do you think of that?   :)

lilfox

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Re: Back in MY day... aka, the Computer Thread
« Reply #56 on: June 17, 2014, 07:06:11 PM »
Hahahahahahahahaha! I just found a wanted ad on CL that included this picture, perfect for this thread! This is what our home computers looked like in 2004. Who knew?  ;D



What is the giant steering wheel for??

We had a TI "computer" with no ROM, hooked up to a B&W TV, and a code book of BASIC programs for simple games.  I got pretty good at the drawing program which generated a cursor approx 1" by 0.5" in size and could go up, down, and left or right.  It was the shortest program, and therefore almost the only one I ever bothered typing up (since I had to do it each and every time I wanted to play).

In 1985, we had an Atari 800 XL, with two disk drives, so we could actually do two operations on occasion.  Eventually we had a dot matrix printer attached to it.  I gave up using it as a word processor (AtariWriter?) when I realized it was faster to use our electric typewriter than format every page for printing.  The typewriter also allowed bold and italics, something the printer did not.

My school in 1987 had Atari 1200s, and an optional class to learn BASIC programming.  The 1200s still used cartridges, and I remember the one for AtariArtist only allowed 4 colors to be displayed at any one time.  You could change any of the colors to a new color, but anything you had drawn in the previous color changed to the new color.

I remember loving PrintShop!  I created locker art with it, not to mention birthday cards and random flyers.

In 1992, my parents bought me a Mac IIsi as a HS graduation present (which, according to Wikipedia, was discontinued roughly 8 months later).  College students with a personal computer in their dorm rooms were definitely in the minority - most people used the computer labs.  I even had a modem (1200 bd, woo!) and a printer, so was totally spoiled.  I want to say roughly half its life was spent playing Tesserae and Minesweeper.

And my kids will never know a world without touchscreens and instant information.  Wonder what they'll wax nostalgic about?

Specky

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Re: Back in MY day... aka, the Computer Thread
« Reply #57 on: June 17, 2014, 08:45:11 PM »
I learned to type on a manual.  Sometime during the year, we got two! electric typewriters for the class, and they had to enforce a rotation schedule for them.

We learned to use slide rules.  Calculators became widely available during my senior year of HS, but we had to work to afford them, they were so expensive.

During college chem lab, we had to enter our answers via keypunch card and had these strange little manual devices to punch the cards.  Then, there were two keypunch terminals for all the students, so you had to make an appointment and you only got a certain amount of time.  Once the cards were in the tray, you took them over for the student assistants to get them in line to run.  A couple of the assistants were apparently on the bribe system, and there were lots of trays dropped.  "Oops!  Sorry!  Here's your tray back!"  You would be handed a tray of topsy turvy bunched cards, and have to make another appointment and start from scratch. It got to the point that the department figured out what was going on since the same group always got their programs run and everyone else "had problems" with multiple run attempts.  Lots of run failures, too.

We got a Pong when they first came out, followed by an Atari.  I got pretty good with Space Invaders.

Our first PC was a Zenith clone with the two floppy drives.  Main thing we ran was Word Star.  I also had some personal resistance changing over to Windows.  One of the main reasons was I could not use the mouse.  Finally figured out I am mouse dyslexic and can only use it if I turn it upside down.  My brain is wired differently.

Free Range Hippy Chick

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Re: Back in MY day... aka, the Computer Thread
« Reply #58 on: June 18, 2014, 05:20:13 AM »
Finally figured out I am mouse dyslexic and can only use it if I turn it upside down.  My brain is wired differently.

Specky, are you reverse handed for the mouse? My husband is right handed but uses the mouse left handed. Can't do it the other way around. I can't do it his way. Using each other's laptop can only be done with much profanity and evil temper and accusations of 'you're just weird!'

Ms_Cellany

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Re: Back in MY day... aka, the Computer Thread
« Reply #59 on: June 18, 2014, 09:42:04 AM »
I'm right-handed but mouse left-handed:

-- The left arm doesn't have to extend as far (there's a keypad on the right)
-- I can type and mouse at the same time more easily this way

I don't reverse the buttons.
Using a chainsaw is as close as we come to having a lightsaber in this life.