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My first memory of computers

 
Posts: 75
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I am in that age not having computers when growing up.Instead I grew up with coulour-television.But back to my first computer memory!
It was 1995 and Microsoft came with the user friendly Windows 95.At that time I run my small one-man company with hauling goods and thought that a computer could be used in my daily work.I did not know how in which way but I had the feeling that computer in my little firm was a good idea.I started to ask friends about how they used their computers and all of them said that they used them for playing games.Playing games?! Is that the only way you use them,I asked.You can write letters on them too some answered.
I decided to buy a computer.

I found a packaged with the everything in it.The price for a complete package inkluding speakers was about 800 USD and it was Hewlett Packard with Windows 95.

I started eagerly with the mounting of the parts and as it was said to be user friendly I thought that I would have mounted it and trying it in a couple of hours.
I started to read the manuals,I connected wires,I red the manuals and I disconnected the same wires.Not much happened.I went to bed and early next morning I started to read manuals and connect wires.Not much happened.User friendly I thought,kiss me baby.
It ended with that I put everything back in the box and almost with tears in my eyes of anger and dissappointment I drove to my brother and his wife.His wife worked with computers and maybe maybe they could help me.A week later I picked up the computer and with detailed instructions how to start using it.

Since then I use computer in my little firm.It has saved me time and it would be much more difficult without a computer.
 
pollinator
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My first computer memory is the one on Star Trek. A really Advanced Computer that made life much easier for those folks. Then, we got a game that allowed us to play something like tennis. It was a simple sliding bar with a bright dot bouncing back and forth.
 
master steward
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My first memory was a weird key-board-looking thing in a cabinet (the piece of furniture was probably called a "secretary" or maybe it was a TV cabinet). Either way, I was around 4 years old and I was NOT TO TOUCH the thing. It was for my dad's taxes, and I don't think I ever saw that Vic20 in action.

My cousins had some sort of DOS computer that'd we'd play some sort of space-ship game on. That's all I remember about that!

Fast forward a few years, and we got a computer with Windows 3.0. I remember spending a lot of time just being amazed by the "windows" that held the little file folders. The desktop was just a place to have open folders to use. I remember knowing how to get to DOS to play games there, like Lemmings and that game where you were a gorilla and threw bananas at the other gorrila. At that age, I was also writing letters to my friend that had moved away, and she said we should type a letter to each other, because that was so much cooler! So, I typed a letter in word, and printed it and mailed it (this was before I even knew about the internet!). I never did think typed letters were nearly as neat as hand written ones!

When I was in 5th grade (10 years old), my school decided that laptops were the wave of the future, and we all needed them. My parents resisted for two years, and then joined in on the laptop program, buying me a $2,000 laptop that I lugged to and from school everyday for 2 years. I had fun playing Solitaire and Chips Challenge and games like Bomber Man, and fiddling with all the settings. After two years, the laptop program shut down, and we had this lovely out-dated laptop. But, hey, it was great for long drives, because I could play Solitaire all the way to the family reunion!

I've actually never purchased a computer. We always get hand-me-downs from other people who buy new ones. This suits me, as I sure don't want to spend that much money on a computer, and I don't need a fancy/fast one--I just need one that works most of the time!




 
master steward
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This is a  Vic20:  



https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commodore_VIC-20

This is what I remember:  





https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keypunch

There were rooms filled with these that had to be keep cool:


 
Dale Hodgins
pollinator
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My brother-in-law Jim was the first person I knew who really got into the computer. He went on chat rooms where he argued with people and they traded insults. Completely unmoderated stuff that would get down and dirty. It was so redundant and no issue was ever resolved. Everyone had a pseudonym, and this seemed to embolden them,  because of their anonymity.
...........
Much later I discovered that computers contain a wealth of information and naked girls. Ever since the naked girls showed up, I'm sure it's been difficult for young men to choose between learning and those girls.

I don't see looking at porn as a moral failure, so much as a time suck. It's more of an educational distraction. If you have a young lad and he is in his room all the time, he's not doing Rubik's Cube. :-)
 
pioneer
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Dale Hodgins wrote: Then, we got a game that allowed us to play something like tennis. It was a simple sliding bar with a bright dot bouncing back and forth.



Pong :)

My first computer was a Commodore Vic 20 that Anne posted.
 
gardener
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The first computer I got to use was an IBM350, had to punch cards to program it then you punched cards to add your data so it could give you answers.
The first home computer I used I had to put together (apple 1) it had a whopping 30 bytes of memory.
Then came the Apple 2 with 64 megabytes of memory and a 5.25 floppy disc was available to load programs.
Now I use a minitower with 1tb hard drive and 16 gigabytes of ram memory with a killer video card that has 8 gigabytes of ram on the board.

oh yeah, and I remember the bag type cell phone too.

Redhawk
 
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My first memory of computers was going to work with my dad. He worked for Univac. There were big machines that went ping & many boxes of Hollerith cards as shown in Anne's pic. The best part, to a 6 year old kid, was the massive amount of tiny paper dots to play with. In later years he took me to his work at mission control & NASA. Technology was improving but still primitive by today's standards. There is more processing power in most wristwatches now than there was in the lunar lander.

Fortran & Cobol programming class came later during high school. Personal computers were starting to be available to hobbyists in the form of TRS-80's. Our school didn't have one. Learned very little from that class. Eventually a friend's family got a TRS-80 & we figured out how to make it add 2 numbers. Was gifted some sort of electronic hobbyist box that was supposed to teach logic gates. The usefulness of that eluded me for a few more years. Somewhere about that same time frame Pong was introduced. Hate to think how many quarters were wasted on that.

Then came college. Learned the intricate details of electronics & the internal workings of microprocessors & some Basic programming. Learned machine code for the 8080 processor family. Heavy duty stuff with zero market value today. Still didn't own a computer but Atari's & Commodore 64's were becoming common. I started working for Xerox who was heavily involved in something they called "office of the future". It was even going to be possible to send & print documents around the world at the blink of an eye. In color too. We were working on it. I still remember being in a room full of engineers who claimed their new fangled fax contraption would never catch on.

Enter my first computer. A used IBM Winchester 30/30 clone maxed out with 32K of RAM. Except it only had one 20 MEGA byte hard drive because who could possibly fill two 30 MB drives? The dot matrix printer was about the size of a small car. I quickly learned the hard way not to delete command.com & io.sys unless you have backup DOS disks. Had the latest & greatest 5 1/2" floppy drive, no disks. After resolving that "glitch" I learned of something new called CGA. What's this ... three colors at home? Must have. So I upgraded to 3 colors and a SoundBlaster. Finally, a computer worthy of games!!! Didn't like most of the ones available at the time so I wrote my own. Then installed a 300 baud modem. For clunky dual player games & sending important messages like "hey Chuck isn't this ultra-fast new modem cool". The internet came along shortly after.

Shortly after that the commercial games got better. Much better. Toyed with many of those as they appeared on the market. My daughter loved the role playing adventure games. I was mostly into flight sims. We played many hours of Lemmings together!!!

Funny story. Once had a supercomputer manufacturer as a customer. Was doing some work for them on a weekend. Their system was not in heavy use so my contact/escort allowed me to try an already outdated DOS based game on their supercomputer. The game normally required several minutes for a silly airplane to fly across the screen. The supercomputer was so fast it was impossible to play. Game ended as soon as it started. Not surprising & not that funny either. But there it is.

So now it's many years later. I have built most of my own computers ever since. Played a professional role in the technical development of microprocessors & other semiconductors. Guaranteed that I figuratively touched something in your electronic devices. Never took a typing class but am fairly fast at henpecking by now. It's been a fascinating journey. Still can't beat any kid at Nintendo or the other new fangled game gizmos. It amazes me to see how much some of the younger folks know & how early they learn it.

It also amazes me to see how utterly dependent on technology the world has become. For me it's just a toy & a tool. Nothing more.
 
master pollinator
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As I've posted elsewhere, it was the VIC20 for me.  My dad was an accountant, so he didn't need it for taxes, but they wouldn't buy a game console.  They bought the VIC for the simple word processor and the fact that it could be used to learn how to programme.  It was capable of colour, but we didn't have a colour TV to use it with.  It's what I learned BASIC on, but I'd usually run out of memory and would have to go back and figure out how to make it more efficient.  All I had to go by was a pretty crappy programming manual.

My dad worked at an insurance company, so they had computers.  We'd sometimes go in with him on the weekend and he'd let us use the computers.  They had the HPs with the touchscreen, which was an invisible light grid in front of the screen, and when you touched a spot, you interrupted the grid, so it could tell what you want.  He had to bring home tape reel backups every weekend, with another set in the vault and a third at the home of one of the guys on the board.  My dad told me in the 80's that all the years in the dates were just the last two digits and they were working on being able to transition to full years.

When the Commodore C-64 came out, I wanted one bad.  A friend's family had one for their 4 kids, even though they didn't have much money at all.  I was getting a ride with them to another town for swimming lessons when one of his younger brothers yelled 'Bottle!'  His mom slammed on the breaks, three kids jumped out (it was an 80kph highway) and ran into the ditch.  The trunk was popped and the kids got back in and one of them just said 'Three'.  Later, I asked him what that was all about, he said that they stopped every time they saw a bottle, so they could get it.  Pop bottles were returnable then, for 10 or 20 cents, and beer bottles were 10 cents.  I asked him if it was worth it and he told me that's how they bought the C-64.  It opened my eyes.  My parents wouldn't let me spend the money I made from my after-school or summer jobs; I had to save ALL of it for university.

Canadian Tire (more than just tires) carried the C-64, and at a better price than anywhere else.  I had been doing chores for people before, but I started giving them the option of paying me in cash or with twice as much Canadian Tire money and most gave me CT money.  When they found out I was saving for a computer, some neighbours would just give me the CT money.  The C-64 was a little over $400 at the time and I don't think anyone thought I'd ever be able to buy one with just CT money.  I scrounged CT money everywhere I could and, in less than a year, I was able to buy one from the CT store 40 minutes away when they had a sale for that store only.  They'd never had anyone buy something for $400 with all CT money, but they were nice enough to count some of my bundles and take my word for the rest.  It was a small town where my mom grew up and many of my relatives lived, so I'm sure they knew who I was.  

 
pollinator
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We had pong, and for some reason, my father babysat a Wang computer in the mid-70's. We had computers in our school late 70's, mostly Hewlett-Packards as they were located in our city, Palo Alto. My father would periodically take us to see the Stanford mainframe, which I think was housed in the basement of the library. It was huge, and hot, and noisy. My father like Apple computers, so we had the Apple 2e and then Macs. I took programming in Middle School, and my first job was a tech startup, but after that computers weren't a big part of my life. Like others have said they are a tool, I like them for some things, but am not the tech person that my father and brother are.
 
Timothy Markus
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Yeah, I miss those big wangs...
 
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