Personal Computing In 1984

This brings back memories.

Fortunately, one unlikely celebrity couple is here to guide us through the brave new world of spread sheets, data banks, and modems. In Computability, an instructional VHS tape from 1984, comedian Steve Allen and actress Jayne Meadows “take us on a light-hearted but detailed tour of the ways a home computer can change your life by simply using the correct software packages to suit your needs.”

My first computer, which I purchased in 1987 I think, was a Commodore 128, which was twice, twice I say, bigger and better than the Commodore 64.

And I did two things on it. I did some basic word-processing of papers while working on my Masters degree and I played a very, very, very basic helicopter war game. You know, the kind on a green screen with light-green boxes as tanks and other helicopters and terrain. It was a blast even if it did take about 10 minutes to load the game every single time from a five and a half inch floppy disk or three.

At work I used an old Zenith computer for word processing, starting in 1984 as a matter of fact. Peachtext (couldn’t find a link to the old version) was what we used and I liked it until WordPerfect came along and put it to shame.

Interesting anecdote concerning WordPerfect is that I taught myself how to use it by typing my “leaving the service” resume at night after work at HQ AFOSI.

Since that time I have had about six or seven computers (10 or 11 if  you count the ones I bought for my boys). Working my way through Hewlett Packard (they suck) to Dell and on to smaller brands like ABS (they don’t suck).

Now I use a gaming computer made by Computer Renaissance. It rocks.

Kids today, and young adults for that matter. Don’t have a clue how far things like computers have come. Or phones. Or much of what they consider “just the way things are and have always been” these days.

Remember when you had to take a list to the grocery store because if you forgot something you couldn’t just call back and ask the wife (or mom in my case) which brand of spaghetti she wanted? Remember rotary dialing? Phones that had 20 foot cords so you could walk around the kitchen when you talked?

Remember . . .

Eh, never-mind. This is turning into one of those corny remember what it was like when I was young posts that you can find all over the blogosphere.

And I hate those.

Nope, this is about computing and how far we have come. From green lines on a green screen to the World of Warcraft. From computers that filled buildings to computers that fit in your pocket.

A long way, baby, we’ve come a long way.

And still we do not have fricken flying cars.

They promised me flying cars.

Assholes.

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3 Comments

  1. You’re starting to give away your age.
    Heck, I can remember when calculators were a big deal … hah !!!

  2. I remember those old phones and the long cords. I also remember that they didn’t come with a user’s manual that only a geek could understand. Sigh. Them was the days!

    ‘Course, in the “good old days when I was young,” I used a manual typewriter, the keys of which kept getting jammed. Now we have word processing and printers…which sometimes get jammed.

  3. I’ve had a post like this buzzing around in my head for several months….so much has changed just within the last decade. Of course, you have to be old enough to be able to differentiate one decade from another before you can understand that.


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