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asifnaz
December 8th, 2014, 05:28 AM
I know in those times computers were expensive .And if you had a PC in 80s you were considered a geek . Can you share
how it was to have a computer in those days ..? how were software then..? and how was internet in early days..?

anything you feel like sharing .

Bucky Ball
December 8th, 2014, 05:52 AM
First machine was somewhere in the '80s. An Amiga or Atari. Very little in the way of software, mostly programmed on it. Had lots of fun. No hard drives. All storage was linear and on cassette tape! You cue up where you'd stored a programme via counter numbers on the cassette player then hit play and it would go to the computer.

A few years later I upgraded to an 'Apricot', a knock-off of an old Apple. This was luxury: two 5 1/2 inch floppy drives for storage. You could run the OS (DOS from memory) on one and use the other for storage. This one even had a word processor and several games, my favourite being 'Where in the World is Carmen San Diego (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Where_in_the_World_Is_Carmen_Sandiego%3F_%281985%2 9)'! Anyone remember that game???

Apparently it was popular with others and lasted for some years. Ah, memories ... ;)

asifnaz
December 8th, 2014, 06:09 AM
First machine was somewhere in the '80s. An Amiga or Atari. Very little in the way of software, mostly programmed on it. Had lots of fun. No hard drives. All storage was linear and on cassette tape! You cue up where you'd stored a programme via counter numbers on the cassette player then hit play and it would go to the computer.

A few years later I upgraded to an 'Apricot', a knock-off of an old Apple. This was luxury: two 5 1/2 inch floppy drives for storage. You could run the OS (DOS from memory) on one and use the other for storage. This one even had a word processor and several games, my favourite being 'Where in the World is Carmen San Diego (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Where_in_the_World_Is_Carmen_Sandiego%3F_%281985%2 9)'! Anyone remember that game???

Apparently it was popular with others and lasted for some years. Ah, memories ... ;)

Thank you for sharing your wonderful memories . Could hose machines be used for some serious productive work or they were there only to play with . If later is true what was the incentive of paying premium price ..?

Bucky Ball
December 8th, 2014, 06:19 AM
Well, the first one was a birthday present from my parents so unsure what that was worth. Don't remember what the other cost me.

If you were into programming, productive work could be done on the Amiga, but it all took time ... lots! The second had a word processor and a printer so I found that more productive for what I was into.

I used the Amiga as a piece in an art exhibition, actually. I created a program that made the screen change colours. Red, blue, green and something else from memory. On the final screen a sentence appeared, which I won't post here! It took about three weeks/month to create that program, all saved/loaded using the cassette player. (Incidentally, to save a program, you hit record on the cassette player then sent the file down.)

The Amiga was a big hit with attendees at the art exhibition. High tech! Jaw dropping stuff back then. hehe ;)

carl4926
December 8th, 2014, 07:46 AM
First PC I ever put hands to properly was an Amstrad
I recall using a program called Telix to message between UK and USA
Windows was 2 then 3 etc.. and MS-DOS of course
Eventually we had a Viglen PC with 3.11, actually it wasn't that bad. It did some pretty big amount of office work.

Cliff_Simonds
December 8th, 2014, 08:01 AM
In the early 80's the first computer I used was a DIGITAL VAX 11/750 in high school where I learned BASIC, COBOL and FORTRAN. First year was punch cards, then it was upgraded to punched/perforated paper tape. Our printer was dot matrix and the computer room was air-conditioned. It had 24 keyboard/screen stations hooked up to it. I loved that course so much that I went to school one hour earlier to boot the system(my teacher Mr. Packard taught me how) and work on my project, and stayed 2 hours later. I had more "run time" than most students had class time. Designing and typing my programs was now problem for me, but the real fun part was the debugging. Somewhere was a incorrect line number, or a misspelled Function, whatever, it was a puzzle to be solved and it was fun to me(like untying a knot). I then would help some of the other students with their debugging.
I was in the advanced course and we got the same problems as MIT students except instead of one day we had a week. Our teacher was a Professors assistant there in the summer. It was at Keene High School VOTECH Center which was an annex to Keene state Collage.

Dragonbite
December 8th, 2014, 02:46 PM
In High School (89), I got my hands on a Mac (for basic and pascal programming) and an IBM (for typing). In College, (90-94) most of the time was on the VAX VT-100 which was fun,... somewhat. It helped that I knew over 1/2 of the Computer Assistants.

Two memories with the VAX stands out in my mind...(here's one)

One was that the mainframe had installed the game Conquerer; where you play a Star Trek based race (Human, Klingon, Romulan, etc.) and go around the universe taking over planets and killing each other. Great fun, and the graphics were simple (ascii characters).

There was just under a dozen of us who all were in the same class. Prior to that class we were engrossed in a massive universal battle with fighting going on all over the place, and people were switching sides, taking over plants only to be re-taken by somebody following you from another race.. and hidden, cloaked ships just waiting to ambush you... great fun!

Unfortunately, class was about to start and nobody wanted to concede and find all their hard-fought gains be wiped out the next time they log in! So we were watching the clock and trying to hold out until our closest opponent finally quit. It was like a game of chicken to find out who will flinch and run off to class first.

Slowly, one by one people "fell" and ran off to class. I wasn't the last one to leave but I remember seeing the mischevious smile on the last person when she came in to the classroom... late, but that didn't seem to phase her a bit!

asifnaz
December 8th, 2014, 07:16 PM
In High School (89), I got my hands on a Mac (for basic and pascal programming) and an IBM (for typing). In College, (90-94) most of the time was on the VAX VT-100 which was fun,... somewhat. It helped that I knew over 1/2 of the Computer Assistants.

Two memories with the VAX stands out in my mind...(here's one)

One was that the mainframe had installed the game Conquerer; where you play a Star Trek based race (Human, Klingon, Romulan, etc.) and go around the universe taking over planets and killing each other. Great fun, and the graphics were simple (ascii characters).

There was just under a dozen of us who all were in the same class. Prior to that class we were engrossed in a massive universal battle with fighting going on all over the place, and people were switching sides, taking over plants only to be re-taken by somebody following you from another race.. and hidden, cloaked ships just waiting to ambush you... great fun!

Unfortunately, class was about to start and nobody wanted to concede and find all their hard-fought gains be wiped out the next time they log in! So we were watching the clock and trying to hold out until our closest opponent finally quit. It was like a game of chicken to find out who will flinch and run off to class first.

Slowly, one by one people "fell" and ran off to class. I wasn't the last one to leave but I remember seeing the mischevious smile on the last person when she came in to the classroom... late, but that didn't seem to phase her a bit!

Amazing . Nice post :p

Dragonbite
December 8th, 2014, 07:24 PM
The other college computer story I can remember was when I was working on a very large project and the computer froze up. Of course this was on the PC, not the VAX mainframe.

I called the Computer Assistant over who tried to do a couple of things before reaching around and turning off the power. THEN, after shutting it off, he looks at me and asks "you saved it already, right?"

I didn't have to say anything... the look I gave him told him to back off and don't try to "help" me again.... he got that message.

That was also when I realized the amount these people know more than me, was not a huge as I thought it was.

bapoumba
December 8th, 2014, 07:57 PM
Punch cards and stuff I used when I was a student (in Biology, but we did learn Fortran and I later used a PDP 11/23 that we tweaked to control a microscope).

Then I came to the US in '88 and went back in France in '91 bringing back a 386. Wont tell you how it got through customs but it did. I had a mail address in the US, my_first_name@my_univ and I would locally hook to the univ servers from home and do some research late at night.

When I arrived in my French univ, I ran to the IT dept and asked for an email address. The IT head looked at me with big eyes. "I am the only one to have an email here, who do you think you are ?"
Well, I got one :D

Paulgirardin
December 8th, 2014, 11:36 PM
In the early '80s I used to work for the local Sanyo agent,in the business machine dept (mainly cash registers).We did have a few Sanyo computers interfaced with cash registers.They ran CP/M and had 8 inch floppy discs.

High-Performance 8-Bit Personal Computer with Graphics and 96 kB RAM with CP/M-80 & WordStar: :rolleyes:

oldos2er
December 9th, 2014, 02:28 AM
and how was internet in early days..?

Depends on what you consider "early." I first got on the internet the summer before Eternal September (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eternal_September), it was text-only and the web via Lynx was still new. Usenet was the 'net then (at least for me). It was nice (but you needed a thick skin), ad-free, and it wasn't really until mid to late 1994 or so that spam became a big problem.

I well remember the hoopla when Mosaic (the first popular GUI web browser) was released. You mean I can see images in the browser instead of downloading them and viewing them in a separate program? Neat!

coldraven
December 9th, 2014, 08:18 AM
In about 1993 I was given an old Altos 586. It was a fully working multiuser computer running Xenix. I was moving house and had no need of it so I advertised it for sale.
I thought that it would be an ideal machine for a student to experiment with a Unix system. I offered it for sale at $75, it was amazing that in ten years it's price had devalued from $11000 !
At this time Intel were just beginning to sell the 586, the first Pentium, for a huge price. (AFAIR something like $1500).
Guess what? I had idiots ringing me up thinking that I was selling a Pentium for $75!
In the end no-one bought it so I took out the SCSI hard drive and chucked the rest of it into the bin.

They built them solid in those days, it weighed a ton!
http://oldcomputers.net/altos-586.html

PJs Ronin
December 10th, 2014, 12:24 PM
Mid 80s I had a Commodore 64 that had a cassette, small monitor, a word processor (SpeedScript I think it was) and a dot matrix printer. At the time I was a BogRat1 on an Air Force fighter base and unfortunately we lost a jet2. The Air Force convened a board of inquiry to investigate and brought with them a secretary. You remember secretaries? They could type faster than you could talk, knew proper grammar and punctuation and would work horrendous hours if needed. Anyway, the Board would give the secretary a bunch of hand written notes which she would type up and they would proof read. "White out" was not permitted in Board papers so the whole page, or more, would have to be retyped if there were errors.

Having a beer in the Mess one night with the Board president I mentioned I had this new fangled PC thingie that had a word processor. Way too many beers later and we agreed I'd set up my machine in the Board's office and give the secretary a quick tutorial about saving a file to disc, recovering said file, making changes, re-printing... well, you get the idea. When all was said and done the Board was in and out within 3 days instead of the 5 days they had planned/budgeted for.

To the best of my knowledge, that was the first time a computer / word processor was used in an Air Force3 investigation. Within 10 years computers were appearing on everyone's desk and now 3 star generals do their own typing and secretaries are as scarce as rocking horse poop... progress, yes?

1. An Officer of such junior rank they can literally free fall from a snake's belly.
2. Not actually lost, just hit the ground at several 100 knots.
3. That would be the RAAF.

ventrical
December 10th, 2014, 07:31 PM
I go back to 1967, 11 years old at Norfolk&Western Railway , Detroit MI with my dad. There was a big tower there and he would leave me there in the communications room. There was this huge IBM punchcard mainframe that would keep records of all the railcars, contents and positions. The cards were fed into the machine as data and there was a teletype like printer always going. That was my first lesson in ComSci. So I was just an assistant to this one dude who would feed the punchcards into this feeder device. There was also a machine that would make the holes in the cards and I used to collect it and save it as a sort of confetti.:) I stuck with Radio-TV service repair but my big breakthrough was working with electromechanical pinball machines! It was very simple programming. No semiconductors .. all electrical relays and a solenoid stepping device called a 'game mech". Now the game mech was sort of like the central processor/ROM/RAM of the whole contraption (both Bally and Goetlieb). It had this disk with all these contact points on it and then a swivel arm (keep in mind ARM -jk lol) that would rotate around an axle that ran through the fixed disk. The swivel arm also had contact points on it. There were a certain number of gears on each number roll that was controlled by relays which were controlled by the game-mech. The game mech would keep turning until all the number rolls were reset to zero and all the kicker-flags were up and locked. It was really very basic. But it was cool. Then it was on to repairing Space Invader games (vector analog generators), juke boxes and a whole plethora of other contraptions.

I set up my own network (pre-internet) on a common BBS system and ran 2 bulliten boards on 2400 BAUD modems. I used both Telix and WWIV software. Then I became part of FIDO net (which was the percursor to the actual internet) and it was where I first communicated with Linus Torvalds (or sombody impersonating him lol) and was asked to test if his floppy boot disk would work. It didn't. The international ZONES at that time were really slow in getting info so I drifted off from Linux and into security. I still have an Amiga 500 and Nitendo gamer in the basement .. the one with the gun that shoots ducks flying across you TV set ..lol

Wow .. I have so many stories .. it would have to write a book....especially about this seminar in 1979 in Toronto Ontario where I was working with a gaming company and we were invited to this seminar with this guy who looked exactly like Bill Gates with an IBM Baby XT (I presume) on a desk and him standing there flipping this 5&1/4 inch floppy up and down saying .. "This is the future...". He wanted part of our paychecks. I was just barely paying my bills. I couldn't wait to get out of there.

Fast forward ... here I am hacking Ubuntu and Bill has re-invented the toilet. Both fun things I would think ! :)

Regards..

taipan4000
December 11th, 2014, 12:37 PM
I go back to late 1974 when I had an introduction to BASIC programming at the end of year 8. My high school had access to a Digital PDP 11. Initially the school had two old teletype machines linked to the PDP 11 at a nearby senior high school. The following year I did a fully time course in computer programming. Eventually the school ended up with one old teletype, one dot matrix type of teletype device and a video display (VDU) terminal that could be connected to a converted TV set so that everyone in the class could see what the teacher was doing on the VDU terminal.


If we wanted to store a programs for the longer term we used paper tape. The plastic containers that housed 35 mm photograph film rolls were ideal for storing rolls of punched paper tape.


For larger programs we had access to a stash of computer cards and we would have to write out the code onto the cards by filling in the boxes on the computer cards with a HB pencil. We didn't have a machine to punch the holes in the cards. I got very good at reading computer cards.


Star Trek was a popular computer game on the system. It was played on the CLI terminal.


During my university days, in the early 1980s I had to learn FORTRAN, which I still like. The university had small mainframe or a large mini computer. It occupied a large air conditioned room.


In the mid 1980s some desktop computers appeard at the university. They had two 5.25 inch floppy drives and no hard drive. In those day a Winchester 20 MB hard drive was considered – huge! The engineering department also had a large desktop computer that had a hard drive and it is where I first used a spreadsheet, one called 20/20.


This was also the time when I came across desktop computers in the homes of friends which used the CP/M OS, not to mention others who had the Sinclar ZX series, the BBC microbee, Atari and the Commodore 64. Most with cassette tape storage, which was slow. The most common printers for home use were daisy wheel printers. Some expensive printers have golf ball printing heads.


During the 1980s, one of the favourite computer games was Lounge Suit Larry.


At work in the late 1980s I stared using clones of the IBM personal computer – 8086 chip with only 640 kB of RAM and MS DOS as the OS. Word Star and Lotus 1-2-3 were the word processor and spreadsheet packages most commonly used. Then in 1988 I used a 386 IBM clone which would only allow for maximum partition sizes of 33 MB due to the limitations of MS-DOS. MS Word started to encroach on Word Star's territory. Also 5.25 inch floppy disks gave way to 3.5 inch floppy disks, which could also store more.


Pentium IV computers became common during the early 1990s at work. Word Star was no longer being used but Word Perfect and MS Word were. Quattro Pro was a popular but short lived spreadsheet and Lotus 1-2-3 had a very large number of users. Apple computers had the Access database and Excel spreadsheet. They both eventually migrated to MS DOS and Windows. The database used on MS DOS computers in the early 1990s was dBase II, followed by dBase III. It was the era of WYSWIG – spreadsheets and word processors that showed on the screen how things would appear when printed.


When I first saw Windows in 1993 or 1994 I was unimpressed.


I started using UNIX in 1992 due to the limitations of MS DOS – 33 MB HD partitions and small RAM sizes. Initially I used Sun UNIX workstations and ended up using Silicon Graphics UNIX workstations for specialized computer aided design work. UNIX impressed me but the workstations were expensive and there were no spreadsheets or word processors available for UNIX at the time. By the late 1990s Windows based computers had advanced to make UNIX workstations obsolete given cost and availability applications for each OS. There was also the issue of continually having to convert UNIX and DOS files because of the differences in end-of line characters for each OS. I stopped using UNIX in late 1995. At work MS DOS was still being used until the late 1990s but by the early 2000s Windows and MS Office became the standard for work computers. It was about this time floppy disks became obsolete, being replaced by USB sticks. In 2003 I bought my first flash drive, which I still have and it still works. At the time, my friends were envious because my flash drive could store 128 MB while they have ones they could store 64 MB.


When I felt that Linux was a mature OS with enough applications developed for it I decided to start dabbling with it at home in 2011, installing Ubuntu 11.04. I didn't know about the controversy of Unity and Gnome at the time. I got the disk from a Linux magazine and installed it with Unity and I don't know what the fuss was about. Not having used Gnome, I don't care either.

Dragonbite
December 11th, 2014, 03:19 PM
I remember in the early 90s (92? 93?) sitting in front of the monochrome VAX VT-100 and thinking to myself "Can I do this for the rest of my life?", not knowing that in 2 short years everything would start changing (Windows 95, the Internet, etc.) and I wouldn't necessarily have to go monochrome!

Of course, here I am about 20 years later and I'm using PuTTY to SSH into FreeBSD web servers! ;) Except now I find it fun....

Mike_Walsh
December 12th, 2014, 12:51 AM
I guess I go back to the tail end of the 1970's.

My father bought my brother and myself a Commodore Vic-20 (the Commodore 64's baby brother) for Xmas, 1979. It had all of 16K of RAM; heady stuff for those days. Especially when you consider that the Sinclair ZX-80 would arrive on the market the following year, with all of 1K! :shock: The old man soon realised that my bro wasn't interested; he was the 'sporty' type, more interested in games & chasing the girls. So I pretty much had it to myself...;)

You had to be more than a little bit inventive to program with 16K of RAM! I played around with this thing for hours, and taught myself BASIC from the ground up. This was on a machine with a MOS 6502 processor, running at the (for those days) amazing speed of 1.02 MHz..!!! Everything was loaded in from tape, although the VIC-20 had the advantage over other home machines of the time, in having a dedicated tape cassette recorder. With others, you used your own tape machine, hooked up with a 5-pin DIN plug.....and if you didn't set the volume level JUST right, it would throw a wobbly, and refuse to save (or read) the data..... [-o<

The following year, I was asked what I wanted for Xmas. I knew what I wanted; a Commodore 64! I said as much, and the answer I got was something along the lines of 'Over my dead body...' But, Xmas morning, there was a brand, spanking new Commodore 64 under the Xmas tree.....along with the then, brand new, 170 KB CBM 1541 floppy disk drive that had just become available. BLISS..... No more messing around with tapes. I was so chuffed, I washed the old man's car EVERY day for the next month..! \\:D/

This was before I discovered the meaning of the jokes about 'toasters'.....

I got pretty good at programming; I was never into games, but I wrote my own 'Hangman' program. It had a database of all of 25 words...

I wanted more, though. I knew these things were the shape of the future, and wanted to learn as much about them as I could. The following year, after leaving school, our local secondary modern (equivalent to the US 'college') was offering a night-school course on computers, and BASIC programming. You could take your own machine (in fact, you were encouraged to), as they had VERY few to use; mostly TANDY TRS-80s. Anybody remember them? They were (NOT so affectionately) known as the 'Trash'-80, as they had an unfortunate habit of dumping the entire contents of RAM, without warning. All your work down the drain... It was later traced to a faulty series of voltage regulators on the PSU, sourced from a Taiwanese supplier of the time.....but too late to save the TRS-80's 'trashed' reputation..! :p

I signed up for the course. It very soon became apparent that I knew more about these things than all the other students, AND the tutor, put together! So I was marking time, really. I spent more time developing my Hangman game, and playing around with a plug-in music synthesizer cartridge I'd just acquired; went in a slot at the back, and plugged (literally!) STRAIGHT onto a line of circuit contacts on the edge of the motherboard. I was so engrossed in what I was doing, that I didn't realise, until stopping because I needed to visit the little boy's room, that the entire class, along with the tutor, were standing behind me in a semi-circle, totally engrossed, watching EVERY move I made...! :rolleyes:

I ended up more or less running the rest of the course, insofar as the tutor & I BOTH taught the other students.....and in-between times, I taught her! I didn't learn much, but I DID get a 'crash course' in people management skills, at a VERY early age. And I like to think that at least a handful of other East Anglian natives learnt something about these gadgets, with a little bit of help from me...

Regards,

Mike. ;)

Bucky Ball
December 12th, 2014, 03:13 PM
This is nice, getting everyone's computing histories. I forgot about punch cards and punching them when I was seven. Yea, that happened. We'd all sit round, doing calculations and marking them out and making the appropriate holes, then the teacher would gather them all up and a month or so later they'd come back telling us whether we'd punched the right holes! Interesting, but can't say I got a lot out of that. :-k

I will add that I am not a maths guy, but programming gave me an understanding of algebra (and a love of it that persists). It makes sense! I never liked it before I could apply it to something meaningful.

pfeiffep
December 12th, 2014, 03:31 PM
This is nice, getting everyone's computing histories. I forgot about punch cards and punching them when I was seven. Yea, that happened. We'd all sit round, doing calculations and marking them out and making the appropriate holes, then the teacher would gather them all up and a month or so later they'd come back telling us whether we'd punched the right holes! Interesting, but can't say I got a lot out of that. :-k

I will add that I am not a maths guy, but programming gave me an understanding of algebra (and a love of it that persists). It makes sense! I never liked it before I could apply it to something meaningful.Punch cards were actually my first use of computers. At Northeastern University I programmed a Control Data computer to perform calculus operations using fortran for a physics class I was taking in the 70's. The big thing back then was using a Texas Instruments callculator

Technoviking
December 12th, 2014, 07:00 PM
My first job in computing was a student lab monitor for a bunch VT-100 terminal connected to either a Ultrix or Vax/VMS system. Wrote a VMS program that let people know what computer were open on campus, across seven labs. The code I wrote for Ultrix was buggy causing the an infinite loop that crashed the system.

Campus was not pleased.

T-V

bapoumba
December 12th, 2014, 09:59 PM
Hey Mike :)