Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Remembrances of Technologies Past

I spent some time yesterday afternoon hunkered down with my Vista-ridden computer installing a CD my wireless carrier sent me to override the Vista curse. Naturally, it didn't work the way it was supposed to; what ever does? I was able to circumvent the problem area, however, and force it to work at least close to the way it was intended to. I may yet uninstall all the software and reinstall it to make it dovetail more efficiently. I don't know how I know how to do these things. I've never had any computer classes. I just turned on my first computer and took off with it, learning as I went.

How many of you remember black and white TV sets? Or rotary dial phones? As soon as color TVs and Touchtone phones (in rainbow colors!) came along, I had to have them. My grandmother stuck with a black rotary dial phone into the early 90s. I did my school typing on my mother's old Underwood manual typewriter. It was hard, but it got the job done. When I first got my hands on an electric typewriter, I was in love and never looked back. My mother still fusses about how complicated electric typewriters are and wishes she still had her old manual. I'm not even going to tell you about my ordeal with trying to get her computerized. Let's just say I could have used some nice Prozac. My first cell phone was big and bulky; my newest is tiny enough to slip into my coin pocket. I gave up my turntable for a CD player and worship my microwave oven, and I'd never go back to ancient cameras with film to develop.

Way back in the Dark Ages, the company I worked for decided to revolutionize -- computerize -- its accounting department and recruited employees willing to learn keypunch and computer operation. I was one of the first to sign up -- and one of only two females. I left that job to have a baby, but retained everything I had learned. In my next job, high-tech meant electric typewriters, but when one of the partners bought a behemoth IBM word processer, I was the only one in the office who volunteered to learn how to use it. It was quite a long while after that before word processers for home use became available, but as soon as they did, I had one. And after that, it was a constant race to upgrade with each new advance in technology.

I got my first actual computer around 1989 or 1990, somewhere in there, and it was a primitive thing. DOS, for God's sake. It had a basic word processing package and generic spreadsheet software, and that was about it. Soon, however, I heard about that thing called the Internet and knew I wanted in on that. My next computer wasn't much more technologically advanced than the last one but, by cracky, it had a modem and allowed me to start playing around with Prodigy and Compuserve. What a marvel! By the time PCs could actually perform minor miracles and ISPs were popping up all over the place, I was ready. My first decent computer was, I think, an HP, followed by a Compaq, and then another HP. By that time, I'd discovered laptops and have had three Compaqs, a Dell, an IBM Thinkpad, a Toshiba, and an Acer. I wore out one of the Compaqs and killed one with a cup of coffee spilled on the keyboard. The IBM always sucked and I gave it away. All in all, I have to say the Dell and the Toshiba have been the top performers. The Acer is good, but that's the one cursed by Vista.

Anyway... I just got to thinking about how far technology has come in my lifetime and how lucky I've been to be able comprehend enough of it to take advantage of it.

TWISTED LINGUISTICS is taking advantage of these wayward Words Gone Wild.

thought-porvoking - Thinking about provoking porcines with sticks.

backuped database - An irretrievably corrupted database.

lynchpin - A little metal thingy with which you can do an emergency patch job to the hangman's noose.

curavacious females - Bodacious women drunk on tequila and curare.

curuios - What said women are while under the influence.

I thrive to show - I'm really striving to show a definition here, but I got nothing.

alimanates dumping - Somehow, I think this has more to do with bodily functions than writing.

You Are a Pundit Blogger!

Your blog is smart, insightful, and always a quality read.
Truly appreciated by many, surpassed by only a few


Charles said...

You Are a Pundit Blogger!
Your blog is smart, insightful, and always a quality read.
Truly appreciated by many, surpassed by only a few.
Hmm, who'da thunk it?

My first "computer" was a Timex/Sinclair, which I purchased the 16k(!) RAMpack for. I learned a lot about programming, both in BASIC and machine code (I didn't have an assembler) for the Zilog Z80 processor. My first computer with a real keyboard was a 386 with the RAM soldered to the motherboard (no easy upgrading that), and EGA graphics (I loved playing Commander Keen). When I cleaned the keyboard once, I managed to fizzuck up the the 8042 keyboard controller, and ended up having to replace the whole thing.

I remember as a kid figuring out how the rotary dial phones actually dialed the number when you let go of the dial and it returned.

Oh, that Timex/Sinclair? It was connected to an old 12" B&W TV, and I had a cassette recorder attached for storing the programs.

Serena Joy said...

It's kinda cool being a Pundit Blogger, huh?:)

I never did figure out how those old phones dialed the number; just that they did.

Oh, that Timex/Sinclair? It was connected to an old 12" B&W TV, and I had a cassette recorder attached for storing the programs.

Holy moly! I didn't even know that could be done. We've come a long way, for sure.

BTW, I just finished my reinstall and -- now it works right. Yippee! I know, sometimes it doesn't take much to get me excited.:-)

Roxan said...

***You Are a Snarky Blogger!***

You've got a razor sharp wit that bloggers are secretly scared of.
And that's why they read your posts as often as they can!

I had an old Royal typewriter that my brother had before me. Like the ones you see in old detective movies. Took a powerful lot of pounding to get it to print.

VE said...

My first computer was a Radio Shack TRS-80 from 1977. Do the math; that was even before DOS!

I once took a project manager class with the person that worked at Motorola and made the very first public cell phone call back in 1973.

Serena Joy said...

It really did take a lot of pounding, Roxan. I'm so spoiled by keyboards that I don't even know if I could pound one hard enough these days.

Before DOS, VE? Wow, that must have really been a primitive computer.:) Dang, I didn't even know they had cell phones in 1973. I learn something every day.

snowelf said...

hahaha!! I LOVE the picture you found! That's awesome!

I am a true lover of technology as well--and I started on Prodigy as well and loved it and was very sad when ATT came along and gobbled it up, but nothing ever stays the same in technology for long--I guess that's part of the fun. :)
Happy Wednesday!


snowelf said...

Okay, I really need to take the quizzes BEFORE I start commenting. lol!

You Are a Life Blogger!
Your blog is the story of your life - a living diary.
If it happens, you blog it. And make it as entertaining as possible.


G-Man said...

OK Baby Cakes...
Here are a few more alley's off of Memory Lane...
1972 Maybe..The Pulsar comes up with a watch that has a "Digital" readout..You push a button, and the time"Lights Up"!!!
Price 300.00

How about before that..your phone line was a "party" line...And I don't mean a 800 party line..

Before calculators?
The slide rule?

The first video games..
Ping Pong

Yep, Atari was going to rule the world!!

I was afraid to see what kind of blogger I was, but I will Haiku you!!!

Sherry and Galen
Sitting in a tree..Uh Oh!
G-Man..You naughty!!!

G'Nite Serena..xoxoxox

Trée said...

Prodigy and Compuserve, oh the memories. I had accounts on both. One for fun, one for the geek in me. :-D

As for Vista, I won't throw salt in your wounds, unless you let me, ahem, well, oh, never mind. I think you know my thoughts on the matter. ;-)

Serena Joy said...

You're right, Snow; technology changes in the blink of an eye any more. So far, nothing has stumped me -- but I never say never. Why am I not surprised that you like that picture? LOL.

Galen -- the Pulsar! I remember that. I thought it was SO cool. Some of my relatives had party lines; I always found that so confusing. I played PacMan and Atari, but I have NEVER understood how a slide rule works.

Now, then, what's this about trees? You want to sit in a tree with me and throw coconuts at passersby? I'm game, you naughty boy.

Ah, the Prodigy/Compuserve days, Trée. We've come a long way, baby. It's okay, I can take the salt. I've called a truce with Vista, at least temporarily. Now that my wireless software is working with it the way it's supposed to, I'm hapy.

G-Man said...

No No NO!!!!!
NOT Co Co nuts!!!
Let me whisper something
Jeez, Sherry, not sooo hard!

Serena Joy said...

Hmph. Maybe I bop you on the head with the biggest coconut. You know what you did.:-)

Pink said...

well...I learned computer science on punch cards. What all those holes were for, I cant even remember. The class seemed like remedial drawing.

Programming? If then else phrases come to mind.

I just said to a group of senior partners yesterday that if you're old enough to see the same trend happening again, in a different guise, we ought to be listening to the wisdom because as much as technology progresses, people don't...and so we tend to move in the same old cycles.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

PS - My first answering machine had a tape recorder and I needed a remote control beeper that I had to squeel into the phone to get it to rewind remotely and play back for me. THAT what high tech!

MONA said...

Its calling me a Pundit too...

This is very interesting tale about your virtual journey Serena.

I never came near the thing. The computer came to me. Yes it was Forced upon me, to be able to learn and use for work. The first year I did nothing but make packing lists and invoices...I hated it then because I was so bad at learning MS office on my own..

It was later That I started discovering its ' other uses'...Now I have waded through it to some interesting places and people!

Serena Joy said...

Good point, Pink. I think everything does tend to move in cycles and ... the more things change, the more they stay the same. God, I remember those old tape recorder answering machines.:)

Aren't you glad you got comfortable with the computer, Mona? They open up whole new worlds.:)