Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Tagged by Skittles -- 8 more things

I better work through that hand-wringing on that to meme or not to meme thing soon -- meanwhile, Barb of Skittles' Place has tagged me, again, with the "8 Things" Meme.

Also known as the Meme that Would Not Die.

Barb mentioned in her post that she's done this one "a couple times already," so I suppose I shouldn't complain about doing it twice. (The first time was last month, at the request of Shelby.)

So... without further adieu... eight more random facts about the Curmudgeon. Today's theme is technology.
  1. My first computer was an XT clone -- I was supposed to assemble it myself but a schedule conflict prevented that. This computer had glorious monochrome graphics and a clock speed of 2 MHz. And those cool 5¼" floppy drives. It had two of 'em -- an A and a B drive. While those disks weren't as floppy as the 8" ones that then still in use on some of the fancy word processors, they were floppy enough that the name still fit.

  2. That first computer had a clock speed of 4 MHz with "turbo speed." The little yellow flashing line at the end of the "C:\>" (c-prompt) bulked up into a little yellow square when the computer was in "turbo speed." Other than that, though, I couldn't detect any difference.

  3. The other thing that first computer had was a 20 MB hard drive. My friend Steve -- who knew something about computers back then (he was working as an analyst for a government agency which used those huge IBM 360 mainframes) -- ridiculed me for this. "Twenty megabytes?" he said, incredulously, "That's like buying a warehouse to hang up a single suit of clothes. You'll never fill it up." I've never let him forget this.

  4. With the help of the manual, I was able to write some simple programs in Basic (that's a computer language) on this computer. And this was fancier than the Basic I'd learned in high school: When I wrote a random number generating program to pick my Lotto numbers, I also made the machine beep out an acceptable facsimile of "We're in the Money."

  5. The program didn't really work though: I never won the Lotto.

  6. My first laptop was a really great idea whose time, unfortunately, had not arrived. It came equipped with Microsoft Windows for Pen Computing 1.0 -- something like that, anyway. The 1.0 is the part that bears remembering: Don't ever get any computer software in version 1.0; it's a sure recipe for heartache. The computer had a stylus that could be used as a "pen," see, and the idea (I hoped) was that I would be able to handwrite my notes during a deposition and then turn these notes into a client-ready document shortly after attaching the detachable keyboard.... The software came equipped with a training program. In theory, the program would "learn" to read my handwriting. In practice, I was expected to re-learn how to handwrite in a manner the computer found acceptable. Somewhere there were Sisters of Mercy laughing at me -- I didn't learn the right way the first time... but now the machine would show me.

  7. It didn't happen. A few years later I tried the Dragon Naturally Speaking program -- it sure wasn't version 1.0! -- so that I could "dictate" my correspondence and have it type itself. Again, there was a training program. Again, the machine and I disagreed about who was supposed to be trained. I'm told the later versions of the program are much better -- but I'm not going to fall for that again.

  8. For awhile, back in the DOS days, I was the office computer guru. Proving the truth of the old adage, "In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king." Then Windows came along... and my partners hired a bald guy with an earring and a nipple ring to upgrade the office machines. And, yes, you could see the nipple ring through the shirt. But I was stubborn. I thought I could install Windows programs just the way I'd installed DOS programs. And then I learned otherwise. But at least I don't have a nipple ring.
No tags today; instead, an announcement: Did you know that Barb is about to celebrate her first Blogaversary? (This apparently is now the preferred spelling -- I've been using Blogiversary.) And, after only a year in business, she's had over 63,000 visitors and 2000 posts. (In stark contrast, I've had about 17,400 and this blog's been open since December 2005.) So be sure to visit Barb on Friday and wish her congratulations. And, whatever you do, don't tell her how jealous I am!


Chris said...

Wow, that sounds like my first PC: A throbbing 1Mb RAM, 20Mb hard drive, CGA and a turbo button that turned a little yellow light on, but little else.

I still maintain that DOS 3 was the last good thing Microsoft came out with.

Don't mention DOS 4.01......

katherine. said...

isn't a riot to remember back to early technology? My first cell phone was in a big briefcase thing...remember when the facsimile was SUCH a big deal.

Other than the Army, my Father's entire career was with IBM, in R&D. We were always exposed to things five to ten years before they hit the market.

I love to dream about what my kids...and future grandkids will have....

Skittles said...

My first pc was a Packard Bell which sped right along with a 14.4 modem! I was sooo excited when I moved up to 56.

I now have two hard drives, one is 40GB and the other is 30GB. It's networked to Mike's pc.

Thanks for the shout out!

Shelby said...

my dad built our first computer from .. he was a techno nerd

and a good 'un.