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Old 04-30-2014, 01:40 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by funisart View Post
The computer was the size of a small apartment. Used punch cards and dot matrix printers.
I remember when I was in school there was a guy taking Comp Sci. He had this huge card stack for a long gnarly program. Suffice it to say, he tripped and it flew. I think he was on the verge of tears.

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Old 04-30-2014, 01:44 PM
 
12,825 posts, read 20,173,623 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sunshinyday View Post
I learned at work, first we had email, then we had windows-back in the 90's. I remember learning how to use the internet very slowly by trial and error. Now if there is anything I can't do, I just google it. I have even fixed several computer viruses by googling them on DH's computer and finding the step by step solutions which I followed and saved a couple of hundred dollars at the computer store. I don't consider myself a techie at all, but I can follow instructions!

I taught my parents how to use a computer when they were in their 70's. Mom gave up. Dad monitors a couple of sites, and he really doesn't understand more than what he is already kdoing, just how to get to what he needs. Whenever he has a computer problem, one of the kids has to help him out.
My intro to email use (and abuse?) was via the (in)famous IBM PROFS system.
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Old 04-30-2014, 01:46 PM
 
12,825 posts, read 20,173,623 times
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Dang I love this thread.

Anyone remember the book "Soul of a New Machine?"
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Old 04-30-2014, 02:32 PM
 
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For me it started at work with the need to email, my interest spread once Google type websites became available, Then one day i won $5K on the lottery so i bought my first computer,
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Old 04-30-2014, 03:03 PM
 
Location: The Carolinas
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My mother strongly encouraged me to take two typing classes in high school. Best advice, and most useful classes ever! Started with some computer classes in college--running a keypunch and feeding cards into a reader, then waiting 4 hours for the output, only then finding out about a typo, then had to punch new cards, feed it back into a reader, then waiting 4 more hours for the output!

Then I saw some lonely Commodore PETs unused in the corner and figured out how to write BASIC. Wrote some simple, but useful programs for doing survey calculations. When my prof saw me sitting there, he asked what I was doing, so I showed him and he saw some great potential for "personal" computers, i.e. not needing to punch cards and wait hours for output. Next thing I know, I couldn't get on the darned things because the prof was showing other profs!

Then when I got my first engineering job, we had IBM PC's and I was the first to really start putting them to work. Went to school at night for Information Systems, graduated again, then got a job doing it professionally.

Go to Best Buy or other computer stores, as well as Apple stores, and DO NOT BUY AT FIRST. Tell them what you want to do, and let them show you some models. Have them show you in the stores how to launch a browser and surf the web and other common tasks, such as setting up an email account, etc.

Once you've seen some models and how they work, go to the library where they have computers and see if they offer any kind of first-time classes. Sometimes the local community colleges offer classes for first time users. Sign up. DO NOT BE INTIMIDATED. You can do this!

After that and you want to buy one, get a fairly inexpensive laptop. Not more than $600 at most. BUY A BOOK AND READ IT AND FOLLOW WHAT IT SAYS. If you want to create documents using Microsoft Word, for example. OPEN the manual and follow tutorials. It may SEEM like a waste of time, but it will pay huge dividends. RTFM (read the flippin' manual!)

Good luck and YOU CAN DO THIS! My mom is almost 80, and she's no expert, but can read and send emails, surf the web, etc.
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Old 04-30-2014, 04:11 PM
 
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Like many older American's I was late in coming to the computer party. While working in the aviation business (1988) I was asked to do some training in employee safety, the supervisor took it for granted that I knew how to use a computer, I didn't but stated that I wasn't against learning how to use one.

The thing that confused me at first was my erroneous hunch that the young people at work knew a lot about these things, they did know the gaming aspects, socializing also, but when it came to really wanting to understand HOW they worked I was surprised to learn that many of the young weren't all that interested. I'm a naturally curious person and therefore wanted to know more that just the fundamentals of a computers ability. I'm still surprised at the number of my generation that wants only to use at the lowest level, and curses technology for their inability to understand it.
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Old 04-30-2014, 04:46 PM
 
Location: SoCal desert
8,093 posts, read 13,251,822 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jertheber View Post
I'm still surprised at the number of my generation that wants only to use at the lowest level, and curses technology for their inability to understand it.
I'm surprised you're surprised.

The computer is just another appliance that we use. There's a lot of us out here that have no interest in understanding how an appliance works. If the computer (or stove or dishwasher or air conditioner or whatever) doesn't work, we call a repairman.

As to the OP's question - I started using an accounting program in DOS in the mid to late 80's. I bought my first home PC in 1990 with Windows 3.0
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Old 04-30-2014, 05:09 PM
 
Location: CO
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In the early '80s my husband brought home a Texas Instruments computer, the TI-99/4A. It came with a monitor and he bought a couple of games for it. You could use BASIC and program other games into it. It gave me a good understanding of the preciseness of computer language, one small error and the game wouldn't run! It was basically just an electronic toy.

It wasn't until the early '90s that I bought a used Dell, got on the Internet, signed up for AOL (it used to have a monthly fee then) and I was hooked. I still don't know a lot about some things, but I've seen how difficult it is for older people my age to get into it so I was glad for my early introduction.

And if you'd like to take classes, look no further than your local library. Free and informative!
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Old 04-30-2014, 05:25 PM
 
Location: Cushing OK
14,547 posts, read 17,579,964 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr5150 View Post
So do your kids post for you!

I learned thru work. What impresses me is that my iPhone has more computing power than the home computer I used 10 years ago!
I took programming in the early eighties, and worked as a programmer for a few years. This was the time when few knew anything about them, and it was so much fun to toss out buzzwords since everyone found them so impressive, but had no idea what they meant.

I got my first pc in 86, a turbo xt with a green screen monitor. It was awesome to have one you could use at home. It was brand new then and the fastest you could buy, running on dos 2. something. I graduated up to faster and faster every few years. I remember when we went from Dos commands to clicking on icons I really hated it. I still wish I could do some things with dos.

My first taste of internet like stuff was compuserve, which got cancelled eventually after multiple tries due to its tendency to kill your download just about the time it was done. I started using local BBSs then and liked them a lot more. We had our own as well. We had a sysops orginization. I was secretary. It was so much fun to meet others who were sort of on the cutting edge for the ordinary person.

I used Usenet a LOT. And the national/international bbs systems. I can still find old Fido posts. I was also active on Rime and I Link. As just Nightbird then.

When my son came along he would sit on my lap and play his games as a toddler. At five he had his own computer. I just can't imagine life without them and the internet now.

But I used to have one of those watches which had calculator, and phone numbers on it. It was amazing to me that my watch had faster and more complex technology than the mainframe they had at work. It was famous, being the first mainframe ever to run airline reservations. But it still had all the flashing lights and such that used to be Hollywood's version of the computer.
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Old 04-30-2014, 05:29 PM
 
Location: Cushing OK
14,547 posts, read 17,579,964 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by funisart View Post
The computer was the size of a small apartment. Used punch cards and dot matrix printers.
When I was studying programming, we used punch cards. They made a wonderful flash when we had he end of the semester beach party with fire pit, and everyone brought a stack to celebrate with. We were upwind and of course nobody was in the way.

I do remember punching a something like hundrend card deck, and then discovering the card punch was misalligned and the card reader couldn't read them and the ONLY thing you could do was punch them in all over again.
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