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Old 04-30-2014, 09:50 PM
 
Location: Myrtle Beach
1,499 posts, read 1,190,426 times
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I first used a TRS80 for financial reporting - the program was the precursor to Lotus 123 - instead of the command "copy" they used the command "replicate" I thought that was hysterical. Then I used an Apple IIe and we bought extra memory for it all of 128K.
I got into PCs early and they have been my livelihood ever since. For all it's faults, Microsoft programming has kept me employable for since the early 80's.
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Old 04-30-2014, 10:10 PM
 
Location: River North, Chicago, Illinois
4,460 posts, read 6,576,757 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jghorton View Post
...
I was also active in Business Intelligence when 'Mosaic' (Internet predecessor) hit the market (At that time, everyone thought it would never catch-on).
...
I started using Mosaic in 1994. It came out in 1993, so I was a pretty early adopter and I immediately knew it would be something. I'll admit it's become bigger and more comprehensive than I expected, but I knew it was very significant pretty much from the first time I installed it. The next year I worked at a multinational commodity brokerage in Chicago and anyone there who thought computers were more than calculators knew the Web was a huge thing. So I don't know who "everyone" was for you, because that certainly wasn't my experience.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jghorton View Post
...
An interesting phenomenon today, with palm-size computers everywhere (more powerful than computers that used to fill-up an entire room), is that people have mountains of instantly available 'data', but, aren't much smarter because of it! Computers have actually increased the need for 'critical thinking;' ... an ability that remains in short supply, despite computers.
I agree completely. Having been raised by a librarian and having a philosophy professor for an aunt and lawyer for a grandfather certainly aided me in developing sharp critical thinking and logic skills, which are things lacking in a surprising number of people. When I interview candidates for positions at companies I've worked at, I let other people ask specific skills questions and I basically sit back and watch how they think through the questions, how they structure their responses, how they formulate answers and, in a nutshell, how they think. I don't recommend people who can't think and even among people with sharp resumes and what appears to be strong credentials, many appear to be lost when it comes to things as basic as knowing what they can know given a certain set of information. It boggles the mind, really, and, frankly, concerns me. It's almost certainly a leading cause of why we see so many wild conspiracy theories these days.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gandalara View Post
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.
...
I guess that's been true for a lot of people, but when and where I grew up, kids - especially the boys - wanted to know how things worked. That applied most to cars, but also to appliances and anything with moving parts. So I'm also surprised at how many people my age (40) and younger who not only don't know how computers work, but don't give a damn how they work.

TO THE OP's QUESTION:

I'm not retirement age, and consider my high school class to pretty much be the dividing line between people who are digital and people who are not. The people the year ahead of me are much less likely to be tech savvy than the people a year behind me.

I first saw a computer when I was in grade school. There were some Apple IIe computers. We were taught LOGO, and played a lot of Oregon Trail (especially since I grew up in Oregon). My dad had helped operate computers at the NSA before he moved west with my mother so he knew they were the future and despite the fact my parents were pretty poor he found an old Timex Sinclair computer that I used a little and then found a used TI/99-4A that came with a speech synthesizer that I taught myself some programming on.

At school we used Apple IIe computers until I was a senior. I started a student newspaper, using some old desktop publishing software on the IIe to do it, although my senior year one teacher had an Apple IIgs, which sort of bridged the gap between the IIe and the Mac, and was in color. I started college in 1992 and took some computer science classes although I majored in Sociology (which uses computers a lot due to the statistics necessary). But I graduated in 1996 and talked my way into a computer job because, as you might suspect, it paid a lot better than jobs I could get related to sociology. That was a job as a UNIX sysadmin, which I parlayed into a job doing what's called release engineering which is what I still do (although sometimes it's now called DevOps engineering).

So, most of what I know about computers is self-taught, with a little academic background. Mostly I had ideas I wanted to do, and then figured out how to do them with computers. In college I was good enough at that, that I made money teaching other people how to use computers on the side as well as designing advertisements for events and bands. It was fun, and my curiosity meant I know a lot more about how things actually work than even some computer science majors graduating today do. A love of learning coupled with strong thinking skills goes a long way in helping you do what you want in life.
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Old 05-01-2014, 08:58 AM
 
Location: Seattle Area
1,716 posts, read 1,588,391 times
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I just set down and started playing. It seemed very intuitive and made perfect sense in most cases.
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Old 05-01-2014, 09:11 AM
 
Location: Down the rabbit hole
858 posts, read 950,547 times
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In the early 80's my wife bought me what they called an IBM "clone" at the time. The start up company she worked for had just purchased a dozen and she figured that because I liked video games, I could make an easy transition. LOL. That was before Windows and the only thing the computer came with by way of instructions was this 4" thick book called DOS.

It took me forever to figure out how to do anything........but back then, if you weren't running a spreadsheet, word processing program or database, there wasn't much to do anyways. Then I discovered the BBS systems and there was a purpose to the whole thing. They provided access to early online services like CompuServe, Delphi, and GEine. Then *Prodigy* came along and blew everybody away and a couple years later the whole thing opened up with the Internet.

So I guess you could say that I learned as things developed. For people, especially seniors, learning today, I always suggest keeping things simple. My 80 Y.O. dad is constantly getting into trouble because he messes with things he shouldn't. Things like display size, changing text color and screen layout. I liken his computer skills to the person who was left handed and learned to play the guitar on their own........upside down and backwards. His layout would baffle most people but it works for him.......and that's all that counts.

Take a class and then experiment. The Windows versions of today are much more forgiving than in the past. If you really mess up, you can always do a system restore and start over again. I'd say that is the most important thing for a newbie to learn today. Know where system restore is and how to use it, that will pull you out of most jams........and for goodness sake - Keep it simple!
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Old 05-01-2014, 09:59 AM
 
Location: SW Florida
9,755 posts, read 7,035,798 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Retire in MB View Post
I first used a TRS80 for financial reporting - the program was the precursor to Lotus 123 - instead of the command "copy" they used the command "replicate" I thought that was hysterical. Then I used an Apple IIe and we bought extra memory for it all of 128K.
I got into PCs early and they have been my livelihood ever since. For all it's faults, Microsoft programming has kept me employable for since the early 80's.


Sort of off topic here, but your mention of the Apple IIe reminded me of an incident we still chuckle over when we remember it. Seems in the late 80's or so, Apple was donating computers to public schools in some areas. My daughter, who was in kindergarten at the time, came home all excited one day after school, declaring that her class had gotten a couple new computers. She said, "yup, new computers, and they're called "Apples to Eat"!!!!
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Old 05-01-2014, 10:55 AM
 
Location: Chapel Hill, N.C.
36,484 posts, read 43,769,854 times
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seems like most learned at work. Even though I got my MBA in 1975 I never had to use a computer at work cause I started working on having a family soon after. I'm not technically inclined anyway. At the time computers were huge monsters kept in refrigerated rooms. To get my MBA I had to use some sort of programming language but I don't recall actually using a computer at all. I think it was in a room down the hall!

DH is engineer so he was very involved and did the research and purchasing for all his office.

I felt very out of touch with everybody else. I had no idea what most computer conversations were but could not take any computer classes with any kind of continuity cause DH traveled a great deal and i was home with little kids.

Finally in 2002 (I know it was very late) I was set to travel to Vietnam alone to adopt two babies. I had to learn how to do e mail in a short course taught by DH. Others in hotels and internet cafes helped me a great deal and I eventually learned a bit. DH is not a good teacher. He gets impatient...I get defensive and I give up.

But now my 12 year old daughters are helping me a great deal. It seems so intuitive for them. I'm glad.
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Old 05-01-2014, 12:05 PM
 
Location: UpstateNY
8,612 posts, read 8,302,495 times
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When they replaced handwritten invoicing and inventory at the dealership in 1988. Ford went to the electronic parts catalog in 1995. Nissan and Mercedes soon followed.

My step Dad gave me my first tower in 2002, which I quickly learned how to do bad things like edit the registry, download music and other cool stuff. Now I even do basic repairs and virus removal. Mom doesn't call the help desk, she calls me.

I do have a great geek in Stormville who can handle the heavy lifting. I just email him and send him the thing. When I get it back there is a detailed invoice, a phone call or email if needed beforehand if there are options to be explored.. I then pay by paypal. He is a gem. PM me for his info if needed.
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Old 05-01-2014, 12:13 PM
 
Location: Titusville, Florida, United States
71 posts, read 58,611 times
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I learned how to use the computer in the 1st grade, so when I was 6 years old.
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Old 05-01-2014, 12:19 PM
 
Location: Near a river
16,042 posts, read 18,975,704 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PAhippo View Post
I'm not going to ask this on the tech forum: I strongly suspect the posters there never lived without a computer.


So did one of your kids/grandkids show you? Did you take classes someplace? Did it come naturally
or does your mind go into system overload when someone talks to you about cookies, applets, upgrades, and such?
In 1990 (at the age of 41) as a new University student in my master's program (journalism), I was given exactly three weeks ("or you're out!") to learn to use not only the computer but also complicated programs besides Word, such as Quark and Photoshop. I had never in my life even touched a computer before. Thank g-d for 20-yr-old teaching assistants.
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Old 05-01-2014, 03:17 PM
 
10,328 posts, read 10,352,647 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PAhippo View Post
I'm not going to ask this on the tech forum: I strongly suspect the posters there never lived without a computer.


So did one of your kids/grandkids show you? Did you take classes someplace? Did it come naturally
or does your mind go into system overload when someone talks to you about cookies, applets, upgrades, and such?

I purchased my first computer just right about the time the dial up bulletin boards were going away and AOL was coming out. a friend of mine was the mgr at a software warehouse and he got to keep anything that was returned to the company that was never theirs. The computer was a 486 running Windows for Work Groups 3.1. That thing had 128 mb storage and 32 bits of Ram. I paid him a $1k for it.That was when ram was about $100.00 per meg. What a hot rod for back then. The brought it over and sat it up and handed me the book and said "read the book". The second day i locked it up and had to wait a week until he came back from vacation and got me going again.
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