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Old 11-01-2016, 09:04 AM
 
Location: Verde Valley AZ
8,614 posts, read 9,678,443 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aliceacrasperfolk View Post
Dad had pong around 1980 to entertain the grandkids. I wasn't impressed. I started with computers about 1974 when they were room sized with tubes, we programmed on punch cards. In 1983 I was using a Unix system with a 40 meg hard drive and wasn't impressed by the kids Commodore 64 it was too slow and mom's TRS80 they didn't even have a hard drive.
I remember the first time I used the internet I was about 47 so just about 21 years ago now. I worked in a software company doing support and was told to log on to check our email to see if we got resumes. We were charged by the minute so not supposed to use it. I searched for the average age of menopause as my first search it was 50.4 so I was almost there. AOL still charged by the minute so I didn't get it for home until they went monthly. People were saying people over 50 couldn't use computers and I was 49 doing tech support still wondered when I would forget everything, so far still ok with computers.

Somehow I had completely forgotten about those room sized computers from the 70s. I worked for a rather large manufacturing company in 1974 and I remember when they installed that 'room sized computer' with all it's reels, etc. and having to keep it climate controlled. They hired a programmer and we were off and running. Just about that time I remember hearing on TV that "someday every home will have a computer" and all I could think was "Why would ANYONE want something like THAT in their home???". LOL


I had also forgotten that the first computer I ever actually owned was a Commadore that my dad had built as part of a computer course he took. This was in 1987 and where I lived there was no internet so all we could do was play games on it. Eventually I sold it to my boss for his son who lived where there was internet access.


I was 54 before I actually 'got acquainted' with the internet.
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Old 11-01-2016, 02:28 PM
 
13,880 posts, read 7,395,585 times
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I worked at BBN Labs back in the 1980's. BBN and SRI were the two ARPA internet companies. Back then, the internet wasn't much of anything. Email. Usenet message boards. FTP to move files around. Maybe 20 universities, 20 corporations, and some military bases on MILNET. The backbone was a mesh of 56 kilobit/sec data line between BBN IMP routers. Two tin cans and a string by modern standards. NSFNet replaced it and started out as 1.536 megabit/sec T1 lines so 25x faster. It really wasn't until the mid-90's where web browsers became common and there was enough web content to be useful. In the 80's, it was mostly the time sink for my MIT grad co-workers who spent all day doing email and participating in Usenet discussion groups. I quit in disgust because nobody at BBN Labs ever did any work. They'd come in, "do email", coffee klatch, hang out on their Usenet groups, have spirited discussions at lunch, then more email, Usenet, and coffee klatch until quitting time. They were the prototype of a 2016 office environment, sadly. All that was missing was Facebook.

I used to play Star Trek and Adventure on the university mainframe timeshare computer in the 1970's. Pong and the barroom video games like Space Invaders never did anything for me. I had too many hours staring at a tube writing software. The last thing I wanted to do was do it as my leisure activity in the bar feeding quarters into the machine. I had a co-worker who went to Atari back in the early 1980's as a hardware designer when they were ruling the world and was in their building a few times. Not my thing but it looked like a fun place to work.
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Old 11-01-2016, 02:59 PM
 
Location: Moku Nui, Hawaii
9,673 posts, read 18,860,204 times
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We used to take those computer data cards and staple one end into a point, then arrange them in a circle, paint them gold or silver and add glitter to make wreaths to hang on doors during holiday season. Never did find much use for the AOL discs which came out a couple decades later but at one point I was saving them up with some sort of nebulous plan to use them for dragon scales.

In the early 80's, I had a landlord with the game console attached to the TV which we played with for hours and hours. It had cassettes to be put into the console and he had, I think, four different games.

One of the secretaries at work had a word processor she used and was real uppity about it, but I wasn't computerized yet so the rest of us mere non-computerized peons had to just bask in her reflected glory.

In the mid-eighties, I finally got my first PC. IBM 486 with KBs on the hard drive, I think it was. The new fast 5600 baud or was it the lightening fast 1200 baud modem? With several hours of online use each month. The modem would make weird up/down squeaky noises and then I'd be logged on. There was a program called 'silly little mail reader' which would dart online, grab my emails and post the ones I had ready to go out. It could get online and back off again within twenty seconds. It was all digital, no formatted text, no pictures, no sound.

VGA Planets was a sort of online game I played. You'd load a small program on your computer, run your turn and then send the file up online once a day. Somewhere out there, someone would compile all the turns and then send back an updated file with everyone else's moves on it to be added into the program.

For a lot of programs, they'd be run off a big floppy disc (the big flat actually floppy ones) and then you'd unload the program when you were done with it to conserve hard drive space.

I still remember being amazed by the fireworks display that would be there when you won solitaire on the computer.

Sometimes I still miss DOS.
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Old 11-01-2016, 03:00 PM
 
662 posts, read 477,238 times
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Hmm...I forgot that I worked on a my business school's mainframe computer back in the early 80's. It was suppose to be a honor to be chosen to input data. lol. But I can't even recall what the screen looked like, save for a vague recollection of black with yellow lettering as I typed. I do recall now that the first computer I had at home was actually a Texas Instruments (Ti-99?), not the one I was later talked into buying by my then husband. We played Parsac on it. I liked the game, but still wasn't impressed with computers. But when I saw that internet screen come to life in the early 90's, I was definitely impressed. The researcher in me was hooked. Still is.
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Old 11-01-2016, 03:15 PM
 
12,825 posts, read 20,135,648 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yellowsnow View Post
Everyone has a visionary moment at least once in their life. The future of the net was my moment. It should have made me at least a bejillionaire but it didn't because I listened to all those people who were supposed to be smarter than me. Way before 1990 I was a netizen. I knew all about the BBS, arpanet, comnet, archie and veronica. And of course, I played pong.

One fine fall day, I gave a presentation to the Board of Directors for a Fortune 100 company on the future of the Internet and communications. In the finest 30 minutes of my life I told these people about the future. I predicted online commerce, paypal, e-bay, online banking and bill pay, WIFI, telecommuting, globalization, and eventually the end of copper wire telephone service. Everyone would do everything on their phones and computers. I told them things that would have put them years ahead of the curve. But they didn't listen. They thought I was nuts. There would never be computers and mobile phones in almost every home.

They should have listened. And more important, I should have walked out the door after that meeting, handed in my resignation, and made those things happen myself. To this day, I kick myself for not doing just that. I just didn't have enough faith in myself after hearing the people who were supposed to be visionaries scoff at my ideas. After all there had to be a reason why they got the big bucks!

I can't explain why I was able to see what they couldn't. But this one time it was as clear to me as the tree outside my window. I absolutely knew what was going to happen!
To be fair, even corporate attempts at earlier adoption flopped. I was at a start up (late 80s) that talked the talk and walked the walk. We had what at the time was one of the coolest intranets, everyone had a networked Mac on their desk top, with the best apps possible, even the lowest level employees. Our value proposition was fiber infrastructure and the gear at both ends of it, plus a fully integrated software stack, as well as provider and user apps, for both the "telephone" and "cable" industries. We figured bandwidth needs, driven by more and more PCs as well as the nascent mobile phones would be through the roof by the early 90s. But, the actual big spenders who might have bought our wares, although they must have seen what was coming, did not want to go big. The early 90s recession did not help. The effort went bust. We could have been riding the wave but we were 10 years too early.
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Old 11-01-2016, 03:53 PM
 
Location: Kirkland, WA (Metro Seattle)
3,983 posts, read 3,253,734 times
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OK, I'm just under 50, so keep that in mind for context. OP: If watching the first primitive video games in the 1970s with shock and awe, thinking maybe you're ten years older than me or so at-most, so demographically I'm not sure we're terribly "younger" than anyone on C-D. I won't retire for another decade or so, but hang out on this part of the forum to hear perspectives more from my dad and mom's era. Some of it is accumulated wisdom, other info hopelessly outdated, but almost all interesting.

I was ground-zero for Pong, guessing 1977, when a family friend had it from Coleco, Atari, or whatever it was. That family maxed the credit cards so the kids would have a "good Christmas" pretty much every year, I recall, including the latest gadgets. We played that for hours and hours, though the kids were older than me and it was always with my parents. Suprisingly interesting, for such a simple game, btw. But I was ten or less, and kids adapt very fast indeed: the unusual becomes normal quickly.

Couple years later was Atari, which needs little introduction. I was hooked. Best friend had it. My father wanted none of it. Well, it was his money and there was never a video game system in his house, so there you go.

Then it all hit arcades, in different flavors. I played lots of quarter video games from that Golden Age, oh yes. And was very good at several, one of those wunderkinds from back in the day.

Fast-forward to the Internet. At work as a professional, I was the guy ordering a 9600 baud modem for our group computer (yep, one for a team of c. 10) in 1991. We shared files with other offices, via FTP I'm pretty sure. I learned all that on my own, plus other fundamentals and more-advanced topics like the 640K barrier, Extended and Expanded memory, TSRs in the SysTray, etc, because I was interested. In retrospect, a CS degree would have served me well, though I learned that almost too late as an engineer and scientist instead. Taught myself COBOL and DOS, wasn't half-bad at UNIX shell-commands later on either.

Christmas 1993 I bought a 386/16, with something like 8 or 16 megabytes...not gigabytes...of RAM. Had something like a 28.8K baud modem (think in octets, people!), I want on dial-up SLIP account about that time and started on bulletin boards. That wasn't really "the Internet", though in the backbone I suppose it was. Spent a lot of time on TOTSE, Temple of the Screaming Electron in the Bay Area (where I lived), which is still around to this day (see: Wikipedia). I knew the founder casually, he was a sharp guy plus I hung out with some of his bomb-throwing anarchist buddies. Interesting group of anarchists, Libertarians, misfits, screwups, drop outs, twisted geniuses, etc. Did that into about 1994-5.

1994 into early 1995 was a banner year, I truly went on "the Internet" as Netscape 1.0 came out and I remember it very well indeed. That was a huge leap forward in terms of accessibility, cannot stress that enough, sort of the "magic" OP refers to. I ran it on Windows 3.1, then later on Windows 95 when that came out (and also changed everything). So, that's when "the Internet" as most of us know it came out. Obviously in different formats it was around far earlier, that was my first introduction in something familar to most.

To OP's point, I too joined AOL about 1994 and remember picking up a few girls in the very early iterations of online dating. It was only for the tech-savvy at that point, but that was OK: my kind of egghead girl, then. There were many, all remembered fondly. Hell, that continues to this day, when it's gone from "we don't talk about this" to no social stigma whatsoever for kids using Tinder, and us old folks using OkCupid, Plenty of Fish, Match, etc.

Became a wizard in all that...the tech... monetized it by moving to Redmond and working for them directly in 1998. The rest is history, I live and breath software and it's rather amazing to be on the leading edge of the major changes past eighteen years in-particular. It's speeding up, we're heading for some interesting social seismic changes next twenty years that are already visible in the proto-stages. Will comment on that another time, though thousands have already for those paying attention the way big data, surveillance, BI, and cybersecurity in-particular are going.

The Gold Rush mentality of the late 1990s was something to behold. Being in the middle, accepting a Dot.com job for a firm with a relatively flimsy premise/business plan, I would summarize thus: Man's Reach Often Exceeds his Grasp. Great ideas that were way, way too far ahead of their time. I'm surprised Amazon made it through, that was the best idea of the lot and they lost money for a very long time indeed before going into the black. Yahoo, well we know about that. AOL, ditto. Shall I go on and count the ways...amusing to see some of the dot.coms that busted in the Crash of '00 and Recession of '01 are back, now that their ideas can be truly monetized to a more-receptive audience.

Last thoughts, to the oldest of those on this part of the forum: my dad, in his late 70s and early 80s (when his number came up), could not really grasp any longer some of the concepts in tech that seemed like magic. Two examples: not needing to "print" much of anything, like photographs, and (related) cloud storage. Granted, this is fairly new stuff: cloud storage is only ramping up last seven or eight years. Too, tablets and big phones...or mini tablets a person can carry in a purse on pocket... are sweeping away "printouts" of many things, and the vast bulk of film camera companies are now in the dustbin of history. WiFi is ever more ubiquitous, meaning the Internet and Cloud storage will be accessible most places, most of the time. You can kiss big hard drives goodbye, next ten years or less, for home computers: pointless.

So, I do empathize with OP's statements about Poing appearing as "magical" and quite frankly, so far out of the frame of reference as to be incomprehensible. Cloud storage, to a lesser extend WiFi, and not needing to "print" squat were truly out-of-bounds/magic/sorcery to my dad. Hope that never happens to me, but...oh, I'm sure it will!
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Old 11-01-2016, 04:13 PM
 
Location: Cushing OK
14,547 posts, read 17,540,572 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yellowsnow View Post
Everyone has a visionary moment at least once in their life. The future of the net was my moment. It should have made me at least a bejillionaire but it didn't because I listened to all those people who were supposed to be smarter than me. Way before 1990 I was a netizen. I knew all about the BBS, arpanet, comnet, archie and veronica. And of course, I played pong.

One fine fall day, I gave a presentation to the Board of Directors for a Fortune 100 company on the future of the Internet and communications. In the finest 30 minutes of my life I told these people about the future. I predicted online commerce, paypal, e-bay, online banking and bill pay, WIFI, telecommuting, globalization, and eventually the end of copper wire telephone service. Everyone would do everything on their phones and computers. I told them things that would have put them years ahead of the curve. But they didn't listen. They thought I was nuts. There would never be computers and mobile phones in almost every home.

They should have listened. And more important, I should have walked out the door after that meeting, handed in my resignation, and made those things happen myself. To this day, I kick myself for not doing just that. I just didn't have enough faith in myself after hearing the people who were supposed to be visionaries scoff at my ideas. After all there had to be a reason why they got the big bucks!

I can't explain why I was able to see what they couldn't. But this one time it was as clear to me as the tree outside my window. I absolutely knew what was going to happen!
I worked for a bank, and we did the bank's own functions in programs written way earlier, when it opened. I was part of the group who was redoing them in Cobol, which the system was set up to use, and updating functions. And my roomate hung around a group of people who built their own. My ex had a system which you could dial into the net, which didn't have a lot there yet. I spent most of my time on BBS until I found usenet and was forever bonded with online life. The usual person still just found it a curiosity then.

But I remember when these geeky guys would take apart computers and remake them so they'd do more, and that almost nobody had the slightest idea what they meant, but aside from thinking they were odd, were also impressed and sure they must be very smart. I'd guess most didn't really see use for it, but now they're playing happily with their I Phones.
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Old 11-01-2016, 07:55 PM
 
Location: Whereever we have our RV parked
8,772 posts, read 7,698,666 times
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I played my bil's PONg. I was not impressed. Neither was I impressed with the internet. I connected up to the bulletin boards, and got email but that was about it. I am personally far more impressed today with the scope of the internet and the massive amount of data traveling on and, and for the most part, getting where its supposed to go, and communicating on it to the other side of the world. Really amazing.
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Old 11-01-2016, 11:21 PM
 
Location: Gulf Coast
1,158 posts, read 648,842 times
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My kids had a Commodore 64, 84?? I forget the number. I don't think they figured out how to use it except for PacMan!

"You've Got Mail" happened for us 2002, dial up, and we had to get another phone line in here because now the phone was busy so much. I remember anything with graphics would slow things down badly.

First time I saw Pong was on King of the Hill when Bobby dragged in the old Pong and he and Peggy got addicted to playing it... beep...wait, wait, wait...beep... Yikes, did y'all think that was fun?

It is all pretty amazing, isn't it?
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Old 11-02-2016, 07:27 AM
 
3,455 posts, read 2,326,093 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by macrodome2 View Post
My first job out of college in 1975 was as a programmer. I got my first PC in the mid 1980s. At that time you used CompuServe, Prodigy, or AOL. I was a Prodigy fan. The first modem I remember was 1200baud. You dialed a local number so you didn't have large phone bills, but you had to make sure it was a local number. The internet followed many years later.
Yes, I remember having to dial a local number! Internet Service Providers would have a long list of phone numbers you could dial into and you found one or two that were local to you. How quaint. LOL

My first experience with a modem was 300 baud. It DID seem slow, but still magical. My, how times have changed. I remember thinking faxes were the coolest thing EVER.
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