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Old 12-06-2018, 12:09 PM
 
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Old 12-06-2018, 12:54 PM
 
Location: Tennessee
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I had a Commodore 64 in the early 1980s and got my first real home computer in 1995. My ISP was a local company. I had dial up and was on a few usenet forums at home. Spent many hours on those forums. Used AltaVista, Lycos, Excite and Webcrawler search engines. Had a dot printer and a scanner at home. I also had 2 websites (used Microsoft FrontPage) back then (late 1990s, early 2000s) and I learned BASIC in college (took a class). Netscape was my browser back then.

Got my work computer around the same time (1994, sounds about right). At home, I remember starting downloading around dinnertime and waking up the next morning before going to work to see if it finished. At work, I was not initially using the computer for the Internet but for Lotus 1-2-3 for spreadsheets, WordPerfect, I think for documents (not Word) and PowerPoint for presentations. At work, we had a shared printer and I also used a plotter at work for graphs. I told my boss that he could skip my bonus if he'd get me a plotter to use at work. EGADS, now that I think about it.

I taught a class of retirees how to conduct research on the Internet, after I retired, and found many of them were completely computer illiterate. They didn't even know how to turn on the power. They retired around the same time (mid- late 1990s) that computers were starting to become prevalent in the workforce. I think many of them retired just so they wouldn't have to learn how to use them and I'm not talking about a bunch of former secretaries and clerks who worked in an industry that didn't use them, either. I'm talking about people who worked in one of the national labs.

I think I may know less now about my current PC than I did about my then PC from the mid-1990s. I knew how to fix problems with that one. I certainly don't know how to create a webpage anymore.
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Old 12-06-2018, 01:16 PM
 
Location: Location: Happy Place
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My son had a "bulletin board" for doing God knows what (he was in high school) and always hogged the telephone line. I had to put in another line because of it.
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Old 12-06-2018, 01:20 PM
 
Location: Prescott AZ
6,119 posts, read 9,071,114 times
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I had a Commodore 64 too. I think before that I had an Atari ??? When I saw how it acted, I was amazed. I thought gee, if this thing could only respond to things I ask it, it would be magic. If only it could do thus and so, if only. I didn't know how it worked. I did know there were paper cards with tiny holes in them that data operators had to keypunch, or something like that. But the whole concept of the computer just was too hard to imagine. Yet, here I am today, still amazed and loving every minute of it.

I remember when some guru said there would be a computer in everyone's home in a few years. I thought he was nuts. He wasn't, and he is very very rich.
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Old 12-06-2018, 01:53 PM
 
723 posts, read 481,151 times
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Originally Posted by Sand&Salt View Post
Back in the early 80s, my other ex had built a Heathkit personal computer, if anyone remembers those. But I can't remember what he did with it, since there was no internet for civilians such as us, then.
Maybe not not internet like we think of today but there were "internet services" then. In the mid-eighties I had a subscription to CompuServe with my 300 baud modem connected to a Commador Vic-20!
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Old 12-06-2018, 02:02 PM
 
1,319 posts, read 643,753 times
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Originally Posted by Tek_Freek View Post
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Exactly....I don`t know how I ever got along without the internet. The whole world just opened up.....to everything.
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Old 12-06-2018, 02:34 PM
 
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I just remembered that, when I got my perfect job at age 20 in 1974, we used a giant computer (IBM dollar signs) to generate characters/captions. It was the first year of captioned television and it was open captions rebroadcast over an earlier tape. The computer was about seven feet high and the hard disk had a handle like luggage and was very heavy.
I thought it was some sort of snazzy typewriter. We still had ticker tape strips for UPI and other wire news services.
Another 20 years before I got home internet. Amazing.
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Old 12-06-2018, 09:14 PM
 
1,506 posts, read 963,291 times
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Originally Posted by Larry Caldwell View Post
I was on the internet long before there was a World Wide Web. Gopher was the search engine of choice. Online forums would get responses from Nobel laureates. I was pen pals with Douglas Adams when he was researching Last Chance To See. Th OS was Unix and you could do anything that fit on a VT100 terminal. It was an exciting time for the mind. Spam was limited to the Green Card Lawyers, promising work visas to foreign Ph.D. candidates. Of course it was a scam, because prospective employers would be glad to arrange a visa for them.

Fall term was always a bit of a nuisance because of the 18 year olds who had never had internet access before, but by the time we were 6 weeks into the term they would realize either they quit spending their time annoying people or they would flunk out.

Then came AOHell. Subscribers were used to nicely moderated discussion "rooms." When introduced to the intellectual free-for-all of internet discussions they freaked out, either complaining loudly about offensive posts or making the offensive posts themselves. Sometimes both. Really intelligent people retreated to closed groups, usually conducted by group emails. The Marching Morons all used CB handles online instead of their real names.

Then came the World Wide Web, and literacy was no longer a requirement for internet use. Look at the pretty pictures. Isn't that kitty cute?

I still hang out places like City-Data fora because people here at least read and write. Thank you all for providing real content instead of garbage for my internet experience. I appreciate you more than you know.
Gopher! McCahill got the credit for that, but Farhad did the heavy lifting - he just retired from UMN a couple of years ago. Gopher was a game-changer.

Before that, it was usenet newsgroups and email for me, though I recall browsing online CD stores (CDNow? CDConnection?) pre-Gopher days with a lot of tabbing through text-only interfaces. Mosaic quickly pushed Gopher aside, then there was Netscape - man, the day they went public with their IPO! Then it seemed like there was an IPO every week for a couple of years.

C-D reminds me of the old newsgroup days in many ways.
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Old 12-07-2018, 03:27 AM
 
Location: Cushing OK
14,547 posts, read 17,534,193 times
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Originally Posted by Larry Caldwell View Post
George R. R. Martin still uses WordStar. OMG, dot commands for formatting. I wish I could forget.

For my money, WordPerfect 5 for DOS was the best word processor ever developed. I did some huge operation manuals with it, complete with TOC and index. I have to admit hot links are more convenient for the user. They don't even print paper manuals any more.

I started using word perfect once I got my first dos laptop, not really trying the fixed up Raido Shack ones my ex liked to build. I was by then looking for a job in programming, finishing out the last batch of classes, and loved playing with my own. I got a word processor first, and it was Word Perfect which I still use. I never got used to Word.


My friends were largely online too. I was and still am writing stories, and wish again for when we posted them and at the end of the year had our own awareds. One of my stories was voted best story. SOMEHOW I have to get copies of these again, and retype them if necessary. I liked sitting ane reading them from paper too. But I have always had a running laptop, even when I was without a permenant address. It was one of the old ones some company junked, and for some time later before it died. I'm still looking for my trek stories (mostly Deep Space Nine) so if you find one by Nightbird 47 PLEASE let me know.


I have managed to have a computer working in good times and bad so I guess I'm pretty much merged into their existance. It seems really odd today when people just treat tham as expected like the phones they can take everywhere. And I met plenty of others who were finding uses for their new toys. I used to call my first cell phone, which looked a LOT like a communicator that very thing.


As someone who is pretty much a loner socially the Newsgroups especially changed my life in that I could share what really mattered, especially the stories. And meeting others who loved writing them, and with the chance to help each other do better it made what might have been a bad time a super great one.
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Old 12-07-2018, 07:47 AM
 
Location: Coastal New Jersey
56,004 posts, read 54,508,374 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AZgarden View Post
I had a Commodore 64 too. I think before that I had an Atari ??? When I saw how it acted, I was amazed. I thought gee, if this thing could only respond to things I ask it, it would be magic. If only it could do thus and so, if only. I didn't know how it worked. I did know there were paper cards with tiny holes in them that data operators had to keypunch, or something like that. But the whole concept of the computer just was too hard to imagine. Yet, here I am today, still amazed and loving every minute of it.

I remember when some guru said there would be a computer in everyone's home in a few years. I thought he was nuts. He wasn't, and he is very very rich.
One of my coworkers said that to me, and I worked with him between 1979 and 1982. He said that one day we would all have our own individual computers on our desks. At that time I had an IBM Selectric III typewriter on my desk and the only computers were in the department called Electronics. (This was an engineering construction office.)

I later worked for a director who had started out in that Electronics department, and she said they had someone come in for an interview to work there. While he was waiting for his interview, he overheard someone talking about a problem they had with the computer, and he told them what to do to fix it. Naturally, he was hired.

She said he was brilliant but perhaps what they would now consider on the spectrum. When they would ask him to teach others what he knew, his response was, "no, you won't understand." Then, she said, he started talking about something called the Internet that would connect all the computers and left to go work on it.
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