Personal Computing - We've Come A Long Way

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    Personal Computing - We've Come A Long Way

    One of the constants of personal computing, as in life, is that change happens. Whether we like the changes or not, we all have to deal with them. I remember experiencing my first personal computer back in 1982. It was a Timex Sinclair computer, a tiny 12" x 5" x 1 1/4" (approximate measurements) gray case with little rubber keys.

    I was amazed and thrilled by that piece of grand technology. Within the confines of that small package was a powerful Z80 microprocessor and a huge 16 kilobytes of RAM. Now I realize that IBM came out with the PC a couple of years before this, but it was a business computer, and sold for thousands of dollars.

    The Timex Sinclair was a personal home computer built for the masses, and was very affordable at around $100. I bought it, took it home and connected it to a 12" black and white TV (the computer was not color capable), and a regular cassette tape recorder. The software came on cassette tapes and you had to use the cassette recorder to load the software into the computer. It made very strange noises as the software loaded into the computer. At the moment that program loaded and displayed on the TV screen, life forever changed. I was smitten by this new wonder.

    I bought that first computer at a store where I worked. Just a few months after the purchase, my boss offered me a new job as the system administrator on an IBM System 34 Mini Computer. This computer was a common business computer in its day and certainly was no personal computer.

    The boss had observed how infatuated I had become with computers and after an opening came up considered me for the position. I knew absolutely nothing about the system. I had to take IBM manuals home to study. I read all about this behemoth.

    The computer was as large as a deep freezer (700 lbs.) - you may have seen in your parents' or grandparents' utility room. Within it were two 27" diameter hard drives - yes, 27 inches!!! I was amazed. I was used to a 60-minute cassette tape and here I had two 27" hard drives to play with. To top that, those two hard drives together could store less than 200 megabytes of data between them! The System 34 had a full 64 Kilobytes of memory also. How I longed for a personal computer with a hard drive, but years would pass before I could afford one.

    Computing back then was like writing on clay tablets compared to the refined PCs we have today. But they were state of the art back then, and decades from now people will be looking at our computers in museums and wonder how we were able to cope with these archaic relics. It has been an interesting ride through the years, and it gets more interesting with each passing day.

    We are now so dependent on our personal computers that we cannot imagine a world without them. With each leap in technology we are faced with new challenges. We now have security threats to our computers and personal data that were unimaginable in the early days of computing. And as personal computers have grown more complex, and we have become more dependent on them, the greater the potential for real loss when some component gives up the ghost. Yet, as it is with many things in life, solutions to these challenges are many times simpler than we would at first recognize.
    Last edit by Joe V on Jan 24, '17
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  3. by   Brian
    Great Article!

    My first computer was in 1993-1994 and it was a Tandy 486 DX with a CD Rom!!! It came with an multimedia encyclopaedia (Encarta) which I was thoroughly impressed by. I looked up Michael Jordan and there as a short, and very grainy video of him playing, I thought that was the coolest thing! I wasn't a fan of looking things up in books, so combine learning with cool technology and I was hooked.

    It didn't take long for me to experience the internet, which I was mesmerized by as well. Communicating with people all over the world via email was so cool! I quickly started exploring the World Wide Web Of course, all of this was over a 14.4 modem plugged into my telephone jack in my apartment. Searching for nursing resources, which were very limited at the time. I began to learn how to make webpages, began to create links to all the nursing sites, organize them and eventually made a website for nurses.

    Today, I can do do almost anything from my iphone anywhere worlrdwide.

    Ya, I'd say that we've come along way in a very short period of time

    I hope others share their computer stories.
  4. by   CaptainPC
    Thanks Brian! My first 'big time' computer was a Franklin Ace 1200 Apple II clone in 1984 that had dual 5 1/4 floppy drives, 64K main memory and no hard drive. I used it for three years before I bought a Tandy 1000 with dual 3 1/2 floppy drives and still no hard drive. I stored the Franklin in a closet with a Texas Instrument TI994A home computer just to keep some computer history around. Unfortunately both were destroyed when our home burned down in 2003. There was something mystical about those old computers we cut our teeth on.
  5. by   justine2
    great article! Looking forward to reading more about PCs
  6. by   CaptainPC
    Thanks Justine2! Glad you enjoyed it, and I hope you will find some useful information in the coming days.
  7. by   BMCLVN
    Speaking tech innovations , is there anyone who does telemedicine? I am setting up a telemedicine program for the organization I work for and am interested in comments both pro and con. Also any info on what services are being offered through telemedcine programs.
  8. by   FranEMTnurse
    I am so tired of the Windows programs, I have decided to buy an Apple desktop computer. I looked them up online and liked what I saw. My SIL's brother owns an apple store and my daughter is checking with him concerning which one would be best suited for me.
  9. by   CaptainPC
    Quote from Franemtnurse
    I am so tired of the Windows programs, I have decided to buy an Apple desktop computer. I looked them up online and liked what I saw. My SIL's brother owns an apple store and my daughter is checking with him concerning which one would be best suited for me.
    Hi Franemtnurse! I'm not tired of Windows computers, but I did by an iMac 21.5 in. model just before Christmas, and I love it. It has a Core2Duo processor running at 3.06 Ghz and is very fast. I have a 500 GB hard drive in it so I used Boot Camp to split the partition in equal halves, and installed Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit on it. It runs like a champ. Now I have the best of both computing worlds all in one machine. Now Apple has quad core iMacs and even an Core i5 model, but they are much more expensive. Whichever model you select you will undoubtedly enjoy it immensely. Have fun!