Saturday, May 9, 2009

27 Things Lifelong Learning: Using Technology

"Darth Vader's Lunchbox." This is the description given my first computer. In 1982 I spent almost $1500.00 for a 26 pound hunk of steal and circuits with a 9 inch green screen and two single-sided double-density 195k 5.25 floppy (truly "floppy") disk drives. You ran the program off one disk and saved your work to the second disk. The Operating Language was CP/M (Control Program for Microcomputers) running at a blazing 2.5 MHz (yes, that's two point five!). It was designed to run programs. I used it as a word processor. I learned Wordstar and dBase 3 on this computer. It was portable. Sewing machines are portable.

Even back then I hated dot-matrix printers. They were cheap but the type was unacceptable for school work. Most of my Prof's hadn't entered, and wouldn't enter, the computer age for a long time. So I bought an Olivetti Electronic Typewriter with several daisy-wheels fonts for quality text. I had to build an RS-232 cable so my Kaypro could talk to my Typewriter. Every page took about two minutes to print. Once, a Prof after correcting a long paper, asked me to retype and submit it again. I was pleased he gave me the opportunity to do this. But, I could tell by his facial expressions he thought I was going to have to "re-type" the paper. I tried to explain editing a Wordstar file and sending it to my printer but I don't think he caught the concept, until much later. My neighbor accused me of typing at 2 o'clock in the morning once. She was irate. Then I heard a mocking bird who had learned Olivetti, along with frog and cricket.

For more information on vintage Kaypro II's click here.

My interest in using technology grew from there to here. I used to think I would only need 40 meg of space. Ha! I used to have my own Dialog account back in the 90's. I also had a 28k modem.

Ah, nostalgia.

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