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Windows 7: Any old timers?

04 Mar 2010   #1
Little Darwin

Windows 7 Home Premium (64 bit)
Any old timers?

Are there any other old timers here?

Some of my computer related recollections over the years...

I wrote my first program in 1974 as a Senior in high school. I had to punch the cards and carry them with me when the class went to the district office. It was one of the first terms that the course was even offered.

My first computing job was as a computer operator using a mainframe computer that had a whole megabyte of ram. The computer was the size of a room, and each 256K bank of memory was about the size of the cubicle I work in now. When we discovered that one of the banks was faulty, we actually shut off the bank of memory, re-ipled and ran with less until the technician could come out and fix it. As low as the computing power was, it took several of us to monitor it, and to mount the tapes for processing. Partly due to my early experience, I truly understand that I am typing this on a computer that has more processing power than what NASA used to land a man on the moon. I didn't work for NASA, but I know what the computer technology was a decade after the landing.

My first home computer was a Commodore Vic-20 that had an amazingly poor resolution hooked to the TV, and had 3K of Ram. My only data storage was initially a casette tape unit. I did move up to a floppy disk when I upgraded to the Commodore 64.

My first online experience was not the internet, it was dial-in BBS systems that enthusiasts ran in their homes. I called in at 300 BPS amd communicated with a "server" that was pitifully weak by today's standards. You can look up TRS-80 to see what level of machines were serving up data.

I visited one of the sysops and saw his setup. Like most BBS systems, he didn't even have a hard drive, but he was dreaming about getting one some day to replace the several 5.25" floppy drives that housed the BBS data.

A few years later, I remember the surprise I felt when someone in one of my classes bought a massive computer for $650. It had 640K of memory, a monochrome monitor and a 10 megabyte hard drive. The processor ran at 4.77 megahertz.

I soon bought a better system than that one, it has a "Turbo-XT" and had a button on the front to switch turbo mode off and on... The button was necessary because some programs (especially some games) ran too fast in turbo mode. My system then had less storage (including hard drive) and less computing power than the weakest video cards today.

I remember when I first went to 16 bit (PC AT class system) and I had a 100 megabyte hard drive and 2 megabytes of memory.

Any other thoughts from the old days?
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04 Mar 2010   #2

Windows10 Pro - 64Bit vs.10547

started on a zx81 way back - not as far back as you, though..
- in those days code had to be efficient and as small as possible, due to memory constraints
- not like nowadays, where it just sprawls all over the place..

must admit - Windows 7 seems to have brought back a little more attention to efficiency..
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04 Mar 2010   #3

Windows 7 Home Premium 32-Bit - Build 7600 SP1

When you mentioned BBS, that brought back alot of memories. I first got involved using a BBS in 1990. For those who don't remember BBS's. The internet was not widely used like it is now. The BBS's was a local version of the internet. You would call a phone number by dialing a modem and it would hook up to whatever BBS you were calling. It normally would be in your own town, because no one wanted to pay the long distance charges. I am in Houston and there were about 400 BBS's at its peak. They were just message boards with white writing on a black screen, nothing fancy, but I spent alot of hours on them. I met some friends on a BBS that I still communicate with to this day.
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04 Mar 2010   #4


Wow. Very nice read! Im only 21 so I don't go that far back.

My first computer was 333mhz 40mb of ram and a 10gb hdd.

Back then I thought I could of downloaded RAM
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04 Mar 2010   #5
Little Darwin

Windows 7 Home Premium (64 bit)

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by BugMeister View Post
- in those days code had to be efficient and as small as possible, due to memory constraints
- not like nowadays, where it just sprawls all over the place..

must admit - Windows 7 seems to have brought back a little more attention to efficiency..
I just remembered Compute and Compute Gazette magazines... big in the Commodore world, and they would publish programs for the Vic-20 and Commodore 64. Some were in Basic, and others used a program to allow for decimal entry of binary files... if you were lucky, you lived close to a Commodore oriented BBS, and someone else already did the typing. I forget if it as my Vic-20 or the 64, but one of the programs I entered was for a spreadsheet, that obviously didn't do everything that modern spreadsheets do, but it was very functional.

And this brought back to mind another milestone foe me, and that is when Lotus 123 in one of their versions actually came on more than one 360K floppy disk. I remember being irritated that they would require a user to either have 2 floppy drives or regularly swap floppy disks as they used different functions.

For those that don't know about it, Lotus 123 was the top spreadsheet for years.

I just thought that of an up side of the ancient floppy based systems... there was no software installation as we know it today. You could pretty much go to any compatible computer as long as you had your floppies and do whatever you needed to do. I would usually have my OS and a few key programs handy at any given time. The main limitation was which OS the system was built for... TRS/Commodore/IBM etc. In the business world, an IBM Compatible PC was the norm. And it was fairly wide spread at home for too, much like today but we no longer refer to them as IBM Compatible.
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04 Mar 2010   #6
Little Darwin

Windows 7 Home Premium (64 bit)

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by TGSoldier View Post
Back then I thought I could of downloaded RAM
We've all had our little misconceptions. :)

There was the saying (falsely attributed to Bill Gates) in the old days...

640K ought to be enough for anybody

And each major leap in technology has hit some people hard.

I remember when mainframes hit the 32 bit world, and suddenly there was a theoretical memory limit of 2GB. But nobody built the hardware to support nearly that much memory, so even systems that used lots of memory, it was mostly virtual, and swapped in and out as needed.

Rooms full of disk drives were the norm...

I remember being shown the disk room in the early 1980's when I first started at a company... Rows upon rows of drives, each were 10-12 inches in diameter... the room roared with all of the drives spinning and the air conditioner blasting. The one thing common to virtually all old computer rooms was the volume of the white noise. The person showing me the room proudly said, "We have nearly three quarters of a terabyte of online storage here" Now all that data could be put onto a single hard drive in a PC with room to spare.

I just realized something else. My cell phone has more power and probably more online storage than the first mainframe I worked on. And it is definitely more powerful and has more storage than the PCs I owned in the 80's.

OK, I am starting to feel old.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Mar 2010   #7

Windows 7 Professional 64-bit (6.1, Build 7600)

I graduated high school in 1973, so I guess I am slightly older, but very similar experiences.

In my first job, we actually used the predecessor to the Commodore VIC, the Commodore PET, to do real work like data collection, analysis, and machine control. My company let me keep one of these at home, so that was sort of my first home computer. It had 8K RAM, cassette tape for mass storage, a built-in monochrome monitor, and a "chic-let" keyboard. The only graphic capability was character-based, but it had some special characters that you could get a little creative with. I even made a replacement character ROM for it once to use for some games I wrote.

After that I did a lot of work with DEC PDP-11s on the job. These typically had 64K RAM and real disc drives that would hold 10MB on a 12-inch platter. I bought myself a Commodore 64 for home. Was very active on Compuserve and Quantumlink (which mostly catered to Commodore owners and later became AOL).

I got myself a 386 25 MHz Gateway PC with 640K RAM and 40 MB hard drive, and the the BBS boom hit for a few years before the internet got going. I was on the internet for a few years before the web really took off and it was all terminal emulators running on DOS, offline newsreaders, Unix command lines, etc.

I have worked with and owned a lot of systems since, mostly Windows-based. My wife and I currently each have Core 2 Quad desktops with 8GB RAM and a Core 2 Duo notebook with 4GB RAM which we share. Our home network has a total of about 6TB storage at the moment and various interfaces to the home entertainment center.
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04 Mar 2010   #8

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit

Not as far back as some of you guys here but ...

Commodore Vic-20 was my first computer.

Then I got a Coleco ADAM after that. I remember trying to make my own games & playing Dragons Lair on it all the time :)

Anyone rememebr these?

Attached Images
Any old timers?-adam.jpg 
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04 Mar 2010   #9

Windows 7 64-bit Professional
Old timer myself

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Little Darwin View Post
Are there any other old timers here?

Some of my computer related recollections over the years...

Any other thoughts from the old days?
My first experience on a business computer was an IBM 1130 card system. We had 2 each 512k disk drives and it used the ferrous-oxide memory cabinet about the size of a big refrigerator. It had 8kb of memory and was totally batch.

I programmed in Fortran with some commercial subroutines.
I remember one day while playing golf with a vendor that I got a call to hurry back to the plant because one of the maintenance guys payroll checks was greater than $327.67 so it printed as a negative number. The reason the sys op saw it was that the printers were so slow that he could watch each pay check print.

Communications from/to our sales computer was via paper tape at 1920 baud!!!

My first home computer was a Sinclair using a cassette tape for storage and used Basic as the programming language.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Mar 2010   #10

Windows 8 - 64-bit

Love this Thread... I'm guessing I'm the most mature user of this Great Forum.. I didn't jump in till much later.. hubby then ( passed away ) thought it would drive me crazy with problems / stressed out..NOT so.. I did my research.. took my notes with me to Little Rock.. shopped the whole day..asking questions ... etc. went back to Wal-Marts bought the best + everything on a laptop....HP Pavillion n 5000 laptop...( Windows ME ) they had.. paid cash for it..brought it home...didn't know how to get it on line.. called my gf.. at work..she said bring it out.. we got it on line in her office.... with her boss in awww of the machine.. .. came home .. got on line.. talked to HP tech support.. was off and running.. HP had the Best of all tech support..back then.. I recall the tech guy telling me.. " Just Don't Hit the Delet Button "'ll do fine..I'm the curious kind.. so I've been reading and learning since.. Your newsletter has been like GOLD along my journey..with my pc.Now I'm off to try out this New Acer laptop.. get it on line .
Thanks to you all here.. with great suggestions ..and help... One is never too mature to learn new exciting things in life.. keep up with the world.

I'll be fine !!!
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