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Eldergays, what was your early experience with computers?

These days, kids have an online presence before they are born

But us eldergays had to make a decision, as an adult, to have an online presence

My first portable computer was the size of a 20 gallon fish tank and only displayed letters and numbers.

Later, I used to write web pages by actually writing the code, no short cuts

What was your early virtual experience like?

by Anonymousreply 49May 21, 2024 9:01 PM

Model 33 teletype w/ 300 baud acoustical connection.

Your 20 gallon fish tank sounds like an Imsai 8080.

by Anonymousreply 1May 14, 2024 5:43 PM

1977-78ish. My mom would take me to the public library. There, they had a few PET computers. You’d check out a cassette tape which ran the program. My favorite was an adventure game, I don’t think it was Zork at that time, but something similar, and appropriate for a 5 year old.

by Anonymousreply 2May 14, 2024 5:44 PM

I had a TRS-80 Color Computer 2 by Tandy circa 1984, when I was 7 years old. I think I wound up working in Tech because of my early exposure. Many kids had a video game console in the 80s (as did I), but only a few of my classmates came from households that had computers of some variety, that I was aware of.

by Anonymousreply 3May 14, 2024 6:09 PM

[quote]But us eldergays had to make a decision, as an adult, to have an online presence

Oh, dear. Oh, dear!

by Anonymousreply 4May 14, 2024 6:15 PM

I always thought those amber monitors were so sexy.

by Anonymousreply 5May 14, 2024 6:15 PM

At work, they had given us all a Wang.

by Anonymousreply 6May 14, 2024 6:22 PM

High school late 1960s. I learned Fortran 2. Spiral-bound volume about 3/4 inch thick.

My own first computer was a Commodore 64.

by Anonymousreply 7May 14, 2024 6:26 PM

The first home computer I can remember owning was an IBM clone around 98-99 or so. I got it from the computer guy at my old job that installed our hard drives and screens. I learned Lotus 1-2-3 and MS DOS in school, however and the MS-DOS came in handy. I guess Lotus prepared me for Excel. I also learned Word Perfect in the early 90s but used it mainly at work and didn't own a home system then.

by Anonymousreply 8May 14, 2024 6:28 PM

Elder millennial here. My family's first computer was a Tandy TRS-80 followed by an IBM PC/XT. I first got online through random BBSes advertised in the back of PC Computing/PC Magazine/Byte. By the mid 90s I had a computer in my room and a subscription to Prodigy, which was the first of the big 3 online services to grant access to the burgeoning world wide web. We eventually switched to a "real" ISP, Earthlink.

The most ridiculous thing I remember about that era was how much effort it took to download porn. I don't know how I found out about it, but on IRC there were many rooms that hosted file servers (fserves). You'd type some !command that'd trigger a chatbot that let you browse folders someone else was hosting. It was all text-based, so you'd type commands to navigate and see a list of files, and you'd often need to accrue credits to download, usually ratio-based (i.e. upload a 50kb image, get credit for 150kb of downloads - although some servers were stingy, with 1:1 ratios). You'd never really know what you were going to get. Sometimes well-run servers generated contact sheets, single images you could download that had a small preview thumbnail of everything else in the folder.

by Anonymousreply 9May 14, 2024 6:48 PM

I got my first computer set up from HSN around 1998. It came with everything and instructions easy enough for a first grader to read in crayon. It was fine but they were all So slow to load then. I got very good at Free Cell while waiting….

by Anonymousreply 10May 14, 2024 7:03 PM

1973 programming project . We had to go to the high school to use the computer which was programmed with punch cards. Too bad I didn’t take to it.

by Anonymousreply 11May 14, 2024 7:09 PM

I hated computers then; I hate them now.

by Anonymousreply 12May 14, 2024 7:14 PM

I was in financial IT for 35 years; worked on mainframes. The first mainframe I worked on took up about 20,000 sf, water cooled, dedicated power supply. The iPhone I have has more storage and computing power than that big IBM behemoth I worked on. Of course mainframes got smaller, and more powerful over time. Now they have the footprint of refrigerators. Around 1990, the firm gave all the senior people IBM thinkpads. At first I didn’t know what to do with it, within 3 weeks I didn’t know how I lived without the device. That was my personal computer turning point.

by Anonymousreply 13May 14, 2024 7:21 PM

I first began using a Vydec 40 - 41 years ago. My job most notably consisted of producing construction specifications for two successive enlargements of the wastewater treatment plant that served the metropolitan Seattle area and relocating to Minnesota for enlargement of the plant in the Twin Cities.

The Vydec wasn’t a real computer as they’re understood today and no man in the office ever touched one because it wasn’t considered manly to type and the world-wide web wasn’t in existence at the time.

From the Vydec, we moved on to pre-mouse/pre-Windows Word and I can’t tell you how much I now love being condescended to by people who were wearing diapers while I was earning my living using technology they think so highly of themselves for using.

And, yes, I DO know what Tim Berners-Lee’s contribution to world history was.

by Anonymousreply 14May 14, 2024 7:26 PM

Storybook Weaver, Mortal Kombat, and Mavis Beacon.

Offsite Link
by Anonymousreply 15May 14, 2024 8:45 PM

I hated computers, tired to take a class in college at the time for 3D modeling and the thing was a monster. It was called The Aesthedes. It was like a huge desk with 3 CRT monitors with 3 small monitors below each one and instead of a keyboard and mouse it had hundreds of buttons all just to make a basic 3D line drawing of a polygon.

I dropped that class but then 5 years later, I saw a program what what was then call 3D Studio. I could not believe the things you could do with it. So I sent out samples of my artwork to companies that were just starting to develop video games and they hired me without any 3D skill. They gave me a book about 2 inches thick and said you are on your own for two weeks to learn the program. 30 years later I still use 3DS MAX to visualize design work which is so good at making things look realistic it blows my mind.

Introducing The Aesthedes, a computer for artist with no technical skill. Now everyone can create with just a touch of a button! 🙄

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by Anonymousreply 16May 14, 2024 9:16 PM

As I was leaving high school and entering college, the arcade video game era was just beginning. I rejected it. The only video game I have ever played was Adventure on my younger brother's Atari 2600.

In 1999, I used a WebTv unit to surf the internet for the first time. I transitioned from that to a desktop computer in 2004, and it's what I still use. No gaming systems, and no smartphones.

Doctors' offices which require a touchscreen sign-in (in lieu of the smartphone I don't have) challenge me. I have abandoned doctors over this issue.

by Anonymousreply 17May 14, 2024 9:43 PM

In the 90s, worked for a company tasked with getting tablets into field officers hands for the Army. The hardest part was convincing officers that they were going to have to type in their own communications. They expected the tablet to come with a private to type for them.

by Anonymousreply 18May 14, 2024 11:54 PM

Before there was Windows 95, there was Windows 3.1.

by Anonymousreply 19May 15, 2024 12:04 AM

I cannot remember the name of it but it was programmed by these huge cards with magnetic strips down the sides. Nothing online but it did inventory , customer accounts, payroll.

by Anonymousreply 20May 15, 2024 1:01 AM

Undergrad college classes in VAX.

by Anonymousreply 21May 15, 2024 1:11 AM

I took a typing class in high school in the early 80s, and was the only boy in the room.

Those typing skills came in very useful during the early years of the internet.

by Anonymousreply 22May 15, 2024 1:35 AM

R22 It was required for everyone at our school. (Mid/late ‘70s)

by Anonymousreply 23May 15, 2024 1:07 PM

Speak for yourself, OP. I grew up in the 60s in a Westinghouse Total Electric Home.

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by Anonymousreply 24May 15, 2024 1:13 PM

R18 - “I have a time getting the boys to help with the laundry” -Madame Admiral gossiping about home life with a couple of us at a conference.

by Anonymousreply 25May 15, 2024 1:15 PM

Our home robot Abel Mable, gave me handjobs.

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by Anonymousreply 26May 15, 2024 1:16 PM

rich uncle gave me a texas instruments tiny computer when I was 13 back in the early 80s

by Anonymousreply 27May 15, 2024 1:26 PM

That was a calculator, r27

by Anonymousreply 28May 15, 2024 1:51 PM

nope, they had small PCs too

by Anonymousreply 29May 15, 2024 1:56 PM

I took all of my high school graduation money and bought what Computer Gaming Monthly called THE top of the line gaming computer of the 90s.

A Tandy Somethingorother with the newest thing...a CD-ROM drive from Ye Olde radio Shaque

It was my first computer, and I got a big discount for signing up for the Radio Shack credit card. My first credit card!

I wound up using what was left on a bunch of those Sierra On-Line "Big Box: games.... Hoyle Card Games, The Dagger of Amon Ra, Maniac Mansion and my favorite, Freddie Pharkas, Frontier Pharmacist. I wasted so much time on that game.

Sierra also had a small AOL-ish on-line presence where I had my first cybersex.

Fun all around.

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by Anonymousreply 30May 15, 2024 2:25 PM

Love reading these memories. I had a brown computer that used those giant floppy discs in the late 80’s/90’s ( I was around 10 years old). My dad had always been computer savvy and I used it to write stories. No internet.

Than in the mid 90s we got a Gateway Dell that came in the cow box. It connected to the internet via AOL. I wrote stories, made some rudimentary digital art and stuffed the web via AOL. I remember my first chat room was an Emma Thompson appreciation hub. lol. As a little gayling I pretended I thought she was “hot” having just seen Junior. Wasn’t long before I discovered the M4M hot tubs and that was where guys would send JPGs of porn and it would slowly load. I was underage and receive some pretty risqué stuff! I would look and then delete. Then at some point, someone maliciously sent me thousands of dirty pics at once and I couldn’t figure out where they were stored and had to ask my friend how to delete them! That’s how we came out to each other.

In the early 2000s I got a Daisy Mac and taught myself photoshop and have been using it professionally ever since.

by Anonymousreply 31May 15, 2024 2:25 PM

I learned to use an IBM clone at work in 1991.....everyone had to take a class.

In 1992 I bought a used Tandy home computer - the monitor was on top of the processor. I used those 5 1/4" floppy discs. No internet but some fun programs for word processing. And a dot matrix printer.

Bought my own IBM clone in 1998 - with Windows 98 - and got on the dial up internet. It was fun. I later had a flower pot Apple desktop which looked great, but was not easy to use.

Switched back to a Sony desktop all in one that was the best computer I have ever had/used. Now I have an HP and it is NOT reliable. I may switch back to Apple.....time will tell.

by Anonymousreply 32May 15, 2024 2:33 PM

Ah......my old Sony Vaio......all in one.....it was the best. Still in my closet. I loan it out as a prop when a local theater is doing a play set in the 90's It's usually the star of the show.

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by Anonymousreply 33May 15, 2024 2:38 PM

My first desktop was an IBM- Dos commands! My first laptop was also IBM in about ‘93, maybe ‘92. Can’t remember if it use Windows- I think it did.

by Anonymousreply 34May 15, 2024 2:43 PM

a $2000 Toshiba laptop that plugged into the phone jack

it took about 25 minutes to process a link to the DL

by Anonymousreply 35May 15, 2024 2:47 PM

In the mid 90's I bought an old used IBM clone off a guy I was helping to fix his car. He'd upgraded and had the old one lying around so I got it off him for $80 if I remember rightly. Came with a dot matrix printer and colour screen, ran Windows 2.1 I think. Around 97 bought another old used IBM clone for cash and beers off a mate but this was an early Pentium, ran Windows 95 although it broke down a lot, I learnt a lot about computers keeping that old POS going. Went through a string of old used clunkers like this until the mid 2000's when I splashed out on a brand new rig, first I'd ever had (and the prices had come down some by then too)

Kept that quite a while, then went through a few laptops until I got the Sony Vaio I'm using now, it was a great deal lightly used but top of the line machine thats done me well. Certainly better than the Dell that had Windows Vista on it, what a piece of shit that was, the Vista much more so than the hardware

by Anonymousreply 36May 15, 2024 3:20 PM

Around 1981 a cousin let me play Zork on her Tandy computer. Been addicted to pc games ever since.

My first home computer was a Commodore 64, I remember how you had to tear off the strips of paper when you printed something.

by Anonymousreply 37May 15, 2024 3:58 PM

Elder Millennial here. My parents bought a computer in the early '90s that had a 386SX processor and a whopping 4 megabytes of RAM. The hard drive had around 100 megs. It ran Windows 3.0 -- not 3.1. I played games on DOS; loading them required me to type out all the commands by hand in the DOS prompt. It had drives for 5-inch and 3-inch floppy discs. Later, my mom bought a CD-ROM drive, which I thought was amazing.

I remember a family friend went to a computer store in the mid to late '90s, and the computers were sold like cars -- she worked with a salesperson for hours trying to figure out what she wanted, and the salesperson got commission on the sale. I think about that sometimes, and how weird it is to treat buying a computer like buying a car.

by Anonymousreply 38May 15, 2024 4:40 PM

OMG I had forgotten about Windows Vista - I hope the people that came up with that program are burning in HELL.

by Anonymousreply 39May 16, 2024 3:42 PM

R39 - Where do you think they were while they were writing it?

by Anonymousreply 40May 17, 2024 10:21 PM

We had an Apple II clone by a company called Franklin. My family was always getting embarrassing/weird off brand shit. Did a lot of programming on that thing in Basic.

by Anonymousreply 41May 17, 2024 10:37 PM

I remember when emojis were made from actual punctuation

by Anonymousreply 42May 20, 2024 12:22 AM

We had computers in my high school in the early 80's. WAIT, does that make me an "Eldergay".....

by Anonymousreply 43May 20, 2024 2:43 AM

Nothing says Christmas more than turning those old computer punch cards daddy brought home from the office into wreaths!

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by Anonymousreply 44May 20, 2024 8:09 AM

High school, early 70's. The school district had a Sperry/Univac mainframe downtown you could dial into with a teletype (hi R2) or you could use the IBM punchcard machine to create a deck to take downtown and run a batch job. I also learned Fortran, and later Cobol. First PC was an Osborne 1 portable with a 40-character display running CP/M and Microsoft BASIC.

by Anonymousreply 45May 20, 2024 8:54 AM

My first computer experiences were on an Amiga computer. Maybe 1989 or 1990. Very intuitive, very useful for music and other projects. I used it for about 10 years. . But like Beta vs. VHS. inferior technology won out and eventually most of us went on to PCs with windows.

by Anonymousreply 46May 20, 2024 9:09 AM

I was aware of them but never used one until 4th grade, when the teacher wheeled in an Apple II. Love at first sight. We played some spelling games.

In 5th grade, they used Tandys to teach us typing. I preferred the Apple computers.

They were never very prevalent in high school, because I was in a small, rural district.

I didn’t get my own computer until college. One of the rich kids was going to put a Mac on the free pile before summer break. I grabbed it. No printer, but that was no problem. I loved that thing and typed many a paper on it.

by Anonymousreply 47May 20, 2024 12:11 PM

One of the IT nerds at work took me for a trip around the Internet in the late 1980s when it was still in DOS. Incredibly difficult to get around (no mouse or pictures, young 'uns!) and not a lot to see if you weren't a computer nerd, because they were the only ones uploading anything. So it was all about exciting coding hacks. I know the universities were using the Web to share research papers, because that's what it was invented for, but that part of cyberspace must have been password protected so people didn't get to plagiarize. Likewise any military or banking that might have been there. The early hackers were probably driven by boredom to try to invade those sites.

My IT nerd only knew how to surf the Net from personal interest: we were years away from work wanting anyone to do anything on the WWW, and even then for quite some time it was only for email. I remember in the early 90s I wanted to set up a group chat for work purposes, but the only way to do it was by hitting "reply all" on the email every time.

After Apple and Netscape variously introduced web surfing using a mouse and graphics, I remember how interesting it was to watch the Net filling with information. Google is only about 26 years old, and in the early days you could Google all you liked but you'd only get what people had bothered to upload. So at first it was still mainly nerd stuff and porn. I remember going to iTunes in the early days for show music, and there was hardly anything. Like, no Rodgers & Hammerstein, no Sondheim. The point at which you could search the Net and find several suggestions for anything you could think of is really very recent: it certainly occurred during the screen-using lifetime of millennials.

by Anonymousreply 48May 20, 2024 2:31 PM

Dial in connections through your phone line that dropped if you looked at the phone wrong

by Anonymousreply 49May 21, 2024 9:01 PM
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