Saturday, May 16, 2009

The Good Old Days

Just read an entry on Scott Hanselman's blog called 10 Awesome Things I Remember About Computers. The comments on the entry closed May 1, so I thought I'd write my own entry and sort of chain off his. Feel free to leave your own memories!

10 Awesome Things I Remember About Computers (give or take...)

  1. Using my S100 CP/M based computer with CP/M DOS
  2. Using the same computer above, typing my school reports in WordStar (how I miss WordStar)
  3. Typing up BASIC (in that day, I used A-Basic, M-Basic, GW-Basic, and in the '90s, QBasic) game listings
  4. Upgraded to an IBM XT with a 40MB HDD (that was HUGE, and the largest available consumer HDD)
  5. DOS 3.x was out, and sub-directories were new. I didn't know about them/understand them (I was 11!). Anyway, I watched my dad type a command: del *.* and it deleted some files. Pretty cool. I accidentally wrote a file in the wrong spot. I couldn't get it deleted, so I tried this (not understanding directories, they didn't exist in DOS 2.0!): C:\> del *.*. Rebooted, nothing happened. Hmmm... "DAD! My computer won't boot." He said, "What did you do to it?" To which I said, "I don't know, it just wouldn't start." He wasn't too happy. ;) Luckily, it was only my computer, so none of his stuff was on it. Whew!
  6. Playing Tie Fighter on my 486 (this is now about 5 years later, about 1992 I'd say).
  7. Using DriveSpace on Windows95 to compress my 810MB HDD to get 2.4GB space. Boy was that a bad idea!
  8. Buying my first computer from scratch and putting it together myself (1997) for $2400: PII 350MHz w/ ABIT BX6 mobo, 256MB RAM, 12GB HDD (yeah baby!) and a LS-120 FDD (that was a total waste).
  9. One year later, bought another computer for $1100: PII 400MHz w/ 512MB RAM, ABIT BX6 Rev 2 mobo, Acer 40x CD-ROM, Yamaha 24/8/4 CD-RW drive and another 12GB HDD
  10. Windows 2000. Finally, a true 32-bit OS that worked well.
  11. Windows XP—so much better!
  12. One more for good kicks (though this is recent history)—Microsoft releases their second-most horrible OS (after ME), Vista. Can't wait for Windows 7!

Though I have some recent stuff on my list, I've been using computers since I was 8 (so just shy 25 years). I'd like to hear from you, too. What are some of your memories?


  1. Haha, I thoroughly enjoy number 5. It has happened to many on us on more than one occasion I'm sure. Luckily the unix command is a little more complicated. I am sad to see that Windows Mistake Edition did not make the list and there is no mention of Commodore 64! Even I had one. Anyway, great list!

  2. I was bummed to see that Commodore 64 and Windows Mistake Edition did not make the list. However, I thoroughly enjoyed number 5. I think this may have happened to about everyone in the computer science field.

  3. Well, one of my friends had a Commodore 64, but I had the Atari 2600. Windows ME didn't make the list because I had bought Windows 98 for that first computer I built from scratch (and the second one, which was actually Win98 SE). Anyway, ME came out shortly thereafter, but I heard of all the problems. Then, while upgrading a company to Windows ME (they were told to go with it by someone else), I experienced all the aggravations that were alleged. So after seeing that the machines needed to be rebooted once or twice per day, I vowed never to use that OS. Unfortunately, I didn't make this same decision with Vista.