Thursday, July 23, 2009

Then and Now

My husband reminded me that it has been almost 20 years since we bought our first computer.


It was a Maxar 286 with 1MB of system memory, 1MB video memory and a processor speed of 12.5MHz. It had a tiny hard drive and was a DOS based interface.(photo taken in our apartment in 1991, please note the joystick and all the MtDew, needed to stay awake to play games all night) We wouldn’t get Windows 3.1 until we upgraded to a 386 in 1993 or so.

It used these sort of floppies


which do not have enough space on them to store this photo of them (photos taken in our junk closet in April 2009, can you say ‘pack rats’?).

and these sorts of floppies, which might be able to hold this photo of them


We had a dial up connection at a whopping 2400kbps and mostly used local BBS sites, but there was this new thing called Prodigy that connected you with the whole country, but only with others on Prodigy. Our phone line was tied up for hours while I posted to forums and sent message to people. There was no internet, no email. We mostly played games like Civilization and Tanks. I wrote grad school papers & then had to take them to a copy store to get them printed.

To the best of my recall, this is my/our 5th computer that I have now. There was the 286, the 386, the one that is in the shed now that I used before going to the Compaq laptop nearly 4 years ago and now this ASUS. I have gone from DOS to Vista, shortly to go to Win 7, with a brief foray into LINUX. I have used 5.25 discs, 3.5 discs, 4mm data cartridges, some other disc thing I can’t recall the name of, CDs, DVDs, EHDs, and USB thumb drives. I can now carry around 1000 times the content of my monster 286 desk top on something the size of a lighter.

I now have 500GBs of hard drive. That is still astounding to me. 6GB of RAM! Holy crap! I can surf the world at broadband speeds. I have 6 email accounts. I have a printer/scanner/fax machine. My computer is smart enough to go out and find the drivers and install that machine without my even asking. Even though it is a 4 year old printer/scanner/fax machine.

I can’t even imagine what the next 20 years will bring.


Tess said...

Oh my gosh-I havent seen a floppy for years-lol!!!

Kresta said...

We really have come a long way!

Lena said...

LOL I love it! All of that looks/sounds so familiar. Our family's first computer came when I was 8 in 1988. Hard to believe it's been that long ago!

ptooie said...

Oh, now you've got me fondly remembering the Apple IIe I grew up using. Playing some game and having to switch floppies about 3 times to get through it all... and my stepsisters and I playing Leisure Suit Larry on the Amiga... good times. (We were maybe 12 years old.)

Laura said...

I LOVE this post! How cool to think back like that.

SciFi Dad said...

15 years ago, fresh off of a stint working in an automotive plant for 3 months, I bought my first: a 486 DX2 (with math co-processor!) 540MB HDD and 8MB RAM ("Who needs 8MB RAM?"). Oh, and a "multimedia 2x CD-ROM drive, and came with a virtual San Diego Zoo on CD complete with mpeg videos). It ran DOS 6.2 and Win 3.1, and connected to the servers at my university at a blazing 14.4 kbps.

Damn, I miss that thing, if for no other reason than you could load a game at 66MHz and then turn off the "turbo" and run it at 33MHz and the game would play at half speed. :)

Eve said...

Very cool! My husband just found a working Commador (sp?) in the garbage here and was over the moon! LOL

Judy Haley (CoffeeJitters.Net) said...

I have within reach at this moment the programming guide for my commodore vic-20 copyright 1981. yes, I'm a packrat too. the even bigger question is why do I have it where I can reach it? I have no answer.

Love the old floppy disks that were actually floppy. :)

Creative Junkie said...

I still remember the first computer I used, at work. I have no idea what kind it was (compaq, I think?) but the monitor was tiny with a black background and orange text. And that horrible dial up noise when I first logged on.

I'm a little scared to think of what the next 20 years will bring.