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This post is not about diabetes, and not at all about diet. This is about my old flames.

But what I have typed in here has definitely something to do with how we all participate in this diabetes-related e-forum. E-forum is the keyword, and the real key lies in the letter ‘e’. We are participating in the deliberations of this forum through the electronic or “e” medium of our computers. This post is about my love affair with the computer. And it came out of my fingers spontaneously and effortlessly when I saw pictures of my old flames as I was surfing the net. My old flames are there for you all to see in the attached picture.

The personal computer was not yet born when I was in the engineering school. There was only the big “mainframe”, somewhere far away from our campus. For us students, the mystique of the computer lay in its remoteness. We students had no opportunity to see, touch or feel it. We had to approach it through many intermediaries. During our brief course on computer programming, we wrote a few simple FORTRAN programs by hand, got them punched into holes in decks and decks of cards and forwarded those cards to the keepers of the computer. Days later, after our cards were “batch processed”, we would get our results in reams of difficult to read printouts.

Even when I began working, the situation was not very different. The only change was that I could see and if I really wanted, touch a “naked mini.” But the unapproachable mainframe was still my official mistress. On the rare occasions when I had to write a program, I still wrote it with pencil on paper, got decks of cards punched and got them all batch processed to get my results.

And then one day, a “desk top” arrived in my lab. It was the wonderful HP 9825, really a glorified calculator. It was meant for carrying out some complex, automated measurements. I instantly fell in love with it. It would finish its assigned work of making automated measurements in no time. The rest of its time was for me and me alone. I began talking with my playmate for hours together every day in the esoteric language called HPL, a language similar to, but more powerful than BASIC. I made my playmate do many wonderful things – even made it draw pictures with clumsy dot matrix printers and sing tunes with its beeper. :)

This happy liaison lasted less than two years. Then came a more charming playmate – the HP85. This had a real display. I made it do many tasks that otherwise I would do manually, taking a lot of time and making human errors in the process. But I also made it sing, dance and draw :). Although no “one night stand”, this too was relatively a fleeting love affair. I “progressed” to more sophisticated “personal” computers. And now, three decades later as I recline on the couch typing in these words in my little “notebook” I wonder how things changed so much about the mystical computer. While my personal computer became more and more slim, smart and pretty, I changed from a strapping young man to a middle aged, greying man with mild “central obesity”.

Regards,
Rad
 

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I never had the opportunity to use early HP models.

My first exposure was to a friends Apple in the late 70's, and then we started seeing CBM/Commodore Pets in School.

I started working in the computer field in 1980. I taught myself 6502 assembly language and did a few games and some simple business applications. Soon I was also selling Vic20's and Osborne portables. I ended up doing a few simple games for the Vic20 when it first came out, we sold them out of our shop for $20 for a 3 pack of cassettes. The store owner later got smart and marketed them all over the west... he'd bought them outright from, and I was 15 and had no idea how much money he could make from them... was a learning experience.

My first modem was 110 baud acoustic coupling device. I tell that to people I've worked with, and they think I'm a dinosaur. I guess I am. This year I celebrate my 31st anniversary since I started working in the computer industry... (Well, I'm actually off on disability leave at the moment, hopefully not forever...)

Thanks for the trip down memory lane =)
 
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well I've only been working for 20 years and I've noticed the difference with the computers too... makes me feel like I'm getting old when I see technology advancing so fast. oh.. I remember the old commodor. lol.
 

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Thanks! Brought back lots of memories.. like waiting 3 days to get a computer report from the mainframe halfway across the country.. a report that today takes about 3 seconds. Impressing all the geeks when I got a 320 meg harddrive. The old 1200 baud modem (I was late to the game - hubby started with 300 baud) to connect by phone to the local bulletin boards. I "met" my hubby on one of those - almost 16 years ago.

I miss DOS and Windows 3.1.
 

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My first secretarial job in 1978 we had no computer. We had an IBM typewriter. Our copier used liquid and thermal paper. No fax machines just plain old mail. That job ended in 1991. My next job, still no computer but we had a fax machine that used thermal paper. Next job in 1998 we had computers, I didn't stay with the company very long so my experience with computers was limited. I took a job as a manager at a Speedway gas station and we had a computer but it was Unix. Then in 2000 I went back to secretarial work after being robbed at gunpoint.....6AM on the Sunday before Thanksgiving. The robber got $20 from my register and all of the money used for change, all my calling cards and food stamps. This certainly was upsetting but the idiot came in and gave me the $20 bill he got from my register. He came in to see how many people were working and I was the only one there. He bought 2 quarts of oil with that $20 bill and then he came back with a gun and the next day secretarial work didn't seem that bad at all. :)
 

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My first computer was a TI-994A that hooked up to the television. You could write in BASIC.

10 TYPE HELLO
20 GOTO 10
RUN

I also remember our "big" technology in school was the SRA machine. It looked like a tv from the 50's with the tiny screen, and you put in large discs. You wore a headset and pressed one of the 4 buttons that corresponded with the answers. We thought we were hot stuff back then!

My computer class when I was a senior in high school was on an Apple. This was in 1987-88. Much more sophisticated than the computers I had used before, which required a cassette tape.

I still remember the mimeograph machine. Made those purple ink copies and the ink smelled so nice. I also remember the aching arm when you had to make 250 copies when you were the secretary of a club for school and you were responsible for the flyers! :)

My first modem was a 2400 baud modem in a 486/33 IBM clone. Lightning struck and fried my modem...expensive lesson.
 

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The first mainframe I did anything with was a PDP 11/34 with 18" floppies! I used BMDP and it took me WEEKS between writing the data files and proofing them, and then writing the .... aw gee what was it called? Program file?

It was also my first experience with messaging -- the systems manager used to message me!

My brother started into computer business in 1972 -- I remember him telling me micro-computing was the thing! Better than plastics, even, Mrs. Robinson ... :cool:
 

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All you young whippersnappers! heheh! What I remember is my son starting out with the Commodore 64, and me trying to follow his instructions but being afraid of making a mistake . . . and my big bold junior high student telling me gently, "Mom, you don't know enough to do any damage!" :D :D :D
 

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My first computer was a Kaypro II. I bought it for my law office around 1982. Wonderful machine...!!! It had no hard disk, only two 195K 5.25-inch floppy drives: you put the program disk in drive 1 and the data disk in drive 2. The operating system was CP-M. It also had Wordstar (TM) powerful word processing. Excellent program for its time. In fact Wordstar was comparable (with some exceptions) to todays word processing.
 
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