Friday, January 05, 2007

I feel old...

Way back in the day of dialup BBS's, PCBoard, RoboComm, SillyLittleMailReader, 2400 baud modems, and all that, I remember a sigline that said "And you may tell yourself | This is not my one gig drive!"(spoofing "Once In A Lifetime" by the Talking Heads.)

Tonight I was rummaging through a pile of old game CDs, thinking about installing some of them on VFTP Command Central, when I became worried about disk space, so I checked. I only have 87 gigs free. I'd better cut down on downloads...

31 comments:

Ulises from CA said...

And to think, my first Mac came with a whopping 160MB SCSI HD!

Now, where'd I put my 5 1/4" floppies?

We went to the moon with less than that! Enjoy your trip down memory lane!

Tam said...

Yeah, I hear that.

In those days I was posting from my ex-boyfriend's computer. It was a real racehorse: A 386DX/33 with an 80MB HD!

GrantCunningham said...

That's nothing...I can remember my first exposure to microcomputers (which is what PCs were called before we called them PCs.) It was a Northstar Horizon that my company bought, complete with the OPTIONAL "mass storage peripheral" - a 5mb (yes, five megabyte) hard drive in an external enclosure the size of a microwave oven.

Now THOSE were the days!

GrantCunningham said...

And just in case you think I'm some ancient specimen - I have yet to break out of my mid-40s!

Matt G said...

Tam, I started BBS-ing and Tel-netting on an XT Turbo (8086) with an external 1200 baud modem, booting with a 5.25" floppy of DOS 1.6. Dad and I thought we were doing pretty good when he installed a 20 megabyte HD (at $10/meg!). True story.



"And you may ask yourself: 'Well? How did I get here?'"

Tam said...

I was just telling my co-workers tonight of writing a BASIC program on our first household computer to draw an animated USS Enterprise, wayyy back in the day.

"I bet that was on the old 'big' floppy disk; one of those 5.25-inch things," said my 24-y/o coworker.

"No," I replied, "actually in those days the 5.25-inch floppies were the small ones; there were still 8-inch floppies around back then. But we could't afford a floppy drive for our Apple II; we had a cassette tape player..."

Homer said...

A few years ago our then-intern, working toward a degree in IT, walked in with an artifact: someone in a class had shown up with a 8 inch floppy and didn't know what it was. The intern brought it to us old farts to see if we knew. She was astounded when we told her: "You guys actually used these?"

The next day I handed her one of my slipsticks and she had no idea what it was.

Way back when (1992) we upgraded a client's DASD from .5 GB drives to 1.0 GB drives. Each DASD unit had two horizontal drives, each with a stack of seven 14 inch platters spinning at 3600 rpm. The upgrade cost almost $20K/drive.

Kids today, I tell ya......

TD said...

Apple II! I started off on one of those when I was 3 years old, sitting on my mom's lap. Hers was a pimped-out IIe, though. She had TWO floppies, plus a color monitor (useful only for games, as text was completely unreadable on it).

syizr!

Zendo Deb said...

It's sad that people don't even know what slide rule is these days. I guess it isn't surprising that no one (including me) remembers how to use one.

I have a sextant sitting in a cabinet around here somewhere, but it is SO much easier to use the GPS.

Zendo Deb said...

Oh, and using the 8 inch disks was a treat.... it meant you didn't have to haul boxes and boxes of punched cards with you.

(and you were guaranteed to drop a box every once in a while, just as you always ignored the warning to put a sort key on the end of the cards.)

BryanP said...

I remember those days. 2400 baud modems, fidonet et al. Started out with a 286/16 with 1MB of memory and a 40MB HD.

Prior to that I was an Apple ][ guy, but it was offline only.

I distinctly remember a conversation with fellow BBS'ers where it was discussed that 1GB hard drives were going to drop below the $500 mark. One guy said "The day they do that I'll buy a six pack!"

*hugs his $120 320GB hard drive*

rickn8or said...

Hey! Any of you guys ever run paper tape?

Half-inch mag tape?

Anybody??

BobG said...

I've still got some of the cards I used on a Univac 1108 when I was learning Fortran IV in college. They make good bookmarks.

Dr. StrangeGun said...

I started off with PCs and stayed there until curiousity and money led me to other, then-classic platforms.

Comp 1 started out with just 360K drives and later got a 20m HDD... Comp 2 at least had a 720K drive and a 40M HDD. Actually, comp1 was the only one out of the whole drstrangegun computing history I didn't pay for myself :) Tandys, both of them.

Todd said...

Damn! Way back when we had a Trash-80 Color Computer with the programs on cassettes, followed by the Model III (whoa!!! It had a floppy drive). Then Apple came along and the ][ was it, with a floppy and all of 64K of RAM (who needs more than 64K?). It was more than 16, so it had to be better! I remember the first HD I ever had for a micro. 5 MB and was the same size as the Apple ][. Now I have a 30 G HD 2/3 full with MUSIC! And as reference, I'm only in my late 30's.

markm said...

The first hard drives I saw were the size of a washing machine (and cost about as much as a small subdivision). The 8 Meg removable disk packs were 14" in diameter, with about a dozen platters, and weighed enough that women operators would ask one of the men to change the disk.

"Hey! Any of you guys ever run paper tape?" Yes

Teletype terminal that printed instead of using a screen: Yes, and the good one included a paper tape reader/punch.

"Half-inch mag tape?" No.

Cassette tape: Yes. Slow and finicky. Whenever possible, I used the paper tape punch in the Teletype instead.

Dwight Brown said...

Another Radio Shack Color Computer owner? Excellent! (I started out with 4K of memory. Yes, 4,096 bytes.) And I also used cassette tapes for longer than I care to remember.
OS-9, anyone?

Rabbit said...

I learned on Bell Labs UNIX on a PDP-7 back in the 70's. A whopping 64kb of memory and a 10mb disk drive the size of a trash can lid. It was hooked into ARPANET, too.

Somewhere around here I've got a Timex-Sinclair ZX-80 with 8kb and a 16b expansion, a 300baud external modem, a Kaypro, an Osborne, a TI-99 4A, a Compaq 'portable' that weighs 40 pounds, and who knows what all else.

Guess I need to start a museum or see what the price of scrap is.

Regards,
Rabbit.

Billy Beck said...

My first data connection happened with an Atari 800 (64k RAM), at 300 baud. (1986. I opened a CompuServe account that year.) All my 'application' (hah!) storage was on tape for about a year before I popped for the 5.25" floopy drive. My first-ever hard-disk was an amazing 20mb.

Has anyone ever seen a Windows app that opens SLMR packets? I've got a bunch of 'em burned to CD.

al said...

Hey! Any of you guys ever run paper tape?

Half-inch mag tape?


Yep on both. First job out of college (1981-ish) had a pneumatic tube system (like the drive up a bank) that was controlled by a Altair looking box and the program was on paper tape. The mechanics that would load the software didn't always roll it back up right... Had mag tape there as well.

First computer I used was a SWTP box my math teacher built when I was in high school. Toggle switches are cool!

First computer was a Vic 20. That was fun. Still remember paying ~240.00 for a 20MB hard drive. And thinking what a deal it was...

divemedic said...

I had a C64 with the cassette drive. I remember getting my first word processor in a magazine, and taking 2 days to copy and type all of the code into the darn thing.

Later, I upgraded and got the 5.25 floppy drive for the then low proce of $250. That was in 1984, I think. It may have been earlier.

jed said...

SLMR? Gawd I remember using that. FidoNet and echo conferences.

My first online experience was a local BBS which I connected to from a PDP-11/73, using a program I wrote myself to operate the modem, etc.

Yeah, rabbit, I've used RL02s.

And hollerith cards too. Once worked with a sysadmin who could sight-read them. My first program was written on cards, using COBOL, for an IBM 360.

Memories ... like the core rings of my mind ...

bedlamite said...

I got my first 'puter in 1980, a brand new Commodore VIC 20 with a tape drive and one of those new fast 110 baud Westbridge modems. A while later I got a Superexpander that added 3.2K RAM, boosting it to a whopping 8K.

Yuri Orlov said...

I've got everyone beat. My first BBS experiences took place with a dumb terminal hooked up to a 300 baud modem. You know, the kind with the acustic couplers on it that you set the phone reciever into?

Ah, the good old days...

MarkHB said...

I got my first 'puter in 1980, a brand new Commodore VIC 20 with a tape drive and one of those new fast 110 baud Westbridge modems. A while later I got a Superexpander that added 3.2K RAM, boosting it to a whopping 8K.

That was my first "real" computer as well - counting that as "The first I could actually enter data into and store from", rather than just "data entry" with a joystick. It's an interesting heritage - my personal zenith was the Amiga 4000-030 that's still lovingly stored in the Other Room.

I knew every single program that was running on it - not every line of code, but all the programs that the OS loaded had a purpose and I knew what it was. I knew what every bit of silicon in the machine was for. This was the machine that brought Babylon 5 to life (not my A4000, actually a bloke called Ron Thonrton's).

These days, the graphics card drivers for my mainbox occupy about 200 times the space as the entire operating system of that noble machine. Come to that, the graphics card itself probably holds more transistors - and it's got a half gigabyte of RAM on it. I paid over £100 for the half megabyte expansion for my first Amiga 500.

I don't feel old. I feel privileged. We experienced halcyon ages where there was real exploration and control in computing. Where we were really discovering new things, and plumbing new realities every time we flipped the Big Red (or Small Beige) Switch.

I'm incredibly lucky to be able to keep that alive through my animation work, and through working closely with the company who provides my animation software. I don't ever want to lose that feeling of exploration and discovery in my work - for that would make it ultimately boring.

Sorry. Going on a bit here...

Gewehr98 said...

"Same as it ever was, same as it ever was..."

Purple Avenger said...

It was a real racehorse: A 386DX/33 with an 80MB HD!

I have next to me an old PS/2 Model 80 386-25 (running OS/2 Warp) that still sees regular use for doing media conversions and acting as a ordinary file server to dump backups onto. It has a whopping 16M ram, but has been fitted with a pair of ST410800N 9G SCSI drives.

Rabbit said...

I dunno, Yuri...I have a 300 baud modem I'm using for a doorstop and a footrest.

Avenger, when IBM dropped (finally!) support for OS/2 a couple of years back, we put in a in-house request to strip out all the MS code and put it out as open source. Never got anywhere with it, though.

Regards,
Rabbit.

Lizard said...

Yeah, well, I once paid 1400 dollars for a 70 MEG hard drive the size of a phone book and couldn't imagine ever filling it up. Just recently, I was frustrated because I had a 6 gig *file* to move from one system to another and it wouldn't fit on a DVD-R.

Standard Mischief said...

First hands on with a 'puter: 300 baud dumb terminal that used thermal paper, calling in to dad's work. I never did get any good with Fortran77.

First PC: Dad bought a original IBM PC w/ a single floppy drive through a program at work. He got a special PROM burned at work and then bought the chips and installed them on the MoBo. The PROM allowed the CPU to see all the expanded memory.

--

Found left out by the dumpster last month: A 19" CRT monitor, working fine. (wow, now I have two spares, looks like I'll never buy that LCD display)

Found chucked to the curb after Xmas: 1 Ghz eMachine T1103 (less hard drive, someone's got a clue) Celeron and CD rom burner intact. (MAME toy?, MythTV box?, I'm not sure yet)

triticale said...

I've got every one of you folks beat. My first computer had no memory and no storage.