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What was your first encounter with a computer?
Posted by: lost in space
Date: February 01, 2021 03:14PM
steve....'s thread brought it to mind.

I went to a programming trade school in 1970, where they had an IBM 360, which read 80 (?) column punch cards. We learned COBOL, RPG, BAL and some others I don't recall. Looking back, it's like we were rubbing sticks together to make fire.



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Re: What was your first encounter with a computer?
Posted by: jonny
Date: February 01, 2021 03:17PM
My elementary school has a single computer in what must have been a modified janitor's closet. TRS 80- Model 1.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/01/2021 03:18PM by jonny.
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Re: What was your first encounter with a computer?
Posted by: cbelt3
Date: February 01, 2021 03:21PM
Engineering day at my Dad's university.. probably 1964. They had a mainframe with spinny tape drives. AND a robot that looked like a big mouse ! It was awesome. Later I got to play 'Pong" on a mainframe at Amherst College thanks to an uncle who was a professor there.. I was perhaps 7.

Oh, and I took apart my mom's wind up alarm clock when I was about 3. Almost got it working again. Probably should not have used a hammer.

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Re: What was your first encounter with a computer?
Posted by: Acer
Date: February 01, 2021 03:23PM
Apple II's (I think) running Bank Street Writer, 1982. A dozen brand-new machines, grant funded I assume, in a random classroom that also happened to be where my tiny French III class was held.



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 02/01/2021 03:25PM by Acer.
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Re: What was your first encounter with a computer?
Posted by: NewtonMP2100
Date: February 01, 2021 03:25PM
....it was a close encounter.......of the third kind........



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Re: What was your first encounter with a computer?
Posted by: samintx
Date: February 01, 2021 03:31PM
Back when the PLUS came out. I decided typing was not cutting it and I would need to buy and learn about computers. The PLUS was 2400.00 and I could not afford that so I bought a color AMIGA for 1600.00. Went to the book store. Bought a book titled Norton’s DOS and taught myself the gentle art of computers. We could rent software then. Learned Pagemaker 1, etc etc. then needed a Mac to run certain things. Bought a PLUS FINALLY. Taught myself IBM DOS and simple programming with a Transformer that turned the AMIGA into a DOS machine.

Well, long story short here I am. Dumb as a rock but love DOS and the GUI of the Mac.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/01/2021 03:32PM by samintx.
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Re: What was your first encounter with a computer?
Posted by: macphanatic
Date: February 01, 2021 03:31PM
Quote
cbelt3
Engineering day at my Dad's university.. probably 1964. They had a mainframe with spinny tape drives. AND a robot that looked like a big mouse ! It was awesome. Later I got to play 'Pong" on a mainframe at Amherst College thanks to an uncle who was a professor there.. I was perhaps 7.

Oh, and I took apart my mom's wind up alarm clock when I was about 3. Almost got it working again. Probably should not have used a hammer.

[www.youtube.com]

Got to play with TRS-80 in 77. Bought an Apple II when it came out.

Took my dad's old Timex watch apart when I was 7. Didn't break anything in doing so. My mom still has all of the parts in a pill bottle as she was so impressed with my work. Probably could have put it back together in my teens. Now, I'd need a good pair of magnifying glasses to even attempt it.
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Re: What was your first encounter with a computer?
Posted by: jdc
Date: February 01, 2021 03:35PM
Maybe your first Mac encounter?

TRaSh-80 for me as well. Prob 1982?

We had an Atari consol, and inellivision... so early gaming computer?





Edited 999 time(s). Last edit at 12:08PM by jdc.
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Re: What was your first encounter with a computer?
Posted by: hal
Date: February 01, 2021 03:36PM
an ATM in 1979 (if you don't count TI calculators)

I had a brush with a main frame terminal in 1979 also and decided that this computing stuff wasn't ready yet. I'll come back to it when I can talk to the thing. The mac was close enough.
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Re: What was your first encounter with a computer?
Posted by: Ombligo
Date: February 01, 2021 03:49PM
Late 70s', I am pretty sure it was a TRS-80 that I used at school. I almost bought a Commodore VIC-20 at one point just to use as a word processor, but it was over a thousand dollars and I bought a used Underwood 5 typewriter for less than a hundred instead. It would be a decade later before we bought a home computer - a Packard-Bell 386SX with 2MB or Ram and a 20MB hard drive [I rebuilt it a few years later to a 486].

The paper gave us laptops so I didn't get my first Mac until 1997, and then I got two - a PowerBook 1400 and a G3/233. That was the last desktop I bought, been portables ever since.



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Re: What was your first encounter with a computer?
Posted by: neophyte
Date: February 01, 2021 03:56PM
Mainframe at Drexel U in 1970. No idea what model it was, but I remember the compiler rejecting my 100 or so punch cards 2 or 3 times before I found every last error.

I thought at the time we would never run out of confetti.
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Re: What was your first encounter with a computer?
Posted by: Will Collier
Date: February 01, 2021 03:56PM
Probably a punchcard fossil during a field trip to the local junior college. First one I got my hands on was most likely a TRS-80 Model 1 at the local Radio Shack. I remember the Space and Rocket Museum in Huntsville, AL had a Commodore Pet as part of an exhibit, that one might have predated the TRS-80, but it couldn't have been by much. Both models were introduced in 1977.
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Re: What was your first encounter with a computer?
Posted by: raz
Date: February 01, 2021 03:57PM
1973 or so. We had an IBM 1470 (?) for Fortran and an HP time share machine running RSTS for Basic in my High School. I'd show up for zero-th period just to get more coding time in.



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Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/01/2021 03:58PM by raz.
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Re: What was your first encounter with a computer?
Posted by: ztirffritz
Date: February 01, 2021 04:01PM
My older brother received a TimexSinclair 1000 that had 2k of RAM. I think he purchased an expansion module that increased RAM to maybe 8k? It had a really crappy tiny keyboard that was made of pressure sensitive touch pads. He had a 3" wide thermal printer and a cassette adapter to save/retrieve programs. He and I would spend days or weeks painstakingly entering pages and pages of basic code from magazines to make a crappy game work. 9/10 times there'd be a syntax error somewhere in the code either made by us, or in the copy in the magazine...used to drive us crazy. Eventually he upgraded to an Atari 800xl, like a Commodore 64 but better.





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Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/01/2021 04:03PM by ztirffritz.
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Re: What was your first encounter with a computer?
Posted by: JoeH
Date: February 01, 2021 04:08PM
First time was in the mid to late '60s during a family day at the GE division my father worked in. They had some terminals set up with rudimentary command line based games.

Then there was the PDP-8 or -11 that belonged to the local community college, I had some access to that while in high school. That was around 1970, did some programming in Basic on a Teletype terminal.

Also In high school they had an IBM 1130, programming course in Fortran on punch cards.

First university I went to had an IBM 360, programming in a variant of PL/1 and more Fortran. They upgraded to an IBM 370 between the first and second year. They also had a connection with the PLATO system being run at UIUC.
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Re: What was your first encounter with a computer?
Posted by: davester
Date: February 01, 2021 04:18PM
I took Electrical Engineering 1 at UC Berkeley in 1972. We programmed using Fortran IV on a CDC 6400 mainframe which was hidden behind windows off a hallway in the basement of the math building. Most programs were submitted as boxes of punch card decks to the high priests than ran the computer. Late on we were able to use more advanced input devices like teletypes, and eventually Hazeltine cathode ray terminals (which seemed Star Trek like). At times, the turnaround time from input submittal to output retrieval could be measured in days.



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Re: What was your first encounter with a computer?
Posted by: Fritz
Date: February 01, 2021 04:22PM
PDP11 shared in district. ~1975



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Re: What was your first encounter with a computer?
Posted by: Markintosh
Date: February 01, 2021 04:26PM
Probably playing the Star Trek Text Game from 1971...would have been around 1976 at Cal Poly SLO on a high school field trip for math whiz kids.



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Re: What was your first encounter with a computer?
Posted by: Lizabeth
Date: February 01, 2021 04:38PM
IBM Selectric on special paper and a dedicated typesetting machine (who's name I forget at the moment) that you saw less than one line on a tiny screen. Changeable film strip fonts. Compugraphic 7400 or 7500?
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Re: What was your first encounter with a computer?
Posted by: Rick-o
Date: February 01, 2021 04:41PM
Back in '76 I was a high school senior. They had just set up a computer room and I would stick my head in there every once in awhile. No way with my grades I could have taken that class. It comprised of 4-5 eggheads who were at the top of our school. I was a typical slacker in those days.

My first real computer, (after several Atari consoles) was an Atari 400 in 1980. Man, did I ever spend some time on that thing! What was cool it could run my old Atari carts from my console. I dabbled with almost every version of Atari until I got sick of the lack of hardware and software. It seemed anything announced would always turn into vaporware.

I had enough by 1990. I bought an Apple Performa 400 from all places, Wal-Mart. It was the closest to my beloved Atari. I didn't have much love for DOS, and later Windows.

I haven't looked back since.



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Re: What was your first encounter with a computer?
Posted by: kurtzie
Date: February 01, 2021 04:43PM
First hands on was a Commodore PET in Junior High, so maybe 1980?
At some point my mom brought home an Apple ][ during the summer…she was a school liberian, eventually we bought an Apple //e.
I brought an Apple //c to college when I started in 1985. Still have it and it fired up last winter, the floppy disks were even still readable.
Bought my first mac in 1991 or '92, a beige IIci…

Steve



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/01/2021 04:43PM by kurtzie.
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Re: What was your first encounter with a computer?
Posted by: modelamac
Date: February 01, 2021 04:45PM
In 1965 during my first job out of college. I had to deal with IBM punchcards. In 1975 I had to work with programmers to develop a better Accounts Payable program. My first "owned" computer was an Apple IIe in 1983.



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Re: What was your first encounter with a computer?
Posted by: rgG
Date: February 01, 2021 04:49PM
I used to help some of my business major friends do their Hollerith (punch) cards around 75-76. No computers in the Graphic Design department at that time. sad smiley





Roswell, GA (Atlanta suburb)
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Re: What was your first encounter with a computer?
Posted by: MrNoBody
Date: February 01, 2021 04:59PM
IBM System/360 in 1971 when stationed @ Ft. Holabird.
I later learned they had a massive building containing even more 360's
that were customized to process 'traffic' for the Venona Project before
it was moved to some agency @ Ft. Meade secret smiley

First desktop was an Apple II a few years later.



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Re: What was your first encounter with a computer?
Posted by: d4
Date: February 01, 2021 05:04PM
RadioShack/Tandy TRS-80.
Might've been a Model III. It was a one-piece.



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Re: What was your first encounter with a computer?
Posted by: jonny
Date: February 01, 2021 05:10PM
Quote
ztirffritz
My older brother received a TimexSinclair 1000 that had 2k of RAM. I think he purchased an expansion module that increased RAM to maybe 8k? It had a really crappy tiny keyboard that was made of pressure sensitive touch pads. He had a 3" wide thermal printer and a cassette adapter to save/retrieve programs. He and I would spend days or weeks painstakingly entering pages and pages of basic code from magazines to make a crappy game work. 9/10 times there'd be a syntax error somewhere in the code either made by us, or in the copy in the magazine...used to drive us crazy. Eventually he upgraded to an Atari 800xl, like a Commodore 64 but better.

Oh man... I wanted one of those soooo bad! I am sooo glad I didn't get one. Got a ][+ a few years later.
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Re: What was your first encounter with a computer?
Posted by: S. Pupp
Date: February 01, 2021 05:11PM
It was some form of mainframe using punch cards, during a school outing to a votech facility in 1981. I got to print out my name on a punch card. Wow!

My first truly hands-on experience was with an Atari 800 in 1982.

My first computer was a TRS-80 CoCoII in 1985.

My first Mac was the next year: A Mac Plus in 1986.
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Re: What was your first encounter with a computer?
Posted by: srf1957
Date: February 01, 2021 05:23PM
1975 high school science teacher started a computer class . We would go to the local college once a week .
Punch out our programs in BASIC . Then we would run them online to Oregon State University by teletype.
We only got 30 second runtime codes at first in case the program looped . Would set a 10 second shutoff time so didn't burn them up . Some of the college kids played a game called lunar lander where you could tell the rocket when to fire to slow your descent . We never had enough time online to play it . Then didn't do anything with computers for about 20 years .
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Re: What was your first encounter with a computer?
Posted by: RecipeForDisaster
Date: February 01, 2021 05:48PM
My sister had a Mac SE for her college work. There was a mainframe!! A BBS, I think? I swear we didn’t have a modem, so I don’t know how she got online in the early to mid 1980s. I used to play with it, pre-kindergarten, and I had a blast. There was some chemistry program where you put together molecules. Awesome. I eventually got drawers full of disks - once we got a 1mb hard drive!!!!- with useful programs and stuff like pinball games, Crystal Quest, and man, I don’t remember what else I used it for other than Paint and word processing (was it Claris, Word Perfect...?). It was wonderful.
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Re: What was your first encounter with a computer?
Posted by: Lew Zealand
Date: February 01, 2021 05:53PM
1980 in grade school. 3 black Bell+Howell licensed Apple ][ clones made the rounds and I remember a lemonade stand program and something else. A year of 2 later the school got some permanent ones and I started learning BASIC and the weird way that those machines displayed color.

I was years later when I realized that Black wasn't the color of Apple computers, those Bell+Howell Apples were ubiquitous in our school system.
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Re: What was your first encounter with a computer?
Posted by: Sarcany
Date: February 01, 2021 05:53PM
First full-sized computer with real hands-on was a TRS-80 Color circa 1981-82-ish. My uncle had one and used to set us loose on it when the folks wanted adult-time at family parties.

We had some pocket computers before and after that: A Timex Sinclair which got returned to the store when it caught fire the first time it was plugged in, a Casio something or other that refused to power-up shortly after I programmed my first dice-game on it so it went back to the store, a TI Z80 something that melted and got returned to the store, and I used a TRS-80 Pocket computer with a tape-drive and a neat little pen-based printer for a couple of years before I got My Apple ][e.

The TRS-80 Pocket Computer is in a box in my parents' basement. I powered it up a few years ago and it worked.







Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/01/2021 05:55PM by Sarcany.
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Re: What was your first encounter with a computer?
Posted by: archipirata
Date: February 01, 2021 05:56PM
Quote
ztirffritz
My older brother received a TimexSinclair 1000 that had 2k of RAM. I think he purchased an expansion module that increased RAM to maybe 8k? It had a really crappy tiny keyboard that was made of pressure sensitive touch pads. He had a 3" wide thermal printer and a cassette adapter to save/retrieve programs. He and I would spend days or weeks painstakingly entering pages and pages of basic code from magazines to make a crappy game work. 9/10 times there'd be a syntax error somewhere in the code either made by us, or in the copy in the magazine...used to drive us crazy. Eventually he upgraded to an Atari 800xl, like a Commodore 64 but better.

Timex Sinclair for me too. Christmas 1982 if I remember correctly. And I had the add on cassette tape drive.



Athens, OH
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Re: What was your first encounter with a computer?
Posted by: C(-)ris
Date: February 01, 2021 06:21PM
Dad bought a Gateway 386SX PC and a modem. Dialing up to BBS systems to download DOS games.



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Re: What was your first encounter with a computer?
Posted by: wave rider
Date: February 01, 2021 06:35PM
IBM 360, FORTRAN, and punch cards pushed the start of my computer oriented career years into the future.

HATED those punch cards.



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Re: What was your first encounter with a computer?
Posted by: rz
Date: February 01, 2021 06:38PM
Quote
Ombligo
I almost bought a Commodore VIC-20 at one point just to use as a word processor, but it was over a thousand dollars and I bought a used Underwood 5 typewriter for less than a hundred instead.

What? The list price of the VIC-20 was $299. How could that cost over $1,000?

My first encounter was a TRS-80. My best friend's stepfather was a stock broker and they gave him one to use at home. That was probably in the late 70s. We spent an entire weekend typing in BASIC programs from a book they bought to play some games.
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Re: What was your first encounter with a computer?
Posted by: Michael
Date: February 01, 2021 07:29PM
Mainframe in grad school in 1976. We never saw the computer; all of our work was done in converted classrooms full of terminals. We used punch cards, as well.

I met my dear wife the next year when I walked into the terminal room and this hot young thing was hitting a keyboard because she couldn't get logged in. I helped and she eventually married me. Her career started as a programmer after her MA and ended up as director of IT in a school system. She figured out the login thing!
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Re: What was your first encounter with a computer?
Posted by: NewtonMP2100
Date: February 01, 2021 07:50PM
.....abacus.....just after dinosaurs....



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Re: What was your first encounter with a computer?
Posted by: Filliam H. Muffman
Date: February 01, 2021 08:14PM
Oh, so you don't mean FISTO...

Minicomputer at high school with a tape reader about 1974. I don't remember the brand or specs but I modified the lunar lander program to increase gravity/fuel/starting distance and blew a hole through the moon.



In tha 360. MRF User Map
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Re: What was your first encounter with a computer?
Posted by: Rolando
Date: February 01, 2021 08:19PM
Quote
d4
RadioShack/Tandy TRS-80.
Might've been a Model III. It was a one-piece.

Ditto. Black and Green Screen.
Running BASIC and Electric Desk Spreadsheet.

High School, Mid 80s



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Re: What was your first encounter with a computer?
Posted by: A-Polly
Date: February 01, 2021 08:46PM
Early 70s, at university. Took a FORTRAN class, which allowed access to the mainframe (actually, only to a room full of terminals). And there was even a "computer game" we could make it play, which involved guessing a number between 1 and 100. Wow, hadn't thought of that in years.

The more advanced students were of course printing pictures of Snoopy on the line printer. I'm sure there was other artwork, but Snoopy is the only one I recall. Old Fogette

Encountered Pong many years later, on a Radio Shack computer owned by my future father-in-law.
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Re: What was your first encounter with a computer?
Posted by: Mr Downtown
Date: February 01, 2021 09:16PM
Went to see one on a high school field trip, but summer after high school (1975) I took programming at the community college. They taught us Assembler for the IBM 360, on punch cards of course. Because the college also taught keypunching, the keypunch machines nearly all had blank keyboards with no characters shown on the keys. Very frustrating for most of my classmates.

When I got to college that fall, the University of Tulsa's computer was a Xerox (!) mainframe, and the assembly language was called Metasymbol. I suspect I may still have a box of punchcards in a storage closet somewhere.
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Re: What was your first encounter with a computer?
Posted by: Buck
Date: February 01, 2021 09:55PM
Nobody mentioned a DEC10 yet. I must have some punch cards somewhere.
Programming in ALGOL 60.
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Re: What was your first encounter with a computer?
Posted by: space-time
Date: February 01, 2021 10:26PM
1987 or so, it was a clone of a Sinclair Spectrum ZX80
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Re: What was your first encounter with a computer?
Posted by: MrNoBody
Date: February 02, 2021 07:13AM
Quote
Buck
Nobody mentioned a DEC10 yet.

aka PDP-10. Big Brother used hundreds of them back in the day.
ARPANET had loads of DEC mainframes on its network.



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The Humpty Dance by The Harris-Brown Hookup
Lets Spend The Night Together by The Fang-Swalwell Gang
Díaz-Canel Is A Friend of Ours by The AOC Squad
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Burning Down The House by Merrick & The Goons
Back In the USSR by Bernie's Red Square Trio

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Re: What was your first encounter with a computer?
Posted by: wolfcry911
Date: February 02, 2021 07:15AM
Quote
jonny
My elementary school has a single computer in what must have been a modified janitor's closet. TRS 80- Model 1.

This - only it was middle school. Educators gave it to the math department thinking they would know what to do with it. They didn't. I fully absorbed everything I could about it and taught the teacher. I should have submitted a bill..
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Re: What was your first encounter with a computer?
Posted by: Will Collier
Date: February 02, 2021 08:50AM
Quote
wolfcry911
Quote
jonny
My elementary school has a single computer in what must have been a modified janitor's closet. TRS 80- Model 1.

This - only it was middle school. Educators gave it to the math department thinking they would know what to do with it. They didn't. I fully absorbed everything I could about it and taught the teacher. I should have submitted a bill..

Yep. I had the same experience in junior high.

The only time I really got in trouble in high school was when I reprogrammed a text-only football game on the library's Apple ]['s to change the names of the computer team's players to those of teachers and principals I didn't like. (This should establish that I was not actually all that much of a troublemaker in high school.)
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Re: What was your first encounter with a computer?
Posted by: pdq
Date: February 02, 2021 09:38AM
My chem department around 1977 had a Wang microcomputer that they let us use to calculate a least-squares regression for a lab session. But my first real experience was with a Commodore PET circa 1978 or 9. The faculty member in that (different) chem department taught us the basics of Basic, and for whatever reason, I was entranced. I kept dropping by that lab to play around with it some more, but they were always using it when I stopped by.

Two negative things resulted from this initial experience. For some time, I considered buying software as cheating; properly, one should program things oneself. Secondly, I became a Commodore fan, which was kind of a dead end. Fortunately, in 1986 or 7, I got exposed to a Mac, and have been in that camp ever since.
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Re: What was your first encounter with a computer?
Posted by: raz
Date: February 02, 2021 09:39AM
Quote
MrNoBody
Quote
Buck
Nobody mentioned a DEC10 yet.

aka PDP-10. Big Brother used hundreds of them back in the day.
ARPANET had loads of DEC mainframes on its network.

We retired the last working DEC20 (essentially two DEC10s) just before we closed the old office. IIRC, DEC gave us plenty of incentives to make the switch. That must have been 1989 or so.



--------------

Embarassing myself on the Internet since 1978.
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Re: What was your first encounter with a computer?
Posted by: JoeH
Date: February 02, 2021 12:18PM
Quote
raz
Quote
MrNoBody
Quote
Buck
Nobody mentioned a DEC10 yet.

aka PDP-10. Big Brother used hundreds of them back in the day.
ARPANET had loads of DEC mainframes on its network.

We retired the last working DEC20 (essentially two DEC10s) just before we closed the old office. IIRC, DEC gave us plenty of incentives to make the switch. That must have been 1989 or so.

Yeah, by the mid-80s DEC was really trying hard to get everyone off DEC10/20 and onto VAX computers. The computer service I worked for at the university from '84 to 2005 was heavily DEC until the mid-90s, but we only had VAX and then Alpha from them. The machine room had been originally been created - raised floor, AC, etc - in the '60s to house a PDP-1. That went away sometime in the '70s and the space converted to offices. Early in the '80s it was converted back to house computers, they added additional AC. When I started they had several VAX 11/780s, an IBM 4341 for CAD/CAM, a ComputerVision computer, peripherals, and some other computers I am forgetting.
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Re: What was your first encounter with a computer?
Posted by: Robert M
Date: February 02, 2021 02:42PM
Hi everyone,

Got to use a Commodore Pet in 1978. Elementary school. Can't remember what anyone did on it at the time but everyone in the class got a chance to do something. One thing I do remember is shortly after seeing the Pet, some numbnut spent some time attempting to teach us the "proper" way of folding the NY Times so we could read it. Like a seven year old was _really_ interested in reading the newspaper...

Robert



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/02/2021 02:45PM by Robert M.
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