I was asked by Adam Kalsey to participate in a multi blog writing effort: Newly Digital: A distributed anthology of early computing experience. Enjoy.
Early Computing Experiences
First Computing Experiences
The first computing memories I have date back to 1985. The organization my father worked for acquired a few of the brand new Macs. Being the boss’ son I convinced him to take one of them home on the weekends. I spent hours playing an asteroids type game that came pre-installed, playing with ClarisWorks (an office suite of sorts), and generally just using the machine as a toy. Being a kid the computer seemed completely natural to me. It just made sense.
For the first time I felt the cramped hand from holding the mouse for too long. The burning of the eyes from staring at the screen for hours on end. The voice of the mom telling me to do something productive. Little did she know...
First Internet Experience
In the early 90's my family acquired a PowerPC with a whopping 160MB hard drive and 60Mhz processor. It was with this beast of a machine that I first connected to the Internet with a 9200 kbs modem. We were told that we were one of the first Macintosh computers to connect in our province. The connection was a SLIP account and we would have to download things first to our local server then from the server to our machine. Technologies like Gopher, Veronica, and Archie were the norm. The first software I downloaded was a game called Silicon Volleyball, a basic Arkenoid rip off. The act of having software running on our machine that hadn’t been on a disk was astounding. The game itself though was nothing to write home about.
A “wow” Internet Experience
A few years later,1997’ish , I had the second of very few “WOW – this is why the Internet is going to change the world” experiences. I installed ICQ, an instant messaging program. Up until this moment, aside from a few newsgroups, the Internet had been more like a library for me than a community. Something I consumed instead of something that I was a part of. When I first launched ICQ and saw that my friend a few blocks away was online it changed the Internet from something I used to something I was. It changed it from a solitary search and find medium to a rich collaboration and community.
Please feel free to post your own early computing experiences.
Other participants in the Newly Digital project: