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The first computer experience I can recall is me constantly bugging my parents to let me use Kid Pix (early to mid 90s). That and playing Warcraft 2 on an old Hewlett-Packard running some win95 or earlier version of Windows (had to type gowin to start windows, IIRC).
I was in 6th grade I think, in the early 2000s when my school switched all its old PowerPC-era computers over to the new iMacs (the colorful box style without a 3.5" floopy drive). This is when I first really got deep into computers and technology. Sadly I didn't get my own computer til I was 15 or 16, and that was an 800 mhz machine running Windows ME.
The first I ever had access to was a CP/M thing with 8-inch floppy disks. Anyone remember how to use pip?
The first I ever had all to myself was the IBM PC of 1981, with a deluxe configuration: 2 floppies, colour monitor, 512KB RAM, 10MB HD (in a separate box — no room in the piza case!), and dot-matrix printer. And I had a whole shelf of manuals to read. GWBasic, Wordstar, Lotus123, DBase, backing up on floppies ... I don't think I want to go back!
pip goes like this :
ON SOME DEC system pip could do lots of things
pip /li does a full directory listing
pip /de will delete "filename"
None of you can have my card-saw. I'm a proud member of the "I dropped an entire box" club. I can attest that you really don't need more than 80 columns to do anything, and that the holes make great confetti as long as you don't inhale 'em.
My first experience on a computer was in my pre-algebra class in 7th grade, on an Apple IIc, in the mid-80's. The math programs were pretty lame, but I had to stick around after school a bit to walk my little brother home from the elementary school across the street, and my teacher would let me hang out and play Karateka, and some car driving game whose name escapes me, while I waited.
The first one I ever owned was 386/DX-40, which was a scream machine for its day.
I was pretty young when I started out on PCs, mostly because my mother was in college for business systems administration or something like that when I was a kid. My earliest memory of the PC was when my mom brought home our first PC (I was around 4 or 5 years old). She showed DOS to me and explained that using a certain kind of language you could "talk" to the PC and tell it to do various things. I was mystified and impressed and immediately wanted to take the thing apart to see how it worked. Of course she wasn't too crazy about that idea... hehehe.
We bought a Dell xps when I was either 9 or 10. It was running windows me. I remember it always bluescreened after basic tasks. We used AOL as our ISP, and I sincerely believed that that was the only Internet in existence. I had an email address set up with AOL 4kO (4 kidz only) and yes, It was spelled like that. I couldn't do anything except IM my grandma, so it wasn't that interesting to me. We all thought that there was a certain sequence of opening programs that would make the computer run faster. My dad would open word and photoshop first before he would open up tue AOL browser because we thought it made the internet go faster. I still remember what a pain it was to unplug the phone from the wall and stretch a phone cord across our kitchen and living room just to get on the Internet. Good times.
It was about 1972, dialup to a local university. An old teletype on punch tape that you made beforehand. You had to dial up, log on and load your BASIC program and either work or not log out. I think it cost like $30 a minute to use that computer.
Got a MEK6800D2 in 1978 (yes, I'm old).
6800 processor running 0.614MHz. Big 512 bytes RAM. Program from hex keyboard. Taught myself assembler (which I then had to assemble by hand). Still remember counting backwards in hex to do branch offsets. FF, FE, FD, FC,... Taught it to play music, with various algorithms (one note a time, but still fun). It was endlessly fascinating.
A year or so later, found an article in Byte magazine - play lunar lander on a 6800 with an oscilloscope for a display. So I built myself a 1K by 8 memory board and put a couple 8 bit d/a converters on a perfboard, got a scope and played a vector graphics version of lunar lander. Played a lot with vector graphics for a while.
Led me into a career as an embedded systems developer, which looked like it had a great future. By the late 1990's, it was a dying industry. That led me in other directions (web dev, databases, servers, etc), but nothing as satisfying as that first machine.
My father worked in a bank when I was young. They upgraded their machines and nobody knew how to use a computer at that time, so my father got them. This was in late 80ties or something. I think it was a 8086 but I'm not sure as I was only 4-5 at the time. I hardly used it (Duh, I couldn't even read my native language). It had no harddrive but two floppy drives. It's still in my fathers basement, but it isn't working any more.
We got a 80286 and 80386 later on with a huge (both physical and in capacity) harddrive of 5MB. I used to play around with QBasic when I was ~8(?) years old and eventually changed to batch-scripts. It was quite fun. Unfortunately I was introduced to IRC when I was like 12 years old, so my interested changed from programming to system administration. (Unfortunately not linux). I tried C++ but failed miserably as it's easiness couldn't compare to mIRC scripting. I still regret my impatience.
I Started using Suse and Red hat in 1998/1999 but gave up after a few weeks as I couldn't get my modem working. Started with Slackware in 2002 and haven't looked back.
I was a self employed business owner and became interested in computers about 20 years ago out of necessity I bought a used pentium 60 with 16 meg of ram. It used windows 95 and after I loaded Quick Books it would freeze every time I tried to work. Those were the days when they said "backup your work often" they meant it. I finally upgraded to 64 meg of ram and then the computer became bearable for a couple of years.