I read Fandango’s post about his first experiences with computers and decided to play along with PC GuyIV as I realised any comment I made was going to become a long one.
My very first brush with computers was in high school. 1972 to be exact. My class was taken to another school who had acquired a mainframe computer for teaching purposes. I was interested in the idea but seriously underwhelmed by the experience.
We were in a classroom with the computer in an adjoining room. I can’t recall if we were allowed to actually see it. I know the room was climate controlled and have a vague memory of someone in a lab coat. I may be wrong about that bit. It was 1972 remember. I was fifteen in case you were wondering.
We were given cards to mark, two kinds, one lot we marked with strokes of a pencil, the other was a punch card. I think we were just supposed to make the computer print out things like our names or simple sums like 2+2. The cards reminded me of the cards mum used to play lotto.
The cards were taken into the next room and later the teacher came back with huge reams of paper . My piece mostly said “syntax error”. I just could not get what I was doing wrong. Thus ended my first experience of a computer. It was more than 20 years before I had anything to do with computers again.
My husband loved computers though. He started reading a lot about personal computers. I think he secretly longed to be a hacker. I remember the year, 1995, when he got a Vic 20 soon to be followed by a Commodore 64. He got the tape deck, extra memory and even an accoustic coupler. He loved that thing. David tried to teach me how to use TasWord. That was my first actual experience of using a personal computer. I was fine with typing a letter. I used to write a lot of letters back then. I didn’t like having to keep calling David to help me format it. I recall telling him that I could do most of what he did on the computer faster with a pen and paper. I was lousy at Moon Landing too.
It was only when Windows came along that I became a convert. We bought a PC, a Pentium 286 I think. David set it up and we started to figure out how it worked and suddenly I realised that he had no more idea than I did how to operate it. Level playing field at last! he used a computer at work so I encouraged him to go to any training that they offered and to continue learning on his own when he left that job. Computers were starting to appear around my workplace so I thought I should learn too. I’d seen others struggle because they were only taught what they actually needed to do at work, not how to use the computer properly. Naomi and I took a class at the adult education centre where we learned Windows 3.1 and Windows 95 and the rest, as they say, is history.