WDP — My First Computer

Write about your first computer.

Back on September 1, 2020, PCGuy IV posed this question in his Truthful Tuesday post. So I’m just going to copy and paste from that post for my answer here.

My first computer (circa 1982) was the original IBM PC. It came with an 8088 Intel chip that ran at a whopping 4.77 MHz. The operating system was PC-DOS, it came with two 5 1/4 inch floppy disk drives and no hard drive. I upgraded it with something called an AST Six Pack, which added a clock and calendar so I didn’t have to enter the date and time every time I logged on, plus some additional RAM, a parallel port, and a serial port. Then I added a 10 Mb hard card, figuring that a 10 Mb internal hard drive would last me a lifetime. I also bought an RBG color monitor from Princeton Graphics and an Okidata dot matrix printer.

From the software perspective, I got WordStar for word processing, VisiCalc for my spreadsheet, and Microsoft Flight Simulator for fun. I soon added a blazingly fast 300 baud Hayes modem and discovered online bulletin boards and, eventually, something called Prodigy, on online subscription service that was a precursor to America Online (AOL).

Personal computing has certainly come a long way sonce the early 1980s, hasn’t it?

13 thoughts on “WDP — My First Computer

  1. Marilyn Armstrong February 3, 2023 / 11:37 am

    I’ve written a bunch of these — with some fun illustration offering you a 5 MB hard drive for ONLY $3000! What a deal!

    I remember when I upgraded to a 40 mb hard drive. I was the envy of the nerd crowd.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Fandango February 3, 2023 / 12:43 pm

      At the time I couldn’t imagine ever needing more that 10 mb of storage. 😆


      • Marilyn Armstrong February 3, 2023 / 1:39 pm

        I was already working in high tech and knew that more storage was better — but I don’t think any of us foresaw the size of hard drives now. I have two 2 TB externals and I hope they are big enough. The HD on my PC laptop is 1 TB and if I could have gotten twice that, I’d be a happier camper.

        Some of this explosion of “size” is the direct result of sloppy software design. Software does NOT have to be as huge as it is. Much of it is the result of developers failing to go back and clean out the old stuff when adding new. Not cleaning up after themselves also means that weird things pop up in software that should be there.

        There are organizations that pride themselves on careful management of their software — and then, there’s Adobe who has to be the worst.

        The other thing we did expect but somehow didn’t imagine the impact it was going to have on everything was when the entire world was computer-driven. I think many of us knew that eventually, there would be “home computers” everywhere but I don’t think we imagined the impact it would have.

        It’s like this whole thing with electric cars. The power grids can’t keep up with A/C in the summer NOW. Add some MILLIONS of electric cars? You figure that might turn out to be a problem?

        Liked by 1 person

        • Fandango February 3, 2023 / 4:40 pm

          With all of the so-called futurists, we always seem to miss the real impact of progress and technological advancements. It’s like “who knew?” Well somebody should have known.


          • Marilyn Armstrong February 3, 2023 / 8:42 pm

            I knew pretty early that things were going to explode. I was working in development and in database management and some very advanced software. It was obvious. What I think we didn’t expect was how FAST it moved. What we though would take decades took just a couple of years. At some point in the 1990s, the speed of everything changed dramatically. I was working at Intel when they were inventing wireless technology and I knew it was going to change everything. What I didn’t know was that it would be doing it in about three years. I thought it would take much longer to perfect it, but it was working almost immediately.

            Working high tech when I was in it was exciting. It was also totally nerdy work and no one who didn’t already work in the business was interested. Garry’s job in TV and the romance of it was a lot more fascinating than what was going on in software. In the end, the software was what changed our world beyond everyone’s expectations — even the people who were developing it.

            Liked by 1 person

  2. Marleen February 3, 2023 / 3:46 pm

    My first interaction with PCs — as well as Macs at a place anybody could go in the community and pay for time — was in and during my high school [elective] computer logic and programming course. Computers are fine as a tool in the usual way we think of tools. I perceive us to have lost our way. Besides the fact many company’s aren’t very concerned about the cleanness of their software and other quality control and practicalities, we’ve seen enough by now to know we become dependent upon or used to things before the companies or providers change the functionality and terms (or price or selling point that it used to be free). Then we’re up a creek without a paddle (or being required to apply or hand over endless paddles and boats and breaths).

    I’ve enjoyed various dystopian movies (let’s say Gattaca and The Matrix). However, it seems to me there are forces in this world who don’t see such stories and details as warnings or metaphors for making sure we hold to freedom. Instead, they want to take us there. I don’t want to go, and I don’t want my children to go there.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Lolsy's Library February 4, 2023 / 3:45 am

    I don’t really like talking about my first computer. My Dad used it to record…aka spy, on us,

    Liked by 1 person

  4. leigha66 February 4, 2023 / 4:10 pm

    First family computer was an Atari 800 with tape drive… it took forever to load. When we moved up to floppy disks it was so much faster!

    Liked by 1 person

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