My First Time

The ever inquisitive Rory has asked us about our first time. Our first time doing what, you ask? Well, to give us focus, he said that his question is about our early days as a writer online, or a gamer online.

He wants to know:

When did you first get an internet connection? Was it dial-up or broadband? When was your first ever blog or forum?

I got my first personal computer in 1982. It was the original IBM PC, with a blazingly fast 4.77 MHz chip and two 5 1/4” floppy disks (i.e., no hard drive), and with a Princeton Graphics monochrome monitor. Shortly after I got it, I added a 10 MB hard card, figuring that would suffice for the rest of my life. My next addition was a Hayes 300 baud dial-up “Smartmodem.”

My initial connectivity experience was with so-called bulletin boards that, if I recall correctly, I accessed through CompuServe. It was all text-based and rudimentary. Eventually I upgraded to a faster computer with a larger hard drive and a 1200 baud dial-up modem. Woo hoo.

At some point I discovered Prodigy, the first of the early-generation dial-up services to offer full access to the World Wide Web and to offer a graphical user interface. Then America Online (AOL) began giving away floppy disks and soon, with its email, instant messaging, and chat rooms, it displaced Prodigy as the internet access point of choice. It, too, was primarily dial-up.

It wasn’t until the early 2000s when broadband internet connections supplanted dial-up and most cable companies became internet service providers (ISPs).

But I don’t think Rory’s question was about the history of my personal computing. I started my first blog in 2005. It was on Blogger. I had no idea what to blog about and a friend of mine suggested writing about what interested me and what I cared about. So on October 10, 2005, I published my first post, which was about the Boston Red Sox. So was my second post. And here was my third post, which was published on October 12, 2005:

If a tree falls…

…in the forest and there is nobody around to hear it, does it make a sound?

I’m new to this blogging thing. My initial impression of blogging is that it’s an egocentric exercise and that all who blog have this self-centered belief that they have something worthwhile, interesting, and noteworthy to say and can do so in an articulate, intelligent, and entertaining manner. Even more amazing is that they seem to think that others, besides themselves, will have some desire to read what, based upon a small sampling of blogs I have read, appear to me to be idle…and often boring…personal ramblings.

Nonetheless, being a sort of techno-junky, I thought I’d give it a shot. Even BusinessWeek devoted considerable space in a recent issue to the blogging phenomenon and how blogs are changing the whole nature of the internet. I don’t want to be left behind if everyone else is busy blogging. So here I am, feeding my very own ego.

Of course, I have no expectation that anyone, other than me and my ego, will ever read anything I post to my blog. And I really don’t care.

Well, that’s not entirely true. I must care a little. You see, I gave my blog URL to that friend of mine. Other than my wife, he’s the only person, besides me, who knows about my blog.

My first two posts on my brand new, experimental blog were related to something that was recently, as a loyal member of Red Sox Nation, at the forefront of my consciousness. They were frustrated musings about the Red Sox feeble post-season effort in the American League Divisional Series against the Chicago White Sox.

Anyway, after I gave my friend my blog URL, he said he’d go check it out when he had a chance. The fact is that this friend is not a sports fan. In fact, I think he has almost no interest in baseball. Perhaps, in hindsight, he was not the best choice to be the first person with whom I shared my blog address, given the subject matter of the postings.

With this in mind, coupled with my stated expectation that no one (besides me) will be interested in reading what I have to say in my blog, I was surprised that I was actually disappointed that the one person who does know about my blog had no reaction to it. In fact, several days have passed since he said he would read it, yet I’ve heard not a word from him about the blog.

I am now more convinced than before that, with a few notable exceptions, most blogs matter only to the blogger and serve no purpose other than to feed the blogger’s ego. And yet, here I am, about to publish my third post on my new, experimental blog.

So I have to ask this: If a post is published on a blog site and nobody reads it, does it matter?

The Obsession

When he was a student, our son Victor had an insatiable appetite for science. He took every science course his school offered, and didn’t ever require us to prod him to study or to do his homework. His teachers were astounded by the way he soaked up knowledge like a sponge.

He went to college and excelled in mathematics, anatomy, biology, and physiology. He earned advanced degrees in various scientific disciplines and ultimately enrolled in medical school to become a doctor.

As his proud parents, we waited with anticipation to see what he would do with his life. It held so much promise and we knew that he would make his mark in the world and become famous.

Well, our Victor did, indeed, become famous. Or perhaps infamous would be a more apt word. He grew obsessed with the study of chemical processes and the decay of living cells. So obsessed did he become that he gave up his thriving medical practice in order to devote his time to gaining insights into the creation of life through the regeneration of dead and decaying cells.

Our enormous pride in our son, a scientific prodigy, ultimately turned to shame when his obsession took him down a wrong path. One that would lead him to create his own creature, often referred to as Frankenstein’s Monster.Our beloved son Victor is all alone now. No one else is around as he sits in solitary confinement in prison, the beating of his heart the only sound he hears.

Written for these daily prompts: The Daily Spur (student), Fandango’s One-Word Challenge (insatiable), Your Daily Word Prompt (require), Ragtag Daily Prompt (anticipation), and Word of the Day Challenge (monster).I also managed to use a few lines from the the song “I Think We’re Alone Now,” that Jim Adams gave us today for his Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie Music Challenge.

Truthful Tuesday — My First

Truthful Tuesday

For this week’s edition of Truthful Tuesday, Frank, aka PCGuy, asks…

What was your first experience with computers?

Okay, I’m going to skip my college course in COBOL programming and having to deal with flowcharting, code sheets, 80-column punch cards, and an IBM mainframe 1401 computer.

Instead, I’m going to jump to 1982 when I bought my first personal computer. It was an original IBM PC.Original IBM PCIt 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 you didn’t have to enter the date and time every time you 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.

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).Prodigy Online ServicePersonal computing has certainly come a long way sonce the early 1980s, hasnt it?