Sunday, February 15, 2009

Old computers in the family

Right: Our XT, sometime in the '80s

It's a peaceful morning here in my son's Austin home, where I currently have the second floor all to myself in a comfy chair by a window. Nancy and Jeff are in separate rooms downstairs, doing separate tasks on their laptops—we seem to be a family of six: three people and three laptops. We—Nancy, Jeff, and I—all enjoy each other's company, but we also enjoy our electronic company. Last night, Nancy and I tried to remember each computer we've ever owned, going back to the 1980s, and we couldn't. We started with a Timex T-1000, on which I taught myself enough BASIC programming to display "Hi Mom" on the TV screen we used as a monitor. There were the Commodore 64, the RadioShack TRS-80 (known irreverently as the Trash 80), and the IBM PC Junior, which was the first computer we could actually do anything productive with. I wrote my first freelance articles and my first novel on it. There was a plug-in cartridge with Lotus 1-2-3 that Nancy used to manage our finances.

We've had various XTs, at least one 386, a bottom-of-the-line Pentium 60, and...and...we lost track of them all. As we lay in bed the night of Valentine's Day I reminded her of the monitor we once had that caught fire when we plugged it in. After all this romantic pillow talk we fell asleep, visions of gigabytes dancing in our heads.

Gasp! My "family of six" reference neglects our two cats, who didn't come along on this trip. I apologize to both of you, George and Gracie. You mean more to us than any electronic gizmo.

By the way, this morning I uploaded the February issue of The Internet Review of Books. If you love good books, you will love this website. Please check it out.


L. Diane Wolfe said...

Wow, you certainly can go way back with computers! Think my husband had a Commadore 64. (At the time, I just had an Atari!)
Our first computer as a couple was a Packard Bell. I could not even begin to count the ones since then! My husband orders a new one every three years or less (he uses high-powered 3-D graphics programs and always needs the strongest computer possible) and I get the hand-me-down. Two currently reside on my desk and I use both. One sat in the closet until we recently gave it to a friend, and we have an old laptop we use to watch DVDs while treadmilling.

And I'd say our Rocko & Spunky are much more precious, too!

L. Diane Wolfe

sc morgan said...

This was fun to ponder and such a romantic subject. ;-)

My answer is simple: every Macintosh since they came out in 1984. The first I bought for my kids. Before that they had word processors.

I find it ironic that I now use a writing program, Scrivener, that creates a word processor screen on my computer (to cut back on distractions, like reading blog feeds that come inwhile I'm writing!).

I am still using a Mac 15" Laptop G4 1.5GHz. I've had it since 2005 amd haven't switched over to the new Intel version yet.

The day will come when no software is available for this one anymore. Then, and only then, will I be willing to give it up.

Happy V's day

s of the tropics