Friday, April 19, 2013

Q is for QWERTY

IBM PCjr (Wikipedia)
QWERTY, of course, represents the first six letters on a standard keyboard. Exactly why, who knows? (This link provides a clue.) But it was also the name of the first word processing program I ever owned, which ran on the IBM PC Junior, the first useful computer I ever owned. It saw me through drafts of my first novel, a fair number of freelance articles, and monthly book reviews for CompuServe Magazine. This baby had a 300-baud modem, and I could imagine those bits and bytes queueing up and marching one by one over the phone lines. The QWERTY program came on a large floppy disk and was, as I recall, quite satisfactory. If I wanted to create a spreadsheet, I had to plug in a cartridge containing Lotus 1-2-3. When I finally "upgraded" to an IBM XT, the Junior had been worked pretty hard. Still, a fellow bought it from me for $600 in cash.

5 comments:

Christine Rains said...

I've always wondered about the QWERTY keyboard. Funny how people pick it up so quickly. Even my toddler knows it and gets confused by boards that are in alphabetical order!

Cynthia said...

Hello from A to Z. Imagine bringing one of those mainframe computers to the coffee shop with me while I write!

Zoe said...

I am always amazed at the things in plain daylight that I never put together...Qwerty...Of course.

Editor and Publisher Shelly Burke said...

I'm not sure in what year you got that computer, but I remember taking "computers" in high school (in the early 80's) and writing simple programs that would add two numbers or give random numbers. Absolutely amazing how advanced they've become...I bet my phone is a more powerful computer than the one I learned on!

Bob Sanchez said...

The first computer I ever saw was in 1965. It took up half the floor of a building, and you could walk between rows of vacuum tubes. I remember that people programmed it to play "Dixie," and I was SO impressed.

I think I got my PCjr about 1985. My very first computer was a Timex T-1000, and I could program it to display "Hi Mom" on the TV screen. Its memory was something like 16 kilobytes, and it was pretty much useless. It didn't have its own display.