Life, photos but not the universe

The way it used to be

Shortly before we set off in our anachronistic craft to travel to London, I was reminded by a comment from Mel about the first computer that came into our home.  It was a hand me down PET from my Step-Father and you had to programme it to do simple sums yourself*.  I’m not sure what, if anything, else you could programme it to do because I hadn’t mastered that much before Eldest managed to insert a bit of plastic between the PET’s screen and keyboard and it expired, with a flash, a wisp of smoke and a snapping noise and smelt horribly of excessively hot components for a few minutes. We took it to a computer repair man ** who said it was very interesting to work on but he couldn’t fix it.

Some time after, Middle girl was given another hand me down computer (a much more advanced machine) by a friend of ours who was impressed with her cleverness and diligence.  Sadly, as soon as the machine came through the door, Eldest pounced on it and under the pretense of demonstrating it’s capabilities, took it over and after upsetting it several times, tipped  a can of coke over its keyboard and that one came to a sticky end.

By then it was too late to stem the flood.

Or Eldest.  He began to acquire hand me downs from all over the place and then upgraded bits and then started all night game playing sessions online and got his own phone line (so that we wouldn’t put an axe through the machine after yet another customer couldn’t get through to us because in those days we hadn’t heard of broadband) and finally, handed one down to me.

And by then, I had some glimmerings of what this keyboard, tv screen and oddly fridge-like box could be used for.  (Other than sitting up all night battling warlocks and evil monsters with teams of  gamers from all over the world)

Well and quite soon after I wrote this, we were off to adventure the waters of the Thames.  And I was trying to work out how long my netbook would go without charging and whether my new gadget would really let me charge it from the cigarette lighter type plug on the boat.  Which reminded me of the time Eldest brought his computer to Wales with us on our holiday so that he could attend a LAN party (where lots of geeks networked their computers and played games with each other all together in one room).  Further, he’d arranged to meet one of the older geeks for a lift up the motorway to Birmingham and we handed our fourteen year old over to this stranger in the parking area of an industrial complex in some intermediate Welsh town.

Groomed for a life of geekdom!

The more things change eh?

This somehow makes me think of those days when computers weren’t a part of everyone’s life.  Which, of course they still aren’t, but now, if you don’t have one and you’re under fifty, you’re probably underprivileged as well.

*But if you could teach it how to do a simple sum it would do as many of them as you wanted it to do.  As long as you didn’t lose or damage the magnetic tape.***

**There were people like that, way back then.

***Was it magnetic?  I’m not sure.  Chips and video tapes don’t like magnets but perhaps PETS didn’t have chips?


July 1, 2010 - Posted by | Uncategorized

1 Comment »

  1. *laughing* Oh, I do remember the days.
    We, too, battled the geeky stuff the girl got herself into–and the first time she met someone ‘in real life’ that she’d met on the world wide web….omg I freaked out. What WAS she thinking! She wasn’t all that old either and it seemed no big deal to her. (I coulda swore she had NO sense–)

    I inherited the computer as a way to control the use of it.
    I’m now in possession of more machines than the girl–who, btw, went on to college to learn programming and design!

    Wow isn’t it hysterical how it all turned upsidedown and backwards.
    And with today’s workforce being as computerized as it is–ain’t it a good thing!

    We learn from our kids. Thing is, I don’t see how they learnt all this clever stuff from us. Must be another force at work?

    Comment by Mel | July 1, 2010 | Reply

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