Computers

I have had a real love/hate relationship with all my computers, both past and present.

My first computer was a Commodore 64.  Remember that one?  It was a wonder and opened to me the whole world of computing, downloading, uploading, entering data, RAM and ROM, DOS, and Easy Script, a word processing program.  I mean, who knew words had to be processed?  But I have to admit, being able to “fix” a mistake by backspacing was a welcome change from ink erasers or WhiteOut.  I adored my 64.  Total cost about $800.00.

Next was some sort of IBM PC, which had to have its head parked whenever you were going to move it!  I didn’t know a computer had a head and I didn’t know where it got parked, but it had to be done.  There were floppy discs and more sophisticated word processing.  Total cost about $5000.00.

There were a few 386s and 486s after that, each one becoming more and more complex.  Information was lost on a regular basis and I can tell you I shed many tears over work that hadn’t been backed up and therefore had to be retyped.  The discs became smaller but held more information.  After that came Pentiums.  I don’t know what that word means but as far as I can tell, it means expensive and fast.  If you didn’t have a Pentium, you would hang your head in shame.  No nerd would admit to it anyway.

At the school where I taught, all the teachers were involved in a partnership with a company which provided each teacher with a free laptop, modem, and printer.  Together these things cost about $5000.00 for each teacher, and were intended to help us in our classroom management and in our research.  They really were important in helping me to become more computer literate and assisted me in lesson planning and assessing the students.

Later on, each teacher had a computer on his/her desk which was used for recording attendance and marks, and some fo them even connected to Smart Boards which were at the front of the classroom and could be manipulated by touching the screen.  Every teacher wanted a Smart Board (Cost – expensive) but only 5 or 6 teachers actually got one.

The most important thing we used the computers for was for report cards.  We had a software program for this and the headaches it caused was incredible.  Sometimes all of my 40+ hours of work on the reports was lost.  It just disappeared into cyberspace.  At times like these, I called on the assistance of Hubby, an engineer and computer nerd whiz.  I can tell you the tears were flowing and I made promises to him that I cannot repeat here for fear that he may read this post, and hold me to them.  Just let me say that he is going to be happy for the rest of his life.

Since those days, we have had one or two computers which promised to be bigger and more powerful or smaller and even more powerful.  It’s all about power.  According to hubby, our last five computers had enough power to enable us to rule the world.  I’m pretty sure we aren’t in charge of the universe yet, but there are even more powerful computers on the horizon for the future, so I guess there’s still hope for a take-over.

Many times, computers do NOT do what you want them to.  There is no way to figure out why.  Most of the time, I just do what Moss and Roy from, “The IT Crowd”, say to do, “Have you tried turning it off, and on again?”  It doesn’t always work but it gives me something to do other than weeping bitter tears of regret for the old paper and pencil.

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7 responses

  1. I’m finally, finally getting into computers, at least in specific areas. I grew up without a computer, my parents bought their first one in my teens and I got into the internet in my early 20s. Now I use my computer many hours every day and couldn’t be without. Statistics software is essential in psych research, and I even want to learn programming.

  2. My first computer was a C64 too. I used to spend hours typing in Basic programs (usually games) from Compute! magazine. I loved that little brown box! Since I’ve moved to Macs I’m a lot happier in general with the personal computers. Windows really sucked the last few computers we had.

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