I’m speaking of computers of course.
What inspired me to write this post is that having just purchased a new desktop computer, it occurred to me that 2014 is the 20th anniversary of my acquiring my first PC. It looked a lot like the one in the image above and was a 486DX33 IBM clone. It was top of the range at the time having a 2 x speed CD drive, a 250mb hard disk, 4mb ram and cost me about $5000 all up with printer, monitor, keyboard and mouse included. It ran on Windows 3.11 and Dos 6.2.
By comparison, my new custom made box only cost me $800 and is probably 1000 times more powerful than the 486. I’ve yet to fire it up, steeling myself for the tedium of loading software and attaching peripherals, and also getting used to a new operating system, Windows 7 in this case.
Yes, I’ve been a die hard Windows XP user, and as the system will not be supported from 8 April 2014, I figured that rather than upgrading the OS of my current 5½ year old computer – who knows how much longer it’ll chug along - I’d start afresh with a new computer running a newer operating system that was not Windows 8.
I know desk top computers are going out of fashion and that laptops and tablets are more popular these days. However, even though I do have a laptop and a tablet, I greatly prefer to work and play from a big computer and with a square LED/LCD monitor to boot. They are pretty hard to get these days too, with wide screens being the monitor of choice for younger folk. My current computer, when I bought it, came with a wide screen, but I couldn’t stand it and got rid of it as soon as I could.
My theory is that newer is not necessarily better and the same goes for my ancient beloved software, so I hope it all works in Windows 7.
One interesting coincidence regarding the 20 year interim between my first computer and the latest one, is that one of the first PC games I played on the 486 was Under A Killing Moon, the first FMV Tex Murphy game. Tesla Effect, the long awaited new Tex Murphy FMV game, is set to be released in a few weeks, so I’ll get to play it on my new computer, which should handle the game easily. I’ve been playing a beta sneak peek of Tesla Effect on my current computer and it works fine in XP. In order to play Under A Killing Moon I had to buy more RAM, and settled on 16mb which cost me $600 back in 1994 – that’s $50.00 a megabyte!
How times and technology have changed over the twenty years since I took up computing!
Returning to the title of this post, what did we do when there were no computers or internet?
It’s hard to recall, but I probably watched more television, read more books, occupied my free time in other unfathomable ways.
I remember when we first got computers at work in the early 1990s we went along to Computer Shows and lusted after such devices as digital cameras, cd burners, scanners, colour inkjet printers etc. Colleagues used to return from these shows and show off their booty – free giveaways from the exhibitors like CD roms, copy paper samples and the odd game. I’ve still got a packet of paper samples from the Canon stand for which I’ve never found a use.