Friday, September 10, 2010

How times change...

Something that troubles me, is how times have changed computing-wise. The computer and I first met at school, when I tried to master that wonderful little beast, the BBC Micro. Oh, how I struggled with it, loading programs via tape, playing games that cost a small fortune, and realising that I'd never be able to afford one (£400 back in the early eighties...)


Fast forward 3 years to my first job... as a Computer Operator. I used to work on an ICL Mainframe called an ME29, the first machine I used that had 256k of memory (2 years later, my Amstrad PCW 256 surpased that). That wonderful mainframe started by turning a key...


Fast forward to 1986 - my first exposure to PCs - the Amstrad PC 8086 - I remember thinking that these were out of my price range, but loved the idea of a hard disk. In 1989, portable computing arrived with my Cambridge zx81, a lovely little laptop word processor with a rubber keyboard (Amstrad eventually took them over and released the machine under another name), but the real highlight was seeing IBM PS/2 PCs - I drooled over their lovely looks, and fantastic power (at the time) - it wasn't going to be long before PCs would rule my life.


Not soon after, I was introduced to the Atari ST520FM - and my love of computers for home use was secure. I played hundreds of hours of games, produced fanzines, programmed, trawled BBSs - in fact, I did everything I do today, on a machine that had 1MB of memory, and a floppy drive - I loved it! I upgraded it, cherished it, bought it presents - my wife said I spent more time with the Atari than I did with her (she was jealous I tell you)!

In 1994, I was given the chance to move to IT/PC Support, and I jumped at the chance. From that point on, I was a PC man. I always built my own to my own spec (a trend I only recently distanced myself from), and I learned the very deepest darkest secrets of their psyche. Not only DOS, but Windows fell before me, in all it's worst incarnations.

Today, I use a 3GHz PC PC at work, a Samsung net book for general surfing at home, and a HP TC1100 Tablet PC for my artwork, and I recently contemplated purchasing a one terabyte hard drive because they were so cheap - things have certainly changed in the last 30 years!

4 comments:

john said...

Wow how times have changed haven't they ? I still have a BBC computer in the loft...showing my age..I used to buy the compute mags so that I could write the programs onto the computer ...you'd spend hours typing only to find it wouldn't work cos you'd left a coma out......happy days.

Hypervox said...

I know exactly what you mean John. Peek, Poke and all that. Poring over all the code, trying to work out what the hell was happening.

What was a Sprite?
Why did we have to PEEK and POKE?

You can't find tape recorders like they used to make any more!

I remeber the days with the Atari with a special fondness, because I worked on PCs during the day, but the Atari was just for fun! I still say that some of the games that were made for the Atari (and it's great rival, the Amiga) were the real peak of creative gaming mind. Nowadays, it's all about libraries, graphics and licenses. Back then, if you were a game creator, you were a PIONEER...

Len Hawkins said...

So, I'm not the only cartoonist to have worked with old ICL mainframes! It was the Series 39 kit i used- happy memories of pre-email days (ICL had a thing called EXAC back then, which was sort of email) green screen dumb terminals-laser printers the size of cars-sigh...

Hypervox said...

Ah - series 39, the last ones I worked on before switching to PC's. Also, the machines I cut my programming teeth on (cobol, scl). Absolutely loved 'em Len!