01-30-2015 06:10 PM
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  1. rhapdog's Avatar
    I saw the following "geezer" comment in a thread here on the forums, and thought, "We seriously need to think about starting an Old Geezers thread in the 'Off Topic Lounge' or something." So, I'm starting one. I wanted to reply to it there, but that would have entailed going seriously more off-topic than it was already going, so I decided to move it over here.

    If you're an old computer geezer, and remember anything at all from the following discussions, join us and reminisce with us.
    We need a geezer forum. I got to sell some OS/2 to a local pharma company - complete with IBM MicroChannel hardware they connected to their LanManager backend - Token Ring as well. I think those units cost as much as my car then. They were running some QC automated testing and statistical analysis.

    But yeah, fun times on the hardware side back then as well. Generating Novell workstation shells, extended/expanded memory management, bus Ethernet and even arcnet, and making that first call for NT Server/ActiveDirectory over NDS.

    Now, Get off my lawn you darn kids!
    Couple of final geezer comments. MicroChannel was way too sophisticated for me. How about getting tubes of RAM chips and populating an add-in card to get your PC from 512 KB up to a whopping 640 KB of system memory (make sure none of the chips' legs get bent upon insertion)! Or paying $1000 for a 200 MB hard drive from Dirt Cheap Drives and thinking that was a good deal?!? Or going OMG! when you used a 9600 baud modem for the first time (and the box for it was as large as a modern laptop)?

    Kids these days don't know nuthin' ... with their gigabytes and LTE and wifi ...
    Aw, man! Those were the days! PC Pioneers! I had that $1000 200 MB Hard Drive from Dirt Cheap Drives even! I had over $13000 invested in my 80386 machine, which was a lot of upgrading from my original 4.77 MHz 8088. I was the only person I knew that had one of those giant 15" CRT Monitors. NEC MultiSync, best on the market. Doesn't even compare to my 24" IPS LED.

    I also remember upgrading from my 110 baud modem to a 9600 baud. I was BIG time. I paid nearly $200 for that 9600 baud modem and now use my 4G LTE Lumia for online access which I only paid $40 for. My Lumia 635 is so much better as sheer computer processing power, storage, RAM, Display (I could only display 640x480 back then in 16 colors) than what I had back then it just isn't even funny.

    My first laptop weighed 28 pounds if you put in the 7.5 pound battery, which gave you about an hour of use on a monochrome LED display. The type of display used on $2 watches. 10" display with 320x200 resolution. CGA graphics. It would emulate the 4 color CGA by using 4 intensities on the LED. And to think how impressed I was by this 4.77 MHz 8088 Laptop. It had TWO 3.5" floppies! It even had a thermal printer (for an extra 9 pounds) that could attach to the back of it. I hooked up an external 4 color 13" CGA Monitor and played the entire Kings Quest series in all its glory.

    When I was a teenager, me and some friends actually DESIGNED & BUILT a computer in the garage. Took up half the garage, but what do you expect for a machine that contained a lot of test tubes used to build mnemonic memory circuits. We're talking mid-1970s. Couldn't even get a Commodore 64 yet, so it was "build-your-own" which no one ever did, except us I guess.
    palandri, Pete, fatclue_98 and 2 others like this.
    01-29-2015 08:18 AM
  2. Pete's Avatar
    I learned to program COBOL on a PDP-11

    I spent the first few years of my working life using CP/M on floppy-based computers with green screen terminals

    I remember when MS-DOS 3.2 was a big step forward

    I remember installing MS-Office 1.0 from 9 floppy discs

    I remember kneeling on the floor of the office, decoding floppy disc formats from hex-dump print-outs on the floor

    I used to host a FidoNet node

    I suffered from RAM wobble

    Tell these facts to the youth of today and they just wouldn't understand....
    01-29-2015 08:30 AM
  3. Mike Gibson's Avatar
    My first laptop weighed 28 pounds if you put in the 7.5 pound battery, which gave you about an hour of use on a monochrome LED display.
    That had to have been the dreaded Compaq "Luggable" from the mid 1980s ... but it had a small CRT display (definitely not LED and even LCD displays came five years later). After walking through airports with the thing I would have sworn my right arm was 2" longer than my left when I got home.

    Your mention of the C64 reminded me of when I made a guitar echo out of mine. I wirewrapped to the 8 bit IO port on the CPU (6502?) then connected it to a NatSemi AD/DA combo chip. Throw in a little asm program and ta-da. Sounded like crap but had a really long delay ("hello, my name is mike ... hello, my name is mike ...").
    palandri and Laura Knotek like this.
    01-29-2015 11:32 AM
  4. Lumiana's Avatar
    Awww this is my kind of thread. Back in the 1990's I had an Amiga cd32 and wanted to buy the SX-1 unit which came with a "wooping" 4GB of storage ram, and boosted the 14MHZ up to 20MHZ. and add keyboards and floppy drives.
    01-29-2015 11:38 AM
  5. a5cent's Avatar
    SX-1 unit which came with a "wooping" 4GB of storage ram
    You mean 4 MB! Not 4 GB! That's 1024 times less RAM than the average desktop has today!

    The CPU clock in that device was also about 200 times slower than what a good desktop provides today. Yet our programs still fit into memory and our Amiga's were capable of buttery smooth scrolling in games.... something modern day smartphones, that are many times more powerful, often struggle with... it makes me smile when teens cry for moah GHz and moah GB's in the quest for "smoothness".

    ...man the good old days, when men were men, women were women, and programmers could program ;-)

    I'd love to play along in this thread, but not sure if 40 qualifies...
    palandri, Pete and Laura Knotek like this.
    01-29-2015 12:01 PM
  6. Lumiana's Avatar
    Haha yep.... Meant 4MB but back then no games had to be installed and 0% virus. I remember the internet being available on the Amiga A1200.... Pure grey screen with bland pages. With the old man yelling "get of the internet I need to use the phone" lol back in the days of dial up internet
    a5cent, Laura Knotek and palandri like this.
    01-29-2015 12:17 PM
  7. palandri's Avatar
    LOL! I remember when 56K modems came out. I think i was using Prodigy back then and I couldn't believe how fast it was.
    01-29-2015 05:55 PM
  8. rhapdog's Avatar
    LOL! I remember when 56K modems came out. I think i was using Prodigy back then and I couldn't believe how fast it was.
    I remember using an acoustic coupler for a 110 baud modem. If you what I'm talking about, watch the old movie "War Games". It's where you take the phone's handset, and place it down on the two rubberized cups where one is a speaker, other a mic. It's how the modem hooked up to the phone line. Crazy.
    Laura Knotek, palandri and a5cent like this.
    01-29-2015 06:37 PM
  9. Lumiana's Avatar
    If anyone is in the UK go to YouTube and watch gamesmaster... Man..... I keep cracking up when they get to the review section and give games like jungle strike 91% for the "awesome" graphics lol and always a great time waster to also YouTube old Nintendo and mega drive adverts.... Awww good old days eh? No debts, no job... Only stress in life was to beat the final boss
    palandri likes this.
    01-29-2015 06:52 PM
  10. palandri's Avatar
    I remember using an acoustic coupler for a 110 baud modem. If you what I'm talking about, watch the old movie "War Games". It's where you take the phone's handset, and place it down on the two rubberized cups where one is a speaker, other a mic. It's how the modem hooked up to the phone line. Crazy.
    I remember seeing those, but never used one.

    I think the first modem I used was a 9600 modem on a 486 computer I had.
    a5cent and Guytronic like this.
    01-29-2015 09:30 PM
  11. dkediger's Avatar
    My fraternity had one of the Compaq luggables. We all had to sign up for half time slots to use it, and of course as a freshman the only available slots would be middle of the night.

    I had one of those NEC Multisync monitors as well.... Think mine was 17". It this flat circular vent pattern on top... I told people that was to keep pizza warm. I think a lot of people actually believed that.

    Very first exposure was a TRS80 my Sr year in high school - 1983.

    Also used Lotus 123 in civil Engr hydrology class. Dual floppy Zeniths. Boot off one floppy, remove that, insert the floppy with 123, and load it. You used the second floppy for your data - you didn't have to swap that.
    a5cent and rhapdog like this.
    01-29-2015 09:47 PM
  12. dkediger's Avatar
    You mean 4 MB! Not 4 GB! That's 1024 times less RAM than the average desktop has today!

    The CPU clock in that device was also about 200 times slower than what a good desktop provides today. Yet our programs still fit into memory and our Amiga's were capable of buttery smooth scrolling in games.... something modern day smartphones, that are many times more powerful, often struggle with... it makes me smile when teens cry for moah GHz and moah GB's in the quest for "smoothness".

    ...man the good old days, when men were men, women were women, and programmers could program ;-)

    I'd love to play along in this thread, but not sure if 40 qualifies...
    I think an Amiga jockey qualifies... You're in the gang. Nearly bought one myself. Then something called a "girlfriend" came along.
    a5cent likes this.
    01-29-2015 09:51 PM
  13. palandri's Avatar
    Anyone remember how popular the side scrolling Duke Nukem Dos game was? 5.25 floppy?
    a5cent and Guytronic like this.
    01-29-2015 10:08 PM
  14. Pete's Avatar
    The original Larry Laffer. Now that was a game....

    And knowing you had a virus because you could hear the floppy disc churning. Back then, I could kill floppy based viruses by editing the boot sectors.
    rhapdog, a5cent and palandri like this.
    01-30-2015 02:14 AM
  15. rhapdog's Avatar
    I remember seeing those, but never used one.

    I think the first modem I used was a 9600 modem on a 486 computer I had.
    Hey, kid! Get off the lawn! Haha... couldn't resist. Yeah, you definitely came up later than I did. I went through having a 110, 1200, 2400, then finally got a 9600. I remember when 56K came out and I said to my wife, "Why in the world would anyone ever need to go that fast? This is getting ridiculous. 9600 is wicked fast already!" I won't say what I think of 56K today, but I will say it is MUCH different. ;)

    Anyone remember how popular the side scrolling Duke Nukem Dos game was? 5.25 floppy?
    I've still got it. Played it the other day. I also played a few rounds of Wolfenstein 3D and wasted an hour during my baby's nap playing Space Quest 5. I've still got all the Space Quest and Kings Quest series, and can run them in DOSBox. I swear, next time I hear someone say how "grainy" and pixelated a Lumia 635 looks, I'm going to force them to sit and play Kings Quest using a 13" CGA CRT Monitor for 10 hours straight. Then maybe they can appreciate modern technology a bit better.

    The original Larry Laffer. Now that was a game....

    And knowing you had a virus because you could hear the floppy disc churning. Back then, I could kill floppy based viruses by editing the boot sectors.
    I honestly don't remember Larry Laffer. I do remember Freddy the Frontier Pharmacist. Still got that one, too.
    Yeah, viruses were rare for me. You didn't get them online, though. You had to trade an infected disk to get it. But no worries, it couldn't get on the hard drive, because there wasn't one. Yeah, I remember using the sector editors and manually editing out a virus.

    This back in the days when people who programmed in C were the ones using the "high level language" because they weren't a "real" programmer. Real programmers used assembly code and would debug by hand using a printout of the program, and pencil and paper to "manually" run the program. I remember actually doing that. I could debug a program faster than people who ran it on the computer trying to trace the stack. Hilarious, because I was doing it faster on paper with a pencil.

    Then there were the old jokes about "Programmers use assembly, serious programmers only use 1s and 0s and type them in manually so they don't have to compile. The most gifted programmers angle the disks to catch random radiation passing through the earth to manipulate the bits directly on the disk without a computer."

    Aw, man... I was such a computer geek. How in the world was it that I always had a minimum of 2 or 3 hot girlfriends at the same time through all of High School? Probably because no one in High School knew what a computer geek was back then. Wasn't exactly a normal nerd, because I was also into sports. I made friends with the jocks, band members, science and math geeks, cheerleaders, everybody. I never treated one person differently than another, and I still don't. Even if you're a young whippersnapper, lol.

    If anyone is in the UK go to YouTube and watch gamesmaster... Man..... I keep cracking up when they get to the review section and give games like jungle strike 91% for the "awesome" graphics lol and always a great time waster to also YouTube old Nintendo and mega drive adverts.... Awww good old days eh? No debts, no job... Only stress in life was to beat the final boss
    I can't say the only stress in life was to beat the final boss in "the good old days," because there were no final bosses when I was growing up. When I was that young, it was more pinball tables. This was, of course, before Space Invaders changed everything and we started getting arcade games. Yeah, Junior and Senior years of High School had the game arcades in the mall. Spent a lot of quarters there. The PC wasn't quite available yet.
    palandri and a5cent like this.
    01-30-2015 08:07 AM
  16. a5cent's Avatar
    Nearly bought one myself. Then something called a "girlfriend" came along.
    A What? Did that have better specs than an Amiga???
    dkediger and palandri like this.
    01-30-2015 12:09 PM
  17. rhapdog's Avatar
    A What? Did that have better specs than an Amiga???
    Yeah, man. A girlfriend always had way better specs. Problem is, an Amiga is a one time purchase. A girlfriend put you on a constant payment system which was directly proportional to your paycheck. Well, it basically equaled your paycheck, whatever it might be.
    palandri and a5cent like this.
    01-30-2015 12:14 PM
  18. dkediger's Avatar
    "Girlfriend" - The original carrier postpaid contract....
    palandri, rhapdog and a5cent like this.
    01-30-2015 12:17 PM
  19. dkediger's Avatar
    A What? Did that have better specs than an Amiga???
    Display resolution through the roof! Memory could be faulty though - prone to bit flips.
    a5cent and palandri like this.
    01-30-2015 12:19 PM
  20. a5cent's Avatar
    Yeah, man. A girlfriend always had way better specs. Problem is, an Amiga is a one time purchase. A girlfriend put you on a constant payment system which was directly proportional to your paycheck. Well, it basically equaled your paycheck, whatever it might be.
    I have no idea what you guys are talking about! An 'Amiga' is a girlfriend... just in Spanish... wait... you mean that's not what all the pubescent jocks were talking about back then?

    lol... at the time I was around 12, and if forced to choose, I think the Amiga would have won out. A year or two later things would have been different, but I'd still have been conflicted! The Amiga was just way too cool!
    palandri likes this.
    01-30-2015 12:32 PM
  21. Maritox Cacici's Avatar
    Atari x64 ftw. Games came on cassettes like the music ones, incredible. Never had the chance to buy a floppy for that one!
    palandri likes this.
    01-30-2015 12:36 PM
  22. rhapdog's Avatar
    "Girlfriend" - The original carrier postpaid contract....
    LOL, I like that one. Oh, man, and talk about early termination issues? Way worse than the fees of today.

    I was already married by the time an Amiga came out. My first girlfriend was, oh, man... I'm about afraid to admit what year it was. 1970. First time I really went steady though wasn't until 1975. By 1977, I decided I'd had enough of life with a contract that kept costing me, so I went with a different carrier every week. ;) By 1979 I bought my first car (after saving up for ages), which allowed me to more easily upgrade to a better model girlfriend on a regular basis.

    If your first computer wasn't until the 1990s, you're not a geezer. At least not geek geezer.
    dkediger and a5cent like this.
    01-30-2015 01:48 PM
  23. Lumiana's Avatar
    Haha I love it. My brother got our 1st computer which was an Atari 64 and he was going on about this game that "talks to you" it basically was played the same way as mass effect where you have to select the conversation... So I waited to he went... And there I was... Trying to have a vocal conversation to the "talking" game haha. But man... The big thing back then was how easy it was to pirate games by just pressing play on one tape and record on the other... And that's it.. Copy of game cassette done. Wiped out half of my brothers games by getting it the wrong way round and having bros songs on he's games lol. Then came the Amiga A1200 he had.... He was so selfish and wouldn't let me play... So I got the floppy disk games and put them between the floor boards never to be found again lol. Then came the NES (actually that was before the Amiga) and we got the duck hunt collection and this robot that interacts with the Nintendo. No idea what the hell it did so I just used it as an extra transformer toy. Snapped the hand off, and.... Ran like the wind when I heard my brother come in the house haha. But my 1st personal computer was the snes.... Back in them days you get the odd glitch but never anything bad. Still brings a tear to my eyes. I like to google stuff like "laptop in the 90's" just to see how far tech has evolved. So fascinating the tech we had back then listed as "the future"
    01-30-2015 04:20 PM
  24. a5cent's Avatar
    If your first computer wasn't until the 1990s, you're not a geezer. At least not geek geezer.
    I think I just made the cut.

    Our household got its first computer in the early 80's. A C64. My dad refused to purchase games, but said I could play anything I was able to program. That's part of what started me off on my software engineering career. But my own first computer... 1988 (worked my rear end off during school holidays to be able to afford one).
    Guytronic and rhapdog like this.
    01-30-2015 04:43 PM
  25. fatclue_98's Avatar
    Does a Tandy TRS-80 count as geezer material? I believe I bought it around 1981 maybe '82, I was out of high school and entertaining the idea of college.
    Guytronic, rhapdog and a5cent like this.
    01-30-2015 04:53 PM
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