Ex 2: Personal Biography of Writing Technology

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We had our first computer in 1990. It was DOS: DOS programs, no desktop, no icons, no programs menu, no Microsoft Office, no recovery disks, no keyboard shortcut keys, and the only drive was floppy. You had to type things like run//ex: to start a program. There were commands for everything. The manual was the size of an encyclopedia.

My parents tell me that it was a display model and that it had a lot of other people's crap on it from when they played around with it in the store. They never could figure out how to get it off.

Im struggling down memory lane with this but Id say I mostly remember my sister playing Maniac Mansion and shouting at me for jumping around in the computer room because the slightest movement and the screen would scramble and she'd lose her game.

It only had about six colors so the characters in the game sometimes had blue skin or orange hair, even though they were human. There was also a Wheel of Fortune and Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego game, of similar quality.

The games took a very long time to load and if you got impatient and pressed the space bar repeatedly, as I often did, it would either take longer or start to make frightening noises.

Other than the games, it was practically useless. My parents used it to print up a few invoices. The printer had cogs and the paper had holes on the side which had to fit into the cogs of the printer.

I discovered that the game I remember my sister playing fourteen years ago still exists today. This is how it used to look:

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

And this is how it is now:

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

3 Comments

Hey, Kayla, that's really neat. I mean, sometimes the ideas for games from "back in the day" are lost to the newer, "cooler" ideas (which are sometimes the same ideas just reorganized and retold).

My family's first computer had a desktop and such--Windows 92? Or whatever the version was in 1992... Before that, all my experience was on an Apple. Wasn't that, honestly, everyone in our generation's first computer experience (or at least relatively early on)?

Excellent article/blog. Gosh, I remember playing that game. It was so much fun. I remember my palms getting sweaty from being nervous, afraid to run into any monsters or whatever the villans were.

Thanks for the trip down the blurry memory lane.
; )

Getting to know DOS is like being a mechanic who can fine-tune an engine under the hood. It's frustrating for beginners, who don't actually need to know all the details and who just want the darn thing to work.

I have a great sensory memory of the emotions I felt when I pulled fan-fold paper out of the stack and removed the perforations that held the holes for the printer's spokes. I only bothered to tear the holes off when I had printed something worth saving, so I always felt a sense of pride and accomplishment when I did that. And that feeling of pride and accomplishment is what comes over me when I see fan-fold paper today.

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This page contains a single entry by published on September 5, 2006 7:09 PM.

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