Monday, November 12, 2007


As spiffy as our modern computers seem to be there is still something that nags me to say that if our toasters acted as badly as our computers; we’d just throw them away.

In actuality, even with all the glitches we encounter, our machines have come a long way. I remember back in the day when we had to write our own programs for our Sinclairs, Apple Is and IIs and Ataris. We could have purchased them, but it was an adventure to get a book or magazine with programs in them. We would save the data on a cassette recorder. You had to follow them exactly line by line. Add a space or misplace an o with a zero and it wouldn’t work. You could spend a week on the more complex programs as though it were a jig-saw puzzle. If it didn’t run you had to search out the missing piece, line by line. What you read were pages of codes like: “00010:If Null goto line 00060.” Line after line, page after page of mind numbing code.

Later versions of DOS allowed us to write batch files. Each version of DOS that came around empowered us more and more, and then came Windows. We still had control with windows because it was still basic DOS with a shell, but it seems with each advancement of window we were given power up front, but took away the underlying powers that we used to dink around with.

Then came HTML and the World Wide Web where we were allowed to learn and use code again. It was grand, but then HTML became so advanced that we could no longer write it without an HTML editor.

As it stands today I won’t even look at the registry. I won’t even look in my Windows or Root directory any more. Maybe I’m just getting too old for the adventure and potential doom of messing with things anymore. There are few things worse than getting your heart broken by a computer.


Blogger Hahn at Home said...

I used to love writing BASIC programs and making my Atari do all sorts of wonderful things that amazed and astounded me.
I have had my heart crushed more than once by a computer. They have been like, well, not children, but cousins I'm really fond of. I don't touch the registry anymore either.
Thanks for the memories. 1100101

5:37 AM  
Blogger Syd said...

God, I remember writing those programs. They were fun, like a math problem, when they worked. But GOD DAMN, the frustration of finding the mistakes.

Come to think of it, I believe I put a foot through a computer for that very reason...or was that a word processor? (remember those?)

These days, I'm happy if the thing just works. I don't need to understand why and how.

11:44 AM  
Blogger Beth said...

I'm grateful those days of "tinkering" are gone. I was never very good at it.
I wouldn't mess with my computer now. It's not so much my heart breaking - it's the losing my mind in frustration that bothers me.

5:04 PM  
Anonymous Pamela said...

Few things worse that getting your heart broken by a computer, Guy?

What about seeing other people's chewed food?

What about spending 4 hours and 1 minute or more with another person?

What about sitting in the front row of every Fisher Poet gathering ever to have happened in Astoria?

What about going to the Sunday Market and having to wade through the dogs and strollers?

Miss you, LOL.

7:34 PM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

Lori and Syd, it's nice knowing you were pioneers as well.

Beth, you are a Mac user, so your abilities to monkey around were taken away from you years ago.

Pam, you are making me out to sound like a kook ; ) Miss you too, Darlin.

5:53 AM  

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