What was the first computer you used?

Discussion in 'Computer Science & Culture' started by Zillion, Mar 31, 2018.

  1. Dr_Toad It's green! Valued Senior Member

    Hah! You mean people or calculators?

    Funny, either way...
    mmatt9876 likes this.
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  3. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    Back when teaching I became convinced that science students should learn to handle logarithms and roots on a slide rule, including building graphs by hand with paper and pencil. The blank mental space where physical intuition should be, in the calculator dependent, is often startling. They make mistakes that remind one of the word errors made by voice recognition software - and I think for the same reason: no actual comprehension of what they're doing.

    Wouldn't hurt to learn how to use an abacus, either - younger.

    My first digital, programmable, computer-like device was an HP calculator - 16C? iirc - since upgraded, each one a fond possession.
    My first computer was an Apple, I think II?, and the adventures of friends have kept me brand loyal through upgrades. A computer, for me, is an appliance - like a coffeemaker.

    My first paid use of a so-called computer was as part of a research team with a guy who was all excited about a pos that ran DOS, for word processing and graphs. I had to actually demand, hardcore, in the face of hostility, a printed copy of the typed-in notes for the paper, for possible hand editing, before he started showing us how easy it would be - so when his demonstration of how easy it was going to be to edit on the computer somehow lost half of the work, all I had to do was retype it in all cleaned up nice.
    My next experience with actually working, for money, using a so-called computer, was years later as a hired gun classroom aide trying to build a site for some math classes - not because it would be of any real use, but because the students needed it for psychological security. Seriously. Your modern student is more discomfited by a loss of their digital security blanket than by the loss of their shoes. But I failed - gave up, actually. Why? Because after I spent two weeks in spotty communication with the basement geeks to learn that my terminal did not display tildes, but instead substituted marks from its font library - usually " " - I asked for a manual, and received the following response (or close), which I printed and framed:

    "It's simple enough that once you know what you're doing you don't really need a manual"
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  5. sideshowbob Sorry, wrong number. Valued Senior Member

    This seems like a good place to mention Isaac Asimov's story, The Feeling of Power.
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  7. mmatt9876 Registered Senior Member

    I mean cell phones of course!

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    People already have arms and legs! People get themselves into enough trouble as it is. I can only imagine what trouble machines with abilities like ours would get into.

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