Life with no computer: No!

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: Life After Blogs

Your life without a computer: what does it look like?

Different. Isolated. Unimaginable.

I use my computer for work, for listening to music, for keeping in touch with friends, and for so much more. I have three of them! A desktop, a tablet and a phone, one of them is always near. Or as now, all of them are, which I admit is perhaps unnecessary.

My life has involved computers for so long, I got my first one when I was still at school.  A Commodore calculator, the size of a small smartphone. It had a bright red LED display, and it was revolutionary. No more log tables, no more long division and the next model added an easy way to find square roots!

An old log, or logarithm, table. The ones I used were very similar.

An old log, or logarithm, table. The ones I used were essentially the same.

The first game I played, on a proper computer rather than in an arcade, was a driving simulation. Well sort of. I typed in the gear and speed on a huge keyboard. It then went off to the main frame that took up the whole floor above. I would then wait for several seconds. Then the Teletype machine would print out the current speed, gear and direction. Or more often a comment to say that I had crashed!

And I learnt to program in Fortran IV, using punched cards written using a machine that took up a whole desk (above). Since then computers have always been around, the first PC I used ran Windows 2. My first touch screen was in 1987. Bizarrely as I recall it looked remarkably similar to Windows 8. It was good, then.

And so, I can barely imagine my life without computers. I can more easily imagine not having a car.

Image credits:
Card Punch by waelder (Own work) [GFDL, CC-BY-SA-3.0 or CC BY 2.5], via Wikimedia Commons
Log tables by Henry Briggs [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons


2 thoughts on “Life with no computer: No!

  1. Wow! The featured picture brought back memories. Long days (and nights) spent in sitting at the card punch machine. Take your card stack down to the window where the computer room people would put it in one of the card readers to read your job into the queue. Hanging around waiting for your output from the IBM 360 mainframe. The worst feeling was when your stack of fanfold paper was either two sheets (your job failed to run because of bad JCL) or was the size of the NYC phone book (endless loop, your job timed out). Not sure if one was more embarrassing than the other. An IBM PC with an 8086 processor and a 10 megabyte hard drive (you’ll never fill that thing) and the old 5-1/4″ single sided floppy disk (I think they held 360 kilobytes). Now a smart phone runs rings around the IBM PC. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for taking the time to comment, I really appreciate it 🙂
      I know the picture brought back memoires for me too, I haven’t seen one of these in ages. I had forgotten about the two sheets, or the huge stack, either meaning failure. I did once see a post-grad drop a a tall stack of punched cards in the road. He was almost in tears, I guess he would have to sort them, were then even sequentially numbered. I cannot remember it is so long ago.
      The National Museum of Computing in Bletchley Park have recently restored a punched card reader. It runs, noisily. They tell me it has a perspex cover, because otherwise if it breaks it blasts the cards all over the room. And I still have a 5¼” floppy, though sadly no reader.

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s