Re: Some of my recollections
I was recently watching the sci-fi movie Solyent Green, in one scene of which is a kiosk game called Computer Space. I remember feeding this game hundreds of quarters at the Dayton Mall before moving on to things like the Atari game console for home use. Before EGA and VGA there were CGA graphics adapter cards for PC clones, and CGA color monitors with four displayable colors from a pallate of sixteen. The one big advantage of CGA graphics adapters was they suppplied NTSC video that could be displayed on an appropriately equipped home color television using simple coaxial cables with RCA connectors, hooked up about the same way as a VHS video tape player but without a sound channel. No, I never did buy into the BetaMax format that was so popular with the "professional" crowd.
I may be getting old. I remember (and used) ten out of ten of the things mentioned. I have especially fond memories of the ASR33 teletype with paper punch and reader. The electronics lab where I worked full-time from 1967 to 1978 while attending school part-time had an ASR33 hardwired to a time-sharing port on the University's brand new RCA Spectra 70 "mainframe". Oh the wonders of BASIC at 110 baud on a hardcopy terminal!
That fall I registered for my first undergraduate computer course, a requirement for a Bachelor of Electrical Engineering degree. It was FORTRAN and we were supposed to submit hand-punched Hollerith card decks with our programming assignments. I quickly discovered that I could compose programs "on line" with the ASR33, save them as a file on the SPECTRA 70, then submit the programs as a job to the BIGFOR background compiler. A couple iterations of this and my programs compiled and ran perfectly. But what to do about the card deck? I discovered I could also submit the program to be punched, but the resulting card deck output had no alpha-numerics printed across the top edge. Surely the teacher would notice and object to this! So, after retrieving the punched card deck from the computer center, I immediately re-submitted it for reading and printing (there was a technical name for this process which I have forgotten) on their IBM-360/25. I could usually talk the computer room priests into submitting the deck to the 360 card reader/punch and delivering the printed results in the same while-you-wait visit. My program decks were hardly a strain, being usually less than fifty cards for each classroom assignment, taking less than two seconds to process the whole deck.
Eventually I did get bit by the computer bug and built my own IBM-compatible PC, sometime in the 1980s after I graduated and moved on to another job. Before that, I purchased a Commodore VIC-20 for my young son, pointing him in the direction of an engineering career. Meanwhile, in the electronics lab of my employer I eventually talked managemnt into allowing me to purchase an Intel Microprocessor Development System( Intellec MDS-80), complete with a full boat (64 kbytes) of memory and two 8" floppy disk drives. This satisfied by "personal computer" cravings until I graduated in 1978 and led to many embedded Intel 8080/8085 designs.
Dot-matrix printers were a must for hardcopy in the 1980s, although I later purchased an HP laser printer for professional quality letters and documents. At my new job the computer priests had chain printers and very high speed electrostatic-based line printers using a black toner suspended in kerosine. A horizontal row of tiny needles charged up a specially-coated rapidly moving paper to attract the toner particles.
Acoustic modems and later Hayes direct-connect to the phone line modems (thanks to the Carterfone decision) provided access to Bulletin Board Services and a brief flirtation with Compunet. I just knew in my heart that AOL was not the way to go and eventually signed on with a "broadband" ADSL provider. It was many later that our neighborhood was finally offered broadband cable service, but by then both my wife and I had upgraded PCs and she was heavily involved with social networking.
I really don't give a fig if so-called millenials know where I've been and what I've done. Let them re-invent the wheel if that is their wont. It's been a fun fifty or so years and I look forward to a few more.