With today being Memorial Day in the United States, we thought we’d do something a bit different than simply running through the daily news. We invite you to share your own stories of how you first got interested in computers and technology, along with any humorous anecdotes or watershed moments you might’ve encountered along the way.
I’ll start things off…
The first computer my family owned was an 80286 PC AT clone with a full 1MB of memory, a 5.25-inch HD floppy drive, a 20MB MFM HDD, and a monochrome display / graphics card. This last was upgraded almost immediately to an EGA card and NEC MultiSync II monitor. It came with MS-DOS 3.3, GWBASIC, and was additionally upgraded with custom GUI shell built by my Uncle Karl at a time when this was still an unusual feature for PCs.
“Here,” my Dad said, handing me a pair of tomes, each the approximate size of a phone book. “If you want to use the computer, you have to read these first.”
I stared at him, thinking he couldn’t possibly be serious. He was.
Yes, dear readers, I must hang my head in shame and admit that at the age of eight, I read the entire Microsoft MS-DOS User’s Guide & User’s Reference, as well as a second book, whose name I have blocked out, likely as a self-defense mechanism. To be fair, my father read them, too. I don’t know which of us understood them more, or to what degree this sort of treatment constituted a war crime under the Geneva Convention. All I know is that yes — I read the DOS User Manual at eight years old.
Did it help? Depends on what you mean by “help”. On the one hand, it’s probably the reason I never had