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When and where did you first start learning to use a computer?

Asked at Massachusetts Street on September 6, 2008

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Photo of Campion O'Toole

“Probably in about second grade, both at school and at home. I think I started learning on Microsoft Office and by playing games.”

Photo of Laura Hoffman

“At my parent’s house. I think my dad bought one around ‘95, so I would have been in second grade.”

Photo of Scott Jessop

“It was in college around 1986 or ‘87. It was DOS, so we had to type in commands to get things to start. But it was still a lot better than using a typewriter.”

Photo of Cindy Smith

“Probably at work around 1990. I worked for the state at the time, and we started doing just about everything by computer around then.”

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Comments

bombshell 5 years, 7 months ago

Oregon Trail... great game. Not only my first computer game.. but also my first and only experience with hunting.I also remember in Kindergarten thru probably 3rd grade they would have us all do touch typing lessons on the computer.... we had to put these cardboard box/covers over the keyboards so we couldn't see our hands.... "find your home rows and try to get 30 wpm" - that was stressful as a 7 year old...

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sunflower_sue 5 years, 7 months ago

In 1981 we were taught to write basic computer programs in math class. Since nobody had access to a computer, the information was a bit premature. I really didn't have a computer class until college, and then it was just to learn how to make art on one. Got my first pc after I got married. Anbody remember the days of constantly retyping papers because you didn't leave enough space at the bottom of the page for the "sources cited?" Gosh! I loved that!

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mom_of_three 5 years, 7 months ago

I was in high school, and we had an intro to computers class, and learned to write programs in Basic. The computers were from Radio Shack. It was fun. Our first computer for our family was in 95. Boy, they have changed since then.

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yoornotmee 5 years, 7 months ago

I was in first or second grade. My parents got me Kid Pix Studios for Christmas and I was on the computer for eight hours straight that day.

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bkreed1960 5 years, 7 months ago

1980, when my Dad bought his first computer from the local Radio Shack. They would actually call him for any computer questions they had because he knew about those computers than they did and that was his hobby. He had a full time job beside that. He had that full time job for 42 years and that hobby was always a close second until he retired.

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XD40 5 years, 7 months ago

Undergraduate school. Summerfield Hall. FORTRAN. 1972

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Marion Lynn 5 years, 7 months ago

About 1999 when I had a computer-savvy freind put a rotten old Mercedes on eBay for me. In the item description, I accurately described the car as a rotten old piece of junk but it sold for top dollar; in the Mercedes sub-culture, we call them "Scheisse Boxes"!), the guy paid for it and was happy as a clam in sand!"Hmm!", says me, "There just might be something to this whole computer thing!"Prior to that time, I had only seen people playing games on computers which were very much like the coin-operated games that I had in my bars, so I didn't think too much of the funny looking boxes. See, for me those games were something to take money out of and so the internet is for me now the same thing!

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spacehog 5 years, 7 months ago

People today are still living off the table scraps of the '60s. They are still being passed around - the music and the ideas.-Bob Dylan

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ohjayhawk 5 years, 7 months ago

sgt - We had a Commodore 64 as well. It was truly a great machine! Never did get the 128, though. I think that was in the 1984-85 timeframe. Good times.

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Multidisciplinary 5 years, 7 months ago

RETICENT_IRREVERENT (Anonymous) says: Ever get your punch cards out of correct order?---I got an A in that class. Not only did I know the 'computer stuff', my artistic skills made for amazing pictures! Can't get them out of order and have those work!25 yrs later I was doing a net-darning type craft, and after hours and hours of work, i found it to be a row or two off.I hadn't thought of 'cards' for years, but then I instantly thought. Drats, I can't just add the corrective cards. Kept the project in a box in case I ever wanted to 'undo and fix it'.Just through it away the other week during my packing! Whew, what a relief!;P

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jimincountry 5 years, 7 months ago

Took a Washburn University class on fortran IV and wrote a couple uncomplicated hydaulics programs for the"big IBM" at work in thr 60's. Then along came the home computer and learned on the Osborne in a class taught by KU in Topeka. Bought the Apple IIe then an HP and now Dell. The internet and GUI(graphic user interface) is what has kept me hooked on the computer as an everyday user.

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tangential_reasoners_anonymous 5 years, 7 months ago

tange: "Here's a picture of my dad, on the morning he surprised me withmy very first personal computer.( : how I miss mousing with the "captain's wheel":. ) Hey, what happened to my web-linked graphic in the original post above? http://www.techsavvyed.net/wp-content/uploads/2006/06/computer_model_large.jpg

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KansasPerson 5 years, 7 months ago

What a fun topic. For some pretty funny old computer ads, seehttp://random29.com/2008/02/back-in-history-10-old-computer-ads.htmlI love "The New 16K Ram Card" and "What The Heck Is Electronic Mail?"Somewhere on one of my computers I have saved (scanned) an old newspaper ad for a Tandy computer that was "only" something like 2 or 3 thousand dollars... can't remember. But it was a hoot, especially given how little memory it had.

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KansasPerson 5 years, 7 months ago

Ah, computer memories! We were introduced to the personal computer in the early 80s, in college. The technology was changing so fast that someone who took "Intro to Computers" in the spring semester would have a completely different experience from the one who had taken it in the fall. I remember my roommate using a cassette tape for data storage (wow, which computer might that have been??) and also I recall learning a bit of Basic and writing some little programs. It was pretty fun. I feel almost sorry for modern kids who don't get to to do anything but point and click. :)Now that you bring it up, I'm also remembering the early modems where you actually put the phone receiver into the little box with the two openings (I'm not describing it very well, but if you used one, you know what I mean!).I remember "52k pickup" because our college (in spite of being all modern and up-and-coming by teaching us Basic on early PCs) still used the punch-card system at class registration time. What a nightmare!!!!! Some of us were also taught to use the college's mainframe to run statistical analyses for class. Stuff that you could probably run in less than a minute on your laptop nowadays.My teenage son loves hearing about these stories of what seem like the "olden times" to him!

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RETICENT_IRREVERENT 5 years, 7 months ago

radiohawk,Don't forget about waiting 2 days for your teacher to steal time from the university's mainframe and give you back the greenbar.

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tangential_reasoners_anonymous 5 years, 7 months ago

Here's a picture of my dad, on the morning he surprised me withmy very first personal computer.( ... how I miss mousing with the "captain's wheel".... )http://graphics2.snopes.com/inboxer/graphics/rand.jpg

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Kyle Neuer 5 years, 7 months ago

8th grade. Punchcards. Fortran. Cobol. 1970

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coltrane 5 years, 7 months ago

1994 my first Apple Macintoshin Aspen, Colorado

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jonas_opines 5 years, 7 months ago

It all goes back to the Oregon Trail. Whoops! I've died of Typhoid!!

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tangential_reasoners_anonymous 5 years, 7 months ago

RET: "Ever get your punch cards out of correct order?"52K pick-up!

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RETICENT_IRREVERENT 5 years, 7 months ago

Ever get your punch cards out of correct order?

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Napoleon_Dynomite 5 years, 7 months ago

Chicks dig guys with skills. You know, like nunchaku skills, bow hunting skills, computer hacking skills...

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kansas778 5 years, 7 months ago

Ahh, the good old Apple II in second grade.

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RETICENT_IRREVERENT 5 years, 7 months ago

November 12th, 1977, Northeast Iowa.

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sgtwolverine 5 years, 7 months ago

When I was in elementary school, but not in school; we had a Commodore 64 at home. That was a great computer. It was even better when we upgraded to the Commodore 128.

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