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Blog #6 First Computer Memory

October 15, 2012

My first memories of the computer age that I was lucky enough to be born into comes to me from sometime in the mid- 1990s. I feel safe saying around ’94 or ’95. I remember hearing a lot about some “Windows 95” thing that my mother used on her home computer. I can remember her computer too. It was massive and ugly compared to computers today. One of the bad memories I have of the computer craze in the 90’s was the horrible beige color and huge size that seemed to be standard on all PCs. The computer we had in the den at home was no different. I can remember begging my mom to let me get on and play online games. When she was in the right mood, I was allowed to do so and it was a blast. If she was in some other mood, her answer was “no, you always clog up the machine with some type of virus or junk”. This was most often true, the gaming sites did have a lot spam or maybe we just had bad virus protection. This was perhaps one of my first bad experiences with a PC. I can also remember how slow our internet connection was because we had dial up and lived in the country. I can recall along with the bad connections, downloading viruses, and horrible beige color; the hardware that went along with owning a PC. I have no idea why, but to this day one of the first things that I visualize when thinking about the 1990’s is a floppy disk.

I can also specifically my first good experience using a computer. I am not sure if it was a good experience because I was using a Mac instead of a PC for the first time, or if it just was because my granddad was using it to order me a toy from the internet. I can remember his Mac in detail as well. Even back then Macs were cooler in their styling when compared to PCs. It was still a big machine in size, but much sleeker. It was a desk top model that was semi-transparent with a blue back case. I also remember this incident because it was first time I heard the word “Google” in my life. My granddad described it to me as some search engine (whatever that is) that would help you find things on the internet. I believe the story ends with granddad using Google to find a product on Amazon (first time I probably heard of that as well).

It’s funny how, thinking about it now, I can recall all the details associated with my first experiences with computers and the internet. I think I can recall such memories because it changed my world in a surprisingly drastic way, although I was oblivious to its impact at the time. My first computer memories stick with me because I look back on it now as a watershed moment. From then on, things would be different and constantly changing in the world around me. Computers later showed up in the classrooms at my school and were used from then on as a learning device, instead of just a game machine. From my first experience with PCs, I couldn’t imagine how in the future people would use them to communicate and make others rich. These and other practical uses of for the computer definitely changed my life. The memories also stick with me because they could be considered both good and bad memories. The good times included being able to play online games and getting new toys from granddad via different medium, yet bad memories when my mother would scream at me for downloading viruses. I think this is a common experience for most people when discussing computers and the internet: a fantastic piece a human engineering when it works, but a fantastically infuriating and frustrating ordeal when things go wrong.

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