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For Those Who Lived Through the 80s

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by Squilly, Feb 7, 2013.

  1. macrumors 68020


    Was thinking about this recently. The 80's and 90's started the huge change in technology, specifically computing. I'm not going to make this a long paragraph but what did you think when the computer landed on the market? Did you think it was going to be the next big thing or didn't think much of it (as if it were a new product at a bakery)? Must've been interesting.
  2. Moderator emeritus


    Like most things it was incremental so it wasn't like one day we didn't have computers and the next day they popped into existence. You had things like Atari's that plugged into your TV so that was just another thing like a VCR. Some Atari systems had keyboards. You also had Commodore/Amiga machines that could plug into the TV or a monitor. You started getting Intel computers. You could connect to other computers via modems. Then you connected to bulletin boards via your modem. Services like AOL, Compuserve, and Prodigy were the next thing you'd connect to and it gave you access to more computers. Then the Internet.

    So it was all gradual over many years. It's kind of like saying "What'd you do before iPhones?!" in 20 years. The introduction of the iPhone was neat, but it wasn't incomprehensible. It was building on prior technology that you or somebody you knew already used.
  3. macrumors 601


    I'll agree with SilentPanda.

    The personal computer didn't land on the market. It crept into the market. There were not lines of people waiting on release day to get the latest and greatest. In addition, prices were high. The original Macintosh 128 was approximately $2500 in 1984. I bought a Apple IIc that year for $1300. Most of the people I went to college with didn't have a computer and relied on the few computing clusters on campus. Definitely more evolutionary than revolutionary.
  4. macrumors 601

    I used computers at work, starting in the late 80's. I never saw a need for a home computer until my kids hit middle school, and then we figured they might need a computer at home. They used it a little, more in high school. Now I use lots of spreadsheets and wonder how I managed without them.
  5. macrumors 65816


    IMO, the catalyst for was a simple program called Visicalc. If you spreadsheet by hand, you'd see what a godsend Visicalc was back in the day. It was a clunky program, but it was a step up from the old way. Like the Model T compared to the horse and buggy. That was when I knew computers were the next big thing. Thanks to Visicalc, you didn't have to be a super bean counter to embezzle (and you could always claim it was a misplaced decimal.:eek:)
  6. macrumors 68020


    When computers started to become more popular, did you think it was going to be big or were you interested in it when it was first unveiled (disregard price)?
  7. macrumors P6


    I remember when the concept if email was new. It was weird to think I could communicate with people in a different country.

    I also remember people getting together to surf the world wide web

    I remember going to the library and gettin on the Internet for the first time. We had to sign up on a wait list to use it. First thing I did was look up Star Wars hhaha

    I also remember when cable modems replaced dial up. Talk about wow at the time

    I also remember when wifi first started to get used and that to me was amazing
  8. macrumors demi-god


  9. macrumors 68030

    Mr. McMac

    I grew up when this was high tech

  10. macrumors 65816


    I miss "Number Munchers," "Carmen Sandiego," and "Odell Down Under."

    I was born in 86' and remember all of these games, also vaguely remember going with my dad to buy a 3,000 dollar computer with something ridiculous like 4mb's of Ram and a 512mb HD. I also remember going through the course of 15+ floppy disc's to install Microsoft Office.
  11. macrumors 68020


    Good ol' floppy disks. Forgot all about them.
  12. macrumors 65816


    In 1980, an Apple II was not a common consumer product. The only home applications were recipe storage, bar charts and math drills. I can't remember what suddenly caused everyone to want personal computers. It may have been video games.
  13. Moderator emeritus


    Personally, it just seemed like a natural progression. I had been able to send message to people locally for quite some time via bulletin boards. Then things like fidonet came along where bulletin boards would connect to each other over a period of time and your message could get to somebody on another bulletin board. Email wasn't much of a stretch after that. None of it felt like "oh my gosh this is going to be huge!" It all felt like, "That makes sense."
  14. macrumors 65816

    I think the most amazing thing is that I've gone from having a Mac LC II desktop with 40MB of storage in 1993-1997 (I'm not even counting my Apple IIc I had from 1983-1993) to being able to store 64GB on a card the size of a penny. That's 1,600 times the storage I had on a full desktop in college.
  15. macrumors 68020


    I thought it would be a great toy at home and a business tool for some (word processors and stuff like that).
  16. macrumors demi-god


    When I grew up, these were classroom notes...

    Attached Files:

  17. macrumors demi-god


    Don't lie Shrinky. I know you used clay tablets, not stone.
  18. macrumors 68020


    So like the next big thing from say.... iPad to iPad mini? These "bulletin boards" or fidonet were like email?
  19. Moderator emeritus


    Yep. Bulletin boards were basically calling somebody elses computer in your area code that had some software on it. Mostly it had forums and some ascii games. Then fidonet (and a few others) came along. I could then send a message to somebody several states from me for free. I'd drop a message off at the local bulletin board, then once a night that bulletin board would call another bulletin board and so on... they'd pass messages off that way and get messages back. It wasn't instantaneous but it worked. They could also sync up forums this way too.


    An equivalent to today would be if I just dropped off an email at gmail, then later in the day gmail would contact hotmail and send all the hotmail messages to it and get all the gmail message. Now of course since everything is connected 24/7, there's no need for the delay.
  20. macrumors 6502

    When I was in high school in the middle 90s many households in the area I grew up in didnt have a computer, or those who did had a compaq that they used for typing maybe, but usually they gathered dust. Very few used email. Even fewer used chat clients like icq. Others learning you had a computer that you knew about and used would either get you labeled a dork or result in a request to "fix" their family compaq. Not uncommonly both. The mandatory typing classes were taught on typewriters that were slowly being replaced around the time of my graduation with computers, but they were for typing, not anything else. No computers in the library, it was dewey decimal all the way. A "computer" class I was required to take my senior year was mostly quickbasic. Having a working knowledge of networks and code was extremely uncommon despite it being a natural progression from discovering that you could play doom against your friends as long as you had two computers and some cat5. Also the rapid progression from "only doctors and drug dealers have beepers and I know you're not a doctor", to everybody having a beeper. Cellular phones still being a novelty. Twenty years later the same people who back then could only reply to the idea of "being online" with a blank expression are now giving me sh.t for not having a Facebook page and being too busy riding my bike to work on the farm to follow anybody on twitter. :confused:
  21. macrumors 6502

    I worked in a finance and billing office for a major hospital and we pretty much used dumb terminals until 1993. PCs slowly got installed over the next 4 or so years. By 1997 the entire office of 120 people had actual windows PCs. Even then it took a couple more years for the older employees to get used to office productivity software like Excel, Word, etc. In the mid 90's those of us who had computers at work (supervisors, managers and up) all used Lotus software: Lotus 1-2-3 and Amipro. Now those tools are dead and everything is MS Office and tons of specialized software.
  22. macrumors 6502


    I recall telling my friend, who was mystified that I didn't find computers fascinating, that I thought they were just a fad. This was the around '84. Now whenever I think I have something all figured out, I just remind myself of that enormously wrong conviction I had. Last I heard, my friend went into computer programming and retired before he was 30 years old.
  23. macrumors 68030

    Mr. McMac

    lol! I take it you're a bit older than me :p
  24. macrumors demi-god


    A bit older...but we were very behind the times in the Bronx!:p:D
  25. macrumors 68030

    Mr. McMac

    I'm originally from Brooklyn. We're in the same boat pal :)

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