# What was the first computer you used?

Discussion in 'Computer Science & Culture' started by Zillion, Mar 31, 2018.

1. ### Dr_ToadIt's green!Valued Senior Member

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Hah! You mean people or calculators?

Funny, either way...

mmatt9876 likes this.

3. ### iceauraValued Senior Member

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Back when teaching I became convinced that science students should learn to handle logarithms and roots on a slide rule, including building graphs by hand with paper and pencil. The blank mental space where physical intuition should be, in the calculator dependent, is often startling. They make mistakes that remind one of the word errors made by voice recognition software - and I think for the same reason: no actual comprehension of what they're doing.

Wouldn't hurt to learn how to use an abacus, either - younger.

My first digital, programmable, computer-like device was an HP calculator - 16C? iirc - since upgraded, each one a fond possession.
My first computer was an Apple, I think II?, and the adventures of friends have kept me brand loyal through upgrades. A computer, for me, is an appliance - like a coffeemaker.

My first paid use of a so-called computer was as part of a research team with a guy who was all excited about a pos that ran DOS, for word processing and graphs. I had to actually demand, hardcore, in the face of hostility, a printed copy of the typed-in notes for the paper, for possible hand editing, before he started showing us how easy it would be - so when his demonstration of how easy it was going to be to edit on the computer somehow lost half of the work, all I had to do was retype it in all cleaned up nice.
My next experience with actually working, for money, using a so-called computer, was years later as a hired gun classroom aide trying to build a site for some math classes - not because it would be of any real use, but because the students needed it for psychological security. Seriously. Your modern student is more discomfited by a loss of their digital security blanket than by the loss of their shoes. But I failed - gave up, actually. Why? Because after I spent two weeks in spotty communication with the basement geeks to learn that my terminal did not display tildes, but instead substituted marks from its font library - usually " " - I asked for a manual, and received the following response (or close), which I printed and framed:

"It's simple enough that once you know what you're doing you don't really need a manual"

5. ### sideshowbobSorry, wrong number.Valued Senior Member

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This seems like a good place to mention Isaac Asimov's story, The Feeling of Power.

7. ### mmatt9876Registered Senior Member

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I mean cell phones of course!

People already have arms and legs! People get themselves into enough trouble as it is. I can only imagine what trouble machines with abilities like ours would get into.

8. ### SeattleValued Senior Member

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At my first short-term job after grad school I used a telex as part of my job. That seems barbaric now but seemed "hi-tech" at the time. I would type out a message to a company overseas and the output punched holes in a piece of tape.

I would then dial the companies telex number and then run that piece of tape back though the machine. I remember the first cell phone that I ever saw and used. It was a work cell phone and it was about the size of a brick.

I really think the way the internet is currently used is probably the biggest change to life in my lifetime. The space program was more impressive and started during my early childhood but the internet has changed life more than walking on the Moon.

Today's cell phones are amazing but largely still annoying to me.

9. ### Dr_ToadIt's green!Valued Senior Member

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Damn, you're old..

I will not own, carry or use a "smartphone". I know a bit about computer security, and maybe I'm a dinosaur, but I'll never be hacked because stupid...

10. ### SeattleValued Senior Member

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I just got a smart phone this year ($40 and I pay$10/month for limited data). I use it if I need a GPS, I can use it about the house (WiFi) as another computer screen and I can use it at my climbing gym to check email/test messages etc since they have WiFi as well.

I can use it anywhere but with a limited data plan...I don't. I have a regular cell phone (smaller) if I need a phone while away from home. I pay about $3/month for that. At home I use Magic Jack which is about$30/year.

My main computer is just a regular desktop computer with a DSL connection. I don't have cable TV and can find most anything online for free.

No one is going to hack my smartphone. I don't even know the number and there is nothing to hack.

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Ha!

12. ### Gawdzilla SamaValued Senior Member

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I hope you don't really believe that.

13. ### TheFroggerValued Senior Member

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Hacking is simple. You allow the computer to do the work: brute force. Every possible letter, number and symbol in every possible combination.

However nowadays you are only allowed three tries before being locked out, or there is a time-delay between attempts, say fifteen minutes.

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Tie between Heathkit RYO (for experimenting, overclocking, adding memory, adding HD) & Osborne. Then I got hired by IBM & had a S/360...

15. ### LizardRegistered Member

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I'm still using a calculator.

16. ### SarkusHippomonstrosesquippedalo phobeValued Senior Member

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It's not the "3 strikes and you're out" that does for brute-force hacking, as most serious attempts find ways around that... it's actually the sheer number of combinations available. Unfortunately people still use fairly obvious passwords, so it is easier than it might be... and we do have to remember our passwords, so a string of 10 or more random characters (each being one of a possible 70 or more characters of capitalised, non-capitalised, numeric and other symbols) for each password wouldn't be practical. The strongest passwords are still randomised strings of significant length (longer the better). After a certain point it would take your average network years to brute-force it's way in.
But as said, who is going to remember a single (let alone multiple) passwords such as: tUp4gh£5a&_r14y\$s etc.

17. ### sideshowbobSorry, wrong number.Valued Senior Member

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My bank recently forced me to change my online banking password to something "more secure". It was so secure that I couldn't make a deposit for more than a month. I could still make withdrawals though.

My phone account also has a password that I can't possibly remember. I have to ask them for a new password every time I log in - and they happily text it to me.

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I recognize this path! Wait, it'll get better: they'll get hacked, restore the servers, & in the process get your old email address [insert optional mobile number] before you updated it, & in order to reset the password, they send the information to the old [email/phone] which you can't get, to reset your password...

19. ### Michael 345New year. PRESENT is 69 years oldValued Senior Member

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Each time I go to the local bank branch they offer to set me up with Internet banking

Now I can see the benefits if I lived a few hundred kilometres away

But I live 5 kilometres and 5 minutes away

No big effort to go to the bank and let them worry about being hacked

20. ### sideshowbobSorry, wrong number.Valued Senior Member

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I've had the same email address for 14 years. My email provider made me change my password too but it's still a plain English one that a normal human being can remember.

21. ### Gawdzilla SamaValued Senior Member

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Time-sharing dumb terminal at local community college.

22. ### Dr_ToadIt's green!Valued Senior Member

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What machine? Wyse terminals or IBM? If you never was the backend server that will give me a clue.

Was it Ethernet or Twinax, or God forbid, Token Ring?

23. ### Gawdzilla SamaValued Senior Member

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It had a screen, keyboard and that's it. Otherwise I have no clue. It was probably IBM, the school computer lab had a plaque mentions contributions from IBM.