Saturday, January 10, 2009

A geek meme

This one isn't about building computers or program languages or other IT professional stuff; this is about how geeky the ordinary lives of ordinary people has become.

1. What was your first high-tech gadget?

For me it would be a Kodak 100 Instamatic camera. Anyone else remember those? So cool... the film came in a scroll-shaped cartridge, and it would automatically change the shutter time when the flash was used. It also taught me about the ephemeral nature if cutting edge, however; just months after I bought mine, they came out with the flash cube.

2. What was your first computer?

Commodore 64. I wish I still had it; in some ways, it was better than even my latest notebook.

3. How many computers have you owned? How many do you currently use?

Seven: Commodore 64, Commodore 128, NCR 286, Packard Bell Pentium, E machine, another E Machine, HP Notebook. I still use the second E Machine and the Notebook.

4. How many video gadgets have you owned? How many different formats? (VCR, Video Disc, Laser Disc, DVD, Tivo, etc.)

I've had three or four VCRs; the first one's remote control was just a start/stop button- on a wire. I currently have two VCR/DVD combos. I owned a Video Disc- the type that used a needle like a phonograph- for one afternoon. I got it at Radio Shack, took it home, and got the very first movie (MASH) jammed in it, so I took it back for a refund. I never did get a Laser Disc, and don't yet have a Tivo.

5. How many game machines have you owned?

Just one, an early Pong/Tank/etc. Since then all my games have been PC games. My first PC game was Hitchhiker's Guide for Commodore. It came complete with peril-sensitive glasses, microscopic spaceships, and pocket fluff- even though it was a text-based game. My all-time favorite is Rise of the Triad, which won't play on my notebook. :(

6. When did you first go online?

A. Not the WWW. Late 80's, with my 300 baud Commodore. Not much, though, as the only thing I knew you could do with it was log into the IUPUI library. When I got the NCR 286, though, with it's blazingly fast 2400 baud modem, I discovered the miraculous world of the BBS.

B. The Internet. Early 1996, but I didn't do much at first. Slow is an inadequate description of my Packard Bell Pentium; I would type in the URL, go to the kitchen and put the kettle on, go out on the porch for a cigarette, come back in and make tea, then head back to see if the first page had loaded yet- and frequently it hadn't. Loading up all the RAM the motherboard could handle helped a lot, though, once the price came down to where it was feasible.

7. How many cell phones have you owned?

Two- I deliberately held off as long as I could before getting one. My stubbornness was helped by the fact that I had a company phone for work use.

8. Have you ever owned a car with a carburetor?

I've owned nine cars; only the last two have been injected- but that covers 14 years.

9. How long has it been since you've gotten your TV through the air and your internet through dial up?

Although I was an early cable user- back before HBO was 24 hour- I no longer have cable. With the internet, I no longer need it for news, and I just don't have the time to watch all the shows that might interest me... it's a defense against my tendency to become a complete potato. We went to high speed internet a few years ago.

10. Do any of your clocks still have hands? (This question was inspired by a DJ's comment, while playing a Chicago tune, that nobody under the age of 30 would ever give the time as 25 or 6 to 4.)

The only one in use is a mantle clock with hands. Wait- does the desktop gadget clock count? It has hands...

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