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Subject: What was it like going from a typewriter to a computer?

Written By: d90 on 12/27/15 at 1:36 pm

What was the first Operating system you used?

Subject: Re: What was it like going from a typewriter to a computer?

Written By: gibbo on 12/28/15 at 3:37 am

I only really started using computers (at work) in about 1993. I worked in an office at a University ... so we had computers earlier than many places. It was a dos based system.

Before that ... we had to write out our work on computer sheets (lots of little squares) and send it off to the State University (who had a computer centre). They ran our worksheets through their computer (which was huge ... like those old computers that filled a room).  They would then return the deciphered work to us in reports (on that old lined computer paper). We would also receive the work on microfiche sheets.  Each of us had a microfiche reader on our desks (later replaced by a PC),

Subject: Re: What was it like going from a typewriter to a computer?

Written By: AmericanGirl on 12/28/15 at 9:06 am

Am I the only person on this board who actually used punch cards?  ;D

I was a college student in 1978 and had a programming class.  We programmed in Fortran and created programs on punch card decks - a whole experience in itself - which we handed in over what I call an "order window" where staff fed the punch cards into a room-filling IBM - and after waiting for about 15 minutes (more if it was busy) we could then find out whether our programs worked.  Of course if they didn't work we'd start over.  Sheesh!  It's a wonder I pursued computer programming in that atmosphere...

In 1980 I had quit college (momentarily) taking a government job.  My computer exposure there was a link into the nationwide law enforcement network we had available to us.  I gained a reputation as being a 'whiz' on accessing that network among colleagues.  It was in doing so that my interest in returning to school to study computers was kindled.  While there ('82ish), one of the office secretaries I chatted with was giddy over the new "Word Processor" she just got at the office and how much it improved over the typewriter.  This piqued my curiosity, although I never got to use it.  I remembered her saying it was based on a computer - but all it did was work on documents.  Interesting...

In 1983 after returning to college I landed my dream co-op position (basically a paid hyper internship, repeated throughout the rest of school) at Digital Equipment Corporation.  I loved working there.  At the time we had PDP-11 and VAX computers - both made by the company - and I quickly learned leading edge (at the time) computer skills.  In 1984 the VAX had become extremely popular both in the academic and business worlds.  Now a VAX was a network-centric computer - there was a main VAX server computer and a series of hardwired "dumb" terminals - each one connected to the same VAX computer.  Users could also network together multiple VAX servers which talked together nicely.  IMO the VAX network took computing to new levels and made it accessible to more people.  At the same time there were other computer businesses who also had network-centric systems, made by the likes of IBM, Wang (who remembers them) and a host of smaller players.  That was 80's style computing in a nutshell.

In 1986 I took my permanent job (where I still work) and at the time we used VAX computers.  During this time I'd interact with some of the secretaries - who began using this strange contraption made by IBM that we called a "PC".  Now this "PC" used those big 5 inch floppy disks and had little or no hard drive space - and memory to match.  We techies laughed at the "PC" as little more than a toy - it was mostly used for word processing and very light computing (small spreadsheets, etc.).  On the other hand, my first supervisor brought his personal "Apple Macintosh" computer to work.  Contrary to the "PC", this computer was a thing of beauty.  We used it to draw some diagrams.  Now at this time none of the dissimilar computers talked to each other - a characteristic we were used to.  But I remember thinking the Macintosh was a pretty cool little computer.

This is pretty much how the 80's went.  We personally (at home) went through our "toy" PC phase (Commodore 64, etc.) like everyone else.  The PC didn't catch on in a major way until around the end of the decade, when Windows 3.1 surfaced.  Windows 3.1 was really the first operating system that made PCs useful for the masses and not strictly a toy.  However it wasn't really widespread until the early 1990s.

Subject: Re: What was it like going from a typewriter to a computer?

Written By: Howard on 12/28/15 at 2:30 pm

Am I the only person on this board who actually used punch cards?

I used punch cards too as well.

Subject: Re: What was it like going from a typewriter to a computer?

Written By: Howard on 12/28/15 at 2:33 pm


What was the first Operating system you used?


It was kind of hard at first then it got easier towards the end, I started out typing on a typewriter then transitioned to using a computer later on.

Subject: Re: What was it like going from a typewriter to a computer?

Written By: gibbo on 12/28/15 at 3:30 pm


Am I the only person on this board who actually used punch cards?  ;D

I was a college student in 1978 and had a programming class.  We programmed in Fortran and created programs on punch card decks - a whole experience in itself - which we handed in over what I call an "order window" where staff fed the punch cards into a room-filling IBM - and after waiting for about 15 minutes (more if it was busy) we could then find out whether our programs worked.  Of course if they didn't work we'd start over.  Sheesh!  It's a wonder I pursued computer programming in that atmosphere...

In 1980 I had quit college (momentarily) taking a government job.  My computer exposure there was a link into the nationwide law enforcement network we had available to us.  I gained a reputation as being a 'whiz' on accessing that network among colleagues.  It was in doing so that my interest in returning to school to study computers was kindled.  While there ('82ish), one of the office secretaries I chatted with was giddy over the new "Word Processor" she just got at the office and how much it improved over the typewriter.  This piqued my curiosity, although I never got to use it.  I remembered her saying it was based on a computer - but all it did was work on documents.  Interesting...

In 1983 after returning to college I landed my dream co-op position (basically a paid hyper internship, repeated throughout the rest of school) at Digital Equipment Corporation.  I loved working there.  At the time we had PDP-11 and VAX computers - both made by the company - and I quickly learned leading edge (at the time) computer skills.  In 1984 the VAX had become extremely popular both in the academic and business worlds.  Now a VAX was a network-centric computer - there was a main VAX server computer and a series of hardwired "dumb" terminals - each one connected to the same VAX computer.  Users could also network together multiple VAX servers which talked together nicely.  IMO the VAX network took computing to new levels and made it accessible to more people.  At the same time there were other computer businesses who also had network-centric systems, made by the likes of IBM, Wang (who remembers them) and a host of smaller players.  That was 80's style computing in a nutshell.

In 1986 I took my permanent job (where I still work) and at the time we used VAX computers.  During this time I'd interact with some of the secretaries - who began using this strange contraption made by IBM that we called a "PC".  Now this "PC" used those big 5 inch floppy disks and had little or no hard drive space - and memory to match.  We techies laughed at the "PC" as little more than a toy - it was mostly used for word processing and very light computing (small spreadsheets, etc.).  On the other hand, my first supervisor brought his personal "Apple Macintosh" computer to work.  Contrary to the "PC", this computer was a thing of beauty.  We used it to draw some diagrams.  Now at this time none of the dissimilar computers talked to each other - a characteristic we were used to.  But I remember thinking the Macintosh was a pretty cool little computer.

This is pretty much how the 80's went.  We personally (at home) went through our "toy" PC phase (Commodore 64, etc.) like everyone else.  The PC didn't catch on in a major way until around the end of the decade, when Windows 3.1 surfaced.  Windows 3.1 was really the first operating system that made PCs useful for the masses and not strictly a toy.  However it wasn't really widespread until the early 1990s.


I used them in my computing class in 1977 (in final year of high school).

Subject: Re: What was it like going from a typewriter to a computer?

Written By: Baltimoreian on 12/28/15 at 5:11 pm

Even though I'm a 2000s kid, I never really used a typewriter before. Also, my first operating system that I used was Windows ME.

Subject: Re: What was it like going from a typewriter to a computer?

Written By: Elor on 01/14/16 at 5:50 am

Being born in 1981 I never used a typewriter except for just trying one out that we had at home. I started typing on a Commodore C64 and Commodore Plus/4.

Subject: Re: What was it like going from a typewriter to a computer?

Written By: violet_shy on 01/17/16 at 5:20 pm

We used typewriters in middle school(that was early/mid 90s). Then when I got to High school we had computer classes that was when we used Windows 95 and AOL. It was....different.


I think this topic should have been in the "More than a decade" discussion board. Just saying. :)

Subject: Re: What was it like going from a typewriter to a computer?

Written By: humaeast on 01/30/16 at 12:50 pm

I was never born in the 80s. My first computer was Windows 95 or Windows XP. I was born in 2002. Although I have used a typewriter app on the iPad!

Subject: Re: What was it like going from a typewriter to a computer?

Written By: Baltimoreian on 01/30/16 at 12:59 pm


I was never born in the 80s. My first computer was Windows 95 or Windows XP. I was born in 2002. Although I have used a typewriter app on the iPad!


Wow, I never knew that I could actually meet a person who was born in '02. Considering that was the first year that I remembered, albeit vaguely.

Subject: Re: What was it like going from a typewriter to a computer?

Written By: Howard on 01/30/16 at 5:53 pm


I was never born in the 80s. My first computer was Windows 95 or Windows XP. I was born in 2002. Although I have used a typewriter app on the iPad!


Do you still use the app?

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