inthe00s
The Pop Culture Information Society...

These are the messages that have been posted on inthe00s over the past few years.

Check out the messageboard archive index for a complete list of topic areas.

This archive is periodically refreshed with the latest messages from the current messageboard.




Check for new replies or respond here...

Subject: What year did people (the public) start buying computers alot?

Written By: 80sfan on 05/26/10 at 11:30 pm

I searched on wikipedia (I know, wiki, isn't the most reliable source) that the first mechanical computers were around 1940.

But I'm not talking about when they were created, I'm talking about when did it become affordable enough that lots of people were starting to buy computers?


Subject: Re: What year did people (the public) start buying computers alot?

Written By: Midas on 05/27/10 at 9:29 am

Bought my first one in '99 that my first wife kept.  Bought my own in '03 that I still have.  My current wife bought a laptop last year.

Subject: Re: What year did people (the public) start buying computers alot?

Written By: karen on 05/27/10 at 9:34 am

We bought our first computer around 95/96.  We had been thinking about buying one for a while but kept waiting till they became a bit cheaper.  Then we realised that the price stayed pretty much the same (~£1000) but the features/programs/speed improved.  Our first computer ran Windows 3.1

Subject: Re: What year did people (the public) start buying computers alot?

Written By: 80sfan on 05/27/10 at 12:18 pm

Yeah, I agree with you guys. I don't think that most people even had a computer until the 90's. The internet explosion really did make people buy computers waaaaay more! I think that computers weren't in everyone's homes until the early to mid-90's or so.

But since I was only a toddler during that era, I'm only guessing.  ;)

Subject: Re: What year did people (the public) start buying computers alot?

Written By: snozberries on 05/27/10 at 4:56 pm



I got my first computer.... a Commodore 64... circa 1987.

Subject: Re: What year did people (the public) start buying computers alot?

Written By: 80sfan on 05/27/10 at 5:49 pm



I got my first computer.... a Commodore 64... circa 1987.


Yes, that's interesting snozberries!

I saw the movie Ferris Bueller's Day Off and Pretty in Pink, both released in 1986, and was surprised when people were using computers in those movies. I thought nobody used computers before 1992, Lol. How ignorant of me!  ;D

Subject: Re: What year did people (the public) start buying computers alot?

Written By: snozberries on 05/27/10 at 6:05 pm


Yes, that's interesting snozberries!

I saw the movie Ferris Bueller's Day Off and Pretty in Pink, both released in 1986, and was surprised when people were using computers in those movies. I thought nobody used computers before 1992, Lol. How ignorant of me!  ;D


Ha HA... I worked at Toys R Us and we sold electronics. The Commodore 64 was a hot item.
I had the keyboard, monitor, cpu and also got a cassette tape peripheral- not too dissimilar from this set up....

http://www.madbabble.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/12/750px-c64c_system.jpg 

with this...
http://www.bia2.com/review/comcass.jpg


It looked very, very cool to me... but once I got it home I had no idea what to do with it so it just sat there until 1992 when we got a new computer and got prodigy and got on....*gasp* the super information highway... I could search the library database... it took about 15 minutes to load a page... okay maybe it was 3 minutes but it felt like 15!  ;D


Subject: Re: What year did people (the public) start buying computers alot?

Written By: Frank on 05/27/10 at 11:07 pm

I got my first computer in late 1981, using APL language. The whole screen was the width of 1 line.
My friend got a commodore 64 about the same time. 

Subject: Re: What year did people (the public) start buying computers alot?

Written By: Midas on 05/28/10 at 10:30 am

There's at least 6-7 computers in my sister's house.  Now that's A LOT of computers.


:D

Subject: Re: What year did people (the public) start buying computers alot?

Written By: 80sfan on 05/28/10 at 11:25 am


There's at least 6-7 computers in my sister's house.  Now that's A LOT of computers.


:D


Midas, that's crazy.  :D  ;D

Subject: Re: What year did people (the public) start buying computers alot?

Written By: 80sfan on 05/28/10 at 11:26 am


I got my first computer in late 1981, using APL language. The whole screen was the width of 1 line.
My friend got a commodore 64 about the same time. 


1981? I didn't get my first one until 1997!

Subject: Re: What year did people (the public) start buying computers alot?

Written By: Midas on 05/28/10 at 12:03 pm


Midas, that's crazy.  :D  ;D


She has A LOT of kids.  Like 5.3 or something.

Subject: Re: What year did people (the public) start buying computers alot?

Written By: Midas on 05/28/10 at 12:05 pm

A few years back at another workplace I got a call from a customer who was trying to get on to the internet.  I asked him what type of browser he was using and he wasn't sure.  Then I asked what type of computer and he said it said Texas Instruments...TI-80  :D

Subject: Re: What year did people (the public) start buying computers alot?

Written By: 80sfan on 05/28/10 at 12:53 pm


She has A LOT of kids.  Like 5.3 or something.


At first I thought I read 53 and I was like WHAT?

Then I saw the decimal.  8)

Subject: Re: What year did people (the public) start buying computers alot?

Written By: CatwomanofV on 05/28/10 at 3:13 pm

This is my ancient dinosaur (noticed the floppy discs).

http://i706.photobucket.com/albums/ww64/CatwomanofV/006.jpg

It is a word processor rather than a computer. I bought it in 1990-second hand. It got me through college. I will never give it up because this is the only thing I have that will read what I wrote on those floppy discs-like my journal.


Cat

Subject: Re: What year did people (the public) start buying computers alot?

Written By: Foo Bar on 05/28/10 at 11:57 pm


It is a word processor rather than a computer. I bought it in 1990-second hand. It got me through college. I will never give it up because this is the only thing I have that will read what I wrote on those floppy discs-like my journal.


Epson APEX?  A look at the manuals suggests it's basically a standard PC under the hood. 

If the integrated word processor was PFS: First Choice (pfs:write, Professional Write, Professional File, etc), you might be interested in these open-sourced PFS: First Choice to HTML conversion utilities

(Could be as simple as exporting to ASCII or some other easy-to-read format, and hooking up a floppy drive to whatever machine you've got that runs Win9x or XP.  If you go that route, copy the .exe with the files and see if a little tweaking can't get it to run on XP.)

Subject: Re: What year did people (the public) start buying computers alot?

Written By: 80sfan on 05/29/10 at 12:07 am


This is my ancient dinosaur (noticed the floppy discs).

http://i706.photobucket.com/albums/ww64/CatwomanofV/006.jpg

It is a word processor rather than a computer. I bought it in 1990-second hand. It got me through college. I will never give it up because this is the only thing I have that will read what I wrote on those floppy discs-like my journal.


Cat


You have exactly the same word processor I have! I think we bought it when my mother went back to college. So I'm guessin circa 1992.

Subject: Re: What year did people (the public) start buying computers alot?

Written By: robby76 on 05/29/10 at 5:00 am

Our family got an Apple II in 1984.

http://edibleapple.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/apple-ii.jpg

Subject: Re: What year did people (the public) start buying computers alot?

Written By: karen on 05/29/10 at 8:42 am


I got my first computer in late 1981, using APL language. The whole screen was the width of 1 line.
My friend got a commodore 64 about the same time. 


My brother bought the Sinclair ZX81 at about the same time.

In 1983 I did a computing course at school using BBC B micros.  They were good machines.  At University I did a course on computer programming using BBC machines, that was in 1995!

Subject: Re: What year did people (the public) start buying computers alot?

Written By: robby76 on 05/29/10 at 9:15 am


My brother bought the Sinclair ZX81 at about the same time.

In 1983 I did a computing course at school using BBC B micros.  They were good machines.  At University I did a course on computer programming using BBC machines, that was in 1995!


My parents sent me on a computer course - I was only 9 or 10. School didn't start computer lessons til 1988 when I was 12.

Anyway here's a photo of my computer. I cropped out my brother... haha. As you can see it's a totally 80s room with a GI Joe calender, BMX poster and Smurfs galore!

Subject: Re: What year did people (the public) start buying computers alot?

Written By: CatwomanofV on 05/31/10 at 12:36 pm


Epson APEX?  A look at the manuals suggests it's basically a standard PC under the hood. 

If the integrated word processor was PFS: First Choice (pfs:write, Professional Write, Professional File, etc), you might be interested in these open-sourced PFS: First Choice to HTML conversion utilities

(Could be as simple as exporting to ASCII or some other easy-to-read format, and hooking up a floppy drive to whatever machine you've got that runs Win9x or XP.  If you go that route, copy the .exe with the files and see if a little tweaking can't get it to run on XP.)



Yeah, I still have the First Choice program but I don't recall using it that much. I mainly used Bank Street Writer. And when I started dating Carlos, he gave me an early version of Word Perfect (which I STILL prefer these days-just a later version that I used to use).



Cat

Subject: Re: What year did people (the public) start buying computers alot?

Written By: blackrose602 on 05/31/10 at 8:59 pm

My family's a bunch of geeks  :P Got our first computer, a Timex Sinclair, in 1981. Went through a bunch of loaners, including a Vic-20, when my dad worked at a computer store in 1982. Traded up in 1983 to a Commodore 64 (actually won that one by selling the most Christmas ornaments in my elementary school). Eventually went to a Commodore 128.

I graduated from an exclusive prep school in 1991, and a couple of my friends had PCs. I spent the night with a friend in junior year, and we ran up a $400 internet bill playing British Legends (a MUD) on CompuServe. I'd been on a few BBS's with the Commodore, but that was my first introduction to the internet. My family didn't get a PC until 1993.

It seems like computers became common in the late 1990s. I worked at Epcot in 1995-1996, and several of us were on AOL by then. We thought it was great fun to swap tiny AVI files (a minute or so of video), which required spending the better part of the night downloading. But I knew a lot more people without computers than with them until the end of the decade. I think AOL's move to flat-price billing (instead of per-minute charges) in 1996, combined with the release of the Pentium MMX (which finally put to rest lingering concerns over the math co-processor bug) in 1997, really helped fueled the computer craze.

Subject: Re: What year did people (the public) start buying computers alot?

Written By: yelimsexa on 06/01/10 at 7:25 am

It really depended on the social class, but I'd say:

Nerds/Elite specialists: Before 1977
Rich: 1977-1980
Upper-middle class: 1981-1985
Middle class: 1986-1992
Working class: 1993-1999
Poor: 2000+, most are just outdated versions of once state-of-the-art computers

Subject: Re: What year did people (the public) start buying computers alot?

Written By: JamieMcBain on 06/01/10 at 4:06 pm

This was my family/dad's work office's first computer....

http://oldcomputers.net/pics/zenith-eazy-pc.jpg

Subject: Re: What year did people (the public) start buying computers alot?

Written By: Bobby on 06/03/10 at 11:51 am


Yes, that's interesting snozberries!

I saw the movie Ferris Bueller's Day Off and Pretty in Pink, both released in 1986, and was surprised when people were using computers in those movies. I thought nobody used computers before 1992, Lol. How ignorant of me!  ;D


Ha ha, it's easily done.

I've read somewhere that Ferris Beuller's computer was an IBM which I think was top spec around that time (1985/6).

I think the mainstream computer industry started around 1981/82. Not too sure what was happening with computers in the US but, by 1984, there were at least 4 main rival computers that the British could choose from - The BBC Micro (later turned into the Acorn Archimedes in 1994), The Amstrad CPC (founded by Sir Alan Sugar), The ZX Spectrum (by Sinclair Research Ltd) and The Commodore 64. Both the Amstrad CPC and Commodore had 64k ('k' short for kilobytes).

The Commodore 64 was easily the better of the three computers in terms of graphics quality. The Amstrad's colour scheme was bright but the pixels seemed quite murky as The ZX Spectrum (despite achieving 128k memory by 1986) was marred by it's infamously ugly colour clashing and running.

A Kilobyte is 1,024 bytes which is almost insignifant to the gigabyte which is what most computer hard-drives are measured in now. A Gigabyte is approx. 1,073,741,824 bytes - and that is insignificant in itself, considering we now rely on at least 128gb for medium usage.

By the mid to late 80s, the Atari ST (the first computer to break the 1 MB RAM barrier in 1986), The Apple Macintosh (the oldest of the three and first computer to use icons on the screen with a mouse ala Windows) and Commodore Amiga (had a better graphical interface) became popular into the early 90s before the advent of the internet and Microsoft, heralding the birth of the internet as we know it in 1995.

The strange thing is, those games were invented on next to no memory yet they gave me plenty of hours of entertainment. They were simpler times back then...  ;) ;D

Subject: Re: What year did people (the public) start buying computers alot?

Written By: MaxwellSmart on 06/03/10 at 3:15 pm

The first computer I ever used was in school.  It was a Tandy TRS-80 (so-called "Trash-80").  That was in 1981.  It was about that time the grand predictions of computers being the essential tool of the future were revving up.  The prices for home computers started to come down to affordable levels for the middle class about that time.  Mind you, it was still an investment, but considered a smart investment.  I knew other kids whose families had home computers in '81 and '82.  My father bought our first, an Apple IIe, in the fall of '83. 

The thing is, back then you had to be interested in computers for the sake of computers to make the investment worthwhile.  You could play some simple video games, learn programming languages, and do mundane tasks (such as a household budget) with your home computer, but that was about it. 

I wrote my college papers on a Brother word processor, and when that died, I used a hand-me-down Mac.  I didn't get a computer with Internet access and graphics capability until 1999.  That was an iMac, which I think my friend Paul still has up and running at his apartment.  Not sure. 

The Compaq I have now is one I've been using for about eight years, and I hope it doesn't die because right now I'm too damn poor to replace it!
::)

As others have observed, it wasn't until the computer could be used as telecommunication and and entertainment advice for the average person who was not otherwise interested in computers that the computer became an indispensable household item.  That was around '95.

Put more simply --

I remember my ex-girlfriend Eileen saying about her brother-in-law: "I think Jeff only got a computer so he could download porn."

That about sums it up for a lot of folks!
;D

Check for new replies or respond here...