Why We Didn’t Keep Our Old PC’s

Cactus 1987

This picture says it all. Get a load of this atrocity. Look at the angles, the depth of product, requiring a solid foot from teensy screen to drywall. Who would bother to keep this dinosaur when new technology arrived? Not me.

Some people still have their old phones (a Nokia that fits in your palm) or their old cameras (I still have my old Nikon) or maybe their old camcorders from the pre-digital world. But I don’t know anyone who kept their personal computer relics from the 80s, 90s, or even the Oughties. Now, I am certain there are plenty of computer peeps who hold on to them (and hoarders who just. can’t. let. go.), but again, I don’t know them. Beige paint on the walls isn’t even acceptable anymore; how could one stare at a beige computer?

/www.youtube.com/watch?v=1skbgEGEn80

In the same 1987 Cactus yearbook, you can see this student studying at what looks to be a computer terminal. You can bet your bippy this was beige as well. No Windows. Was there a prompt screen?

The RTF (radio/tv/film) dept was cutting edge. Back then, it didn’t stand for Residential Treatment Facility. But surely some of the RTF majors I knew are now in one.

RTF grading its district speaker series

You can see how it was a precursor to today’s Communication Dept at the University of New Haven. Much snazzy, as Engrish would say.

Still, at the time, all personal computers seemed pretty rad.

all gifs from giphy.com

With a little coaching from the Big Boss, even girls could do it.

Speaking of girls, a contestant on Ellen’s show yesterday didn’t know how to identify what she was handed in the game of Millennials vs Boomers. It was a floppy disk. Even once identified, she didn’t believe Ellen. I guess Millennials don’t know a floppy from a hard. Remember the write protection notch?

Let’s all be glad for the death of the beige and the modern ease of use for a world that demands personal computer use daily (even if it’s inside your phone). Cheers to that!

Commodore 64

Now My Phone Can Do This

Life Nov 4, 1966

Life Nov 4, 1966

In this pic, Guidance Counselor Homer Gammons (right) visits the lab of Western New England College, where municipal water problems are being studied on an analogue computer.

Actually, 50 years later, my phone may not be able to do that. What do I know?

The wisegeek.org tells me that an analog computer works in parallel, which means that it can carry out multiple tasks simultaneously. A digital computer, even though it may work considerably faster, can only perform one calculation at any one instant…The second difference is that an analog computer handles continuous variables, while a digital computer works with discrete numbers. The difference between these is that continuous variables can include every conceivable number, even irrational numbers, such as Π (pi).

That makes my head hurt. Here’s one used at NASA for space and stuff.

And this one was used for airplanes. Ain’t she sittin’ pretty?

“Huge Electronic Brain, ten tons of it, which is destined to monitor the design, development, and testing of jet engines of the future, even before they are built, left San Francisco International Airport today (July 6) for Indianapolis and the Allison Division of General Motors. A product of the Berkeley Division of Beckman Instruments, Inc., the analog computer system was loaded on an American Airlines DC-6A Airfreighter, grouped in 29 metal cabinets, six feet high and spanning a width of nearly 60 feet. It is scheduled for arrival tomorrow before noon.” Call Bulletin Library, 7/6/56