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PC Stands for Personal Computer - Right?

dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,865
Back in the late 1980's the world of Personal Computers really started to open up. I remember my first "biggie", was the IBM XT with 512Ram and a whopping 10meg harddrive! With that, we could do everything. We maintained spreadsheets, do employee performance plans and evaluations and ran many many other applications.

They were personal. You turned the machine on and off you went. They were still pretty much DOS based with some full screen applications. Windows 3.1 came out and everything started to change. It became easier to use your computer.

Being with IBM, not to be outdone, we came out with OS/2. A powerful very stable, easy to use operating system. It ran circles around Windows and could do so much more... That so much more was for the technical programs needed by IIBM. But as far a end user programs, hold on, end user - Nope didnt exist. After several years of OS/2, it died and IBM went over 100% to Windows.

The Pentium processor came out, fast, blazing fast with some of them 110Meg hard drives! Unbelievable, how much could they put into that PC that weight 7,000 pounds! Fast forward a number of years and the machines were getting smaller in footprint but larger with everything else. Gig harddrives - WOW, a Gig of RAM, super WOW! And there were tons of applications, both business and end user to run.

But then slowly, the word Personal was drifting away, to me for others, it became the DC, Dependent Computer. That was you needed to either have a Masters in Computer Science or new someone that did. Each year after wards, the personal computer became more and more difficult to use. You no longer could open the box, plug it in , power it up and away you go!

Instead, you needed to configure this, set that, enter that option, what option, no one told me about that! The birth of the Geek Squads. Stores that sold the computers now had teams that would set you up for a fee! So, they have everything working, so what now? Where do I start? What do I click on? When do I left click or right click? When do I double click, oh forget this. But then one day, the screen went totally blue... You then heard about the Blue screen of Death. You had no idea what this meant, but it wasnt good. You had to call a 1-800 number , have to go through 10 minutes of automated prompts, you finally get to someone you can talk to and they say "Wait a second while I put you on hold:" Before you can scream out No, No, dont do that, click you realize you just got disconnected. So, you go back dial the number again, but this time at each of the automated props, you start screaming into the phone I want to speak to a customer rep, a customer rep, a customer rep We all know about road rage, this became phone rage.

So, when you calm down and start talking again, the customer rep says, Sorry, this sounds like a big problem, you need to reformat your hardrive and reinstall your operating system using the 3 installation CDs you got in package 1, which was in box 2, but if you purchased this online, then there were only 2 CDs and they came in box 9. But the customer rep also said, for $199.00 we can send out Geek Squad1 to do all this work for you. You hang up and cry a bit.

I should go into Laptops at this point, but I cant, cause I will start to cry. I love them to death and hate them to death at the same time. You cant FIX them, each model has its own set of hardware, so you cant put what is one into another. With Desktops, I have removed harddrives, memory, cards from one machine and put them into another machine without problems.

OK, now, what is this thread all about anyway?

It comes down to YOU, the members of Spine-Health. You registered for this site so that you could get more information about your spinal condition and joined the forums to discuss things with other members. Simple.... Right? Wrong (at times) Ok, its a given today, that changes happen software upgrades take place. So, while you got comfortable with one system, things changed and everything looked and behaved differently. For some, that meant the end of their time at Spine-Health, they just couldn't keep up with changes. An example of this is our CHAT room. Years ago, you clickd on CHAT in your were placed in one of the rooms so that you could chat online realtime with other members. Recently, when you went to use CHAT, it failed, saying you needed a new version of JAVA.. What the heck is JAVA, where did it come from. You follow the prompts it tells you to do to upgrade, you try and you get a message You are current, no upgrade is required
You breathe a sigh of relief. You try CHAT again, guess what! Error, you need a new version of JAVA!

Now, one of my favorites is with browsers. Years ago, there was only 1 - Internet Explorer, Today there are at least two other major browsers. Firebox Mozilla and Google Chrome. Each browser works somewhat different. What you do in one, you have to do differently in the other. BUT now its COOKIES and CACHE WHAT wait a second, what are those things? I tell members to clean out their CACHE and if that fails, clean out their COOKIES. Now, put this in Judge Judy's courtroom and she would say, I am not cleaning out any CASH to get to you and I already ate all the COOKIES

I am sorry, I just felt I needed to post this today. The expectations from everyone regarding what they need to know about their computers is getting out of hand. We are a far cry from what was once the Personal Computer
Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com


  • Well Ron I had a good laugh at your synopsis of the PC world, the way in which we evolved from not knowing why we would even need a computer, to having one and finding things to do with it, and then "suddenly" finding we can't live without it, and find ourselves inundated with the latest technology that seemingly is out of date before it is even built, let alone shipped, received, installed and configured!

    We are now at a point where as you say things have become hugely frustrating, because we wished for ultimate flexibility but forgot that with that comes complexity. We are at another important juncture in the world of technology,where devices have begun to change, we now have more power in our mobile phone than probably run the original space programmes for the shuttle :-) and with the advent of mobile computing and advancement of tablets / the cloud / big data and whatever latest buzz words you can think of / make-up, things are moving at such a pace wouldn't it be nice if we could hit the pause button and take a breath (is there an app for that?????).

    It's funny to look back and remember when that strange, cumbersome box appeared on our desk at work in the late 80's, and wondering what the heck we were going to use it for, and now if I don't have my laptop, mobile (smart phone ,naturally), Blackberry and iPad close at hand, I feel naked! And god forbid I find I can't access and edit the same documents / spreadsheets across all of these devices simultaneously, can't receive my emails across any of them the very second I expect an incoming mail to arrive, or I forget to plug them all in and they run out of charge......what has happened to me!!!!!!!!

  • Oh God, how old I feel.
    I learned cobol programming on PUNCH CARDS on big old ferric core mainframe computers. A 32K Honywell was the biggest available and this occupied a whole floor of a large office block. I remember the first hard drives. They looked a bit like a juke box (without the decor) and were about the same size. To us it was incredible they could access files randomly. We were used to having to wait for a giant magnetic tape device to run through it's whole content before arriving at the correct file. To write a program that did not run sequentially was considered very bad form indeed, as computer time was very expensive.
    To me the arrival of the pc, in the early eighties was the end of the line for programing as I knew it. Everything since is just amazing, but a total blur.

    I'm not young enough to know everything - Oscar Wilde
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,865
    and to think those old 2314, 3330, 3380s and 3390's held a whopping 2 or 3 gig worth of data! Thats one of the reasons, tha the old data centers needed tons of space. That along with the water cooler for the processors were needed.

    When I first joined IBM in 1974, some of the smaller DOS systems ran on the IBM 125 processor (370) and needed abou8t 700sq feet just to hold the DASD and perhaps other I/O. Today, I could run several customers requirements on a PC based machine simulating DOS and had over 35 gig of DASD (RAID) in a unit not much bigger than a college dorm fridge.

    Things have progressed.
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • mickkrmmickkr Posts: 166
    edited 11/21/2013 - 7:22 PM
    Things have indeed progressed, but I think the amount of careful thought and planning that had to be applied to make those old computers perform as well as they did, was a real skill. These days, the computers have so much memory and computing power it doesn't matter how badly the program is written the computer will compensate. Make a mistake and the computer will tell you about it and sort it out! In those days memory was strictly rationed and the computer would only do precisely what it was told to do and no more. If there was a mistake you could look forward to many hours of drudgery reading through reams of printout looking for the error, which could be as simple as just a missed comma or some such.

    I remember as a teenager visiting an engineering works and watching engineers doing really amazingly complex calculations using slide rules- no computer chip or even electricity involved! I wonder how many people exist today who could understand let alone use, a slide rule
    I'm not young enough to know everything - Oscar Wilde
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,865
    So very true, so very true...

    The skilled art and aim towards perfection seems to have been replaced by Oh well, the rest of it works ok, or they will never notice it
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • BigRBBigR Posts: 48
    edited 11/22/2013 - 5:12 AM
    I gave up on P(o)C years ago and now only use MAC. I have an iMAC & a G5 MAC sitting here on my desk at work and a iMAC at home. I couldn't imagine working on a PC all day. Think I'd pull the last of my hair out if I had to. Which, the MAC has come a long way also. We have 6 MACs here is my office.
    5 MRIs since 2010 | Severe DDD throughout entire Lumbar Region | Facet Arthrosis throughout | Spinal Canal Stenosis | Herniation L4/L5 | Broad - Based Bulging L1/L2, L2/3, L3/L4 - but still kicking - just not very high. :)
  • It is simply amazing how far the PC has come over the years.
  • mickkrmmickkr Posts: 166
    edited 04/03/2014 - 12:28 PM
    You will probably never heard of Tommy Winters in the USA. Not many people in the UK will know the name either.
    In 1993 at the age of 87 he completed a part time college course in basic information processing on a P.C.
    Just a senior citizen learning about computers?

    There was a bit more to Tommy that even his family didn't know about and this never came to light until the fascinating story of the Code Breakers at Bletchley Park in the UK was finally revealed in the 1970's and Tommy was allowed to break his silence.

    It's a great read. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tommy_Flowers http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tommy_Flowers

    He is my hero!


    I'm not young enough to know everything - Oscar Wilde
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