Seeing as my theme for the month is writing related, I suppose I could have chosen something like Commas, or Characters, or Colons and Semi-colons for today's post, but instead I chose to talk about something near and dear to my (and so many other writers) heart. Namely, my computer.
Do you remember your first computer? I remember mine. It had a monochrome monitor (amber on black, unlike the more common green on black), two floppy drives (and we're talking the 5 1/4 inch floppies here), 250K of RAM and a 40 meg hard drive. That's right people, 40 megabytes.
You notice the lack of a mouse. There were no mice for computers back then. Nor were there any windows. You typed commands in using something called DOS - Disk Operating System. It was kind of fun actually, like a secret language. You'd turn on your computer and you'd get a DOS prompt: C:\ blinking at you. Say you wanted a list of files that were on your computer. You'd type in: C:\>dir and a list of all the files on your computer would appear. Then you'd just select the file you wanted to work on and away you'd go.
It sounds like a lot of work, but prior to this I'd hand write my stories and then type them up on a typewriter like this:
Okay, so maybe my typewriter was electric and had one of those little buttons you could hit that would backspace over a mistake and leave a smudge of while correction tape in its place, but I do actually have one of those old Underwood typewriters, although mine is a bit dustier. And I may even have a page or two in my files somewhere that was typed on that typewriter, but I digress.
It did take me a couple of years to be comfortable enough with the computer that I would actually compose on it. It was just too easy somehow - if you made a mistake you just had to backspace over it. Or highlight it and click delete. With a typewriter, even a self-correcting one, you still could fix only so many errors before you'd have to re-type the whole page.
I did not learn to type in high school, thank God. No f f f f j j j j for me, thanyouverymuch. I learned to touch type in business college. There were no letters on the typewriter, just blank keys. We sat in a dark room and watched a lighted screen on the wall at the front of the classroom. I learned to type in two weeks and to this day I can still type in the dark. My typing speed on an electric typewriter was about 40 words a minute. On that first computer? I pretty much doubled it.
I had no connection to the internet. I'm not even sure there was an internet back then. ;-) Okay, I may be exaggerating just a tad, but the internet was definitely beyond my means at that time. It would be several years and at least two computer upgrades before I was on-line, and in those days it was via dial-up access, which meant that when you were online you were tying up the phone line.
My printer, at that time, was a dot matrix printer. Anyone out there remember them? You fed fanfold paper into them and they'd spit out pages of text that had to be separated along their perforated edges, and the text was made up of little dots which publishers found incredibly annoying.
Today my printer is a wireless Cannon Pixmar and I use a Samsung notebook with 6 GB of RAM, something like 600 GB of space on the hard drive, and wireless access to the internet. My typing speed is faster than ever and I have no problem whatsoever composing on my laptop.
I've come a long way baby! :-)