28 February 2008

Ah, the good old days

The other day, as I was aggressively deleting spam to my office email account, one made me laugh out loud. The subject referred to increasing the size of my, ahem, well, something that I don't have. But the text inside is what got me:

When I was your age, we had eight inch floppies.

The thing is, I remember eight inch floppy disks. One of the first real jobs that I had was a part time job at a white shoe law firm, and the then state-of-the-art IBM computer that I used had two eight inch drives - and no hard drive. The word processing program lived on one floppy and that data lived on the other.

The first computer I owned was a second generation Macintosh - not the one so famously introduced in 1984, but the Fat Mac that arrived soon thereafter. It also had two floppy drives. A hard drive was available as an accessory - but I was a graduate student and a hard drive was an unthinkable luxury. That Fat Mac, with its printer, cost about $2500 - in the mid 1980s. In today's dollars, that's about $4900. For $4900 today, you can get a whole lot more computer power than I had in 1985, with enough left over for a cup of coffee.

Where am I going with this? If my spam correspondent was my current age in 1985, he's 69 now. You think he even has a floppy?

18 comments:

flutter said...

I'm pretty sure he is floppy.....

painted maypole said...

he he

i bet there's a LOT MORE that's floppy now.

FreshHell said...

Har! I was just remembering Word Perfect the other day. Some things do improve over time and computers fall into that category. I remember when the internet was simply strings of commands - no images to speak of. I couldn't understand the allure.

slouching mom said...

What PM said.

Heh.

I remember those disks, too.

In 1986, my mother bought me my first computer -- a Macintosh. As I recall, it had a capacity of 586 KB.

Is that even possible?

LAS said...

Ha ha ha! I remember my first computer, it was a Comodore 64/128 and if you wanted to double space something for example, you had to enter a special code. You had to enter a code to do anything in the word processing program. I have to say though, my favorite thing about it was the Legend of Zelda video game - which was all text, no graphics. That game rocked.

the dragonfly said...

Oh my...

:)

wheelsonthebus said...

I HOPE 69 year olds still get un-floppy, because at this rate the next time we have energy to, um, you know, we'll be around that age.

kathy a. said...

heh. i still have a couple of those old floppies, although the equipment to use them has been gone for a long time.

when i was in college in the latter part of the '70's, it was possible to take a computer class -- but the computers were industrial-freezer sized, and used huge reels of magnetic tape. my cool young professor, with the recently minted Ph.D., had his thesis on punch cards. my kids think i make these stories up.

kathy a. said...

fresh hell -- i still like wordperfect! i have a grudge against word because of all those years when it had the animated paper-clip guy, and i hate it now because it wants to make choices for you, but am working past that.

the really ancient word-processing program i remember was wordstar. what a pita.

susan said...

Floppy indeed!

I wrote my dissertation on those floppy disks. Hard to imagine now.

Suz said...

I have the same MAC, sitting upstairs in the attic because having paid that crazy price for it back in the mid-80's, I just can't throw it away. What's amazing (and a little sad) is that it still powers on with it's little "happy mac" face when plugged in, even though nothing runs on it.

Julia said...

Ha! Maybe you should've written back to inquire. It might be the only correspondence the poor guy has.
hope you are feeling better by now.

ozma said...

Am I crazy? If we just had floppies and no applications and no internet I swear I would have written two books by now.

Well, maybe.

I miss those things.

Melissa said...

Wow...that's a trip.

And the "floppies" reminds me of a typo I saw on the Walgreens sign not too long ago:

Viagara Spray Starch
4.99

the mama bird diaries said...

i forgot all about the floppy disks!

now i feel a little nostalgia....

Don Mills Diva said...

That's a lot more amusing than most of the spam I get - apparently people want to know "Why you happy with small sausage penis?"

niobe said...

I only remember 5-and-something-inch floppies. But I've found that guys can't be trusted to accurately report size.

You didn't actually open the spam, did you?

Becky said...

I'm positive it's a floppy.