Tuesday, November 21, 2006

The Computer Journey

When I signed up to volunteer for a program to go to some village nearby and spread computer literacy in a school, my thoughts tried to fathom how I gained my computer literacy ?
The thoughts had to travel a lot. It was class 8th or 9th when I had my first tryst with computers. It was in school that I first saw a computer. We were taught about abacus, generations of computers, types of computers, difference between typewriter and computer and many such theoretical stuff which we had to mug up. On the practical side how to operate the floppy drive (the 5.25 inch
one) and some basic DOS commands. Later we were to learn wordstar in class 10th, which ended the official school learning in the field of computers.
At home, it was a 386/486 computer my father had brought home for a few days which brought me real close to the thing, supposed to be invented by Charles Babbage. The horizontal CPU with monitor on top, no mouse, and the 5.25 inch floppy drive(I still have couple of 'those' floppies) gave me the freedom to explore things without time constraints, like in school. I guess I used to try out commands, play some basic DOS games like PC man and bricks on that.
Next in my life was a Pentium I – the latest in town those days. It had an amazing 8MB RAM and a 600 MB Hard Disk. The vertical CPU was a neighbor’s envy and Owner’s pride those days – though not many neighbors had a computer then. The basic OS was DOS and you had to type “WIN” on the prompt to open the windows 3.1. Windows was an entirely new thing. Paint brush and Solitaire was the fav past time. Some games were installed which had better graphics. That resulted in the computer being packed for around 1.5 years as it interfered with the 11th and 12th studies.
It was reinstated in college though by then I was seriously lacking behind in knowledge and the technologies in those times. It was my friend Lalit who helped me bring back to the world of computers. It was with him I had seen the IIT screening result on something called internet. Then under his guidance I opened my first email id – on USA.net. The first year in college was spent exploring the net and writing C programs on my old Pentium I. But by now something called Mp3 had come. And if on that good ol’ machine, winamp was started, everything else used to go down.
By the end of 1st year, it was realized that the 4 year old P-1 had served enough and that gave way to the keyboard, I am typing these words on. Of course the keyboard was accompanied by a 128 MB RAM, 40 GB HDD, 128 MB dedicated (to games) Graphics card, 833 MHZ Pentium 3. It has given me company through the college years from the era of 56K dialups to today’s broadband. The poor thing never had its CPU cover screwed. Its HDD always hung lose – ready to be taken out within seconds. Infinite movies were watched on it and it still has one of the widest ranges of song collection.

In between 2 years were spent outside home during which I worked on the best machine I have had till now – the one I inherited from Fleiger – the 1GB RAM, Pentium 4 with a flat LCD monitor. And now as I expectedly wait for my new laptop to be delivered to me, I think how I have been a part of one of the biggest revolutions – from a bulky, black and white 386 to a 3 kg , true color ‘core 2 duo’.


Amrut said...

The poor thing never had its CPU cover screwed. Its HDD always hung lose – ready to be taken out within seconds
So easy to connect with this!!!!

Cuckoo said...

Once again, a wonderful post, nicely portrayed.

"from a bulky, black and white 386 to ..." I can very well relate myself to it.

Lord Suicaine said...

I was born in a time when computers were always desktop with 1-4 GB HDD. internet was just publicised and Windows with cursor browsing was launched (I am just 15 yrs).
By the way, the revolution would be incomplete without a mention of MY dream machine, a 2 GB RAM, 160 GB HDD beast, complete with a GeForce Go graphics card with 512 MB(dedicated), and the King of Proccessors, an Intel Core 2 Extreme(aka Core 2 Quad).

Liked your post and narration very much.
Gotta Dash! Exams coming up.

SiD said...

@amrut: i guess every college going guy of our age can corelate with it.. after all the thing called pen drive was unknown at that time and cd writers were costly ;)

@cuckoo: thanks..

@Lord Suicaine: had I gone for a desktop, my configuration would have been similar to yours.. but if i go for that in a lappie, there would be a big hole in my pocket... :)
all the best with ur exams..

KT said...

wow.... what a wonderful topic to write on.... becoz my exp had been the same... altho I started in class 6th with some LOGO programs and then BASIC programs in 11th and 12th...

1) ... even I paid hefty 20 bucks at a cafe for IIT screening...
2) I was introduced to internet by frnds and first id name ironically was so large that I had to dump it.
3) The best that I have worked on is 2-4 GB RAM and 120-160 GB HDD workstations... you know where...
4) as for HDD hanging loose... I have seen a PC where all the components were assembled on the table... lying a short distance of each other...

nice post...

SiD said...


and ya now umention BASIC, i find that i have completely missed it.. how can I forget Basic - the basic of programing

my first username was also strange one..and a large one.
also, for some strange reason i had not given my name.. instead put aaasfghsgdfas as my name.. so whenever recieved a mailfrom me, it was quite odd..

Neelima said...

Hi Bedi, most of the things you have written are corelated to many of the ppl who reads, but we did not put it in words.. i have put it in such a wonderful way..