I’d like to add to @jeremy 's point about tech in the home by predicting that it’ll all be running Andriod. Imagine Nest running Android Wear.
My dad is a surveyor, and had an Amiga 500 for drawing plans. He also had 2 big diskette storage boxes full of cover disks and games of dubious origin. Thus, when my brother and I were old enough to know how to turn it on (as I recall about 4, so this was c. 1992), this became “the family computer”. At primary school, each classroom had a single Acorn Archimedes, but the games looked rubbish. My brother did get his own Acorn, and showed me some progamming (although I wasn’t interested in that at the time).
One of my friend’s dads had a software business of some sort, so his house was full of IBM-compatible PCs running OS/2, MS DOS and early versions on Windows. We played lots of games (yes, there were games for OS/2).
I didn’t get in to programming until much later (13, by which time we had a Windows '98 PC), so my initial “how I got in to technology” was all about the games. Open source and Linux followed soon after.
Oh, God, Jesus, no.
Good God, man, Zarch was fucking epic.
I’m not saying I’d like it, but that’s my prediction.
There were games for OS/2? I remember that I installed it from 14 3,5" disks on a 286er with a 20 MB seagate RLL-harddrive to replace GEM and the horrible MS-DOS. Before I had a Toshiba T1100 with an attached TV, both of them fell off a lorry somewhere. I always envied the Amiga guys but with Borland Pascal, Railroad Tycoon and later Wing Commander it nailed it for me to stay on the lousy platform. The “IBM-PC and compatibles” went from -1 to +12 as my weapon of choice. I jobbed at a small startup an we used DESQview to get multiple instances of Wildcat BBS and a Fidonet node up and running. The PC that ran his setup sounded like a 747 with all engines on full power. You couldn’t stand next to it and talk without yelling.
With the 486 entering the picture my mad skillz weren’t needed anymore, I went through school, was drafted, went to India and when I came back, Windows 95 was everywhere. That was horrible. Didn’t matter though, since I adopted a Rock’n’Roll lifestyle and moved into a room in an apartment with university friends who introduced me to FreeBSD. I signed with IDG after the first Dotcom bubble burst in 2001 because I was afraid that IT will be maginalized. Lot’s of friend went bust with their start-up and some of them never recovered and are now web designers or PHP-survivors. That time sucked.
I don’t use twitter at all. It seems so awkward and complicated. I simply send a GPG encrypted email beacaus I have my friend’s public key and they have mine.
Looking again, most of the games I remember playing from then were actually running on MS-DOS, not OS/2. However, there’s a company called Stardock (now known for WindowBlinds and other MS Windows customisation tools, as well as a few games) who released a game called Avarice, and the original versions of Galactic Civilisations for OS/2.
I think that I got my start in computers because of Mr. Spock and Mr. Scott from Star Trek, and Barney Collier from Mission:Impossible. I always thought that was so cool, that while the rest of the team was pulling off the scam on the bad guys, Barney was in some tunnel, building these amazing gadgets to make it all work. Yes, I am a child of the 60s…
So I started working with computers in the mid 70s, taking computer classes at the local university in the summers, back in the days when batch processing was the norm, and a computer was a room in the back of the computer center, where the staff wore jackets and sweaters even on the hottest days. The first system I worked on was a CDC Cyber 70 Series. When I started college, the first year, we were still submitting jobs on punched cards, in the early 80s. The university I went to shared an IBM 4331 and 4341 between all of the campuses. Plus, this was the year that the original IBM PC came out.
So my first PC came years later, and it was a 286/12 with a 10 and 20MB hard drive, which I have been upgrading a part at a time so that, in spirit, it is the same machine, though with none of the original parts. I upgraded it to a 386/16, then a 386DX33, then a 386DX40…then straight to a Pentium 100. Today this machine is a quad-core AMD with 8GB of RAM. The machine ran DOS, then once I had the horsepower, OS/2 2.x and then Warp. At work I ended up inheriting administration of some SunOS boxes, so I started playing with Linux at home, since Sun machines were 4 or 5 figures at that time.
Started with Slackware, then moved to Redhat, and then in the late 90s/early 00s, went to Debian, where have been since…Though the whole systemd instability in Debian has me working with PC-BSD and I just stood up a FreeNAS box, and it is amazing.
That’s so not what Twitter is for
My first contact with computers would have been my uncle’s Amstrad 1512. I played Frogger and Paratrooper on it some time in the late 80’s. My dad was working as a project lead on various IT projects at the time, so we always had a PC at home. Earliest memories I have from that time, is using an old Compaq “laptop”, also for gaming. My dad had made a batch file that started a kind of menu where I could select what game to play. Eventually I asked him how I could add a new game to the menu or modify it, and so I got to editing the batch file. Not much after that I was taking things apart and putting them back together with varying degrees of success. We had your 286’s, 386’s and I think the first machine to be “mine” by definition was a Compaq Presario 420 (I think?) which was a 486 multimedia pc. Which meant it had a sound card and a CDROM drive.
First time I used Linux was in 1999, and it would have been Red Hat 5.2 I think. There was no coming back. When I asked one of my fathers co-workers how I could get online since the ISDN card wasn’t supported in Red Hat, he casually told me to “write my own driver”. I wasn’t quite that adept at age 15 or so, but I didn’t give up. Eventually the ISDN card got a driver, and I could get online on Linux.
Great podcast again guys!, it helped me wile away some miles between Belfast and Dublin.
Being a '90s baby, my beginnings were a lot different than most of what I hear in the tech community. My first real tangible memory of using a computer was my grandads gateway pc which ran windows 95. It had a few games on it which we played a lot of. The original sim city and doom and warcraft. Additional to this, there was a basic interpreter that my grandad had compiled some sample programs for. I remember running them quite a bit (there was a monte carlo simulation) but never really edited them.
First computer in my parents house was an old Dell which ran Windows ME. It was constantly breaking and going back in for service. My first real win in the computer world was when I googled and found out how to run a malware detector and saved my parents a nice trip to the computer fixer. From there, we finally got Windows 2000 professional, but that only lasted about 2 months before we upgraded to XP. I mostly sat and played championship manager and age of empires on this one, also some small amount of dial up internet usage.
My first laptop was a second hand dell laptop. It had 256 mb ram and was good for not a whole lot. It ran windows XP, but only just about. It was the computer where I really started to learn to program, I used liberty basic first on this one and even made my own launcher for launching executables from the win32 directory. I learned a lot from having these crappy resources and not just being able to load everything first time. This laptop never got graced with Linux, that privilege would come in the not too distant past of 2008 when I installed ubuntu on my Acer, windows rarely booted on my machine after that point.
School had a RM Link 380z (think they were a UK only thing?) but for those with a satisfiying clunk fetish for power switches and keyboards, I think they’d approve.
Best friend (jammy git) had an Acorn Atom, Acorn Electron and then a BBC model A and B, so I’m also one of those that spent half my time round a friends house playing Repton and Elite.
When we finally went in to Dixons to buy a TRS-80 or Tatung Einstein, we came out with an Amstrad CPC464 (possibly the first time anyone came out of Dixons/Currys/PCWorld with something actually better as a result of the sales spiel, rather than the one that gives the sales kid the best commission?).
First I bought with my own cash was an Atari STe (several friends had Atari, didn’t know any Amgia owners then). Still got that Atari ! (edit: and wrote my final year university thesis on that Atari too in a text editor with Roff or something-or-other markup)
In Germany, Saturn-Mediamarkt (probably the largest big box consumer electronics store in Germany/Netherlands/etc.?) had 3D printers at least on display. iirc they were there a year ago. Whether that counts as properly available in the big box store is a matter of debate.
Was a great debate. Not entirely convinced by most of the predictions, other than wearables seem all the rage this yr. Did find a cafe in Delft that proudly accepts Bitcoin though.
Coincidentally, my Raspberry Pi came from the unrelated Farnell element14. The name is too good to die off!
My computing history started with the family Acer 286 (running a custom 286 that clocks up to 12 MHz if memory serves, and a 40MB HDD that’s too big for MS-DOS 3.x and had to be partitioned), followed by a 486, also from Acer, and a Compaq Pentium with a ridiculous tank-like chassis and expansion cards hanging off a metal cage (that you have to remove, together with all the cards, everytime you want to add or remove something. Cringe-worthy).
Happy to report that all my own computers, dating back to 1998, have run Linux, whether dual-booted or as the sole OS. A Dell with a Permedia 2 video card that really taught me a lot about Linux (video driver was at the time supported only on SuSE and I tried grafting the binary driver on top of RHL 5.x and Debian, before finally giving up and using SuSE on it), an iBook G3, a dual Athlon-MP I was sad to part with (but had to sell at a deep discount because I was moving), a Sony Picturebook with the Transmeta chip … oh wait, actually my Powerbook G4 never ran Linux, but that’s the only one.
My ghost of technology past goes a little like this:
My parents bought a BBC Micro B when I was around 6-7 years old. It was bought for them to work on but they got a few games for it and I was hooked. I started looking through the wonderful manual that came with it and various magazines at the time entering BBC Basic code for small games. I started to modify the code and write a few small programs from there.
In the early 90s we got a 486 based system which I started tinkering with early on and learnt DOS, Windows 3.1, etc… I also started to upgrade the hell out of it, new drives, RAM, CPU, motherboard, etc… I first started on the internet in '95, a modem (I think a 33k speed) was my birthday present that year. Which got me into usenet, email and IRC at the time.
Around '97/'98 I was given a RedHat Linux book and distro to play with which was my first toe-dipping into Linux. Also around this time I got an E in Computer Science A-Level (a lot of that is down to the teacher not turning up to classes) which steered me towards digital electronics instead. I did 2 years of an electronics degree during which I was tutoring the firmware programming classes having done an entire semester’s programming work in an couple of hours. This led me to two things: 1. I picked the wrong degree and it is too late to switch (also Comp Sci wouldn’t accept me on my grades), 2. I got offered a job programming PICs and 80C51s in assembler which was too good to turn down.
By the time Windows XP was released I was using Linux as a primary OS (I forget which distro but probably RedHat or Mandrake). I had moved away so was working in computer shops to scrape a living. I somehow ended up running a LUG for a short while which led me to work for a hosting company (at this hosting company the nickname LinuxJedi was born). From there I became a freelance LAMP developer. This got me a job in a London publication company as their Technical Architect. Whilst there I did my MySQL certifications, someone at MySQL noticed me and I very quickly got a job at Sun Microsystems (until about 5 months after the Oracle acquisition). Since then I have always worked with ex-MySQL people even if not on MySQL.
I should also note, bash the Acorn Archimedes all you want but if it wasn’t for that machine you wouldn’t have the wonderful ARM based CPU in your cellphones and tablets right now. Probably some Intel thing instead which would nicely cook your testicles inside your pocket and have a 1 hour battery life
If Acorn hadn’t moronically decided to just target education, the world would be way cooler now.
I’ve only just listened to this episode. Can I get points for posting some pics before I, subjectively, was bollocked?
You get half a point for that, I think Still looking forward to seeing what @jonobacon sent!