A to Z Theme 2016

For my 2016 A to Z theme I used a meme that I ran across on the blog of Bridget Straub who first saw it on the blog of Paula Acton. This meme is a natural for me to use on my memoir blog. It's an A to Z concept and it's about me. No research and nothing complicated. I'm given twenty six questions or topics to discuss that are about me.

In April I kept my posts short and uncomplicated. In the midst of it all you might learn a few things about me that you didn't previously know.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Born in the Shadow of the Computer (Part Two)

SVG version of the screenshot found at Image:E...
SVG version of the screenshot found at Image:Emacs Tetris (detail).png of the tetromino game in Emacs. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
(...continued from the previous post.)

        My dad was an idea guy.  He was never particularly technically minded so his ideas weren't like an inventor.  Working on cars or building things or even handyman work around the house were not something he ever did.  I'd say he was technically challenged.   But he liked innovations, gimmicks, and any novel idea that would capture his imagination.   And he was a pretty imaginative guy.

          Following my years of traveling on the road with a theater company during most of the 1980's, I decided to settle with my family in what I considered to be my home town.  After a period of living at home with my parents while we got established into the routine of life in one place, my family and I moved to an apartment that was not far from my parents house.  We were there frequently.  Especially when I discovered my father's computer.

          I don't recall what kind of computer it was, but it was a pre-windows workhorse that required knowledge of coded computer language.   I didn't get it at all.   What I did learn how to do was play Tetris and I played every chance I got. This was not like the old Pong game we used to hook up to our television set years before.  The new computer games were far more intricate and colorful.   The other games installed on my dad's computer were interesting, but Tetris was the one that hooked me.

         Once he had obtained the computer second-hand through a classified ad, he began studying the technology with a vengeance.   He took a computer class in the evenings after work.  He bought computer books and studied them voraciously.  I looked at his class workbook and nothing made sense to me.   Beyond the games I couldn't do a darn thing on the computer.  The languages left me baffled.   I could open the games with the prompts my father provided me.  Everything else was beyond my grasp.  Besides I was quite content watching the geometrical pieces of Tetris fall into place over and over again.

        Then in 1990 I got a new job.   And wouldn't you know it--computers were a big part of what I was hired to do....

          (...to be continued.   I'm keeping these posts relatively short because of my current ongoing computer problems.   Sometimes my computer is working like a wiz, then others it all slows down or even freezes.   Hopefully in a few days I'll have solved the problem.   Either that or I'll just go nuts.)

        Did you ever play Tetris?   Did you use computers prior to Windows?   How many computer languages do you "speak"?

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  1. Hi Lee from Spain. Came over to visit my son, am in an Internet station.
    I fully understand what you're going through regarding your computer, especially when told nothing is wrong yet still has a mind of it's own.

    Enjoy your week-end.

  2. We had computers in my high school; got them in 1980 or 81. I didn't understand how to use them despite my math teacher's best efforts. The next time I used one was 1989 and it was all DOS based. Then when I got the job at the law firm, 1990, we must have had some early form of windows. I just can't remember how the WordPerfect & billing programs were accessed. The first Windows I recall was 3.0 and I loved to play Solitaire. I may have played Tetris once or twice.

  3. Hi Lee .. I couldn't get to grips with those early machines either .. luckily I worked at the Chamber of Mines and was encouraged to use them - I was so grateful. I could type so that wasn't a problem ...

    ... but the technicalities still bemuse me - and I'm sure they shouldn't. Perhaps now it's something I can correct ...

    Interesting to read your view point - looking forward to the next part .. cheers Hilary

  4. Ah, now what'd ya have to go and do that for, Lee? I've got a Wii and a Tetris game. It's Saturday, so technically, I don't have to work, right? Oh, but those A - Z posts are calling me, telling me to keep jamming away, and now all I want to do is play Tetris...doggone it! Happy Saturday, kind sir:)

  5. Yvonne-- I'm glad you're in Spain to share time with family. I hope the break is doing you well.

    JoJo -- You were breaking in early. I don't remember anything like Windows on my father's computer. Seems like it was all flashing cursors, prompts, and codes.

    Hilary -- I'm glad computer use has been simplified, but I still can't get into too many technical issues.

    MJ -- I don't need to get back into any Tetris obsession. I am called by the siren's lure of Solitaire on my wife's computer enough as it is.


  6. I think stuff started firing across my synapses when I saw that Tetris image...talk about addictive! :-)

    I remember learning how to create simple...what, commands? Prompts? I don't even know what to call it. It was 1985 or '86 and I had a computer class where I did stuff sorta like:

    10 GOTO 20
    20 END

    Or something. More sophisticated than that, but dang, I can barely remember yesterday, much less stuff I did 27 years ago (and don't think it doesn't hurt to type that, 'cause it totally does).

  7. It's great that your dad took a night class, and worked so hard to learn how to use the computer. Now I see where you get your strength and determination from. Sorry that you're still having computer trouble. Hope everything gets resloved soon.


  8. Tetris was a dangerous game for me when I was in college--what a time sucker! My dad used to work for a bank and he had a hand in getting the bandwidth for the first ATMs. At the time, I never knew what he was talking about.

  9. Mina -- Yeah, I get the memory thing. And memories are less clear for the things I didn't understand anyway.

    Julie -- If I could focus more on just the computer issues I'd probably resolve them more quickly. It's all that other stuff that keeps popping up. At least the computer woes inspired another topic.

    Theresa -- I try to stay away from computer games because I know how easily I get sucked into them. Bandwith? I still don't totally get it.


  10. My first computer was a microbee. I learnt dos and I tested all my brother's games he programed for the microbee, lol. Ah, those were the days ;)

  11. My husband at the time was an engineer for hewlet-Packard - circa 1974 - The computer game I remember playing at Friday night employee parties in the yet to be named Silicon Valley was Pong - by Atari? I think --
    I was not interested in computers at all and could not have imagined the changes that would explode the culture. In 1984, some very good friends were excited about "Macintosh" computers and they made a good case for acquiring one, I remember debating with my (current!) husband about the "need" for one and we both agreed that it wasn't necessary. That changed in about 1987 - and Apple became ourcomputer of choice.


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Arlee Bird