Thursday, November 11, 2010

Our First Encounter With A Computer!

A couple of weeks back, I had mentioned in one of my posts about how my children benefited from their experience with a 'computer' and now, I am explaining here, how it was working!

Some of my friends here, must be familiar with this computer. We were not living in a city, but in a small town, Hosur, in the year, must be 1987-88. We had very close family friends there who had children of the same age, as my children. One of the friend's husband got this 'computer' from customs for Rs.6000/- (I still remember the price!). Until then, we never knew about computers or maybe had never heard of it or might have come across the word in newspapers. But it was new for us!

It was like a key-board! Mr.P. (my friend's husband) had got some cassettes which contained games, some chemistry and maths problems too. First, the cassette was inserted in their two-in-one, then it was connected to this 'computer', then connected to their TV monitor! The keys in the keyboard (as in the above picture), were used to give signal to the 'computer'! So, we needed three gadgets to operate the 'computer'!

As you can guess, first their children and our children started playing games with that 'computer'. Then, after some days, they started using the educational material(!), which came to very good use, for all the children, later on. The games were like chasing worm, hurdles, etc. For the first few days, my friend was not allowed to use her two-in-one and TV monitor, because of this 'computer'. Some 'keeeek' sound used to come out of the 'computer' often, which, you know, was irritating!

My friend used to say that normally, everyone will go in for a new VCR, which was also a new gadget, in those days, for watching movies, but her husband got the 'computer' first! All of us were hiring VCRs for rent on holidays!

Even now, this Sinclair ZX Spectrum, is used by some, for playing games, I was told. Does anyone here, who is reading this, has got it?

Later on, we shifted to Chennai and then I think, after a couple of years, my son got a second hand computer from a Computer institute (Rs.13,000/-)! It was also a very primitive computer. My son was playing games in the beginning and then started creating designs like forests etc. Then he tried to make it echo back what we speak, sometimes he would make it speak and I was asked by him to decipher what it said! He was happy if I (an ordinary person) was able to repeat what it said! He was compelling me to play games too, I remember!

Now, all of us are so used to computers, but the first introduction to any new gadget, is memorable, isn't it?

Courtesy: Image from wikipedia


Anonymous said...

I dont know anything about ZX spectrum.The first computer i saw was in my friends house.When ever i went to her house she used to show me how to play games.
Then i started going to net centers to mails my friends,didnt had computer for myself till 2007 when i brought my first laptop and i feel bad that it is no longer working,but i have kept that with me.

Sandhya said...

varunavi: I started using computer properly from around 2001 for emailing my sons, from a computer centre! I took SOME time to learn to do it properly. But the young people at the centre were patiently teaching me how to mail and then check!

I think my own PC came home in 2003!

Anonymous said...

Very nice post, Sandhya. So full of memories! 1987-88??Wow!! I didnt even know computers existed then...and now they are such an integral part of our lives! Amazing, isnt it??

Bikram said...

I have not seen this one but i remeber the FIrst job i had they had this machine called a BBC god know how it works .. i remember the 5 1/4 floppies , booting the computers in DOS mode.. and wordstar etc and then windows came wow , it was a miracle then came the smaller floppies

good old days they were , now i got 1 terabyte memory and I still want a bigger one .. .


BK Chowla, said...

I am too embarrassed to speak of my knowledge of computers.

Sandhya said...

deepsspeakingup: Yes, now, nearly every middle class family has got their PC or laptop!

Bikram:Oh, you reminded me of the floppies...I used floppies in my first PC!

You still want a bigger one, good!

BKChowla: You and I are using computers, isn't it? Isn't that great, Chowlaji?!

RGB said...

I've never seen or heard of the ZX model! When I was in my 8th std. (must have been 1990 AD - feels like a century ago!), Computers were introduced in Schools. The CPU was horizontal with the monitor above it. Yeah, with the big floppy (51/4") and stuff! My cousin had a hi-fi computer those days, with games, ( stick & all), music composing software (with pedestal speakers) and the was like WOW back then! My dad got me my first computer with printer in 1997 (or was it 1998?). It was expensive then. Now computers that are 10 times better are available 10 times cheaper. So much for technological advancements, that even a baby knows how to use it now!

SG said...

The earliest desk top computer I saw was an IBM dual floppy disk. You put the Lotus 1-2-3 disk on the left and start the computer.

Anonymous said...

That was such a wonderful post, full of memories! 1987-88, we had a computer lab in school, and we had just got introduced to the computer :) We got a computer at home only in 2001, I think. Until then it was only at work and school.

It is indeed wonderful remembering how we get introduced to gadgets. I still remember when the TV first came to our home :)

SM said...

that time i did not even know the computer existed in this world.

Kavita Saharia said...

I saw my first computer somewhere in 95 0r 96 .My brother -in-laws who were in school at that time had it.Every time they updated ,old one was passed on to us .I still have one of those desk tops .You really had lots of fun with your son's experiments on his computer.Fun post Sandhya :):)

Sandhya said...

RGB: It is interesting to realize that so many changes are happening to the gadgets we are handling, in our own time!

Rs.6000/- for the ZX spectrum was expensive in those days. Now all these gadgets are very cheap, like you say, RGB!

SG: I have got some old floppies somewhere!

wordsndreamz: My son joined in 8th Std. in Chennai. I don't remember him talking about computers at that time.

Yes, you had mentioned about your first TV in my post about DD serials, Smitha! Now, we are so used to all types of gadgets that nothing is as interesting as the TV and computers!

sm: We came to know because of our friend, sm!

Kavita: The current laptop of mine is 2years old. Earlier, I had the normal table top computer - CPU, huge monitor, huge stabilizer etc.!

Mothers are involved in most of the things when children are small!

Swaram said...

Such a nice post Sandhya. I always love these nostalgic posts of urs :)
It's so nice to recollect the days when we were first introduced to stuff :)

Roshmi Sinha said...

An interesting read. Never seen a 'Sinclair ZX Spectrum' till now. However I do remember the huge Mainframe computers... Its a miracle that the comp. has shrunk in size to become a 'tablet' so quickly!

Anonymous said...

He he, I remember the first time I saw a floppy disk, it was a revelation, and there was this school project to 'draw' a disk, and a classmate ended up bringing a REAL one to school from her dad;s office, and man!! We were in complete awe of her :-)

Anonymous said...

it would have been a wonder object at that time.. I got my comp at home only after started going to work.. still in awe of my comp :D :D

thanks for the pic.. gives me lil idea about how it would have been...

Destination Infinity said...

My earliest encounter was a TV Video Game to play games - Mario, Contra, and all such awesome games. I have even played FIFA in mobile phone, but have not used the computer to play games! When I bought my first laptop, I was already working for almost four years, maybe that's why!! Did you know, in Linux, you can download from thousands of freely available games!! I have already downloaded pin ball, but not played more than a couple of times! Should download and play some good games soon - thanks for the inspiration :)

Destination Infinity

Anonymous said...

Nice trip down memory lane, Sandhya!

I've never seen a ZX Spectrum, though.

My son learned to use a computer at school. Around the same time we bought one for our home. Whatever he learned at school he would come home and show to me- that's how I started to use a computer!

And I confess- at first I would only play games. :)

Sandhya said...

Swaram: We are so used to our computers now and very rarely we remember about how we started!

Roshmi Sinha: Yes, our mobile itself has become like a computer now...amazing!

writerzblock: Isn't it funny to remember those things now?!

kanaguonline: I had forgotten about this 'computer' until I wrote about it in my earlier post (admission of my son in CBSE school from Matriculation school)!

destination Infinity: I had been playing pinball in Linux for years now! My son introduced me to Linux 3-4 years back! I don't have windows here! Browser is Chrome, sometimes Firefox!

I used to play many types of word games, now, just bejewelled, when I am too bored!

Manju: My son introduced to play computer games at home. I started sending emails, from a computer centre, before we had our own table top PC at home!

It is nice to remember these things...age?!

R. Ramesh said...

haha kya memories ya..even v bought a 2nd computer in mumbai..and kept shouting at the selller ever 2 weeks..heh..:)good piece ya..

Deepa said...

The first computer i ever saw was in high school when I took 'Computer Science' as a 6th subject. The teacher was terrible and I totally sucked at the subject. I used to hate the subject and also the computer. It never did what i asked it to! I was so bad at it I thought I would flunk my 10th board exams! As a result I avoided the computer till I started working - way back in 1998 and discoverd windows! After that the computer has mostly been a friend :)

radha said...

We had a 286 bought for the office for a princely sum of Rs 1 lakh.
And the old big floppy disk!

Nice post.

vimmuuu said...

Wow, thanks for the info ! Never knew such a thing existed. We have video games that looks like this, but not anything that comes close to a computer ! :D

Sandhya said...

Ramesh: Thank you!

Deepa: Now, computer has become so common that even small children are becoming experts in handling it!

Radha: 1 lakh? I didn't know that computers were so expensive...I think we paid around 40 thousand for a desktop alongwith a big stabilizer which costed 15 thousand! Now, we get a laptop for 25 thousand!

vimmuuu: I am so glad in the morning to see you here, vimmuuu! Settled down in the new job?

We were discussing about 'yennavale' the other day and I was thinking of checking if you had sung that already. It is a beautiful song!

All the best!

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