In 1984, Apple debuted their famous ad referring to the novel. That is the year that we bought our first computer.
It was an Atari 1200XL. A nice compact little machine that also took game cartridges. It hooked up to our television, although later we bought a monitor for it. The tape drive was soon replaced by two 5 1/4 inch floppy drives. We had invested in the world of eight-bit computing.
Our first sixteen-bit computer was an Atari 16ST. It came as a package that included a monitor, keyboard and disk drive. We used that for about a year before buying our first “real” computer.
The TRS-80 was awful. Six months later my husband bought a computer from a local builder who sold under the name of Owl Computers. The computer had a whopping eight megabyte hard drive, a lightning fast Intel 88028 processor and a built-in five-inch floppy drive. It had a real computer monitor and ran Windows 3.0 from DOS.
We became a two computer house after we replaced the Owl with a computer that had an even faster Intel processor, two floppy drives (5 in and the new 2 in), and a larger hard drive. Both computers would be running on Windows 3.1 after I managed to trash 3.0 on the Owl.
The next two computers would come from Micron PC. The first was a Windows 95 machine. Blue screens were a common occurence, and it needed frequent reboots. The second ran Windows NT4 and performed even less well. Both machines eventually received Windows 98SE and performed much better with less frequent blue screen incidents.
Soon after, we built our own computers because it was cheaper that way. The CD drive had become a standard replacement for the 5 in floppy. But you still needed a floppy to do an emergency boot should the unthinkable happen.
The last homemade machines had dvd-cd readers and could burn cds. Hard drives had evolved past the eight-gigabyte range and processors were now processing at 32-bits. The floppies had disappeared. And the operating system had advanced to Windows XP. The blue screen was basically a thing of the past as long as you installed an anti-virus program.
We did splurge on a Dell desktop for our daughter as it had a compact tower and would not take up much space in her room. That also ran Windows XP.
Inspired by how well her Dell ran, I invested in a 32-bit Dell laptop which came loaded with Windows Vista. I made the mistake of buying a store demo; to this day the computer thinks my name is Beth. I use it to play region 2 dvds when I can’t get something on region 1. It is very happy sitting in my living room next to my television.
Currently, we are using two 17-in HP laptops. They came with Windows Vista installed and were somewhat sluggish by todays standards. We upgraded the operating system to Windows 7 and haven’t had any problems since. They use less energy than the desktops and a sudden power outage isn’t a problem if you are in the middle of a homework assignment.