Share Your Most Memorable Experience With New Technology

Do you remember the first time you made a call on a phone that wasn’t a land line? What about the first time you ditched your typewriter for a PC (they were huge)? Did you ever imagine you’d be carrying around a computer (laptop or tablet)? What did you do before the Internet? Take a walk down memory lane and share a humorous or compelling experience of transitioning to a new technology.

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Bonnie C November 8, 2013 at 9:36 am

I bought my first personal computer (a DOS machine) in 1989. It was advanced for the time and cost a lot of money, but allowed my kids to use Prodigy (a pre-cursor to real Internet access - remember that?). Prodigy helped with homework and was almost better than an encyclopedia because you didn't have to go to the library to use it, and it contained a wealth of information.

Of course I had been using computers for many years by that time. I remember using a floppy disc to boot the AppleII computers at work, and then having to re-learn how to turn on a computer when our office switched to DOS-operated personal computers.

In the early days you could only save your documents and data to floppy discs, which could only hold a maximum of 256KB, but you could save many documents on one disc. Then our office bought an external hard drive which could hold as much as 5MB and we thought we had hit the big time. Our databases (which were not much more than glorified mailing lists) quickly filled the 5MB and we purchased a 10MB external drive and we were convinced we were truly on our way.

Of course, since coming to Hopkins, I've seen the evolution of email from the welchlink (text-editing) system to our current JHEM or Outlook (browser based) system. I was involved in creating the first mail lists for incoming students, so a broadcast email could be sent to all the students, instead of arduously composing a separate email to each student.

We've come a LONG way, baby!!

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Roger Messick November 8, 2013 at 9:22 am

I recall carrying a pager back in the day. One Friday i need to attend a meeting out of town and received a call on my Cell phone from the office. They informed me that they had resolved the concern - but I was in hot water for leaving my pager in my office. I had left the pager for reasons that had more to do with lack of use, they were antiquated by then. Nonetheless I returned to the office retrieved my pager from my boss with an admonition that I KEEP IT CHARGED AND CARRY IT ALL TIMES.
When the dust settled and I stopped by the office manager's desk to ask her what the emergency was all about. "Oh, we were ordering lunch and wanted to know if you could pick it up on your way back to the office." [Pagers were cut from the following year's budget]

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Peg Cooper November 8, 2013 at 3:45 am

Working in CVDL has a cardiovascular technologist & attending college on the weekend. I remember typing papers until a cardiologist showed me how to use WordPefect & taught me how to cut & paste.

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Lorraine November 7, 2013 at 3:34 pm

I remember my first email. This was before the "web", in the early days of the internet. I used a 300 baud modem that cost a fortune and almost no one had an email address yet -- a computer science professor involved with DARPA got the class email addresses to use so we could see this marvelous new thing in action. It seemed like magic.

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Carla Cook November 7, 2013 at 12:04 pm

I have been in Home Care for quite a while so I remember being one of the first to have a "portable phone" along with a rather large bag with a connecting cord. It had to remain on a charger at all times for use. The darned thing was so big that it was difficult to hide when visiting patients homes and of course to use it meant returning to the car. However, it was better than using a pay phone with a short cord and having your back to the street !!

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Janet Anderson November 7, 2013 at 10:39 am

At a previous job in the '80s, I was responsible for doing the layout for our publication. We had two humongous typesetters—machines where you typed the information and "printed" them out in individual one-column strips on big rolls of photographic paper. Then you used an exacto knife to trim the articles, ran them through a wax machine, and manually pressed them onto your design on large sheets. We had border tape of different thicknesses to create boxes and lines. Then technology came in the form of these new computers called Macintosh towers, which cost about $3,600 each. (We moved to the big leagues!)

At first, we delivered the layout to the printer, then eventually we could put the layout on a Zip disk that had stored a mind-blowing 100 to 250 MB. After that the idea of sending files through the Internet FTP system came about.

I won't mention typewriters, getting black fingers from changing the ribbon and running out of correction tape when you needed it most!

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Sherron Stevenson November 7, 2013 at 9:54 am

My first cell phone, i thought i was something, The biggest flap jack you ever seen. And it opened up. But i loved it. Till i started seeing these smaller phones. and that was a prepaid phone. So now i am well into this demintion, Better phone , smaller phone, and i love it still

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David Plaut November 7, 2013 at 9:07 am

IBM PC showed up in the nursing station on Meyer 6. It was DOS operating system with WordPerfect. I started typing my nursing notes in WordPerfect and printing those out and putting in the chart. Doctors commented that they could read my notes and found them helpful. I haven't stopped using computers since.

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Cymantha (Cy) Governs November 7, 2013 at 8:12 am

My mom ordered the first Macintosh computer in 198?. My dad and I played a joke on her by telling her it had arrived and was on the dining room table...instead we'd placed a real Macintosh apple there. This was hilarious (and novel) at the time.

When the computer finally arrived, she got a software program that allowed amateurs to create orchestral compositions. I made a short little song and we packed up the entire Mac and took it over to my octagenarian piano teacher's house to show her. It blew her mind!

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Laura Gandy November 7, 2013 at 7:40 am

I was 36 when I bought my first PC — what a terrifying experience. It opened a whole new world of research for someone that was used to going to the library and using the card catalog to find a book! Now, I freely admit to geekdom - I have a tablet, a smartphone, and an e-reader.

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