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Miss Your Old Micro? Write Like It’s 1983

Would you like to play a game?

Every computer geek old enough to type will remember those immortal words from the geekfest film “War Games” starring Matthew Broderick in 1983. Like all pre-Web computer nerds, I was in the theater on opening day to watch young Matthew save the world (Who needs The Force when you have got a geek handy?).

And, every time I see the movie on TV, I get a little sentimental over my first computer. We called them microcomputers in those days. This was before there was such a thing as an IBM PC.

We did not have anything resembling the GUI (graphical user interface) of today and a mouse was something the cat chased. More commonly, we just had a monitor, keyboard and CPU. Heck, hard drives were expensive and teensy compared to today (something like a 10 meg drive for several thousand dollars…and that was a bargain!) and microcomputers did not come with them. My first computer was a TRS-80 Model III with 16k (yes, that’s right) of RAM and a slow, temperamental cassette tape drive. I later brought it up to the maximum 48k of RAM and added two single sided floppy drives. I thought I was smoking.

The contemporaries to my TRS-80 were the Apple II and Commodore Pet, among others. The monitor (CRT) usually was a black or dark green background with light green or white text. That was it. Graphics were primitive and laughable by today’s standards.

Anyway, I get nostalgic at times and wish I had my old box back. But, since that’s not possible, I found a great web site that gives me a quick fix. It allows you to simulate writing on one of these old machines. It is called Big Huge Labs Writer and what you get is simply a black screen with green text and a basic word processor, not unlike the original Scripsit word processor for my old TRS-80.

Now, if I could just plug in my old cassette drive… 😉

By the way, you must hear this post as a podcast. Sounds a bit like Joshua reading it!

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2 thoughts on “Miss Your Old Micro? Write Like It’s 1983

  1. Pingback: Reflections of a Computer Nut - 23 years later

  2. G Ghosh says:

    Brings back nostalgia. I started an year later, but had glimpses of the microcomputer. Used to work on a 10MB disk and 256K RAM (lucky)! dbase III, VisiCalc and a new (just arrived) Lotus 1-2-3. My boss had a 20MB disk and color monitor (that costed a fortune). My daughter gets amused by these information.

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