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Discussion in 'The OT' started by Mark Holtz, Aug 25, 2013.
From Sacramento Bee:
Online world presents challenges, promise for older adults
FULL ARTICLE HERE
My mom still refuses to use the internet, but my dad finally got on Facebook so he could see pictures of the grandkids and other family members.
My Mother in Law takes those classes for seniors at the Y and other places. She took internet classes, Facebook classes, MS Word classes, etc.
I led my family on to the Internet 30 years ago ... no one could understand why I'd want to be on the net. But a few years later they took the plunge and now my mother has the fastest Internet connection in the family despite her advanced age. She has used it for family tree research and regularly Skypes with her family overseas.
There are pitfalls and too many elderly fall victim to scams. It is a world where one must be savvy and one must learn what is safe and what is not safe to do and say on the Internet.
I used to teach those classes for adults at a local college. Well, not Facebook, but all the Microsoft products. Was interesting for a bit, but got boring after a while.
I've been using computers since 1962, anybody been doing it longer?
How did you get on the Net in or around 1983? Landline dial up obviously, but that must have taken all day, no?
Yep, dialup on a landline for sure. You could see each letter of a word come to the screen. LOL
Compuserve with a 300 baud modem at home, the university's network at college in the 80's ... the connections were slow but the net was not that big 30 years ago. I did not get my first personal domain until 1995. By then I had a non-content based ISP (still dialup but 56k) and a university connection where the whole campus was on a 64k connection.
The extra fluff of high-res images, flash, etc that simply burns bandwidth wasn't as common 20-30 years ago. That certainly helped reduce the need for bandwidth. More text discussions that were email or usenet based (I stayed out of the chat rooms). Information made available via Gopher or anonymous FTP. It was a much simpler world.
We also used the Compuserve system in our business in the early-to-mid-1980's. That was a "wow" but frustrating experience. You could see what it could become, but wasn't there yet. I was used to teletypes in newspapers and law enforcement in the 1960's and 1970's so I had some perspective. And that's what we got from Compuserve, slowly streaming text. A 1200 baud modem was a heck of a speed jump.
I try to help my peers. Facebook with family picture posts seems to have made a difference in interest. And even though I hate Facebook, I'm about to ask for some help in a new thread.
Yup--began using computers in 1956-1957 as a systems field engineer for the old IBM Military Products Division. After training, I was assigned to a Sage site at Truax AFB in Madison, WI., where I helped bring up two massive computer systems. After a year, I transerred to IBM's Owego, NY site, where I worked first in systems test for the Titan missile guidance computer -- then as a programmer. I spent most of my career at Owego, but had assignments at Huntsville, Alabama, Warminster, PA, and East Fishkill, NY. My last assignment was providing software support for the Manufacturing Model Shop and Circuit Board drilling operations. I took early retirement in June, 1987. Over the years, I did programming in Sage computer language, Titan computer language, System/360 Assembly, Fortran and PL-1, RCA 110 Assembly, IBM Series/1 Event Driven Language and several small military computer languages.
I recently tried to get my father to switch email providers. He insisted his email had to be his real name, for the bank. Was hard to convince him that his bank doesn't care what address he used.
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Close... I got started in computers around age 3 - I am NOT making that up - in 1965. My adoptive mother worked a graveyard shift for a firm that wanted to get the maximum use out of their new "computer system" so, instead of hiring a babysitter, she took me into work with her. After fooling around on a new, modern "teletypewriter" for a while, I'd curl up in a sleeping bag in the store room to go to sleep. I never remembered coming home but always woke up in my bedroom (must have slept like a rock).
One day, I asked my mother how old she would be when I turned 21. She wouldn't tell me. Instead, she showed me how to program it on this newfangled language called Beginner's All-purpose Standard Instruction Code - BASIC, for short. When I reminded her of that she told me that was my first program. Among other things, she taught me how to type by writing the letters and numbers on my fingers with a magic marker (not easy with small hands).
Yeah, I didn't grow up like other kids
I was a computer programmer for the California Department of Employment (now Employment Development Department) in the early 1960s. My iPhone has more memory than the computers I programmed then... I didn't get my first home computer until the early 1990s, I think. I tried out Netcom and Compuserve, and then signed on with AT&T WorldNet went it went live in March of 1996
I'm not as old as the 86 year old woman in the article, but I'm getting there. I bought an iPad for my 97 year old mom and she enjoys using it. Her main problem is holding down the app icon for a wee bit too long and deleting the app. After she's missed a page of apps, she calls me and asks where her apps went...
Your iPhone probably has more storage that ALL the computers combined in 1960!
I could type faster than the words appeared. I gave up. Waited until the '90s to get online.
Kinda figured you'd be one of the guys who beat me.
My first computer was a massive analog ballistic computer that was installed on my ship during WW2. We took the covers off one day to see what was inside and it looked like a Tinker Toy gone insane. But it worked just as you'd expect a computer to work. Many sensors fed it and we could also input data by turning dials. Didn't work very well for precision shooting.
I was reading a book a bit ago about a sniper with a super sniper rifle (don't remember the name of the book) that had sensors built into it and I thought back to the old analog computer and it did the same thing. Did even more than the sniper rifle.
My dad worked on what he called "Hollerith Machines" after WWI and he kept calling them that when he was back at it in WWII. He won some kind of "award" as a kid when he built a crystal radio set of some kind. So I guess I inherited my interest.
But other than having seen something that really didn't physically resemble a computer, my first computer work was on an IBM 360 which, of course, filled a fair size room. By 1980, though, my wife and I had started a computerized accounting and other office services business with Tandy Model II's.
Like you, we watched with fascination as letter-by-letter words appeared. And then we finally figured out that this wasn't going to replace phones combined with snail mail anytime soon. By the late 1980's we had to go back to working for others.
By the early 1990's I was back on Compuserve. But then my wife found AOL. Suddenly the "internet" looked like it could become something for ordinary people ... well ... ordinary computer nuts. Life really hasn't been the same since.
It feels wierd as I have gotten older. My parents were born when nobody had electricity, phones, or automobiles. Air travel was for the birds, literally. My grandchildren have never seen a time without home computers or cell phones. There's a car or two or three at every home. My youngest son flies from D.C. to the Bay Area to see his daughter at least once a month (and sometimes sees his mother and I, sometimes, grumble, grumble).
That granddaughter's other grandmother (her mother's mother) died today. She was 80, i believe. Our generation grew up with an experience of the growing ubiquitousness of electricity, phones, extensive home entertainment equipment, automobiles, air travel, etc.
My dad's world didn't end up with everyone having a personal flying machine - but it did end up with everyone having refrigerators. And he did live to see the time when we had computers in our home.
Everyday American life changed radically in the lifespan of two generations.
Just my musings....
It's been a hell of an interesting journey, hasn't it?