12 January 2006

5 Weird Things (Part 4) - I Is Geek

My first computer, after salivating over friends' and neighbours' Ataris, Commodores and Sinclairs for the longest of time, was an Apple IIe. What was originally thought to be an excellent investment in my personal development, turned out, to my folk's dismay, a very expensive video game machine. Hur hur hur.....

Anyway, that was that until around 1985 when the Gahmen clamped down on pirated software (especially games) that my Apple IIe embarked on a new journey.... collecting dust.

By then the PC has already surfaced but I kinda miss it riding that particular new technology wave and slowly started to degenerate back into a PC illiterate (except for the odd occasion during secondary school and when I was temping in Shittybank).

Now let me fast forward to my NS days where I ended up as a chao clerk nursing a fractured femur and back then, we didn't have PCs. From pen pushing to cycostyling to typewriters, every thing was done old skool.

The one thing about being in the NS is that the champion is one who is able to act blur the best. You don't know, you say you don't know. You know, also must say you don't know. Ask any able-bodied Singaporean men who has gone through NS and they will tell you that they know exactly what I am talking about.

Anyway, coming back to my original story, I was, one fine day, appalled to see the delivery of several big boxes to the office. It was to be my department's very first PC. It was an Intel 8088 CPU PC with a generous RAM of 512 kB (note: not MB. kB), a 20 MB (note: not GB. MB) harddisk and a green monochrome monitor. No mouse.

Captain: Jay. Have you ever used a computer?

Me: Er... no Sir. (I lied.)

Captain: So I take it that you have never used a PC?

Me: Er... no Sir. (I lied again.)

Thinking that he may consider appointing someone else more literate in PC, I thought my escape from additional responsibility was complete when....

Captain: Well, then. Looks like you will have to stay back after office-hours to figure it out.


Well, technically speaking, I wasn't completely lying about my incompetency. I was familiar with WordStar while the army was just starting to switch the entire organisation over to Word Perfect 5.1, a totally different software where I needed to learn from scratch.

Anyway, that was the first day of the rest of my life, morphing into a computer geek.

So the PC and the Word Perfect software was dumped onto me and I had many a nights-offs burnt as a result of staying back, ploughing through the several bladdy thick volumes also known as the operational manuals. We didn't have dummies' guide back then. We were old skool remember?

As it turned out, it became a life-long journey of teaching oneself the use of the PC. From simple maintenance like PCTools, to the usual office suites (Word, Amipro, Excel, 1-2-3, Access, Dbase, Powerpoint, Harvard Graphics), to the more advanced desktop publishing (Pagemaker) and more recently the various web applications. On the hardware side was the hobby of assembling a PC from scratch, followed by the never-ending pursuit of upgrading to the latest components and peripherals.

Yes, it was a slow but sure transition into geek-hood.

I never looked back.

- Voxeros

1. Jaschocolate left...
Wednesday, 11 January 2006 11:00 pm
Geek, geek, geek, geek.. hurhurhur

2. JayWalk left...
Wednesday, 11 January 2006 11:38 pm :: 
Jaschocolate: Yah lah. Yah lah. Geek lah.... Chiobus like, can already. Pffftt......

3. Jaschocolate left...
Thursday, 12 January 2006 8:16 am

4. JayWalk left...
Thursday, 12 January 2006 9:06 am ::
Jaschocolate: So what type of yan dao kia you like har? Young dragon boaters?? :P

5. aloe left...
Thursday, 12 January 2006 9:27 am
I remember those coms!! haaaahaa!! But I tot the words are all green?? got red mah?

6. mht left...
Thursday, 12 January 2006 9:52 am
harvard graphics! sounds very familiar!
anyway, during my time in army, we use lotsa of telexes and letters(yes, snail mail). the army has their own internal mail runs.

7. JayWalk left...
Thursday, 12 January 2006 10:06 am :: 
Anna: Harlow, you think these type of picture berry easy to find har? Can even find the picture berry good liao lor.... That in the picture btw, is CGA mode graphics. Oh dear, I is soooo geek.

mht: Ahhh.. telexes. I used to be an office boy since Primary school during the school holidays. Learned to operate the telex machine then. The pink ticker tape type. Sibeh old skool.

8. kIm left...
Thursday, 12 January 2006 11:20 am
I couldn't understand any of the computer names that you just typed. Hahaha. I only remember that my very first computer had words in green. That was when I was about 8 years old or something. And I had to type in loads of commands just to play my SuperMario such that I became a pro in typing the commands for my SuperMario game. Haha..

9. Sly left...
Thursday, 12 January 2006 11:23 am ::
Woah, 20 mb of harddisk in those days is a luxury. Everything else was stored in those 5 1/4 floppy disks.

10. JayWalk left...
Thursday, 12 January 2006 11:52 am :: 
kIm: Wah... you also see before Green monochrome monitor siah... You not very the young also hor? kekekekeke.... :P

Sly We have that too since data are not allowed to be left in the HDD for security reasons. All data must be on floppy. MSD will come and spot check the computer in the middle of the night one.

There's once, I got a tip off that there will be a "raid" on my office the coming Sunday. I shifted the PC to the storeroom and told MSD guys that my office don't have computer one. :P

So our hdd was only meant to contain applications. Back then, we thought 20mb too big liao. So we partitioned it into 2 x 10-Mb drives. sheesh....

11. Jaschocolate left...
Thursday, 12 January 2006 1:26 pm
I don't like any yan dao kia.. i like myself.. :p

12. sly left...
Thursday, 12 January 2006 1:45 pm ::
Last time, pron was not even available on PC..So the HDD was mostly used to store those simple yet addictive games.

13. JayWalk left...
Thursday, 12 January 2006 1:53 pm :: 
Jaschocolate: I have no response to that. You win. -_-"

Sly: I guess pron started to flourish with the emergence of BBS even though it takes about 7 minutes to download a single MB using a 2400 baud modem!!

14. aloe left...
Thursday, 12 January 2006 2:14 pm
Er... I dun know ma. I only remembered the green monochrome monitors. Imagine my surprise and disgust when I worked temp in a travel agency and found that they still have those monitors... *sian diao*

I have no idea what the rest of the com software means or what they are about, I only recognise Word, Excel, Access, Powerpoint and Pagemaker in all the com terms used. hehheehe.

klm - ya ya!! I also remembered super mario.. the green man and the tortoises and what-have-u. Then have to keep jumping here and there, overturn the creatures and reach them before they turn back to kick them off the shelves and collect the coins. LOL!

Jas is a 自恋狂... wahahaha!
15. Jaschocolate left...
Thursday, 12 January 2006 2:19 pm
Daddy: Yea, i win liao...

Anna: you are wrong.. not 自恋狂, but is cherish myself.. But i still cant do it fully.. wahaha

16. sly left...
Thursday, 12 January 2006 2:42 pm ::
Think the days of the BBS is more fun then now.

17. JayWalk left...
Thursday, 12 January 2006 2:51 pm ::
Anna: Believe it or not, I still use the Super Mario theme song as my mobile phone ringtone!
Played the game during the Nintendo days.
Let me gib you a bit of computer history lesson (Oh man... that sound sooo geeky)...
Feel free to click on the various wiki-links for a more detailed write up.
Lotus Amipro is the equivalent of Word. Lotus was later acquired by IBM.
Lotus 1-2-3 Came out during the DOS days (before Windows) and it was the most popular spreadsheet program before Excel emerged. 1-2-3, came out after Visicalc which was like the grandfather of all spreadsheet programs.
Ashton-tate Dbase Is the equivalent of Access which is a database program. Dbase was later acquired by Borland and Borland was later acquired by Corel (I think).
Harvard Graphics Before Powerpoint, we used Harvard Graphics. Back then, instead of slick presentation on screen. We would print the slides on the transparencies and use them with the OverHead Projector (OHP).
Aldus Pagemaker is the equivalent of the present-day Microsoft Publisher. Aldus and the flagship software of Pagemaker were later acquired by Adobe and is the software of choice in the publishing industry today.

18. JayWalk left...
Thursday, 12 January 2006 2:57 pm :: 
Jaschocolate: Acherly come to think of it hor, we are all a little narcissistic to a certain extend. :)

Sly: Each have its own merits lah. Having to listen to the bladdy engaged tone when you try to dial in really no fun lor. :(

19. Sly left...
Thursday, 12 January 2006 3:04 pm ::
ya..not when your fren is running the biggest bbs board in sg...hehe

20. Jaschocolate left...
Thursday, 12 January 2006 3:37 pm
I know you are.. hee

21. JayWalk left...
Thursday, 12 January 2006 3:53 pm :: 
Sly: Which BBS would that be?

Jaschocolate: Pfffttt!!!!

22. Sly left...
Thursday, 12 January 2006 4:31 pm ::

23. JayWalk left...
Thursday, 12 January 2006 4:58 pm :: 
Sly: Hmm... never hear before. Voyager BBS and The Razor's Edge are the only 2 more active one that I can remember. I also dial into a few others but can't remember their names liao...

How long ago was that?? 10 years??

24. akk left...
Thursday, 12 January 2006 5:21 pm
wah...u know hor...all this is alien to me....muahahah...yay! I'm young!!!

25. Sly left...
Thursday, 12 January 2006 5:31 pm ::
think around 1994-96... before the internet boom.

26. JayWalk left...
Thursday, 12 January 2006 5:35 pm :: 
Akk: *cough* somebody in *cough* denial *cough cough*

Sly: Yah yah.... I remember installing my first 2400 baud internal modem in 1993. Ahh. the days of IRQ and DMA conflicts.....

27. Sly left...
Thursday, 12 January 2006 6:24 pm ::
haha, my 10 year old 33.6kb USR courier which cost me $950.00 back then is still usable today.

28. JayWalk left...
Thursday, 12 January 2006 7:06 pm ::
Sly: Holy cow! Me too! I have to specially import the USR Courier (28.8 baud) for USD 399.00, then upgrade to 33.6 baud with a daughterboard upgrade for an additional USD 99.00.
Yup still in working condition today. Although the rubber feet at the bottom all melted already.

29. kIm left...
Thursday, 12 January 2006 11:28 pm
Jay: I'm still young! I'm 19! Er.. Ok.. I'm still 19 for another 16 days. :( Supermario ringtone?! hahaha.. Where to get? I also want! My friend has the myojo mee ringtone.
Anna: Ya ya! My friend downloaded into a floppy for me to bring home from school. I was super depressed when my mom upgraded the comp loh. No more SuperMario for me.

30. JayWalk left...
Thursday, 12 January 2006 11:51 pm ::
kIm: I also 19! er.... my 15th anniversary of being 19. :P
Btw, check your email for the ringtone.

31. aloe left...
Friday, 13 January 2006 10:11 am
klm=> But I not 19.. i older than that le.. sob... =P
Wah liao... totally dun understand what the rest is talking abt.. sounds like greek to me.. haaaaa! All the pc terms... :P

32. JayWalk left...
Friday, 13 January 2006 10:20 am ::
Anna: You also 19 lah.... just that like me, you also have to celebrate its anniversary. :P
For you, I shall christened the new phrase.
"The Greek Of Geek" - Refers to technological lingo/jargon that renders the layperson to catch no ball.

33. kIm left...
Friday, 13 January 2006 11:27 am
Anna: I also don't know what are they talking about. I only see the green words on the picture then I realized what's Jay is talking about. Haha..

34. kIm left...
Friday, 13 January 2006 11:30 am
Jay: I'm gonna upload it on my phone. Haha.. Thanks!

35. JayWalk left...
Friday, 13 January 2006 1:00 pm ::
kIm: You're most welcome!

36. aloe left...
Friday, 13 January 2006 2:03 pm
thank u thank u. heheh! yah loh, celebrate anniversary...

37. JayWalk left...
Friday, 13 January 2006 6:05 pm :: 
Anna: My pleasure. I also 19 mah... kekekeke

38. Jaschocolate left...
Friday, 13 January 2006 11:16 pm
i should always be 18.. the perfect age for gals..

39. JayWalk left...
Saturday, 14 January 2006 12:16 am ::
Jaschocolate: Ok then, we shall celebrate your 18th birthday!
Er.... when ah?

40. Jaschocolate left...
Saturday, 14 January 2006 1:15 am
Erh.. i should put it on Halloween since i am a witch.. blah blah blah..

41. Zhe Bin left...
Sunday, 15 January 2006 1:59 am
Wah I really buay siew the machines you mentioned lor. I got my first com only in.. year 1998? or 1999. Can't remember.

42. JayWalk left...
Sunday, 15 January 2006 9:39 am :: 
ZheBin: Alas, you are a young lad. Your time will come when your mention of Pentium Celeron and AGP Graphics Bus will cause your underlings to catch no ball.
Mark my words. Your time will come. :)

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