Friday, November 23, 2012

Ancient Artifact

     All right, children, now this is a floppy disk.  It doesn't look all that floppy but it would be if you took it out of the protective casing.  It is eight inches high, almost twice the size of a CD case, and goes in an eight-inch slot in your Tandy computer.  I don't remember if it would have been compatible with the Commodore, the Thinkpad, the Epson or my $4,500 IBM.  Nor do I remember how many bytes it held, but it was few enough that the number could be expressed in "bytes" -- just tiny naked individual bytes.
     I bought the IBM to serve as a word processor (ugly term).   It  processed words with something called Volkswriter, which I had chosen over something more difficult called WordStar.  Then I would exit the processing program and load a different one to print out what I had written -- that's because the computer couldn't remember two things at one time. 
     All I did was process words for at least five years.  Then my grandchildren visited, bringing more floppies containing  A GAME.  I had heard there were computer games--one of my sons was playing Dungeons and Dragons at midnight on a college machine.  By that time I was on a different computer myself -- they developed fast and we had to buy new ones every so often.  That  first game, Pharaoh's Tomb,was in exciting amber and green!  and a five-year-old  taught me how to play it.
    It was the beginning of the end.  I could have written ten books in the time I've invested in computer games.

1 comment:

  1. Yes, it fit your first IBM, dual floppy machine. One drive was used to load the program (THE Program, such as a word processing program, or a spreadsheet, or a game). The other drive held 'data' (e.g. a document, or several documents).

    The first widely circulated floppies held ca. 2.4 mbs, less information than is in a modern digital photo.