Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The First Computers I Saw :-)


People these days call me a computer freak. It is quite true that computers have been always a part and parcel of my life. Earlier i talked about my F.R.I.E.N.D.S, now i talk about the computers i first saw.


It was during my 5th standard (1997-1998) when i first sneaked into my dad's office (National Textile Corporation – Electronic Data Processing (EDP) Division, a central government concern). The office was not very big. The first thing i liked there was the cold climate inside the office due to the air conditioners, which i have seen only on advertisements in television before, which were present there. Coming to the computers part, the office had nearly ten computers, two of which were running on Windows 95 and the rest were running on Unix. Only one of those unix computers had a mouse(Now i wonder why a unix machine needed a mouse..!!) (A black color IBM machine).


It was two days back my teacher (Ms.Salomey) had showed a demo on how to move a mouse and place it over objects and click it (They had some software in school to accomplish that). They allowed only one guy in the class to touch the mouse and hence i was denied a chance of operating the mouse. So, i was in much of an eager to try out that in one of the windows machines. I described my dad what i saw in school and i asked him that i want a similar one here. He replied back that the same software is not available here and instead he opened MS-Paint and handed over the system to me. I was way too enthusiastic. I remembered one of my senior class students working with that in the school lab the previous day. I was just learning to use the mouse and to click on it.


After some struggle, i finally drew something which looked like a sun in between two mountains. When i was trying to color it, my dad called me for lunch. I was worried if the entire work would have to be done again once i switch off the system when i go to lunch. That was when my dad came, and told me to “save” the work and then switch off the system. I was wondering, because previously i had heard the word “save” as in “save money”, how do i save the painting like i save money? Then my dad explained me what exaclty “save” means in computers. He then saved the painting and switched off the computer. I did not have a nice lunch, because i still wasn't convinced that i would be able get back my painting after switching off the system. Finally, the lunch was over and i was running back towards the machine. I was pestering my dad, who was busy with some work, to get me back my painting. He did it and wow!! I was wonderstuck.


The machines there had two floppy drives and a cd drive in their CPU. One of the floppy drive was a traditional 3½ inches floppy drive (1.44MB) whereas the other one was a 5¼ inches floppy drive (1.30MB). One of my dad's colleagues was copying some data from a bigger floppy (5¼”) to a smaller floppy (3½”) . The light was blinking on the drives alternatively. He called me and explained me that, the computer is reading from the disk in the bigger drive and writing it to the disk in the smaller drive.


The manager of that section was frightening me by showing some chip and telling that it was a bomb. I was very afraid at that time as i had never seen a chip before. From then, whenever i saw him, the chip would flash in my mind and i was moving away from him all the time.


That is where it all began and from then on, i used to visit my dad's office often and spend my time in ms-paint and testing the correctness of windows calculator (The computer won always :-( ).



More coming up in the next post.. :-)


-Vignesh