(Ancient) Geek

Highlights from my personal use of computers for 50+ years. I'm currently creating a website exploring my personal use of computers from my office desk since 1967 - www.ancientgeek.uk

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Computer Time-Sharing

On January 21st 1967 I was dragged screaming and kicking into the personal computing age! I had just spent two days using a electromechanical calculator doing a correlation analysis and my boss then suggested that I should try the new Mark 1 Computer Time-Sharing Computer Service. Arriving at the typewriter like terminal (an ASR33 Teletype) I dialed the phone number of the Time-Staring Computer (about 55 miles away) I got through, entered my user number and password, called up a program entered my data and minutes later I had done the calculations!

Sharing the computer with twenty of so others I had a whole 15k bytes of RAM, could send and receive data at 10 characters per second (110 bps) and store programs and data on paper tape. Yet, despite these limitations, only using Time-Sharing occasionally I saved myself about five man-years in my first six months of using it - I was hooked!

ASR33 Teletype

 

Recognising the impact of the microchip

In the late 1970s I wrote articles about the impact of the micro (electronic) chip and of the microcomputer that were published in Marketing Magazine and other magazines.

Articles forecasting abongst other things a microcomputer on every desk

My article on the microcomputer and the marketer forecast a microcomputer on every desk. This was several years before IBM (re)invented the "personal computer" and at a time that if you asked middle and senior managers "when will you have a computer on your desk" their response was "NEVER we have a data processing department.

I bought my first microcomputer in 1980 (see next) and introduced both Ashridge Management College and The CIM's College of Marketing to microcomputers.

 

First generation micro-computers

By the late 1970s it was obvious that Computer Time-Sharing was on the way out and it would be replaced on the desk top by the microcomputer. In 1980 I bought my first microcomputer a TRS80 Model 1. I bought the top of line version costing around 2000 ($3300). It had a massive 48k bytes of memory, but because I had two 80k byte floppy disks I only had 40k bytes of memory actually available for programs and data (the other 8k bytes were used by the disk operating system). The monochrome (green) display consisted of 16 lines of 64 characters (because I had the top of the line system I could display both upper AND lower case characters ,

Tandy/Radio Shack TRS80 Model 1 Microcomputer

 

Current Personal Computer

My most recent personal computer purchase had 8 gigabytes of RAM, a 1 terabyte hard disc, running Windows 10 and cost me just over 200 as illustrated by the picture of my new ASUS computer

So over nearly fifty years RAM has increased over 500,000 time and since 1980 (35 years), RAM has increased 167,000 times and prices have dropped over 90% (or in real terms about 98%). A similar situation exists with printers. My first monochrome dot matrix printer cost 400, today you can by a colour inkjet printer for 29 - a 93% drop in price. Likewise my first monochrome laser printer cost me 2000, today you can get a monochrome printer for 59 - a 97% drop in price. Over the same period a pint of beer has gone up from 35 pence to 2.87 - an increase of 720%!!!

Picture of my latest computer

 

Wine Making

OK Why is "Wine Making" geeky? Because I am probably the only person ever to have an article on wine making in the computer trade press. Actually it was an article about a financial model that I created evaluating the ROI associated with my amateur wine making. (FYI the ROI was well over 100% but to fully benefit I had to dig a cellar). (The picture to the right is me in my hirsute days on my patio!)

Article on amateur wine making in the computer trade press!

 

2014 Jeremy J. S. B. Hall

Most recent update: 10/04/17
Hall Marketing, Studio 11, Colman's Wharf, 45 Morris Road, London E14 6PA, ENGLAND
Phone +44 (0)20 7537 2982 E-mail
jeremyhall@simulations.co.uk