Saturday, December 08, 2007

Prodigy, Link to Mad Maze and My First Home Computer

I just uploaded a 42 MB file in one minute which made me think back to my first home computer purchase and my first online service provider.

Below, you will find copies of a newspaper ad for the computer, a worksheet from the computer store and a catalog picture of my super cool computer hutch (which I totally assembled all by myself) all of which I bought January 2, 1992. What? You can't put your hands on 15 year old paperwork in less than 10 minutes?

You'll notice that I bought the computer from a local group of guys and not from Best Buy or Circuit City or anything like that. In 1992, southeast Texas didn't have these stores. If you didn't know someone who could build a computer for you, there were a couple of locally owned shops that could help you out.

You will also notice that my $1,800.00 bought:

  • 2 MB RAM (I paid $69 extra for the second megabyte)

  • One 5.25" floppy disk drive

  • 42 MB hard drive (didn't upgrade - 89 MB $140; 125 MB $239)

  • 14 inch monitor (I paid $244 to upgrade from a 12" monochrome monitor)

  • I had to pay extra for a mouse! ($39.00 and I couldn't imagine what I was going to need that thing for)

  • I also paid $149.00 for the software package: Lotus Works, Quicken, PFS First Publisher, PGA Tour Golf and Calendar Creator Plus. (I still have the books and disks in a closet somewhere)

  • 2400 BAUD Internal modem (the modem was $79 extra, but having an INTERNAL (!) modem was super cool)

  • You'll notice there are no speakers

  • With a 2400 baud modem and a dial-up internet connection, your online experience was severely limited and was paid for BY THE MINUTE. I can't remember how much I paid for Prodigy, but I think it was about $15 a month for maybe 15 hours of online time.

    I could be fuzzy on the details, but I remember leaving my computer online all night to download shareware. Since I only had a 42 MB hard drive, those all night downloads were probably for a little 50 KB game. (Correct me if I'm wrong and I'm sure you will.) After the all night download, we (my son Cory and I) wouldn't go back online again until the next month billing cycle because that one download would have used up all our base online time. In the mid-90s or so, we switched over to America Online because they offered unlimited online time for $19.99 a month.

    NOTE TO CORY: You can still play Mad Maze!!! (Click here.)


    Susan in St. Paul said...

    I am amazed you are very organized! Can you help me? lol!

    Donna said...

    Nope. Can't put my hands on old paperwork like that. But I do remember my first computer purchase: A Commodore Vic 20, which had a whopping 20K of RAM, hooked up to my TV as a monitor, had no floppy drive but used a kind of cassette deck for storage and had a 300 baud modem. This was in 1982. My first provider was an outfit called The Source, but the computer also came with free time on CompuServe (the two services eventually merged). I used up the free time in no time and was hit for a $200 bill because I spent so much time in CB (which is what they called their chat rooms).

    Oh yes. Good times. :)

    Leslie said...

    Gosh, in 1992, I wasn't on the internet, yet. I didn't get there until college ('94).

    I think it's amazing that you still have all that information and stuff! What a flashback!

    Grimm said...

    Whoa, I had Commadore 64's as a teen, but the first one I actually "bought" with me own money was a similar place to what you did. The great thing was that I was making 3 payments and the company went out of business after I made the first two.

    Jen T. (soon to be E.) said...

    I remember a kid in my computer class in 7th grade (which was around 1992 or 93) bragging about his internet connection. I don't think I really became aware of the internet and all its uses until I was heading to college... Country living, I guess. :)

    Now look at me - I can't go more than a day or so without checking my e-mail and reading blogs. And I don't think I could function without Google and :)

    Laurie said...

    Susan - Sure! I love organizing people. I think I'll wait until spring, if that's okay with you.

    Donna - Wow! You were WAY ahead of me.

    Leslie - I even found a letter I wrote to the computer store when I found out they never loaded my extra megabyte of RAM.

    Grimm - Ah, karma.

    Jen - It's so strange to think about how addicted I've become in a few short years.

    Leon J. de la Garza said...

    haha.. oh the old computers..
    the first computer i remember in my house was a "tandy"

    i dont really remember the specs, i was about 10..
    but it wasnt even a color monitor..

    i "recently" bought myself a brand new computer which i can say im proud of, i'm going to show it off to you, just cuz im nice.

    AMD Dual Core 2.0 Ghz Processor
    2GB RAM
    2 160GB Hard drives.
    Nvidia GPU with 256MB of RAM
    17" LCD Monitor

    And for being a computer geek i use the ubuntu linux operating system. :P

    it was about time i got a new compuer, my old laptop was getting obsolete way too fast.

    By the way, im going to upload one of my podcast thingies in english tonight. :) Hope you can listen.
    Be well!

    Laurie said...

    Leon - WOW!!! That's a helluva machine! I haven't listened to your podcast, yet. I promise I'll check it out tonight. :)

    Barbara said...

    All this talk about first computers....I'm on my first computer now!! It's a freebie. 3G Hard Drive, 158MB RAM, Windows 98 and still connecting via dialup as nothing short of a fortune is available up here in the woods! Mine was built by American Business Machines in Beaumont. ;o)

    Came by to say "Hi" after I saw you on the 10 Texas Must Read Blogs at The Bayou.


    Laurie said...

    Barbara - Nice to meet you!