Flashback Friday, Geek Girl.

I consider myself to be pretty techno savvy.

Okay, I am daunted at the thought of setting up and maintaining a website, but I have managed to become pretty darn good at troubleshooting most day to day hiccups, I taught myself to make a PowerPoint presentation for someone’s birthday, know my way around photo editing software, make awesome family movies on the PC which I then upload to YouTube, and know my way around the World Wide Web blindfolded. I wouldn’t dream of standing in a queue for something that can be done online, and prefer email to regular mail.

But it wasn’t always that way.

I’m of the generation somewhere in between those who had no computers at all, and the generation who have known nothing else. At the time I started high school, home computers were unheard of. By the time I finished school there was talk ofย mouse-pads, floppy discs, and EFTPOS. I would own a home PC just a couple of years later.

For this week’s flashback with Cathy at The Camera Chronicles, I am looking back, and not so fondly, at Mr Mizzi’s computer studies class of 91/92. I say not so fondly because, man, was I lost.

It was the days of floppy drives, no mouse or track pad, pages and pages of code, and talk of a future where we would live in a cashless society. I must admit, when he would get all misty eyed and feverish discussing how email would overtake snail mail, and how we would all be able to leave the house with just a plastic card instead of cash, more than a few of us thought he had lost his marbles. It was the language of flow charts, ASCII, binary, Unix, and it was a language I didn’t understand at all.

To be perfectly honest, I bombed. Badly. Totally and utterly failed. I think the highest mark I ever achieved in that class was about 45%. And without naming names or being a mean girl, I know that some of my friends were getting less than 25%. Not because they weren’t ย smart, but because it was that hard to understand.

I am eternally grateful that computers evolved into the user friendly machines that they are today, and on a similar note, never in a million years did anyone imagine what mobile phones would become: phone, camera, computer, satellite navigating device, music player, diary, notepad, and photo album. My Dad had one of the earliest mobile phones, somewhere around 1987 I think. It looked like this:

Hardly very mobile. And not very likely to fit in a pocket or handbag ๐Ÿ˜‰

At the risk of sounding like an old fogey, today’s kids just don’t know how easy they have it.

When did you first venture into the brave new world of computers?

See you soon,

Ana.

  1. LOVE this post!! What a blast from the past! I had Mr Mizzi for Maths. Like you, my tech knowledge is mostly self taught…I never took computers – thank God – it sounds like it was a nightmare!! My first memory of a computer is the old colourless one we got in the classroom in around Year 6. We only used it for games. The WWW wasn’t even on the horizon. Today, I can’t live without all my gadgets! Oh, and your dad’s phone – I remember my dad having a big, bulky thing too! The world really has changed greatly in the past few decades!! Thanks for taking me on this flashback. Happy Friday ๐Ÿ™‚

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    1. Aww, thanks Cathy. So glad you enjoyed it. And you’re right, better off not taking computer studies ๐Ÿ˜‰

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  2. Ana I’m so glad that you touched on working hard to get where you are in your understanding of computers and technology.

    Being 31, I think when I was in around year 10 my school got the internet and we got it at home maybe a year later. So really, I did grow up with the internet. Certainly by the time I was at uni I was using it all the time to research things, participating in forums etc

    I think I’ve mentioned that at my kids’ school I am one of the youngest parents there. Most are at least 10 years older than I am. It has frustrated me that most parents have no idea how to use technology. I love to communicate via email and social media and I’m generally very fast at getting back to people. When you send an email to some people, they don’t respond for weeks sometimes. They you ask them, “Hey, did you get my email?” The response is typically something like, “Oh, I haven’t checked that email for a while because my husband took the laptop to work and that email is not on our home computer. ”

    I mean, I can check my email on my phone, my ipad or any computer out there (and I do, pretty much monitor it all day and night!)

    Or people don’t know that they can search their email for information.

    Anyway, off my soapbox. Ana, you’re clearly not one of these people, but I bet you’re also surrounded by them.

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    1. It’s true, there is no excuse for not understanding the basics. I bet do many of those people who plead ignorance are very skilled at their jobs, so something like email should be able piece of cake.

      I am also, still, pretty much the youngest parent of my kids school friends. Their friends think it’s unbelievable that I have a blog, twitter, tumblr, etc.

      I fear though that sometimes I might prefer digital communications to real ones. Pretty sure that’s not a good thing.

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  3. Oh the memories this post has roused for me. I to started computer studies in High school in 91/92 and I couldn’t believe that they would end up being such a huge part of our world. I remember my mother questioning me when I went home and told her I needed a “floppy disk” lol the look on her face was priceless

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    1. Lol, I remember one of my mum’s friends doing a tafe course, saying she wanted to feed the mouse to her cat!

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  4. redlandcitygirl April 12, 2013 at 3:25 pm

    We bought our first home computer with my payout when I quit my job to have Mr almost 19. No internet or email though – that came about 4 years later!

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    1. Remember dial up? You could write a novel while one page loaded ๐Ÿ˜‰

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  5. I can certainly relate to all of what you have said here! In high school I learnt typing on a manual typewriter but there was one electric typewriter in the corner of the room with a cover on it that was treated like the amazing futuristic techno god that only the priviledged got the opportunity to use! My first job had an electric typewriter, soon followed by electronic typewriters (with a bit of memory!) and later the first computers – as you said with no mouse or mouse pad and lots of code. I give you Ctrl B for BOLD and Ctrl NB for NO BOLD…your welcome. At home we got our first computer in the mid-late 90’s and boy was it exciting. Email came in when I was a stay at home mum with bubba’s so I had lots of catching up to do ๐Ÿ™‚ Now I’m pretty up there with my computer skills!

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    1. We are probably somewhat lucky in having seen all the changes. It has certainly been interesting trying to keep up!

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  6. Am definitely a Digital Immigrant….didn’t get our first computer till our son was in 3rd grade, mid-90s, and internet came a while after that and even then it was dial-up network! OMG. How quickly it’s all changed! It’s something that really does intrigue me though…I’ve written a couple posts on it myself (probably trying to just figure it out in my own head how I ended up with a blog and stuff like that when I was so resistant to computers in the beginning)!

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