In my day, we didn’t have big fancy computers. We didn’t need them. We got along just fine without all that frippery you call progress.
We didn’t have big fat motherboards loaded with extra slots and integrated thermometers and fan controls. All we had was an S-100 motherboard, and if we wanted a CPU, we had to install one on a daughter card.
And we didn’t have any fancy i7-980x 6-core chips with hyper-threading running at 3.33GHz. We didn’t have overclocking to 4.6GHz. We didn’t have water-cooling and we didn’t have those big 4-inch fans roaring like jet engines either. No—we had an 8-bit Z80 running at 4MHz and we were glad to have it. That was more than enough to keep grandpa happy.
If we wanted a clock in our system, we bought a clock card. If we wanted a parallel port for the printer, that was another board. And if we wanted a video monitor, we bought a video card with a serial port. No, we didn’t have onboard video. We didn’t have 590 GTX video cards running 240 frames per second and we didn’t have an oversized 30-inch display with 2560×1600 resolution, 32-bit color resolution and a wide-gamut CMYK profile. We didn’t fill our desks with two or three widescreen monitors either. We had a 17-inch black-and-white CRT with a 4:3 aspect ratio, and we considered ourselves lucky. It gave us green letters on a black screen, 25 lines of 80 alphanumeric characters, and we got our work done just fine.
And after we connected our monitor and our printer, we had to configure each of our separate programs for the specific monitor and specific printer, and that’s how we installed our hardware. We didn’t have your plug-and-play fancy drivers that could figure out for themselves what hardware and software were installed.
We didn’t have sound cards. We lived without. We didn’t have a 5.1 channel X-Fi Sound Blaster with stereo speakers and a subwoofer under the desk. We had a Ctrl-7 beep and that was more than enough. We got along just fine.
We didn’t have 16GB of RAM sitting pretty in its own little slots. We were happy to have 32KB on a daughter card. And if we wanted more RAM, we could buy another card and fill the system out to 64KB of RAM. You can do a lot in 64KB, you know.
We had assembly language and we had BASIC. We had WordStar and dBase II, and we worked an eight-hour day and accomplished everything we needed to.