Friday, June 23, 2006

Internet, but first a little computer history -#1

It is hard for me to think about the history of the Internet without thinking of my history with computers. Undergraduate days were spent typing papers. In graduate school at Concordia, we also typed papers by hand, but in my research class, we had to run a statistical computer program. We went to the computer “room” where the mainframe was located and punched the @#$% cards as a group. If anyone incorrectly pressed the letter l instead of a number 1, the program would not run and would spit the cards out all over the room. We have come a very long way since that time in the mid-1970’s.
My first experience with personal computers was with the early Apple computers when I taught in Palatine, District 15. My students practiced their math facts on the computer and it proved to be much more fun than the old flash cards. Then later I used computers as a volunteer “computer mom” at my children’s’ elementary school. I also helped automate their school library by locating the records for books on a CD-ROM and downloading them. In the 1990’s, I had to telnet into the library at NIU and that was all kinds of fun! Our first home computer was a Mac LC (I forget the number) and soon after, we began to use the Internet on the noisy dial-up modems. I seem to remember that sometime in the 90’s we started using a graphical interface that made “surfing” a much more enjoyable experience.
It was amazing to read in an article from Encyclopedia Britannica that SABRE (airline reservations) and AUTODIN (a defense system) were operational in the late 50’s and 60’s. WOW! I did not realize those networks went back that far. I knew about Mosaic, which became Netscape since we used that in my classes at Northern Illinois in the mid-1990’s. Has there ever been any other technological advance that has grown at “100 per cent, per year?” (EB)


Blogger michele said...

I can remember when the Internet was first introduced onto our computers at work. We had to have it in order to access our library database (among other things) but there was some suspicion by the higher ups that we staffers were going to use it to (gasp!) "surf the net" Now we use it (legitimately) for a multitude of work-related activities. I do have to laugh though, when we first started working with a mouse, the IT department loaded solitaire games on each computer so that we could learn and become comfortable with using them. That we were encouraged to do!

4:54 PM  

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