Friday, April 13, 2012

L is for Laptop

Pull up a chair, sip a cold drink, it is going to be an "L" of a day in the A to Z Challenge.

When I was in high school, you could tell the nerds (we were called 'square' back then) by the pocket protector stuffed with colored pencils and the big K&E slide rule on their hip. My, how times change.

When I started working in 1960, the only calculator was a Friden. It was a monster that went kurchung, kurchung when doing multiply or divide.

The first computer I worked on was an RCA Model 301 that took up two six-foot tall racks and had 4K of magnetic core memory. I later worked on the super computer at that time, the CDC 6600. My Android smart phone has more power and memory than that "super computer" had in 1968.

My first "portable" computer at work was a Compaq portable. It weighed enough to be a boat anchor. It had 168K of memory (note: that is Kb, not Mb) and two 5.25 inch floppy drives. No hard drive, although we put a voice recognition card and a 10Mb hard drive in an expansion box on the back of it. I programmed the voice card using the C language and it took over 3 hours to compile the small program.

Fast forward to today and the wife and I have a couple of desktop computers, two Acer laptops and I have a small netbook for traveling. What a difference a few years (decades?) make. I love my Acer laptop. It normally sits on the workbench in the garage so I can smoke and surf at the same time.

Once in a great while I do use the laptop on my laptop. But, have you noticed that while the laptop computers get more powerful and a little smaller, that your laptop to sit them on seems to be shrinking at a faster pace as the waist line expands?


  1. Enjoyed your stroll down memory lane! And scary, I never thought about the computer shrinkage to waistline expansion theory.

    I was in high school in the 80s, and I remember thinking, what am I ever going to need a computer for? All we make in class are greeting cards and silly banners on dot-matrix paper, and learn about binary numbers. LOL

  2. This is so perfect, will show these photos to my engineer husband who remembers when computers were huge.

  3. Love those old computers. From one who carried shoeboxes of punch cards in college. I'm trying to visit all the A-Z Challenge Blogs this month from

  4. I still remember learning to type on a MANUAL typewriter. Most kids today have never even SEEN a typewriter. Computers have existed all of their life.

    New follower here. I’m enjoying reading my fellow “A to Z”ers. I look forward to visiting again.


    1. Of course, I too learned to type on a manual typewriter. And, in some of my early computer experiences, I had to learn to repair the old IBM "golf ball" Selectric electric typewriters. I also, spent a lot of time banging away on KSR-33 teletypewriters as input to time sharing systems.