My Computer History

I grew up in a house with no computer. Well actually I got a Tandy when I was a teenager, but had no idea what to do with it, since I had not "computer geek friends," and oh yeah, my school didn't even have any computers.

by bob

Feb 8, 2010

I grew up in a house with no computer.  Well actually I got a Tandy when I was a teenager, but had no idea what to do with it, since I had not “computer geek friends,” and oh yeah, my school didn’t even have any computers.

Not only did my school have no computers, my guidance counselor (who really provided neither guidance or counsel…discuss) encouraged me to go to college as a computer science major.  So I did.  I went to SUNY Oswego in the fall of 1984 as a CS major & guess what…freshman CS majors did not get to actually touch computers…we used punch cards.  If you have no idea what punch cards are…be thankful.

After a week in a Cobalt class at Oswego, I realized I was the only person who had no computer background & switched it to Basic.  After a week in Basic, I found a sophomore CS major who kind of  liked me and had her write all my projects.  I got a good grade, but by the end of my first semester, I was no longer a CS major.  And after one year I was no longer at Oswego.

Flash forward to 1994, & I finally get my first computer…a Mac TV (just like the picture above).  It was pretty cool looking, and you could hook your cable tv up to it & take pictures of shows, but it was tremendously slow.

In 1999, (yes, I worked on a Mac Tv, with a 32 MHz processor, 5 MB of RAM, a 160 MB hard drive for 5 years), when we first started the Vineyard, we were given $5,000 dollars to get started.  we bought a large capacity coffee maker (you need priorities), a lapel mic since I hate holding mics, and a refurbished Apple Powerbook.  That computer bit the dust when Hannah came into the office & knocked the coffee off my desk.  I had a choice to let the cup of coffee hit her, or knock it towards my laptop.

When we were looking at getting a new computer, the two other key leaders both said I needed to get a PC since they couldn’t read my files.  I did.  A Dell, running windows with Office 2000.  They were using Office 1998.  They couldn’t read my files.

Over the next 3 years we went through a number of desktop & laptop PCs…which was a pretty frustrating experience & one day, I decided, from now on, our church was switching back to Mac.  James & I each got G4 laptops, & haven’t looked back.  They were great machines.

About 4 years ago, right around the time Apple was switching to Intel processors, we were putting everything away after one of our Sunday services, someone (we never learned who) knocked my laptop on the floor & broke the screen.  Which meant I needed a new one & decided to try one of the new Intel MacBook Pros.  While I love working on this laptop, I wish  could have waited until Apple worked out some of the bugs.  I received it with a damaged DVD drive.  The hard drive failed in 2007 (& since I wasn’t good about backing up at that point, I lost nearly all of my 2007 messages & other documents).  I have had the motherboard replaced & the screen as well since it also had a malfunction. (on the positive, all of those repairs were covered by the extended warranted.)  Not to mention the new battery we’ve had to replace every year.

If you follow me on Twitter, you heard me whining last week about the backups on my Time Capsule not working.  Well, turns out the Time Capsule was working fine…one of the processors on my laptop (which was replaced with the motherboard two years ago) decided to quit.

So, it appears that we are at that point again, and I’ll be updating my computer.  While I definitely be sticking with a Mac…I’m hoping that this next one will be a bit more like my G4 than my current machine.  We’ll see.

So, what’s the worst computer you’ve ever had…And in my mind, having to use punch card counts as a horrible computer experience.

What about Bob?


I grew up in Western New York and have started and led missional church planting efforts for a little over 30 years. As you might gather, I have opinions about the church, and I share some of them here.

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