Jay Koester

1. When was the first time you touched a computer and what kind of computer was it? 1983, it was a Texas Instruments Ti994A. It had 4k of RAM, a tape backup system, and while I was in Germany (still ’83) I got a 5 1/2 floppy drive for it. It played what I still consider one of the best D&D RPGs. It had a rudimentary.Basic and I wrote a D&D dice rolling program foir it, and crashd the 4k of RAM. That’s when I knew you would never have enough RAM

2. When was the first time you actually owned a computer and where/how did you get it? The same Ti994A(1983)

3. What was the first job that you had which required you to use a computer? Military Personnel in the USAF.

4. When was the first time you got online and how did you? -Was it a BBS, AOL, Netscape etc.? First time online was Prodigy. Hated it, could never get back to something that flashed across the screen.

5. When was the first time that your job required you to have internet access? Getting hired by AOL in Aug 94.

6. What did you not see coming (in the computer/internet industry)? I really didn’t for see terabyte drives….

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Richard Kozlowski

1. I do not know the kind of computer it was, but it was at a U of Illinois (Champaign/Urbana) open house, the monitors were big monsters with smallish black screens and green text and the U of I students had made a Start Trek Ship plotting combat type game. This would have to have been around 1975-ish. They also gave out few Asci Pictures on that large 3-foot-wide computer paper.

2. In 1981 I got a Ti-99/4a computer that I continued to use until I got my first 386 PC. My Dad and I bought it used off another family, and I added in the floppy drive as well but never got a printer. {side note the dungeon crawl for the 99/4a was indeed a lot of fun]

3. My first job that required an actual Computer (as compared to a computerized Cash Register) was with AOL.

4 & 5. My first time online was when I started working with AOL (1996), I didn’t have a modem at home until 6 months into the AOL job.

6. What I did not see coming was how many people would take to tablet pc devices.

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Scot Wilson

1. ‘78 with a TRS 80

2. Christmas of ’82, TI-99/4a (Best present Evah at that time!)

3. Working @ my parents boat surveying business. 2 Mac 512’s & a DOS based PC – no clue on the processor.

4. ’94, AOL

5. ’94, AOL

6. “Free Music” Didn’t see that coming. I recall thinking in 7th or 8th grade after cd’s came out that we’d be able to store all our music on a small chip, much like SD cards became, & that we’d could carry it around & plug into stereos, walkmans, etc. BUT we’d still have to go to a record store to get more music put on it.

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Chris Deaton

1. When was the first time you touched a computer and what kind of computer was it?

1980, not sure but it was likely the TI-99/4A or a POS system for a restaurant.

2. When was the first time you actually owned a computer and where/how did you get it?

TI-99/4a in 1982. I made a cassette backed up database of all the girls phone numbers in my school.

3. What was the first job that you had which required you to use a computer?

I will come back…let me think. Its probably AOL though.

4. When was the first time you got online and how did you? -Was it a BBS, AOL, Netscape etc.?

College BBS access and then AOL soon thereafter. My AOL account is dated 1986.

5. When was the first time that your job required you to have internet access?

As a job requirement? 1996 and AOL.

6. What did you not see coming (in the computer/internet industry)?

That I would really give up all forms of physical media. It is a special occasion if I buy a hard copy of anything media related – books, movies, comics, music.

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Richard Pini

1) I believe the first computer I ever touched was a NEC PDP-8 at the Artificial Intelligence Lab at MIT somewhere around 1980. Whether or not I was supposed to touch it remains unanswered, but there you have it. It was on this machine I watched, dimly comprehending, as the resident AI wizards played Space War, one of the very first computer video games (if not the first), developed at MIT. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spacewar!) A friend (William Malik) and I often spent late nights and early mornings there, when we should have been studying for exams or working on problem sets.

I also need to give full disclosure here. Even though I attended MIT from 1968-1972, I may have been the only person there who studiously avoided taking any computer classes. The reason? Everyone else was doing it and, contrarian that I am, I just didn’t want to go along with everyone else. I do recall watching work being done on IBM punch cards and paper punch tape, but I wanted to part of it.

2) The first computer I actually owned would have been an Apple II+, that I used mostly to do some writing as well as to maintain a mailing list for our company Warp Graphics in the very late 1970’s or early 1980’s. I wish I could recall why I chose that over any other machine available at the time, but I can’t. I do recall it came stock with 48KB of RAM, and it was recommended I spring some hundreds of dollars more for an additional 16KB. Seemed like a good idea at the time. I kept the mailing list on a bunch of 144KB 5.25-inch floppy disks until it became clear I needed to consolidate everything onto an external 10MB hard drive that measured about 12x12x6 inches and weighed a lot of pounds. That II+ was supplemented by a couple of Apple IIc portables (that needed to be hooked up to a TV).

3) The first job that required me to use a computer would have been, of course, when I went to work for IBM in Poughkeepsie, New York. I shared an office with another fellow and we each had our own terminal (as I recall, a 3270) on which we did whatever it was Big Blue paying us to do. But my time at IBM is a blur, because by the time I started there in 1979, I was also hip-deep into Elfquest, and that little project was starting to morph into a major time-sink. I was only at IBM for two years, when I made the decision to quit and devote full time to our own company.

So I really consider Warp/Elfquest to be my first job requiring me to use a computer, because by the time we hit our stride it was 1984, and we all know what happened to the world of personal computing in that year. Along with my first (of many) Macintosh, came the birth of desktop publishing with PageMaker 1.0, and we’ve never looked back.

4) The first time I recall going online was via a BBS called BIX (for BYTE Information Exchange, created by BYTE magazine in the mid-1980’s. A fan of Elfquest who was active on the service suggested I give it a try. I dabbled in it for a couple of years, but it never grabbed me. I also recall joining CompuServe in its early days (and can still recall my low-number login ID of 72077,12). AOL came (relatively) much later.

5) For a long-seeming time, working on Elfquest didn’t require internet access. We would prepare files for printing (actually, paste-up boards for traditional printing plants) but that was still a physical, bring-to process. I’d have to say, in retrospect, it wasn’t until the early 1990s that another Elfquest fan strongly suggested that we should stake out territory on this thing called “the Web” if we wanted to take advantage of the opportunities afforded there for promotion, marketing, and so on. As a result, and very quickly, we acquired the domain elfquest.com, and became the first dedicated comic book domain presence on the Web. (Marvel and DC Comics of course had internet presence before us, but they – like everyone else – were using AOL as a gateway, and had “rented” areas of that ISP. We were the first comic book property to have a dedicated URL. After that, of course, there could be no going backward without completely disappearing.

6) The subsumption of individual identity, creativity, and expression, by use of data-mining algorithms, into the vast, homogenizing, ghettoizing juggernaut that is social media (aka Facebook and Google, which between them own an ungodly – and unhealthy – percentage of internet traffic and revenue).

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Theresa Corcoran

1. 5th grade math lab in , hmm, 1975. It was a huge thing that printed on to the horrible green and white striped paper. You had to take the printout and turn it in. I remember it vividly because I quickly worked through all the math exercises and got stuck doing states and capitols quizzes for weeks!

2. My first PC was a tape driven Vic20 that you plugged into a tv. Somewhere around 1980.

3. My first job with a computer was as an admin assistant at at labor union. I remember using 20 discs or something to load WordPerfect. 1988ish.

4. First time online. Prodigy. 624B66. Late 80s, early 90s. Quickly moved on to BBS, and then this new thing called AOL. Genie was in there simewhere, too!

5. I was responsible for getting the labor union online with AOL, so they could have an email address! 1993-94.

6. Not sure. I think maybe the live. Real time worldwide information feeds, or perhaps the obsession with cute puppy videos! Honestly, it is knowing that my 14 year old daughter has never known life without technology. Her first words were, “You’ve got mail!”

Come on, I know you saw that coming!

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Donald Mower

1. When was the first time a touched a computer? 1978-79ish? The punch cards were on the way out and keyboards were on the horizon. I connected to an acoustic coupler from my “station” to the main frame. The baud rate was a sizzling 300bps. I logged in for the duration of my programming session. (Fortran was the language taught @ my college.) I actually touched a DEC VT terminal for my lab experiments. In 1980-81, I was able to assist one of my profs with his newly acquired Apple II. I never looked away from the light.

2. Mac SE(I upgraded it to an SE30 as soon as I could afford it. A 20 meg HD set me back $600 @ the time. Around 1988-89 time frame. Teachers were give a discount by Apple, as they still do, so one day I bit the bullet and paid $3000 for my new life.

3. AOL, however… I taught HS for a number of years prior to AOL. At my school they were handing out Mac Classics to the teachers. Nobody knew what to do with them, so I “stole” them and created a networked lab in my classroom. I taught the kids “HyperCard” and how to use the 16-bit scanner. We created lessons on a variety of topics. Kids learned a lot that couple of years.

4. I used an external modem for many years. I tried CompuServe a couple of times during the mid 80s. Never liked the command line approach. GUI was good. Tried Prodigy and liked it. No content, but it was cool. Easy to use. Then I got the disc in the mail. I love the ease of use within AOL. Click, you were off to someplace new. It seemed magical to me, even in Black & White. I didn’t have AOL in color until 1996. At home.

5. AOL was the first time and really the only time.

6. The ease of access was the largest thing I don’t think I recognized as becoming a “thing”. ISDN was the “bomb” of the early days. It was also hugely expensive and unreliable. I couldn’t see it getting any better. Internet T-1 connections were for the business ends, but the home user was stuck I felt.
Computer wise you just knew they were gonna get faster and smaller. The smart phone was of course a surprise.

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Dave Koster

When was the first time you touched a computer and what kind of computer was it? 1978. A barebones Altair that later evolved to have a monitor, printer, and 8″ drives. TRS-80 model 1 (casette tape drive)

2. When was the first time you actually owned a computer and where/how did you get it? See #1. Parents bought them.

3. What was the first job that you had which required you to use a computer? Musician. I actually bought an Atari 1040ST specifically because it had built-in MIDI ports. I learned Cubase so that I could have the Atari play my Roland Jupiter 6 while I played bass.

4. When was the first time you got online and how did you? A BBS whose name is lost in the sands of time. I used an acoustic coupler first. Then progressed up through the various modem technologies. Later I found BBSs that weren’t in Tucson, and then those that weren’t in the States (Europe had a terrific Atari scene) that led to some interesting “discussions” with my dad about multi-hundred dollar phone bills, which then led me to learn how to get around paying for long-distance.

5. When was the first time that your job required you to have internet access? Did AOL require us to have it? I suppose later on they did. When I started, AOL didn’t have it

6. What did you not see coming (in the computer/internet industry)? Big Data’s ubiquitousness happened so fast and, unless you were in the thick of it, very behind the scenes. The turnabout from online services/computers being the product to the people using the computers/services being the product.

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Allen Trevethan

1. When was the first time you touched a computer and what kind of computer was it?
My first computer was the CoCo. Tandy’s TRS-80 Color Computer, and I begged and pleaded for the 64k version, because OMG 64k!!

2. When was the first time you actually owned a computer and where/how did you get it?
I was a huge Radio Shack — pour some out for our homies, yo — fan, and of because of that was exposed to Tandy’s line of computers rather than Commodore like some of my unfortunate friends. My dad bought it for me, handed me the box and said “have fun, kiddo!”

3. What was the first job that you had which required you to use a computer?
In South Korea, I had a summer job in High School working for the Army’s 20th Support Group doing office work and drinking way too much free coffee than a teenager should. Because I was a nerd, I got handed the desktop publishing duties and used Aldus’ Pagemaker for all that stuff. Who remember’s Pagemaker??

4. When was the first time you got online and how did you? -Was it a BBS, AOL, Netscape etc.?
First time I got online was in the local BBSes. It was called “Larry’s Place”, a single line joint run out of some dude’s house. You’d fire up Boyan or some other home grown terminal program, yell at the house that you were using the phone so nobody picks up a second line, and finally fire up the autodialer and wait for the line to free up for your daily allotted time. (Note to millennials: a ‘second line’ was something we had on our land lines where you had more than one physical phone that used the same voice ‘line’ hehehe)

5. When was the first time that your job required you to have internet access?
Pretty sure that would have been AOL… Reasons are obvious. I still remember the training classes we went through before hitting the floor. I remember thinking, OMG I’m gonna get paid to sit on a computer all day! I’ve hit the motherlode! Hehehe.

6. What did you not see coming (in the computer/internet industry)?
So many things! Didn’t see the ridiculous gains in stock we had at AOL — clearly… The biggest thing that comes to mind though for this question is easily Microsoft’s move to join the Open Source Foundation!! I mean, holy crap. If you would have told me that back in my Linux days, I would have laughed and laughed and laughed… If you would have told me then, that I would have worked for Microsoft and count it as one of the best companies I’ve ever worked for, I would have laughed even harder, too.

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Mike Kenner

1. When was the first time you touched a computer and what kind of computer.

The first time I actually touched a computer was in the 6th grade I would Spend the Summers hanging out with a Couple of friends and spent lots of time on a either Commadore 64 or a IBM depending on the friend. My Folks bought a IBM 8888 and I remember my Dad being so mad that he had spend time entering stuff in order for it to help him with his business. I guess my first job was data entry for my folks.

I had more exposure in Middle School to Apple IIe’s Never really liked them and was never really a fan of Apple (Sorry Greg)

2. When was the first time you actually owned a computer and where/how did you get it?

The first computer I bought was a Parkard Bell 286 with windows 3.1 and a I can’t remember the amount of RAM. I think it cost me $1100 at Montgomery Wards in Tucson. It was all the Money I had made during the summer of my First “Real” Job.

3. What was the first job that you had which required you to use a computer? McDonalds (If you count the PAR system of point of Sale registers) I had to run reports program register keys and such. Boy did that suck. Almost turn me off of Computers for good.

4. When was the first time you got online and how did you? -Was it a BBS, AOL, Netscape etc.?

BBS’s Mainly Spitfire BBS’s because that had the mail packet system that would allow me to send email to friends of the Telenet (Not to be confused with telnet) network. I also got hooked on playing Trade wars and Tradewars 2002 I believe that was its name. I remember being an Assist SySop for a friend who was running a Commadore BBS at the time.

5. When was the first time that your job required you to have internet access?

I guess you Could say that AOL was the first Job that required the internet though at the time that I started there AOL hadn’t released a web browser yet. Everything you saw on AOL was content that you could only see on AOL (Keyword: MTV for example) The Web going mainstream was about 18 months later. Even though you could us FTP in a rudimentary form it wasn’t like anything we call the internet today.

6. What did you not see coming (in the computer/internet
1) Just the speed that the internet overtaking television, radio and the print Media and the primary source of information. Print Media had a Head start of few hundred years. , Radio about a hundred, Television about 60 years only to eclipsed by the internet in what 25 years. Think about it how many times in the last month have you been in need of information that you just had to “Google It” to find it.

2) Another thing that didn’t see coming was to the depth the impact the Internet on everyday life. I though it would take longer than it has.

3) Just how quickly AOL had become ancient history, or a Footnote in history. Honestly I didn’t think it would disappear from the digital landscape as quickly as it did.

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