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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Joe Blaszczak

1. When was the first time you touched a computer and what kind of computer was it? 1981 – IT99-4A. It booted into basic, hooked up to the TV, and had no eternal storage. If I was working on a long program, I needed to leave it plugged in and on and hoped that mom wouldn’t turn it off.

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

3. What was the first job that you had which required you to use a computer? I did data entry of ice cream orders on a dumb terminal for a company called Wicklow Frozen Deserts in 1986.

4. When was the first time you got online and how did you? -Was it a BBS, AOL, Netscape etc.? VAX account at U of A in 1990. Used Pine and Elm as mail programs. Frequently used Archie, Veronica, and WAIS. First browser was Mosaic. And let’s not talk about the newsgroups and multi-part mime files.

5. When was the first time that your job required you to have internet access? Getting hired by AOL in Oct 1994

6. What did you not see coming (in the computer/internet industry)? The huge wave of human stupidity once the Internet became readily accessible. Damn you Jan Brandt for ruining the internet for us!

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Jonathan Ziegler

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

In my elementary school, we always had Apples. I used that until my dad got us a Commodore 64. Then, we got an IBM 8088(?) with a green screen and MSDOS and WordPerfect. I learned batch files, basic, and scripting among other things. Oh and I played Leisure Suit Larry.

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 386 with windows 3.1 and a whopping 16mb of RAM. Bought it used from my former college roommate and made it a 387 with the math co. Same machine I took my first programming class on (pascal).

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

OfficeMax where I worked before AOL. I had never really used a computer or the internet for formal work before AOL

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

I took a C class on Vax (?) at UA. We had to send emails, files, assignments, etc via command line. I learned to connect to other university computers to download files and send them to my home folder. After I got my first computer (and a 14.4k modem), I also used a few BBSes, Prodigy, CompuServe, and, of course, AOL.

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

AOL. When I got off the call floor. Every job since then.

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

1) Social media in its current form. The sheer volume of it is not only staggering, but just the tip of the iceberg. This last presidential election has made social media a valid medium now since it was a factor in the election of a major world leader.

2) Online libraries of massive amounts of media and data. It’s not so much that it’s available, but that the amount is already massive and growing at an incredible rate. Include also data storage and warehousing services like AWS. It’s not enough that we have data in our drives, now we hire folks to store and distribute it for us.

3) The seeming return of newspapers reborn on the web as both media and social media. The web was supposed to kill newspapers and many have gone away, but the ones who have stayed have really dug in and changed the business.

4) I’m surprised how quickly the internet has become such an important and integral part of our lives. In this country anyhow. It’s become so ubiquitous in such a short time, it’s been culture shattering.

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Joseph Cox

1. When was the first time you touched a computer and what kind of computer was it?
An Osborne 1. The “little” guy ran with dual 5.25 floppy drives and an external CRT so you didn’t have to go blind using it.

2. When was the first time you actually owned a computer and where/how did you get it?
Cobbled together a Pentium in the early nineties from scavenged parts and a new motherboard, CPU, and video card. It was my first time with graphics better than EGA and it was very nice.

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

4. When was the first time you got online and how did you? -Was it a BBS, AOL, Netscape etc.?
Part of my scavenged items put a 1200 baud modem in my hands. I used a hijacked shell account through the UofA to mostly IRC, get files, and newsgroups.

5. When was the first time that your job required you to have internet access?
My work with AOL starting in ’94.

6. What did you not see coming (in the computer/internet industry)?
I did not see the bar for access becoming so low. The internet is so pervasive now that people accomplish tasks without even realizing what is occurring in the background.

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Millie Campbell

1. When was the first time you touched a computer and what kind of computer was it? 1975 ICL-1501 (I think) in a High School classroom.

2. When was the first time you actually owned a computer and where/how did you get it? 1999 I got it from Greg Hancock. It was an Apple. Greg, you know what kind Rosie was.

3. What was the first job that you had which required you to use a computer? 1982 I traced military baggage that was lost coming back from overseas.

4. When was the first time you got online and how did you? -Was it a BBS, AOL, Netscape etc.? 1999 AOL

5.  When was the first time that your job required you to have internet access? 2010 I worked for a major Bank’s Home Mortgage CS.

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

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Tricia Burrell

1. When was the first time you touched a computer and what kind of computer was it? I forgot which model it was. Commodore 64

2. When was the first time you actually owned a computer and where/how did you get it? I was in 2nd grade, so I believe 1983. My mother gave it to me as a Christmas present.

3. What was the first job that you had which required you to use a computer? AOL 1997-2001

4. When was the first time you got online and how did you? -Was it a BBS, AOL, Netscape etc.? Can’t remember, but it was back in the Windows 3.1 days.

5. When was the first time that your job required you to have internet access? AOL 1997-2001

6. What did you not see coming (in the computer/internet industry)? Ability to view multimedia in 3-D

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Steve Baker

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

My first time using a programmable device (I hesitate to call it a computer) was when I bought an HP-25C programmable calculator back in the 70s. It hooked me on programming, and by the early 80s I was doing part time work programming HP-41s and HP-71s for colleges and private firms, mostly in the fields of archaeology and surveying.

My first time using a “real” computer was in high school in the mid-70s. They brought in an ASR-33 teletype with a paper tape reader for a week. It connected to an IBM mainframe of some kind in Detroit. We got to learn a little BASIC and FORTRAN during that week.

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

Aside from the HP-25C mentioned above, my first computer was a COSMAC ELF, which I built from plans in the Aug 1976 issue of Popular Electronics. It initially had 256 whole bytes of RAM!

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

US Air Force. We tracked maintenance information on a system which ran on a Burroughs mainframe. This was about 1980.

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

I bought a KayPro II around 1984 and discovered BBSs. There were 5 or 6 in my city. One was written and operated by a lovely young woman, who eventually consented to become my wife. We just had our 33rd anniversary.

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

In 1998, I started working at AOL. This was my first job which REQUIRED internet access. I was in the Air Force before that, and while we had internet, it was not very well adopted at that time, and wasn’t greatly relied upon.

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

The divisiveness of social networking.

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