Dann Niegocki

First computer I saw was an apple Lisa in Jason Switzer’s house, though i remember going to the UA where my dad was programming a computer with punch cards. 

I bought a radio shack color computer with my paper route money. I also picked up a dot matrix printer, color TV and a cassette recorder to save all my projects

As design/printing slowly was eaten up by digital solutions, design and ability moved from specific jobs to a general job and then back to specific jobs. I couldn’t imagine doing what I do with paper, waxing machines, rubylith and screens

I wouldn’t have imagined how quickly devices became small and their speed. An SSD brings life back to the slowest of computers, and there is more computing power in a happy meal toy than my first computer

I would expect that much of what we use smart people for will be replaced, and the last hold out will be creativity. Even that will fall one day, but what will we do with all the people – what do we get to do?

Roland Bachelier

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

It was when I was I Jr High at Apollo. I can’t remember what kind they were, maybe Radio Shack

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

I bought our first computer in 1995, from Circuit City

3. How have computers changed your life?

I use a computer everyday for work. Never imagined I would be dependent on it for the information I need at work. 

4. What did you not see coming?

Cellphone technology where it is. Integration of computers in the operation of modern automobiles. 

5. What do you expect from future technology?

More things like Google glass, where people are integrated with technology. Exosuits, with heads up monitors.

Harry Bowen

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

1978 Spring – Computer Science room in the Learning Resource Center at my High School. 
Don’t recall the model, but it was a cabinet with a teletype w/tape (like watching stocks on ticker tape is what it reminded me of) 

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

My Dad bought a TRS-80, Model III, September 1983 – I used it, learning how to code, saving my first ‘spreadsheet’ as well as Graphic to a cassette tape – I tracked on a daily basis my Money Fund Account with Franklin Money Fund, tracking the interest earned and new total daily.

3. How have computers changed your life?

Going from just a closet nerd of a kid, I am still doing computer work today. Starting with AOL in ‘95. 

4. What did you not see coming?

Macintosh – Never heard of it until the semester before starting AOL.

5. What do you expect from future technology?

Expectation is to be fully immersive, with the ability to test and deliver software any time, any where, whether in the office, at home, on vacation, etc – I’m pretty optimistic regarding what the future will hold for my kids/grandkids

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….

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.

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.

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.

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).

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!

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.