Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Nostaligia time: C-64 turns 25!

Wow! I watched a cool video on C-NET about the big celebration for the Commodore 64's 25th birthday and got all nostalgiac. I didn't buy mine until the price dropped to $199. And I spent that much or more on a floppy disk drive because the Target store in Billings, MT didn't have any more cassette tape drives in stock. I hooked mine up to a 150 pound (or so it seemed) 19" color TV (I was way ahead of my time!) that probably gave me the equivalent of a chest X-ray every time I used it.

I learned BASIC back in high school, but I learned even more with the C-64, like programming "sprites." I remember buying RUN magazine, and probably a couple others whose names I can't remember, and TYPING in page after page of code to play a silly game. And heaven forbid you misspelled a word, or skipped a comma or the thing wouldn't work!

I learned how to use a spreadsheet on a C-64 when I convinced a bunch of teachers to start up a fantasy baseball league some time around 1985 or 86. I even did some pretty neat desktop publishing on a couple of different programs I can't remember, and printed out my newsletters on a dot matrix printer that I ordered, coincidentally, on the day of the Challenger disaster. And, amazingly, it all ran on 64K of memory! Not MB, and certainly not GB, it was KB!

I joined several BBS (bulletin board services), and subscribed to a service I think was called QuantumLink. I also tried out the DowJones service, and another one I can't remember any longer. I actually "shopped" online back in the mid 80's, even though you couldn't actually see a picture of what you were buying. ON A 300 BAUD MODEM!!!

You had to load a program from the floppy drive and it seemed like it took 15 minutes. I still remember using a hole punch to punch a hole in the floppy jacket so that you could flip the disk over to double your storage capacity!

To quote Barbra Streisand, "misty watercolored memories, of the way we were... Can it be that it was all so simple then? Or has time re-written every line? If we had the chance to do it all again Tell me, would we? could we?"
Songwriters: Bergman, Alan; Hamlisch, Marvin; Bergman, Marilyn
Label: Columbia

No comments: