My life in computers – Bula Magazine

I remember the first time I used a computer. It was in college, 1978 I think. There was no such thing as a personal computer. We used the university’s mainframe, which was a huge thing, probably with a processor smaller than an iPhone. The cards had to be punched in machines and then we took the stack of cards and entered the queue at the card reader. Screen? Why watch TV? There was no such thing, the result was printed. And the queue to get your result from the printer was also long.

I remember the first time I used a desktop computer. This one already had a screen. The tip I received was, “When you insert the floppy, don’t forget to type control C, huh!” We gave commands on the screen, there was no Windows and the best known mouse was still Mickey. The text editor I used was called Wordstar. There was no national version, but an adaptation. So to put accents you had to write steer something.

I remember the first time I went on the Internet. It must have been in 1993 or 1994. It was a defining moment, so important that I remember exactly where I was. I followed the instructions someone gave me. We then heard the noise that happened when accessing the internet. The older ones remember, the sound was quite typical: Rrrrrrr shhhhhh timmmmm… And then, after a minute or two of noise, a very crude screen appeared where I still followed the instructions, typed the address of the Louvre Museum and… abracadabra : the museum website appeared! I clicked on a painting and it appeared on the screen. I was impressed, surprised! I was in direct contact with the Louvre! I saw three or four paintings and then… and then… well… what should I do? I had no idea. At that time there was no Google or anything like that, so my enchantment wore off and I left the computer.

I also remember the first mobile phone I used. My wife was pregnant and I borrowed a cell phone from a friend so she could notify me when the delivery time came if I wasn’t around. At that time, not everyone had a cell phone, and my friend was kind enough to lend me the thing that weighed more than a kilo and didn’t fit in my pocket. The year was 1994 and cell phones already existed in Brazil, but I think they only started working many years later.

My computer history came back to me because the other day I asked myself the following question: How did I spend so much of my life without the Internet?

This question came up after I spent an entire afternoon without internet at home. Oddly enough, nothing too serious happened. I spent a while without dancing on Tiktok, without stupid bullshit on Twitter, without texts on Facebook, without celebrity posts on Instagram. And amazingly, I survived it all. It was a beautiful story of overcoming.

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