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Thread: What classic computers did you use in school?

  1. #81
    Kirby (Level 13) diskoboy's Avatar
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    Well, I grew up at the height of the digital age.

    So I used Apple II's, VIC-20's (love me some Turtle Graphics), TRS-80, C-64, "IBM/Jr./Tandy Compatibles", Macintosh (No color until high school), and Windows 3.1. I graduated two years before Windows 95, so DOS was still perfered over Windows 3.1.

    I think I even used a Kaypro, at one time or another. One of those old Kaypros that came in what looked like a briefcase or an old record player, and had the disk drives and little 8 inch monochrome monitor built in.

    I think this was this model - the Kaypro II
    Last edited by diskoboy; 09-28-2009 at 10:33 PM.

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    From a span of Kindergarten to 7th grade (A span of 1996 to 2003), I used none other than an NEC Powermate VP75. For a 75Mhz Pentium with a basic video card and a retail edition of Windows 95, I was surprised how far I could push it; getting it to run games that it didn't even meet the minimum requirements for and have them still run at a playable speed. Also, it's very reliable; even when a local tech guy said that PC would never work again, I always managed to get it to come back to life with ease. I still have that PC, and it actually works much better than it did when we first got it (I made a few upgrades since it was passed onto me).

    From 7th grade to 9th grade (2003-2005), I used this total piece of shit the local tech guy built (Ugly case, a 166Mhz AMD-K6 with barely enough RAM for Windows 98 to function with all the pointless stuff loaded into RAM we didn't need, several device conflicts, and many other things wrong with it). As much as it pained me to retire my trusty old NEC as the primary PC, I needed something with more power, and after I worked out it's problems myself (Against my Mom's better judgement, who felt more comfortible taking it to that same crappy tech guy who seemed to spend more time deleting our software and going through our personal files than actually fixing the problem), it wasn't too bad of a PC.

    In my late 9th grade year until graduation (2005-2009), it was replaced with my own custom PC built in much the same way as the previous one, except this actuially turned out surprisingly well; being extreamly reliable for a 400Mhz Celeron running on a copy of Windows ME that happened to be on the hard drive I put in it (It's now in it'd 3rd version; with a 600Mhz Pentium III running on Windows 2000). It was great, though I faked it's death to get my parents to buy something new (It worked quite well, as I continued to use it for years while they used their own PC).
    Last edited by PentiumMMX; 10-04-2009 at 11:00 AM. Reason: Correcting a major typo

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    Cherry (Level 1) ice1605's Avatar
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    Before preschool until about 2nd grade, my parents had an Apple //e (1990-1995ish, before Windows 95 came out), and my preschool class had Apple //es as well. My kindergarden classes had Macintosh LCs to use, and, if we were lucky, we could go to the library to use the Performas they had. The year after, the school bought a handful of Power Macintoshes, and everyone would race to use those. Good times, with all those old Mac games. I switched school districts, and the one that I stayed with until I graduated high school had Power Macs and iMacs. I`ve been an Apple fan all my life!
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    I was born in 88, so I had some different hardware from you guys. I also went to private Christian schools, so no Apple discount (to my knowledge). The first time I saw Apple hardware in school was the girls with their shiny plastic iPods.

    Kindergarten:
    We simply called it "The Computer." It wasn't a real modern computer, I think it was a Commodore 64. It had a built-in keyboard and a cartridge slot in the back. We had two carts. One was a memory game where you pressed the first letter of the flashing facial feature and the sequence built up as you went. The other was a word processor, which we weren't allowed to use because it "didn't work." I thought it worked fine, but there's not much that kindergarteners can do with a word processor when you have no floppy drive to save to. I swear the carts had that Sega Master System grid label...

    First Grade:
    Computer class! With a computer teacher! They had maybe 10 DOS machines. This was the first time I saw a tower case, and they had 5.25" floppies in addition to the 3.25" ones. I thought they were cool because they were bigger than my Win3.1 machine at home, but older. We mostly played crappy games. We didn't have Oregon Trail, oh no... We had games with (what I thought were) misleading names. Timmy the Time Turtle did NOT travel through time! Pool Shark did not have anything to do with pools OR sharks! Hey, I was 7... They DID have Carmen Sandiago, but we weren't allowed to play it because it was for the older kids. >_<

    Second Grade:
    They upgraded/replaced the machines. They had Win95 on them with CD-ROM drives. However, no more computer teacher. The Spanish teacher taught computer class. He also taught music class... We started getting Win95 machines in classrooms, one per room.

    Third Grade:
    We got a separate computer teacher again, and a Spanish teacher that didn't teach anything else (but spoke less coherently). We had some creative writing software on the classroom computer, and it had text-to-speech.

    Fourth Grade:
    We finally start learning more specific stuff, like what's Windows, DOS, storage, etc. Not that I didn't know any of it already... The classroom computer is slow as hell. They liked me though, I knew how to defrag the drive and clear the cache, which let Yukon Trail run for another afternoon without crashing. System still froze when we tried to play CDs.

    Fifth Grade:
    School moves for various reasons, splits with the church they'd been at for 20+ years. Starts over with nothing at a different church on the other side of town (20+ years of donated equipment, books, etc are the property of the old church), so they need new computers. We get white-box AMD K6 systems with Win95.

    Middle School:
    They upgrade to Win98. We also get internet, a 56k line hooked to a ~20 port router. I start getting called to the office to fix their tech problems. We started actually doing research reports, so many afternoons are spent waiting for pages to load in IE5. This is around the first time I saw porn, as the guy sitting next to me couldn't spell "Porsche." Porsha made it through the filter, if they even had one.

    High School:
    This place knew what they were doing. They had just replaced their computer lab Dell Pentium IIIs with custom built AMD Athlon XP 2400s, 512Mb DDR333 with XP Pro. Those machines lasted until I left, and were more than enough to run Office 2003. The old Dells went to classrooms, where they ran Win2K and struggled to download student user profiles, the login process often taking 5-10 minutes. Switching them to XP made things worse, and everyone began signing hall passes to go to the computer lab rather than wait for those things. Even after they disabled customized profiles, they were pretty much worthless, we just couldn't mess with people's wallpaper when they left themselves logged in anymore. Senior year, the tech manager got a dual-core MacBook Pro, which was a big deal because the Apple reps came do deliver it. He ran Vista on it in whatever VM solution OSX uses, so we thought it was amazing to see him switch between them on the fly to do different stuff. Last I heard, they replaced the lab systems with MacBook Pros running Vista, and they were fast.


    We did some great stuff on the school computers in high school. When the tech manager had amassed a pile of donated systems in the back of the lab, me and some friends convinced the school to let us use them for a "Linux club." We got an elective credit for networking them, installing Fedora Core 1, and setting up a login server. We didn't have a router, just a switch, so one acted as DHCP.

    Of course, we did a few pranks over the years. When someone left their user account logged in, we'd give them an embarrassing wallpaper. Someone once asked me to photoshop the person's head onto a Teletubbie. That was fun until they disabled stored wallpaper to speed up the network. Another time, I sent everyone in the lab a screenshot of the BSOD, and we all set it as our screensaver. For the next few weeks, everyone's computer would "BSOD" after 5 minutes of inactivity, so the whole row was bluescreened while the teacher was talking. Then the band leader started teaching computer classes, and someone convinced him that "you can't use VNC if someone's monitor is turned off." One guy was about to get in trouble for browsing WoW forums instead of doing his work, but he switched browser tabs. The guy stared at the screen and asked him if he was doing his work or not, with the other tab right there on the bar. I felt bad, but I couldn't bring myself to point it out.


    Now I'm in college and it's Pentium 4s everywhere. There's like two iMacs in the collaborative commons (a sort of study hall area with computers and copiers), but it's P4s running XP Pro everywhere you look. The classrooms for the tech classes have better systems, though. My accounting class is in one of them (I don't see why), and those machines run XP 64, have 4Gb RAM, and Xeon procs. Oddly, they're slow as hell, and mine almost crashed loading the PowerPoint for that day's lecture. Over at the epicenter (tech campus on the other side of town), we have dual-Xeon 3.0Ghz machines with 4Gb RAM, but I don't think they're running XP 64.

    My computer repair class is over this week, and we sat at the dual-Xeon machines for the lecture, and used old Dell Pentium 3s for the hands-on stuff. We installed Windows 98, repartitioned hard drives, cloned hard drives, and messed with even older laptops. There's two old beige-box machines sitting on the counter there, with copies of Dark Forces and Civilization sitting on them, I would have rather used those. You know those motherboards that only have a keyboard port, and everything else has to be an add-on card? Yeah, those.

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    ServBot (Level 11) kedawa's Avatar
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    In elementary school, I got to use C64's quite a bit, and maybe a VIC-20.
    My high school had several Amigas, including a Video Toaster, and one of my teachers had an Apple II of some sort that he let us use every now and then to play Zork.
    We also had a Unisys Icon network, which was just bizarre.

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    I didn't use a computer until I was 15, and even then, the only available systems were probably early Pentiums running Windows 3.11 off a server.

    I do recall using some sort of telnet-like system at a library at one point to check their catalog.
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    some shitty Apple ones in the 6th grade, sorry i dont remember which they were. but it was color, with a mouse and i played carmen san diego on it. maybe a II or IIc? no clue personally, i had a Pentium 133 at home which was better. my hatred for apple has been breeding for a looong time.


    we had a pc lab too, at first (like 3rd grade or so, cant remember) they had commodore 64. wow that thing sucked. it was way outdated back then already. afterwords they got some new fancy flashy macs, newer than the ones in back of my 6th grade classroom, power mac perhaps? they were metal! and we played some updated version of oregon trail on it. still sucked.

    sorry i guess im a DOS child. IBM compatible or bust for me =D
    Last edited by Poofta!; 10-14-2009 at 02:52 AM.

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