In 1983, my first computer was a Commodore 64, an 8-bit brick-like computer with 64 kilobytes of RAM and a keyboard on top, upon which I began all of my graduate studies work, research, statistics, data storage, and word processing of reports. My graduate advisor insisted on selling his old Commodore 64 to me, and later I found out that he had charged me almost the price of a new computer. Professor Wen Li was a thoroughly dishonest man and good at hiding it. The tiny jerry-rigged monitor he sold to me showed only a single row of characters, the rest of what I was doing I had to keep in my head as I worked. I already knew how to do this from working with the LCD display typewriter which preceded personal computers by a few years; it had a view mode which allowed one to view about half of the typing line. I muddled along with the Commodore 64 until one of the other graduate students helped me find standard equipment. I have always enjoyed learning to compute, and soon working with a computer was as transparent to me as pen and paper. I just wish there was more logic and consistency to computer nomenclature; for example, the oddly named menus, ribbons, and functions. Sometimes it seems as if computer creators just assigned any old name to the thingamabobbers on computers.
It has been thirty-six years since I went from smudgy carbon paper and inky mimeograph machines to computing. I wonder if there is time left in my life for any more humongous changes like that!
by Annmarie Throckmorton 2019