Saturday, October 3, 2009

Old computer and software still useful

I started working in Information Technology in the summer of 1989. My first work PC was an XT, similar to this one, sound effects and all. I used Word Perfect on DOS to write and update financial systems manuals. I think we had network folders, and a primitive e-mail system. A few higher-tech people had Windows PCs, but I didn't get one for a year or so.

In 2001 I was fired from a job after five months (gawd, what a relief! I hated that job!). I got a decent severance package, and went out and bought my first (refurbished) home computer---a Compaq tower with a staggering 9G processor, Windows 98, CRT monitor, roller-ball mouse, and PS2 keyboard. People had been making fun of me for a few years because I didn't have e-mail. But I got hooked up with an ISP a day or so later. I called Bell Canada, but they would only send me their Internet start-up package by snail-mail, and I wanted to be online pretty soon. I got on the phone with a tech from another service provider, and he walked me through the steps. I put my résumé online (I think it was Workopolis) in the morning and by mid-afternoon I was getting calls from head-hunters. Those were the days, eh?

Over the next couple of weeks I met about eight recruiters and hiring managers, and had several interviews. I turned down one job because it was too far to commute, and another because there were too many people on the writing team. I interviewed for a lone tech writer position in the morning, and when I arrived home shortly after I found a voice message from my head-hunter that I'd been offered the job.

Anyways, to make a long story even longer, I was allowed home-use installs for Microsoft Office, Adobe FrameMaker, and Acrobat. I've since upgraded from Win98 to WinXP and MS Office 2003, and I have a pirated version of PhotoShop. I had bought a refurbished flatbed scanner, which came in very handy when I was selling a lot on eBay. (My primitive method was to take film photos of my items and scan them and upload them.) And all that software still works! I scanned my autograph yesterday and created a digital signature using Acrobat, so I could e-mail my prize declaration form and not have to spend a dollar plus tax on faxing it.

I don't have Internet access on it anymore, though, and I need to take the tower apart so I can fix the CD drawer. I guess I used it as a cup holder for too long...

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