inessential by Brent Simmons

More about 1982

In my previous post I mentioned the year 1982. Some of you may not have been born yet or were too young to remember 1982 very well.

So here are some things to give you the flavor of 1982:

My school didn’t have any computers. I was trying to convince them to add a computer lab. This was a common situation.

Macintosh computers didn’t exist yet.

Most people didn’t have computers at home. (We had an Apple II Plus at home.) Most people weren’t sure that computers were important. They were thought of (by many) as useless and expensive toys.

We had a VCR, but no CD player, and certainly DVDs were unheard of. I had a turntable and a cassette deck connected to my stereo. Video rentals were a new type of business. It cost $3.00 to rent a movie for a night.

The VCR had a remote control—but, as was very common then, it was actually connected by a wire to the VCR.

The two leading on-line services, as I recall, were CompuServe and The Source. They were too expensive: we didn’t use them.

My mom had a terminal—not a full system, a terminal—that she connected to the University of Delaware’s Unix system via a 300-baud modem. You had to dial the phone (an old-style AT&T phone) and then plop it onto these weird rubber cups. (This was my first exposure to Unix. I think I used ed for text editing, though I could be remembering wrong.)

Microsoft made games—I loved their Apple II port of Adventure. (And later on I loved Zork from Infocom.)

The Clash were still together.