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An Incomplete History of Computers I've Owned
April 5, 2011 - 9:00pm

Does a list of computers we've owned tell us anything meaningful about technology, business, or education? Not sure. Could you reconstruct a lifetime of computer ownership? Would be interesting to compare higher ed folks with people in other professions.

Here goes:

1983 to 1987 - Kaypro 2 and Kaypro 4: High school. My first computer. About $1,500. Weighed about 30 pounds. The original portable, with an aluminum case, built in screen and floppy drives, and a detachable keyboard. MS-DOS (booted from the floppy) and WordStar.

1988 to 1989 - Brother WP-1 Word Processor: For some inexplicable and ridiculous reason, I decided to move away from a real computer and buy one of those all-in-one word processor / printer monstrosities. I think I bought this during my freshman year of college, and I think it was cheaper than a real computer, but I have no excuses.

1990 to 1993 - Macintosh Classic: A little over a $1,000 bucks. A family friend who worked at Microsoft shipped me Office. The feeling of pleasure that this first Mac gave me has never really left. I wrote my master's thesis on this Mac, doing regressions in Excel with the Analysis Tool Pack (which took forever and ever to run).

1993 to 1997 - Gateway Desktop: Back in 1993 it seemed like the big white cow boxes that Gateway computers came in were everywhere on campus. Everyone was going away from Mac's and to Windows machines. I did my dissertation using SPSS for Windows, a huge improvement over SAS at the time. I think around $2,000. I think I bought at least 3 desktop computers from Gateway, but am not really sure.

1998 to 1999 - Apple PowerBook 1400: I think at this point we had the PowerBook at home, and a Gateway at work (I was teaching at WVU at that point). The PowerBook might have been my wife's computer, and I'm not sure if I have the model or exact dates correct.

1999 to 2001 - IBM Thinkpad: Maybe the 570. A work computer I had when I worked for Had Windows NT. Was expensive (over $3,000 I think), and state of the art at the time. My dot-com bubble computer.

2000 to 2001 - Apple iBook G3 Clamshell: Home computer. Used this computer to teach my first online class. I loved the built in handle and good keyboard. Graphite version. I think it might still be in the basement somewhere.

2001 to 2005 - Dell Latitude D800 Laptop: Big and heavy desktop replacement laptop. Windows XP. During those days Dell seemed to be so supreme on campus.

2006 to Now - MacBook Pro's (a couple) 15 Inch Models: What I'm typing this post on now. My everyday computer. Good compromise between a full-size work computer and some degree of portability. Every now and again I think about going to a MacBook Air as a second computer for walking around, meetings and conferences - but they still seem to be too expensive.

No doubt leaving some out - but this is pretty close.

What is your computer history?


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