Tuesday, December 23, 2008

My first DP job - the modem

We called it Data Processing back in the day. But I was really just a Computer Operator at my first job out of college at a German office and school supply manufacturer in Garland, Texas.

There were three of us in DP. My boss was from Iran, and the programmer was from Thailand. Of course the big wigs were from Germany. What a change from a small college in a small town in Oklahoma. I got pretty good at understanding them with their accents. I'm not sure how well they understood me with my accent.

In 1987, after being on the job a month or so, my boss told me a modem had arrived and asked me to install it in the Shipping and Receiving PC.

Their PC was a Compaq dual floppy machine. It was already nice and dirty after only a couple years of service. I called him once I got out there and got the modem out of the box to ask him how to install it.

He asked if it was an internal or external modem. As usual, I had no clue. I described it to him and it turned out to be an internal modem. He told me open the PC up and stick it in a slot. Wow. So you're allowed to open one of these things....doesn't that break a law or at least void the warranty?

With his help, I got the modem installed. Configuring jumpers and serial ports is so much fun.

The software that came with it had some copy protection which meant that when I tried to copy it to another floppy, not only did the copy not work, but I had just burned one of the 3 copies we were allowed to make.

My previous experience with PC's was a little word processing, spreadsheets, and learning Lisp on the new CP/M machines. And writing some Basic code on an Apple IIc.

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