I had purchased an Atari 401. It had been advertised as a computer, not a game console, but it was very restricted as a computer, though most expansive as a game console despite the hype. I could play a multitude of game cassettes through the box, which was fun and my kids loved it, otherwise, there wasn’t much to the system.
There was a practical reason to buying the extra external floppy. There was no internal hard drive in the Apple IIc for storage. There was an internal floppy drive built in the CPU Unit. Everything ran off of floppy discs. There was included in the box software on both 5.25” floppies (true floppies because if you held them by the edge they would flop if you waved them) and on 3.5" discs still referred to as floppies, but these were very ridged and didn’t actually flop. My model only took the 5.25 discs.
On the back I put the information of my attempts to publish the work. This was the name of the publication sent to, the date sent and the date returned. The data base made this compulsion to list everything so much easier.
What I used most was the word processor. Oh man, this was like magic. If I added or subtracted any parts of a story I didn’t have to retype the whole anymore. I loved this machine. It was an answered dream. It was so great I retyped everything I had written onto floppy discs. There was no problem with copies, no messy carbon paper to deal with. I could store what I wrote on floppy discs for future use. This was where having an external floppy drive came in so handy. If I hadn’t got the external, then every time I typed something I wanted to save I had to go through a routine that involved removing the Appleworks disc and putting in a blank disc, doing the save and then switching discs again. With the extra drive I could just save my work and not manipulate discs at all.
If I discovered a mistake or made a change or added or subtracted text to a document I didn’t have to retype the whole thing. No longer did I have to bother with messy things like white out to fix a mistype or carbon paper for backup copies.
In 1973 the Wang 2200 was introduced. An Wang, a Chinese inventor was a pioneer in word and data processing. Remember I put the budget of Mercy Catholic Medical Center on a Wang Processor back in 1979. (By the way, as hard as this may be to believe, the Internet was invented in 1973 as well. It wasn’t invented by Al Gore, but from experiments conducted simultaneously by Xerox in the U.S., France’s Cyclades and Britain’s NPL networks).
Anyway, enough about the history of home computers. This is supposed to be about the history of me. Let’s get back to that.
This stuff was not lost on me. I began by the time I had the Atari 400 to push for the inclusion of desktop computers in our division’s capital budget, even offering to teach the employees Basic. My request was rejected in 1982 and again in 1983. Our Senior Manager, George Craig, did not see any future in such gimmicks. He was a solid Mainframe guy. For a large institution like The Bank the Mainframe was the only way to continuing going. He viewed the home computers as nothing more than that, something that might have some use in the home, but not in business. I fought hard. Frankly, I wanted our division to be the first to utilize such technology, believing once we had some and showed the benefits, other’s would follow. (Mr. Craig died on May 30, 2016, age 85. That is a photo of him in later years on the right.)
Then in 1984 these machines were added to the budget. Not for our division, however. Senior Vice-President of Operations, George Craig had suddenly decided maybe we should take a look at these things, so he created a new Division of Office Automation, or something like that. It was set up as a time sharing operation. Believe me, I was down there signing up for as much time as I could grab. I was using the WordStar to write my documents and spending time learning Visicalc.
It was going to be interesting times ahead.