Friday, July 23, 2010

Commodore 64

My first computer was a Commodore 64; must have been around 1984.

The Commodore 64 used a TV screen as a monitor. I even acquired a storage device: a tape recorder. The word processor was on a cartridge, called "Quick Brown Fox."[1] I remember how tedious it was, having to switch between the editing and the view mode. Loading a file took an eternity.

I used the thing mainly for playing around, but I got at least one paper written with it. When I printed it out, I first decided to print in tiny print as a backup. The program crashed and the file got corrupted so that I never was able to print it out again. My presentation of the paper at a conference was severely hampered by the fact that I could hardly read it.

The good old days were not so good ...

1. It used 8k ROM, had forty columns, and was a pain (though given the constraints under which it had to run, made it almost a miracle that it did word processing at all). I tried to find out something more about this word processor on the Internet. All I encountered was collectors who tried to encounter this "very rare" cartridge. It always amazes me what kinds of things find worthy of collecting.

1 comment:

MangMade said...

I remember Quick Brown Fox on my C64. I typed up papers on it for high school. We had a printer with an element print head on it so the result looked typewritten. A classmate refused to believe I used a computer to type it up, no doubt expecting it to appear as it would from his own dot-matrix printer. I pointed out my text was completely justified, uniformly meeting the margin walls on either side. I assured him I wasn't making that happen manually and he backed off.