By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

News from your computer, 1981 edition

For those of us who were actually messing around with stuff like this in the 1980s, this news report looks more nostalgic than startling. My favorite part of the story: It took two hours to download all the text in a newspaper, and access cost $5 an hour. (Via Romenesko.)

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  1. Rich

    Eeep!I owned the computer the newspaper guys were shown using at the beginning (a Radio Shack TRS-80 Color Computer) and learned to program on the one that the old dude near the beginning was shows receiving it on (a Radio Shack TRS-80 Model 1).

  2. Mark

    That is great!The best line was the Examiner reporter saying, “And we’re not in it to make money…”Boy was he prescient.

  3. Speedy

    Doing searches by following molehills. weird.

  4. Dan Kennedy

    I wrote my master’s thesis on a Radio Shack Color Computer using VIP Writer, a surprisingly good knock-off of WordStar.When I moved up to an Apple IIc, I thought I was set for life.

  5. ron-newman

    Loved the dial phone, too.

  6. Doug Shugarts

    Guys, just stop it right now. I had that same Radio Shack computer (my first ‘for’ loop, yeah!!), and then the Apple IIe. I learned to code BASIC so I could do the old Star Trek emulation and save the program to a 5 1/4″ floppy disk.And today …. if (commenter == agingNerd) { abortPost();}Sorry.

  7. Ani

    We had a machine that attached to our IBM Selectric, and what you typed could be saved to magnetic cards. Then when you wanted to produce a copy, you put the paper in the Selectric, the attached machine read the cards, and the Selectric “typed” by itself. That was in 1983 or so.

  8. Peter Porcupine

    Ani – I had a Brother typewriter which had a teeny screen, and it stored a fair amount of documents; no disk, so I’m not sure how that worked.Me, I learned COBOL. I remember when a friend bought a Mac with this new thing called a ‘mouse’. Told him I was accurate and didn’t mind typing strings of commands, and that this ‘pointing’ thing would never catch on.

  9. DanH

    Love the TRS-80s but also the nostalgia for CompuServe.I helped run the old JFORUM there with Jim Cameron starting in the early ’80s – the first online watercooler for journalists.Remember the warm, fuzzy feelings engendered by CompuServe’s numeric ID system – so few friends still call me “76701,13.”-dan

  10. Neil

    Data entry, quill pens, punch cards, Commodore, blah blah blah…Never mind the computers, consider the technology required to maintain the awesome hair on that gorgeous anchorperson.

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