My first computer application

That was way back in 1996. I was in 9th standard and we (classmates) were preparing to throw a farewell party for our seniors. We have to invite the Principal and other staff members too to the celebration. We bought a few chart papers and prepared something that looked like an invitation. Though everyone was happy with what we have, I wanted to something more. And there it started…

I remembered a floppy disk (yes, the 5 ¼ one) my computer teacher showed us a few weeks ago. We were there in the lab on a Sunday to say ‘hi’ to sir and as well play some games if given a chance. The disk had horoscopes for different years. Though I myself don’t believe in them unless there’s something positive, lol, I wanted to print a copy and include with the invitations that we prepared for the teachers for the farewell party we organized for seniors.

Our computer knowledge was very limited then. Though we started ‘learning’ computers from 7th standard, we hardly knew startup and shutdown by the time we were in the 9th. Of course, we had ‘by heart’ a series of commands that helped us open a few games; that didn’t need any learning, just by heart. The entire 7th standard, we understood the basics – input, CPU and the output. In 8th standard, we were happy to skip computer class (once every week – 45 minutes) to play games. And 9th standard gave us some opportunity to understand and practice LOGO and BASIC languages.

Few days before the event, we talked to all the teachers to collect their Date of Birth details. We gave some excuses as explanation as we wanted the horoscope thing to be a surprise. Even the computer teacher didn’t have a clue as to what was in store. Two days before the event, we were in the lab to accomplish the task and get the invitations with horoscope ready. We started around 2 in the afternoon and worked till 12 midnight to complete about 25-30 printouts! Yes, we spent about 10 hours to print those 30 pages!!

I was the computer operator for the project. Because only I knew how to open ‘WordStar’ application, open the horoscope file and issue the print command. We didn’t know how to print multiple copies. So, if we need horoscope for two teachers that share the same sign, we had to restart the process and print again. And the printer was obviously a dot-matrix one. It screamed all day as we printed copies and we could hear the same sound in our sleep that night!

And here is the main reason I remember the incident so well. I didn’t remember the command/ steps to close the horoscope file once opened. Or, did I know how to quit ‘WordStar’ and re-enter the application. So, after every print, I used to unplug the power cord, start the computer again to open ‘WordStar’ and print another file/ copy!! We couldn’t ask our computer teacher for assistance as that could spoil the surprise!

In spite of all the trouble, we did print necessary copies and everyone was delighted to accept the invitations with horoscopes; not to mention the surprised and very happy look on our computer teacher’s face. Hence, I conclude that I applied computer technology on that day for the first time. Hehehe…

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