My First Teacher

by Shahjahan R

It was 1996. It was two years since I resigned my job in a publishing concern, undertook various works for a living, and lastly started a desktop publishing unit (DTP – typing and layout desining of books).
I purchased a computer, but, to be frank, I have never touched a computer earlier! In the company where I worked earlier as a manager, there were a few systems. Computer operators used to operate them, but I have never touched one. I have seen the backside of the monitor through the small windows in railway booking / bank counters. Those were the days when people used to believe that computers must be kept in AC room, otherwise they will heat up… If you press any wrong key by mistake everything will be lost…
The computer which I purchased for my DTP unit was a 386 model, i.e. IBM 386. IBM means not a branded one, but an assembled one, with an Intel i386 microprocessor. One of my friend’s friend’s friend was running a computer assembling company in Munirka, and he brought the system and fixed it in our office. People who read this story today may not be aware what is a 386. Before 386, there was another version called 286. Even before that, there were systems without hard disks. Anyway, let me come to my system.
The system had 260 MB hard disk, Windows 3.0 version, Page Mager 4. UPS were not common then, and so I had opted for a power stabiliser which weighed about 8 Kg, and costed 6500 rupees. A 14″ monochrome monitor. I had already purchased a Laser Printer – HP Laserjet 4Plus – with the help of Nakkeeran Gopal. That was the best printer HP ever produced.
My Computer had 4 MB RAM (YES, not 4 GB, just 4 MB)! If you are surprised about 4 MB RAM, I will narrate another story. After a few months, I wanted to increase the RAM, as my system was slow. Through one of my friends I got another 4 MB RAM – i.e. 4 chips of 1 MB each – for 800 rupees. So, all the 8 slots of RAM in the motherboard were full !
Those were the days when we used to type in MS-DOS. Even formatting of typed text could be done in DOS – i.e. Disk Operating System. For copying, deleting of files, we used DOS commands. Completed works were saved in floppy disks. There were two kinds of floppys – one was 5.25″ and another 3.5″. Microsoft Word was yet to come. Continue reading “My First Teacher”