MS-DOS and ESP

Warning: If you are under 38yo this post may make no sense to you.

msdos1

When I was a little kid I thought I could talk to aliens through my computer, and that my best friend was psychic. Those things were not mutually exclusive.

When we were in junior high (because middle school did not exist) we had computer class. Computer class was taught for one quarter instead of typing. Does anyone even need to take typing anymore? I mean it seems like kids come out of the womb using computers now. Anyway…

We took “computer class.” “Computer Class” meant we learned how to run simple commands on a computer using MS-DOS. What is MS-DOS? I have no freaking idea. If I have to answer that question then I say it is the oldest, most archaic computer language that is still used. But I know I’m wrong, so hang-on a sec.

Msdosad

Anywhoo… what I remember is we learned these simple commands. Run and goto (go to), and with those commands we could make our computer screen do fun things. But that was eons ago so I can’t remember specifics.

We had a computer at our house because my father always had to have the latest technology. It was…hmmm 1982? We were on the cutting edge. My best friend and I would love to sit in his home office and “do homework” on his computer. He even set it up in an area so we wouldn’t bother him. Best of all, he couldn’t hear what we were saying.

It really was pretty amazing to see what we could do. But it was also really weird. I mean remember. THERE WERE NO COMPUTERS in people’s homes up until this point. It was almost like magic. To us it was magic.

I don’t know how it happened, but one day, my friend – the psychic one, said “I can talk to the computer.”
“Really??”
“Yes, let’s go to your Dad’s office and try it!”
And so we did. She told me what commands to enter, and I entered them.
Whoa!
You wouldn’t believe what happened! All kinds of crazy characters, and letter combinations showed up all over the screen!
She was right! She was psychic! And somehow we were clearly communicating with aliens!

msdos 2

 

Often times we were thwarted by the dreaded Syntax Error! We were sure this was some other power trying to interfere with our communications.

syntax error

But we persevered. For a week she came to my house everyday. On the weekend she slept over and we sat up all night talking about who these aliens might be, and what else she might know. Being children of Close Encounters of the Third Kind and Escape to Witch Mountain, it was no wonder our brains were working overtime.

close encounters

This went on for another week but eventually I got bored. I started to become skeptical of her “powers.” Really, how many times could someone who could speak to the aliens get it so wrong that we would get Syntax Error 20 times in a row? She started to make noise about “losing contact” and “the aliens must be leaving” or “it might have been some other psychic person interfering.”

Well that was fine, we were 12, we had had our adventure and it was time to be on to a new one.  We had heard that if we wrote Scott Baio a letter he might actually write us back! Ahhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!

scott baio

 

This has been a Finish the Sentence Friday post. The sentence was: When I was a kid I thought…

FTSF is hosted by the lovely ladies at

Janine Huldie – Confessions of a Mommyaholic

Kate Hall – Can I Get Another Bottle of Whine

Kristi Campbell – Finding Ninee

Stephanie Sprenger – Mommy, For Real

Finish the Sentence Friday
  • HA! That is so awesome. And wow, you were totally on the cutting edge with your computer in 1982! (Also- I’m only 35, but I totally appreciated this. 😉 )ReplyCancel

  • Even though I am only 36 years old,I totally got this one Jen and seriously loved the way you finished this week’s sentence. And who didn’t love Chachi!! 🙂ReplyCancel

  • I remember those good old days! I am under 38 but I Definitely remember MS-DOS and taking computer class for one quarter. I remember having some sort of project where we had to make “buttons” on a picture, and when you clicked on the buttons you would see words. Plus we had to do a lot of typing games. Nothing like now! Could you even imagine that you’d be talking to people all over the world through your computer? Unfortunately, no aliens so far though.ReplyCancel

    • Jennifer Kehl

      Ah Angel, alas there were no aliens for me either. Maybe my son will have better luck some day!ReplyCancel

  • Loved this post.

    I remember computers in junior high. We did things like enter commands and made sentences appear all over the screen. Pretty stupid really.

    We got an Apple IIc at some point and it was a big deal back then. Lol, we never did get the Commodore 64 though. It had the best games.ReplyCancel

    • Jennifer Kehl

      We had an Apple IIC as well Don, after that it was all Apple for us as well! (she says typing on her MacBook)ReplyCancel

  • OMG I remember taking a class with my dad in third grade when we got Apple Lisa. She was the bomb and I could draw a picture of a horse in like whatever megapixle x whatever. It was awesome and real!!! I almost feel sorry for our kids that they’ll never know all of this pain. Ya know? Also Scott Baio? OMG!!!
    TTTx10 x infinityReplyCancel

    • Jennifer Kehl

      OMG Kristi! I totally remember that!ReplyCancel

  • Jean

    1982 that is pretty cutting edge! I remember playing Hitchhikera Guide on the computer with typing in commands like on the movie “Big”ReplyCancel

    • Jennifer Kehl

      I remember that stuff too. “Turn left.”ReplyCancel

  • Oh boy – but that is cutting edge. 1982. Your dad was a ground breaker.
    I got kicked out of typing class. Seems I was “acting up and not taking it seriously.”
    Oops. Ended up teaching key board skills to myself by placing a tea towel over my hands so I wouldn’t look at the keys …ReplyCancel

    • Jennifer Kehl

      I think we all turned out OK anyway didn’t we Kelly? LOLReplyCancel

  • Wow a computer in the house in 1982! Our cutting edge was having a boom box we could take outside. LOL! I’m 42 so I totally remember taking the computer class. I thought it was so need to figure something out. But I don’t have a clue really what we were really learning. Remember the movie War Games?ReplyCancel

    • Jennifer Kehl

      I totally remember War Games Kenya! I can’t wait to share it with Isaiah! And I agree about not knowing what we were learning!ReplyCancel

  • This brought me back to an “oops” when I was in high school which, yes, followed Junior High for me. The “computer department” was just being set up, and because I was such a whiz with typing, the head of the department decided that I should be the guinea pig so to speak. They would send me to the computer lab to play around and see what I could learn so that I could teach the head of the department to then turn around and teach a class. Imagine that?!? Anyhow, that meant spending my study periods in the lab, where sometimes other classes were going on. So of course that was the case one day when the class using that room was taking a test and I inadvertently hit a button that turned on a radio! See how I said inadvertently? That’s because I didn’t notice what I had hit … which meant I didn’t know how to turn it off, so I was disrupting a test. Oops! 🙁

    I didn’t write to Scott Baio, but I did write to Henry Winkler and was royally POd to get back an obviously mass-generated response. I never wore my Fonzie tee-shirt again. 😉 [#FTSF]ReplyCancel

    • Jennifer Kehl

      Chris! I totally got an auto generated letter from Ralph Macchio once! I was pissed too! And nice job on the radio 🙂ReplyCancel

  • I…uh…don’t understand this. But I’m happy that talking to the aliens made you happy 😀 :pReplyCancel

  • This reminds me of right after I got out of the military and the Radio Shack TRS -80 computers hit the market. Who the hell knew anything about them? Aliens, though? Jen … maybe punk rockers from Oklahoma, but Aliens? lol Nice job!ReplyCancel

    • Jennifer Kehl

      Thanks Rich, you know my mind is a little broken….ReplyCancel

  • My dad was cutting edge too – we had a HUGE computer right around 1982. The screen was about 5 inches square. I thought it made us the coolest family on the block!ReplyCancel

  • Thanks for the throwback! I love a little bit of nostalgia in my blog reading!ReplyCancel

  • I still belive that computers are magic. I started on a mac in 1985 and have never stopped believing the magic. Love hearing about your early days.ReplyCancel

    • Jennifer Kehl

      Thanks Sandra, I do to. Talking to people through my fingers hundreds of miles away is definitely magic!ReplyCancel

  • Wow, you had a computer in your house? I remember my parents saying they were just a fad 🙂 Thanks for the stroll down memory lane!

    On a funny note, a friend’s son was trying to clean up the memory on their laptop. So he deleted this file called “DOS” cause really what the heck is that file?

    Um….guess who had to buy the family a new laptop?ReplyCancel

    • Jennifer Kehl

      Kerri- My mom thinks the internet is a phase.ReplyCancel

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