Thursday, June 19, 2008

Then and Now

I wanted to have a computer to be able to be in touch with my daughter who got married to a software Engineer in US in 1994 and left for US. Those days computer and communication with e-mail was still not very common. I could not acquire one till 1998, when it became absolute necessity, as my wife went to see her daughter and I stayed back with my other children. There was an urgent need for communication as the family was divided for some period.

One a/c was created for me with "Hotmail" on 09 September 1997 to be able to transact e-mail. This was before I got PC and internet connection through VSNL in 1998. The e-mail handling was difficult then, as only text could be sent that too using a very basic program called "hyper terminal". Many efficient programs like Eudora, Outlook express have come up now and the mail is only a click away.

My brush with computers were later on jobs like photography, scanning and music. For photography I was using film camera then and to transmit them to my contacts I had to scan them and edit them for cropping and reducing for restricting the size of files. My ISP was not taking any attachment over 750 KB. I got a digital camera of 1.3 MP only in 2000 and scanning the photo prints was off my hands.

Slide show technique had not developed those days much and to view a series of photos was only by clicking each time to advance to next photo in the folder. I got a slide show program after a long search. Slideshow software "vueslide" I use even today has to reside in each of folders of photos you have. This software is good and you have to click that vueslide.exe file to see all photos in that folder as a slide show. I have many CDs with separate folders of photos on one topic

I used scanner to produce files to send them on e-mail. My next hunt was for a program to convert JPEG to AVI so that I can view these photos on TV using a DVD player. All this this struggle is unnecessary in todays scene as movie-maker is included in XP operating system.

There used to be one good music site ( It was dormant for some time and now it has surfaced again, but without its old glamor). It was offering streaming music and some of them were my long sought after ones. Saving that streaming music was difficult and it was in Rm format. I used the file downloading method using html program created with the help of my son-in-law. Now streaming music can be saved easily as there are open source programs like "audacity" having capability to save all sounds passing through the sound card of your PC. After downloading the Rm file I got into the problem of conversion into other formats as Rm was good for only PCs with Real Player. To play such music on othe devises like DVD players was possible by burning CDs using Real player only. My CD player was not playing CDs burnt using PCs. Only audio CDs purchased could be played. What a restriction if you want to play music produced by the family members! I had to buy a DVD player at a very high price. I selected one which could play MP3s also. MP3 format has made a sea-change in this direction. You can now rip all types of music to MP3 and each 700MB CD will hold about 150 three min songs.

Now you know that present day DVD players are capable of playing JPEG format and the photos can be viewed on TV without converting the photos as movies. I recently changed my DVD player to one capable of playing MP3 and JPEG formats. All my CDs with still-photos converted to suit viewing on TV are redundant now.

I have made use of my scanner to scan and send the matter on FAX and some times. I have even received FAX on computer by setting the FAX program to receive mode whenever I was asked in advance to receive FAX.

One last note: HDD of my first computer was 2.1 GB and now it is 160 GB. OS: Windows 95 through Windows XP. There was no CD drive then, now I have a DVD writer. A big leap!


Roshan said...

This makes me nostalgic. The first PC I got had a 486 processor, 4 MB RAM, 560 MB Hard Disk, 1 5-1/4 inch and 1 4-3/4 inch floppy disk drive. We had DOS operating system with Windows 3.1 emulator. And this configuration was 1000 times better than the ones we had in our college labs.

We got first modem in 1994. It was a 56kbps D-Link modem. It was the best modem available in the town, then. I created a yahoo id, which is still my primary email id.

Harit said...

... and all programs used to come in multiple disks where you had to "Insert disk 2 and press any key" and so on after each thing. Also, copying from one disk to another would need a "copy a: b:" where both a and b are the same drive. :-)