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Did you ever write short stories about your classic stuff?

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Did you ever write short stories about your classic computers and game consoles? And if so, did you do it on a period word processor and save them?

 

I did, on my Apple II, when I was first learning word processing. It was a near miracle that an Apple II could save the material and recall it and make multiple copies/printouts of it at a later date. And even more impressive that changes/edits could be made and the whole thing printed yet again. A far cry from standard typewriter - on which changing a line of text was next to impossible.

 

Fast forward 15 years to around 1992/1993. While I hadn't completely outgrown my Apple II in terms of word processing, I did recognize the uber-advanced capabilities and storage options of the PC. In fact word processing on MS Word 2.0 was one of the reasons why I wanted to move into the PC arena.

 

Well I got to going through more of my old disks form both platforms and re-discovered some of my infantile, but imaginative, Sci-Fi writings about scientific calculators and pocket computers and other classic computers/consoles. Endowing them with "super powers" or using them in unique and interesting situations was almost always a central theme somehow.

 

I clearly recall a "special edition" of a calculator I had as a kid. And in one short story the calculator had a certain non-descript layout of buttons, but would magically re-arrange itself into a SuperScientific model if you flipped it around. Now just imagine my surprise when I accidentally did this to my iPhone. It was like being blown back to a 1970's future! It was more then Zen!

 

Does anyone here still have their files or stories from early days of word processing and computing?

 

 

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I wrote a paper in high school about Quantum Link and BBSes, then in college I wrote another paper on the November 1994 shutdown and how much Q-Link had been a part of my life. As for fiction, I wrote a two-part "Operation: Mindcrime"-style story in GeoWrite which borrowed heavily from my personal experiences. Only part one was completed.

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OK. Back in the day - I wrote up something for my Communications English class - about coin-op videogames and computer videogames. Mostly the former I think. Going to a local videogame arcade and listing the noteworthy games running there.

I have it still somewhere in my archives. A few years later I wrote something up - some proposal for setting up a home computers drop in centre, something for the local city council to support? That it was for entertainment purposes (videogames) as well as for applications/etc use. This concept is now in use at the city library, with a room full of computers for Internet use. People could play videogames there, I guess if they so desired? And do other things I guess - since a printer is readily available for use too.

 

I would write up a short story back story for the games I was involved with then - Laser Hawk and Hawkquest. I had to explain why your helicopter was struck down by the trees present - saying these were petrified trees - amongst the volcanic background. And what was the mission in Hawkquest - to recover ancient advanced technology.

 

There was a piece about the current state of being a home computing enthusiast - from the view of being an Atari Home computerist. Again in my archives somewhere, that I can't readily get my hands on. I never got around to taking any photographs for illustrative purposes, though 35mm still photography was a major interest of mine before affordable home computers turned up. I guess I was too busy with using home computers - and I tended to use my camera to only take screenshots off coin-op arcade games for reference purposes.

 

Harvey

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Unfortunately, no I didn't write any stories and such on classic machines. At the time my teachers wanted hand written reports and such, so word processing didn't enter my mind.

 

It wasn't until high school and my first IBM/PC compatible that I started typing things for D&D and such. I have some of my docs from mid 90's, stories, adventures and such including a table top RPG I began writing that used playing cards as the randomizer.

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Posted (edited)

Way back in UK, my buddy Colin Hunt and I, we founded a fanzine called 8: 16. I used my 130XE/AtariWriter/ Mini Office 2 and Colin used his ST, and due to his job, we also had access to a Mac Plus and MS Word, MacDraw, MacPaint, Pagemaker.

I covered 8bit and VCS, and Colin was the ST guy. Great fun. First issue was Nov 87, last issue Winter 92, 16 issues in total. Still have those.

After the demise of 8 /16, I've further written for fanzines like Atari Lynx User/Atari Entertainment, Digital Press, The Portfolio Connection, Retrogames, 2600 Connection, and last, Retro ClassiX.

Edited by high voltage
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I forgot, back in elementary school before home computers become wide-spread and you did word processing in the school lab, if at all, I had Print Shop for the Commodore 64 but no word processor. I did up title sheets and page headers in PS and then used a type writer to do the body.

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Before I could bring my computer to the summer cottage, I used to have a typewriter there were I wrote down imaginary columns from computer magazines. I made up everything, trying to copy some of the style in the magazines I had read. I probably made at least a half dozen sheets of this, which was to cure my abstinence of not having the computer with me. Later on I brought my Amiga 500 during the summer holidays so I could make music, programming and play games (in that order!) instead of just typing down stories about how I would be using the computer.

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Posted (edited)

I used a few European BBS back in the day, and wrote and uploaded a few .txt files on various topics. They must be still around somewhere... I don't remember what editor I used, but it could have just been regular plain DOS edit.

 

Years before that, we had an assignment in elementary school about a pet or animal and we had to write in the style of "Platero y Yo" (a lyric prose novel a out a man and his silver donkey). So I wrote about my Apple II. Teacher liked it so much that my entry ended in the school newspaper.

Edited by Newsdee
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Great thread topic!

 

The sci-fi idea of the transforming scientific calculator reminds me of a product that actually existed - this calculator that ran BASIC in 1980:

post-30777-0-60425600-1557512608.jpg

 

Yes I still have files from the early 80's including my BBS - Keatah you'll like that I can only boot that "email server" in emulation now. It's a blast logging onto a BBS frozen in time from the 80's and seeing the emails and forum message boards.

 

What completes the ambiance is the 300 baud output calibrated for the modem that scrolls the text and semi-graphics lackadaisically across the screen.

 

A fantastic programmer from the 70's and 80's recently sent me one of my interactive fiction stories I had lost - I actually had a partial version of it on 5 1/4 floppy I had retrieved while the drive still worked and the paperback book side of the Parlog Building (tech sci-fi), but not the completed interactive fiction work.

 

I've got tech sci-fi stories written with Scriptist (really old but not WordStar old), Telewriter-64 and later graphical packages, then later in the 90's Word Perfect files. So many formats so much text!

What if you had the servers from bitd?

I wrote BBS software in the 80's and by the late 90's I wrote commercial social networking platforms similar to MySpace and FaceBook and kept the servers running until 2011; many of those portals are frozen in time from various periods having had lifespans expiring in the 90's or early 2000's.

Imagine traveling back in time to 1998 and logging into Facebook and reading your email and seeing your friends activity; that's what it's like if you have the servers - we all have plenty of those 3 1/2 inch AOL discs that came in the mail everyday but to relive the interactive experience you'd need either AOL's mainframes or Marty McFly's DeLorean.

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Heh indeed. A couple of my early scripts (done on Magic Windows for Apple II) revolved around that exact same Pocket Computer. I still have my original AND it is a Kingpin in my modest vintage collection. Have all the tapes and documentation for it too.

 

One of my favs is one of the many Lunar Lander stories I typed up about landing on a haunted moon, and the PC1 is centerpiece in a chapter or two. I also did lots of make-believe play with it. I never thought of it as a calculator, but instead a genuine computer because it ran BASIC. And that meant working with both letters and numbers.

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I owned one of those.

 

 

Heh indeed. A couple of my early scripts (done on Magic Windows for Apple II) revolved around that exact same Pocket Computer. I still have my original AND it is a Kingpin in my modest vintage collection. Have all the tapes and documentation for it too.

 

One of my favs is one of the many Lunar Lander stories I typed up about landing on a haunted moon, and the PC1 is centerpiece in a chapter or two. I also did lots of make-believe play with it. I never thought of it as a calculator, but instead a genuine computer because it ran BASIC. And that meant working with both letters and numbers.

 

Yes, BASIC and more RAM than a ZX-80 made clear it was an amazing computer to power the imagination. The lunar lander story on a haunted moon sounds like inspiring sci-fi - post it if you can find it!

 

Do either of you remember if this BASIC supported the concatenator operator?

… just answered my question, the manual has a futuristic cover pic with the concatenator showing multiple BASIC statements on one line; this machine looks like the design was influenced by the wrist computer the astronaut has on Atari 2600 BASIC Programming.

 

http://www.classiccmp.org/dunfield/t80ppc/p1manual.pdf

 

The BASIC supports 80 characters per line qualifying the PC-1 to compete in vintage BASIC programming contests.

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That's just adding two variables together.

A=1

B=2

C=A+B

PRINT C

3

..this works

 

Concatenating strings like so...

A$="Pocket "

B$="Computer"

C$=A$+B$

PRINT C$

Pocket Computer

..I don't recall this producing a valid result.

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I meant the statement concatenation operator ":" that allows multiple statements on a single line:

10 A=1:B=2:C=A+B:PRINT C

That's interesting this BASIC doesn't support string concatenation, some Tiny BASIC's didn't but this one has floating point math which those also didn't have.

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Posted (edited)

My previous hobby was amateur astronomy. When I got my Atari 400 in college I was still a member of the astronomy club back home and I still contributed articles to their newsletter. I wrote a short story about taking Candy (my 400) to "the Dome" (the club observatory) to interface her to our telescope. It was going well when she got other ideas. Suddenly I spotted a Zylon ship in the eyepiece and she started flashing Red Alert. As I aimed the finder scope she charged up the photon torpedoes and launched one out of the telescope!

 

So went my story about playing Star Raiders from the Dome. Now I'll have to dig up that old newsletter. I don't think I wrote it on the 400 since I didn't have a printer then.

Edited by ClausB
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Just remembered that I once wrote a story based on something from a computer magazine. Enter Magazine had a Flowchart Adventure where you had to follow a flowchart to cross the river, and I wrote by hand a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure book based on that.

 

I was very surprised later on that my mom still kept that book even though it wasn't that nice looking... :)

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I wrote many a story on my old 286 Packard Bell with a turbo button running DOS 5.0.  I think the word processor was First Choice, but it never had word count, so when I got a copy of Lotus 1-2-3 I was very happy!  I always kept detailed logs of my daily output and being able to add how many words were written per day was...satisfying :)!  My interest in useless facts continues today.  I want to start of a Log of Generalities, such as knowing for sure how long that replacement light bulb lasted, or that it took 22.5 days for the spots on my carpet to return in full  after a fast and furious low moisture top clean ... hahaha!

 

          

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The only things I ever wrote were a few Newsletter articles on projects I did, reference sheets, or topics of interest at the time.  Of course I did write them all on period hardware, which is now considered 'classic gear'.

 

 

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