In the early 80's, I was one of the younger people in my department, even with regular new hires coming on. It would actually annoy some people...
However, we would also have co-op students, who went to university for a term, then work at a company like ours for a length of term, then go back to school. The good ones would be invited back for more work terms and often came on permanent after graduating. It was at a work-party hosted by one of these students that I saw my first personal computer. I think it had to be an early Apple, but can't be sure now. Anyway, the main thing it was running and people were trying out was one of those Alien Invasion games: bad aliens dropped from the top of the screen and you moved your weapon left and right on the bottom of the screen shooting upwards to kill the aliens before any got to the ground. Well, I thought this looks like fun, and took my turn to play, but as my previous post said, eye-hand coordination is not my strong point, and you had to use certain keys to move and shoot which I wasn't familiar with, so I lasted about 30 seconds before I lost. The surrounding young folks hooted and basically told me I sucked, so I left the game room, returned to the rest of the party and got a beer. If that was personal computing, I said to myself, then they can keep/stuff it. When the young folks weren't playing the game, they were going on about programming the thing, in Basic I guess, which I thought was mickey mouse; I mean, I programmed an IBM mainframe for a living, you could stuff your toy programming too.
So, all in all, the arrival of the PC was not something I was promoting any time soon; but one day, an IBM PC was delivered and set-up in our department. character-based screen and two floppy drives (A: and B:), and a daisy-wheel printer attached. I have to think that the amount of mainframe cycles and laser printing we were using for documents was seen to be costing too much money, so what about this PC thing for doing that?
First off, many people thought the printer was horrible, still using fold-attached paper fed through a wheel with a print quality barely above that of crayons, so people stuck to their PDS members and mainframe laser printing. The thing that got one person using the PC was Visicalc, the first PC spreadsheet. It was the BA/Manager of the big development project we were all on, and she had to do either a business case or status report with a lot of numbers to calculate and add up; well, she thought Visicalc was even better than sliced bread, and I can see why. There was nothing like it in all our mainframe programs and utilities; she might have been the first person to eventually get her own dedicated PC.
Meanwhile, the rest of us are trying out the PC as encouraged by our managers, so you sit down with at least three 5.5 inch diskettes. The first is DOS; insert it in drive A and turn the PC on. The machine would boot, and I don't recall it taking too long (long boots were still in the future). Once you get the A: prompt, take out the DOS disk and insert your Multimate disc, it being the first PC word processor of any note. So, enter MM or something at the A: prompt and it loads. It was green screen, no graphics, and so you created a document, a blank space to type in. When you wanted to save your work, insert a blank floppy disk in drive B: and save it thereâ€¦as long as you had remembered to format it using DOS before hand. When you are done, take the third disk with you with your work on it, and leave the other disks for the next user.
Given all this, the PC did not really get a lot of users, but my use of a PC was about increase dramatically.