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Bad old days ! May 19, 2006

Posted by Sharath Rao in numbers-in-my-life, reminisces-1990s, statistics, technology.

Some dates and numbers here 🙂

First phonecall made – Feb 1990

First STD call – sometime in 1993

First use of pager – Never !

First telegram received – Jun 1995

First telegram sent – Never !

First use of cordless phone – Oct 1995

First computer to own – May 9, 1997 – Pentium-1, 133 Mhz, 8 MB RAM, 1 GB HDD, Monochrome

First internet site visited – TimesofIndia ( bad choice I know ) in Jan 1999 – with Rajaram and Supreeth

First email ID created – March 1999 – sharrahs@usa.net ( never used it ) – with Ashith Hegde

First fax sent – Nov 2003

First cellphone used – Sometime in 2002 at KREC

First use of wireless internet – Aug 2004 at CMU

Time and again I come back to wonder at the some things, same things – one of them being how life has changed in the past say 10 years thanks to our exposure to technology, more specifically communication technologies. I just posted 2 elaborate posts on thelittlerocker and that got me thinking – how a bunch of people spread across distances have weaved a network of their classmates from school.

Let me take a closer look.

Okay, today is May 18, 2006 – 10 years back – May 18, 1996 – we were at the summer camp at Little Rock – the starting of Class X. We were barely 15. I had made my first solo night journey to Bangalore. How many STD calls had I made then ? Email ? Net ? I am sure I had heard of the words – email and internet – although I hadnt a precise idea what they were. I know I knew these words because there was my senior at Little Rock Abhishek Arora who apparently had email at home – that was a big thing then. Also he had a Pentium machine while a couple other I knew had a 80286 ! Skip next paragraph – wont hurt.

( That reminds me of something else – and let me digress – when we had a computer exhibition in Little Rock in Aug 1995 – I was demonstrating games for the visitors and was in charge of a 8088 machine most of the time showing people how to play “Dave” – once in a while I got to demonstrate the “Prince of Persia” which would run only on a 80286. A step backward, the first machine I programmed ( in BASIC ) in 1992 at the Army School, it was a 8086 machine !! )

In 1998, I remember seeing several KMC doctors with pagers fixed to their belts when our school bus stopped to pick up students. Today, pagers are obsolete – I have never used one and its unlikely I will ever get to use either.

When we first saw the color monitors at Little Rock, it was a big thing – it was the only machine with a Pentium (66 Mhz) with a color monitor and a CD ROM drive – Sajji Sir would lock it with a password and we would hate him for that ! Are you reading Sir by any chance !!

Cellphones first came in 1997-98 and a single phone call would cost Rs. 16 and that too for both parties ! Internet parlor that opened in Manipal in 1998 – the Cyberlogin near Manipal Drug house – costed Rs. 90 per hour !! Infact, by those standards Manipal is still expensive – we had access at Rs. 15 per hour in Suratkal in 2002 – I hear Manipal its still Rs. 30 and above.

What about the times when the email storage was 2 MB, 5 MB !! I remember when I was in Sirsi in July 2000 ( just before Rajkumar was kidnapped !! ), my then 13 year old cousin asked me to open an account with sawaal.com because at that time we got 10 MB storage which was a big deal since Yahoo and Hotmail gave 2 MB at that time. ( Its a different thing that sawaal.com, a product of the dotcom boom went bust without a question !! )

When we started the alumni group, most of us had 2-10 MB and this was one of the reasons we banned attachments – should you return on Monday without checking mail over the weekend, so many mails would have bounced !!

Well, today I have 5 email accounts with a combined capacity of 10 GB and I have atleast 10% of that full. When was the last time you wrote a letter ? If we dont receive a reply to an email within a day we grumble – thats true irrespective of distance – my expectations from my friend in Bangalore is the same ( or above ) the expectations of his friends in other parts of Bangalore.
This connectivity is insane – sometimes counter-productive or unproductive !!

Thats all okay. Now answer this – what have I done to enjoy all this ? Did I work hard to be able to enjoy any of these comforts ? Thats the beauty of the market !!

I quote Donald J. Boudreaux from here.

“I love this market process. People such as me — people who lack even a whiff of creativity, people who are terribly risk-averse, people who lazily prefer to read novels and work at secure jobs and spend our evenings at home dining and drinking with family and friends — just sit back and wait for profit-hungry hard-working anxiety-ridden creative entrepreneurs, each in competition with others, to find new ways to improve our lives. And we don’t even have to accept what they devise. If we like it, we buy it. If not, we don’t buy it.”

I was somewhat inspired by the two books I am currently reading.

The Naked Economist

The undercover economist

Both highly recommended – okay, if you are not a math geek, must remind you – both of them dont contain a single graph, curve or an equation.



1. aquarianalien - May 19, 2006

I used to be an expert at Basic programming!! And wow how did you keep track of the numbers , How much has changed in the past decade , especially with regards to the World Wide Web, and the best thing is it doesn’t matter if you’re in NYC or a village in Udipi Taluk, you still have access to these things …

2. Ravi - May 25, 2006

Amazing memory and extravagant thot processes!! I thot I’d be a critic but then enjoyed reading this piece all thru out!!

3. Corporate Gift Club - August 13, 2007

Great website, nice tips, thanks for sharing

4. My Kids View - August 16, 2007

This is very nice and informative post. I have bookmarked your site in order to find out your post in the future.

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