Thursday, August 7, 2008

How I fell in love with the computer

Many of my friends are surprised that I have a blog. In the first place one cannot blog unless one knows how to use the computer. I am about to tell how I fell in love with the computer.

I forgot the exact year. Again my office mate and good friend Muhammad Kadis who I mentioned on my 'Treasure Hunt' post is the person who intentionally or not introduced me to the computer. Well, I have seen the computer for years in the shops. It was Muhammad that really made me touch my first computer keyboard. At that time there was not a single computer in our office.

One day Muhammad called me on my office telephone extension that one Institut Iqra' in Rahang was conducting a data base computer course. He invited me to join him in learning this programme. I never touched a computer before so I replied "Why not?". So I enrolled with him in learning a data base programme called 'dBase 3'. The fact that this programme had progressed into the third stage just showed how I lacked behind. In fact when we were learning 'dBase 3' the fourth stage programme 'dBase 4' was already in the market.

We were taught how to enter simple data containing people's age, gender, race and occupation. After completing a file we were taught how to retrieve the entered data. We can group people according to their age and so on. We could easily find the total number of people of a particular race of one gender in an age group. This really fascinated me. The only problem I faced was for the course being conducted in Malay while the notes were in English. Of course the computer programme language is English too. At the same time without having your own computer at home also posed a problem. We could not practice what we learned in class.

So the computer lesson in a way was a bait for me to own a PC. I bought one and with it came a package of learning either a word processor, a date base or a spreadsheet. I chose the spreadsheet because I have learned the date base. The popular spreadsheet programme then was the 'Lotus 123'. At the same time I felt I could learn the word prosessor later.

Learning the sreadsheet was easy because I was tutored alone instead of being among a group of students. Furthermore I already had a PC at home and could practice what was taught to me easily. At the same time I bought a book about word processing and practiced it at home without the help of any teacher. The popular word processing programme at that time was 'Wordstar'.

Today with Microsoft having captured the computer industry 'dBase','Lotus 123' and 'Wordstar' are gone. They are replaced by Microsoft's 'Access', 'Excell' and 'Word' respectively. To explain each programme here is a stupid thing to do because anybody who can read this blog knows about the programmes.

All of us agree that one of the most useful products of the computer is the internet. Without the internet there would be no emails, forums and of course blogs. I remember when I was in Fukuoka, Japan there was a place called the Rainbow Club. It was strategically situated next the Fukuoka City Hall building where I received my lectures. Membership to this Club is only open to foreigners and it is free. It is primarily a library where most of the books are in English. I saw some Korean and Chinese books as well. Newspapers of neigbouring countries are provided for free reading. For Malaysia the newspaper is the Utusan Malaysia although it comes two days late. The Club also shows CNN on TV. It was at this club that I learned Marlon Brando had died.

I went to this club everyday to read Utusan Malaysia and surf the internet. Unfortunately every member is only given a total of one hour free surfing for each day. This means if you had surfed for forty minutes in the morning you can only surf another twenty minutes later in the day. For me this one hour was very precious. I read and composed my emails there. I read what was happening around the world there too. I read about one of my Councillors Mah An An being killed before my friends in Seremban knew about it.

So I won't be blogging now if not for my friend Muhammad who invited me for the data base course years ago. Terima kasih Mad.


Mohd Shah Khalid said...

My introduction to PC was along similar line. The organization I worked for is a major customer of IBM mainframe. Sometime in 1984IBM gave us 20 complimentary PC as we made mainframe purchase worth few hundred millions. My departement recieved one PC. I started to learn Lotus, Wordstar and Dbase3. Those days PC do not have hard disk and mouse. Everytime you switch on the PC, you have to boot the system using 5.5" floppy. Quite flimsy. Before you exit must saved everything. Every step you have to type dos command, but it forced you to learn faster. At one time we were audited by a government agency. The auditer who came was 'buta PC'. So when he asked to check some records, I just told him 'everythings inside diskette, we have back up diskette B and C' He did not asked very much after that. I fell in love with the computer out of necessity to do my job, not like falling in love to another woman.

maarofkassim said...

Like Darwin's Theory of Evolution we change or transform out of necessity. I would not be using the email had I not been sent to Japan. I would not be blogging too if I did not gone to Mecca to perform my Hajj.