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14 April, 2004

Not that Firefox

Firefox - the gameAnyone remember this?  The 'Firefox F-7' electronic game, made by Grandstand in the early eighties and resident of a cupboard at my mother's house since then.  I remember playing it, but even at the time I thought it repetitive and fairly boring.  I've never been a big fan of computer games.  I wonder whether this game had an influence on that fact.

Growing up in the eighties, this really is the nearest I got to computer games at that time, apart from 'Centipede' or 'Space Invaders' on my father's PC when I visited him each year.  I vaguely remember seeing a Sinclair Spectrum while I was in primary school (i.e. pre-1983), but never had one myself.  There were a couple of BBC computers at secondary school, but apart from one 'taster' session for everyone, I think they were only made available to pupils studying 'A'-level Mathematics (that's 'Maths'  in English, emphatically not 'Math').

I was fairly familiar with WordPerfect 7 and by necessity DOS (no Windows!) by the time I got to University, again self-taught on my father's PC, but that really was it - Lotus 1-2-3 and various statistics packages were new to me. I remember actually being more experienced than my Part I colleagues, and an introductory word processing course was a compulsory element of the course. Thirteen years on, that's almost unimaginable.

I don't remember my first exposure to Windows, but 3.1 was on my first home PC, bought in 1993 at the start of my PhD. I had access to a Windows machine on campus, but most of my research group were hydrological modellers, so relied on scary unix boxes which I never even managed to log into.
I discovered e-mail at about the same time, but there really wasn't a reason to use it until ~1995. Likewise, my office PC was networked, but I couldn't see the point of browsing the internet in Mosaic, so it wasn't until ~1996 and Netscape ?2? that the web seemed vaguely attractive.

Things have changed!

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