Top Ten Things Not to Do at The Introduction of the First IBM Personal Computer in 1981

Top Ten Things Not to Do

 

Today marks the anniversary of the introduction of the first personal computer by IBM in 1981. If you want to return to that time, take this list with you. It may save a mistake or even a tear in the time continuum.

Top Ten Things Not to Do at the Introduction of the First IBM Personal Computer in 1981

10 At the intro of the IBM PC, do not laugh out loud at the 16 to 256 kB amount of memory being offered. If you do at best someone will think you are laughing with delight. At worse, you’ll be put in a position of explaining what you believe to be so funny. (Just because your current laptop has a thousand times that memory you need not be a snob, Isaias.)

9 At the intro of the IBM PC, do not tell Tiny the WWF champ that he needs to learn to keyboard. If you do, at best Tiny will think you mean someone else. At worse, Tiny will think you are mocking his two-fingered approach to typing. (The other worse part is Tiny just left his self-esteem support group where he was told he is a beautiful, perfect, big boy. I think you will have to deal with his feelings of rejection, Illias. It is going to hurt. I’m just sayin’)

8 At the intro of the IBM PC, do not ask if there re any discounts available on the $1,565.00 price tag. If you do, at best you’ll get a weird look. At worst, the engineers will put you to sleep, explaining all the components, and how expensive everything is inside. (Now don’t you feel foolish, Ismael? Put that Best BUY coupon away. No use telling them that you can get a PC priced at $141.00 in 1981 dollars. Might even get you run out of town.)

7 At the intro of the IBM PC, do not ask if you can play Pong on it. If you do, at best more funny looks. At worst, one of the engineers will suddenly see you as a genius and won’t get away from you. (You may think this is a good thing, Izzy but the guy hasn’t been out of his clothes for two weeks.)

6 At the intro of the IBM PC, do not use white-out on the screen to correct mistakes you make trying out a unit. If you do, at best the group with think you are cute. At worst, they’ll think you are a technology terrorist. (There are a couple of big guys moving your way, Iban. Might be a good idea to take your white-out and correction-tape and head for the door.)

5 At the intro of the IBM PC, do not complain if you get a stripped-down version with no monitor for your $1565.00 ($4313 in 2018 dollars). If you do, at best you will be told to buy a more expensive model. At worst, the engineers will sit you down and explain that the PC was designed to be hooked to a TV monitor. ( So now you know, Ivo. You just plop that sucker down by your TV and plug it in the back. Well, assuming you have a connection on your TV. If not come back and get the +$3,000 models. We’ll throw in a couple of floppy disk drives too. Don’t tell me you don’t know what floppy disks are?)

4 At the intro of the IBM PC, do not scoff at Charlie Chaplin’s character The Little Tramp as a spokesperson for the IBM PC. If you do, at best, the market will ignore you. At worse, the advertising folks will lock you in a room and make you watch an endless loop of Little Tramp commercials until you buy a PC. (Best just buy one in the first half-hour, Idal. Otherwise, your brain may melt.)

3 At the intro of the IBM PC, do not buy before you try. If you do, at best you can put up with some inconvenience. At worst, you’ll be trying to save to drives that don’t exist and trying to print to slots that are empty. (Maybe you should have tried it out first, Isham. Looks like you will need the more expensive one after all.)

2 At the intro of the IBM PC, do not ask if it is compatible with your iPhone. If you do, at best, no one in the room will know what an iPhone is. At worst, the security department will believe you asked the question because you are from a competitor. (Looks like it is going to be a fun ride out the front door, Izak. Try to land on something soft this time.)

1 At the intro of the IBM PC, do not ask if it comes in colors other than grey. If you do, at best the salespeople will think you are joking. At worst, the salespeople will think you are a corporate spy for Apple. (Looks like they are ready for this kind of thing, Issa. Here comes the sheriff with a couple of deputies. MIght be a good time to hit the way back button on that cell phone.”

59 comments

  1. Gwen M. Plano · ·

    Oh my, your post takes me back to my first computer and losing my thesis with just the touch of a wrong key. IBM became part of my life and then seemed to disappear. Thank you for the glimpse, John.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. The IBM PC was only sold for about seven years. The competition took over the innovation. Thanks, Gwen.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Great list. Amazing how far this tech has come in nearly 40 years.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Fantastic list, John. I remember the first computer I worked on while working at the Pentagon was gigantic! And the servers were even bigger.

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    1. I remember those huge air-conditioned rooms with IBM employees running around the huge mainframe. Now our cell phones have more computing power.

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  4. Fun post! I remember when the IBM PC was a very big deal.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It was. Only on the market for about seven years.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Do you think Tiny would get upset if I asked them to fix the wordpress glitches?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Might cause him an episode​ of uncontrolled anger as a result of the frustration around no success. 😁

      Liked by 1 person

  6. In 1985, I began working in a place with a computer that looked just like the one in your illustration at the top. I found it shoved into a closet. I can only imagine how it got there.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Probably became extinct the day they bought it. Thanks, Linda.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Let’s hope Tiny doesn’t smack you with that keyboard. They were metal and weight a short ton. I liked the Little Tramp character. Not only grey, but a terrible grey at that. Thanks for the memory-jog, John. Within a short period, we had one in our office, loaded with VisiCalc, and a whole new way of working had begun.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I remember the VisiCalc, Can you say pain.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. If you’ve never been – https://www.pcjs.org/apps/pcx86/1981/visicalc/

        Just pour yourself a splash of Willett first.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Sorry. I show that to people who complain that Excel is missing some fancy functions

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      4. Right. I always loved​ the “move the curser” machinations. I always fond mine in the next county somewhere.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Hard to think of 1981 as part of history now. We’ve certainly come a long way!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Recent history. Thanks​, Darlene.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. We’ve come a long way, baby! Thanks for this nostalgic trip down memory lane!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, we have. Thanks, Jim.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. This is a great list, John. Now I can’t help but think of the show “Halt and Catch Fire” – did you ever catch it?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have not. I Googled it and it does sound interesting for sure. Thanks for the tip. 😊

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It was a good show; I watched the first two seasons, then I lost it but know, with today’s Netflix and stuff, I’ll be able to find it to watch the rest…

        Liked by 1 person

      2. It is on Netflix.

        Liked by 1 person

  11. Amazing, what development took place since then!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Yep – I remember when computers looked like that.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha ha ha. Me too.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Boss,

    So I’m going to go out on a limb and say no emojis either.

    I remember my first computer was a Tandy. I wish I would have held onto it in order to show my kids the hardships of my youth . . .

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Now, was this the infamous Trash 80?

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Nope, it wasn’t a TRS. But I do remember using one of those too. Ugh!

        Liked by 2 people

    2. I can believe you had hardships. My first was an Apple IIe Not much better.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The old computers were like rowboats. And just as useful when it came to trying to get shit done.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. More like anchors. You could ride them down until your head exploded.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Buahahahaha!

        Liked by 1 person

  14. D.L. Finn, Author · ·

    How fast things have changed since then! I miss reading the newspaper while the old computers started up and then waiting to dial in to get online.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha haha. That was always fun.

      Liked by 2 people

  15. Wow, that picture takes me back! Who’d have thought technology would “catch on” the way it has?!! Great list, John — thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is amazing isn’t it?

      Liked by 1 person

  16. LOL! Ah, I remember my first PC! At the time it felt like a step up from an Electric typewriter.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sometimes a step down.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Will this thing replace my Telex?

    Liked by 1 person

  18. ‘Tiny’ rejected? Tell me it ain’t so! Watch your ass, Illias.I’m cleaning my Glock.👍

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Watch your feet, Soooz.

      Liked by 1 person

  19. As always, you have made me laugh!!! I actually had one similar to that … my company bought it for me so that I could work from home and put in 16 hours per day instead of my usual 12, and still get a shower!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The shower is important. Endless coffee too.

      Liked by 1 person

  20. That was really funny! Tiny doing two finger typing – ha! I’d forgotten how expensive they were.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, they were. Seems all the Geeks had one though.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, they did. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  21. We’ve come a long way!! Great list, John!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes,​ we have, Jan.

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