Monday, May 26, 2008

20 Years Ago Today

On this day, twenty years ago, I received a package from Lyco Computer in Jersey Shore, Pennsylvania. This large box contained a major step forward in my personal computing evolution in the form of a Seikosha SP 180-VC dot matrix printer, some printer paper, and the GEOS operating system, as well as the GEOPublish program for it.

GEOS stands for Graphic Environment Operating System, which was made by Berkeley Softworks for my good old Commodore 64 computer. It resembled the early Macintosh operating system, and the modern Windows systems, with on-screen icons for various functions. GEOPublish was an expansion pack for GEOS that gave me unprecedented desktop publishing abilities.

With GEOS and my printer all hooked up, I was in no time creating files and documents and saving them onto disks. I was printing out permanent paper records of things, such as an inventory of my Commodore 64 purchases, which I still use to this day to reference important anniversaries such as this.

I used my printer and GEOS with my Commodore 64 well into the nineties, as it was my only available technology to do those things until I got a PC in January of 1998. It became impossible to find new printer ink ribbons for that Seikosha printer at one point, but while I had it I really felt like I was, at last, part of the modern computer age.

Especially on that night, twenty years ago, when I hooked it all up for the first time. I spent the whole night exploring GEOS, printing things out, and thinking of all the new things I could do with my Commodore 64. To the brilliant makers of GEOS, wherever you are now, you have my thanks.

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