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20230111 Computer 390419912 Editorial Use Only webMy how the world has changed

How many of you remember using a computer for the first time?

In our looking back to our previous issues, and our first season of the Winter Texan Times, we see when our writer Virginia Sunderman first used a computer to write an article for submission. It was printed in the January 15, 1988, issue of the Winter Texan Times.

She writes, “This is my first attempt at using a computer to write an article. I am using a computer at the Speer Memorial Library in Mission. The use of the computer is just one of the many advantages the library has to offer the public.”

If memory serves me right, but I do not recall ever having a computer at home. We used a typewriter for just about everything. I remember at one time having a graphing typewriter that we could put code in and it would print graphs, tables, pie charts, and print in COLOR if we wanted. That was a huge thing!

My husband remembers using a computer as far back as 1980 at the school he was attending. While I only remember using the microfiche readers and that sort until high school.

It wasn’t until about ninth grade, 1989, when I took a computer literacy class that I really had the chance to experience a computer – and now, how the world has changed.

My oldest was using a computer before she even entered school. She taught herself how to read while playing games on the computer. This is when we had AOL instant messenger and the internet wasn’t supplied by every business out there.

Our paper has come a long way since then as well. Because minimal things were done on the computer, we couldn’t have full color and other functions that are so widely used today in our publications.

My husband remembers when they first started using a desktop publishing program at the paper in the mid to late 1980’s. He remembers some of the old tasks and how long things would take to get it just right.

When I first started working for the paper in 1996, we were still printing out copy, using a dark room, grid paper, tape borders, and a copier machine to make clip art the size we needed for ads. The paper was then cut, waxed, and pasted on the grid sheet before being taken to the press.

Because of the way things used to be, we still often use a term – ‘Watch out for chickens.’ This came about after a piece of chicken clip art fell on a political ad and was printed that way. We used the term in the production room to make sure we double checked the layout and there weren’t any mistakes.

Back then we were typesetting a lot of the news. Submissions would come in on paper and we would then have to type it up into Word and then go from there with formatting, proofreading, and editing. Sometimes we would receive news on floppy disks and then eventually CD’s.

20230111 Computer 545858271 Editorial Use Only webAs the years have gone by, we have steadily grown to only use computers for our publications. We use several different programs to build ads. We use email to communicate, receive stories, proof ads, do surveys, and all sorts of things now. Our computers are part of our everyday lives now.

We have become spoiled by the technology being at our fingertips with laptops, dual screens and smart phones. Our paper is now uploaded directly to our printer. We can now work from anywhere, even when we are out and about attending events. It makes it easy to share what is happening.

As Winter Texans, you now use computers to communicate with family back home, check in on Facebook, keep track of activities, and more. We know many parks have gone to having websites, Facebook pages, and other ways to communicate online so information is readily at your fingertips when you need, or want, it.

We have been able to transition to contacting parks and our readers through email and social media. This makes response time a lot faster than sending letters by mail.

It’s amazing how far we have come and to experience what it was like before technology started doing some of the harder work for us. Admittedly, there are things I miss from the old press days – there are some things better seen with dark room production than digital photography, although digital photography has nearly caught up with some dark room techniques.

Since most of you are only a few years older than we are, I am sure you have some stories to tell about your use of computers.

So, when was the first time you used a computer?