The computer case offered a friendly "HI" when I turned on the power. Then it took about five minutes for the computer to boot up to Windows 98. It seemed like an eternity compared to today's computers which seem to boot up instantly in comparison. What did I used to do with all that extra time?
It smelled musty, and the fan made a loud whirring sound. The monitor is an old CRT type that weighs about 20 pounds, cumbersome and heavy compared to today's LED flatscreens. The mouse has a tracking ball which requires a pad and occasional cleaning that was standard before today's optical devices.
Once in Windows 98, I had to open up an old DOS (Disk Operating System, the PC's precursor to Windows) program called MusicPrinter Plus to view my files. Surprisingly, a few of those old DOS commands came back to me and I was able to negotiate my way to the old files. I remember how amazing this program was when I first used it. Before that I had written all my music with pen and ink using a wide calligraphy nib. With MusicPrinter Plus I was using what the creators referred to as an "Essential tool for the creative musician." And it was wonderful compared to writing everything out by hand without the cut-and-paste editing capabilities of a computer-based program. Seeing it today after many years it seemed archaic compared to today's programs.
The files were stored on "floppy" disks, but these were the smaller, firmer type that came after the really big earlier disks that were actually floppy. I copied them from the disks to the hard drives, then turned the system off and removed them.
I have ordered a USB adapter that will hopefully allow me to read the drives on my newer Windows 7 computer. But I remember how this old technology was at the cutting edge one day. I am glad that things have progressed to where they are and I love the new operating system and programs that have become the mainstay of my business and daily life. It's exciting to imagine where we'll be ten years from now. But it was fun to visit the past for a little while with my old computer that, despite all its shortcomings, is still a lot faster than I am!