June 06, 2018
What Happened to the Personal Database?
The first time I sat in front of a computer, I felt a sense that I was sitting in front of a tool to let me control my world in ways I hadn't previously considered. Granted, I was much younger than I am now, and had a whole different set of problems to solve than I do today, but the concept was the same - there are things I want to get done in this world, and this box was going to help me do them. Most of those first hours weren't spent in games (though we had plenty, and I still fondly remember searching the world for Carmen San Diego), but I spent a lot of time in things like WordPerfect, or poking around with DOS and the built in utilities.
As a quick aside, one of the first times I was really afraid of having broke the computer was when I learned about RAM disks. The idea that I could create these temporary places to put stuff that felt like a real disk blew my mind, up until I used up all the RAM on the (both megs), and couldn't open an editor to remove the offending lines from
autoexec.bat so that they wouldn't come back on reboot. Ultimately I figured it out, but I was pretty sure that my computer privleges had come to a halt. Luckily, they didn't.
There was another program my parents had, and one that has come back in to my mind recently - MyDataBase (stylized as it was on the box, and speaking of the box, it's apparently still available for sale on Amazon). This program sold itself as exactly what it was named to be, a personal database that could do all kinds of database type things.