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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

My First Computer Experience

One of the things Suzanne and I did while we were in Kansas City was to buy a Point of Sale computer system for the Western Auto Store. I had practically no experience with computers so this was a very time consuming process.

Back then there was an extremely long turnaround time for a computer system through the Western Auto MIS Department so I had time to get things ready. The first step was to get the store set to “Model Stock”. To do this I had to go to each item in the store and make sure it had a price label with the correct stock number on it. I also had to make sure that we told the computer exactly how many of each item we wanted to keep on hand. This was very time consuming. I had to go through the store with a micro fiche, typewriter (for typing bin tags) and price marker all mounted on a converted shopping cart.

We also had to have a second phone line installed at the store. This was so that the computer could communicate with the Western Auto computer. I also used this line as my private line for Suzanne to call whenever I was working before the store opened.  That way I would not have to answer the phone when we weren’t open.

I got the system set up and running. We weren’t quite ready to go live yet. Shortly the screen on the main terminal displayed the message “Error 1005 Ignore, Reboot, Retry.”  I called Western Auto MIS. They said, “It isn’t our error message. It must be a hardware issue.” So, they conference called in Texas Instruments. Texas Instruments said, “This isn’t our error message.” So they added MicroSoft to the conference call. Microsoft asked, “What size is your hard drive?” I answered “40 Megabytes.”  The surprised response from Microsoft was “Forty Megabytes, you will never fill that up!” I was then told that the error code was not Microsoft’s either. I told them that I had that code and that someone needed to fix my problem. It was decided I would reformat my very first hard drive. So, I had to install floppy disk after floppy disk on this massive 40 megabyte hard drive. Today you can burp and fill up forty megabytes.

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