Quotabie Babies

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If you don't know what on earth I'm talking about, well, you're not Nathan.

When we were kids, personal computers were born [when Rae was a kid, programmed disks were already for sale, and by the time Mendon hit the streets floppy disks were already passe]. Nathan, much to his good fortune, as witnessed by his current line of work, was fascinated by them. He built our first computer from a kit from Radio Shack, and then, of course, there was the Commodore. He would get programming magazines, hand them over to me, I would read them to him - line by tedious line - and together we would create some all-text game to play (i.e. Zork). I would be outright lying if I said I did not enjoy this process as much as he did. Maybe our roles then explain our jobs today - I dealt with the words on the page, he dealt with transforming them on the computer.

I was 8-years-old when we did this. I know, because I remember misspelling "go to" in an assignment in Mr. Harris' 3rd grade class and thinking, "but 'GOTO' is one word!!!" At eight, I was still learning complex words like brackets, parentheses and quotation marks. So I made up "quotabie babies" (pronounced "ca-tay-bie bay-bies"). For some inexplicable reason, I remembered this when I got up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom last night.

Nae, would there have been a reason I would have said "quotabie babies red" - or green - or any other color for that matter? Or was that just middle of the night muddling - perhaps with "slug-a-bug red" or some such memory?

And yes, this fretful question is partially responsible for my over-tiredness today.

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Hey, Mara!

Quotabie babies left and quotabie babies right, you used to say! I remember we spent MONTHS typing in this computer game that let you wander around the screen and pick up oxygen tanks and gems. You had to get more oxygen before it ran out, and there were these things that got you if you bumped into them and you had to collect gems. There would be more and more of these alien things as you got more and more gems until death was inevitable.

Then we used paper route money to buy two games, one of which was that spelling game with the barber, Sam something, where you had to make as many words as possible from one big eight letter word. It's exactly the same game play as TextTwist, available free from the MSN Zone at zone.com. This was a good game. And then there was this other game, with knights and it was a kind of medeival fair, with jousting competitions and other stuff. The game would let you name your character, and you typed Lady Finger. We didn't even know why that was funny, but it was, and we laughed like only small children can.

And, to be fair, I didn't build our first computer out of a kit from Radio Shack; I just made a crystal radio set. Once, I strung some logic gates together to make an electronic version of that little foldable paper finger thing that girls used to use to determine who you were supposed to marry, but I just copied the design from someone who knew what they were doing.

Our first computer was a Timex-Sinclair 2000, and Mommy and Daddy bought it. It had 4k of memory.

Then we got an Apple II+ from Gerry Sleigh. It cost Mommy $400 and I mowed his lawn a few times.

We were a good team, except I was too bossy sometimes. I'm sorry.

Oh my gosh! I LOVED those games! Chivalry was the name of the medieval one, I think. I loved that so much you made me my own copy. And remember that one that was all about drawing?

Whoa! When you guys were about 8 and 11 Maman spent $400 on the two of you? Call me skeptical, but has the cost of money gone down significantly since then? When I was between 8 and 11 I couldn't get Maman to spend ten cents on me for LaffyTaffy! Arguably, I started getting a hefty $10 weekly allowance, somewhere around 8-9th grade, but that was twelve years later.

You guys must have had a different mother!

Mensch, it all happened - just not at the same time. I don't know how much it cost, and I thought Nae paid for it with his newspaper route money, but Maman may have helped. Or Nae had to pay her back.

I thought the price was more like $50, but I don't really remember. and I think Nae and I split it? And Laffy Taffy will rot your teeth. And is gone in 20 minutes. And really, the first computer I was aware of in the house was the TR-80 from Radio Shack from a kit.

Mendon, between the ages of 8 and 11 you had a paper route. We all did. She didn't spend money on candy because you did plenty of that yourself.

Mendon nad I were older when we had our paper routes. However to be fair I recall using our apple as well. I played sticky bear math and reading games that I loved. It all balances out in the end- didn't you get the wicked cool new bed made for you?

True! Yeah, I remember Sticky Bears - it was the first ever program that we BOUGHT. And it was for a 3 year old - hahahaha :-) I loved playing it - just because it was bought.

You had your paper routes in junior high? Oh, right, they changed the times the papers had to be delivered, is that right?

I have no idea. But I delivered them in the morning during seventh or eighth grade. I remember Ma started coming with me after the crazy dogs at the end of the route scared me so bad that I called the Willoughby poice and Daddy got in the rabbit with me to find them. We brought the big white kitchen knife with us. I think she lost ten pounds walking with me. THat was fun. Mensch came every once in a while too.

Lol this reminds me of that quote "You can't teach an old dog new tricks."

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Good stuff but it looks like this is an old post, when was it last updated?

If you're still on the fence: grab your favorite earphones, head down to a Best Buy and ask to plug them into a Zune then an iPod and see which one sounds better to you, and which interface makes you smile more. Then you'll know which is right for you.

The new Zune browser is surprisingly good, but not as good as the iPod's. It works well, but isn't as fast as Safari, and has a clunkier interface. If you occasionally plan on using the web browser that's not an issue, but if you're planning to browse the web alot from your PMP then the iPod's larger screen and better browser may be important.

Sorry for the huge review, but I'm really loving the new Zune, and hope this, as well as the excellent reviews some other people have written, will help you decide if it's the right choice for you.

Apple now has Rhapsody as an app, which is a great start, but it is currently hampered by the inability to store locally on your iPod, and has a dismal 64kbps bit rate. If this changes, then it will somewhat negate this advantage for the Zune, but the 10 songs per month will still be a big plus in Zune Pass' favor.

The Zune concentrates on being a Portable Media Player. Not a web browser. Not a game machine. Maybe in the future it'll do even better in those areas, but for now it's a fantastic way to organize and listen to your music and videos, and is without peer in that regard. The iPod's strengths are its web browsing and apps. If those sound more compelling, perhaps it is your best choice.

Sorry for the huge review, but I'm really loving the new Zune, and hope this, as well as the excellent reviews some other people have written, will help you decide if it's the right choice for you.

Between me and my husband we've owned more MP3 players over the years than I can count, including Sansas, iRivers, iPods (classic & touch), the Ibiza Rhapsody, etc. But, the last few years I've settled down to one line of players. Why? Because I was happy to discover how well-designed and fun to use the underappreciated (and widely mocked) Zunes are.

Hands down, Apple's app store wins by a mile. It's a huge selection of all sorts of apps vs a rather sad selection of a handful for Zune. Microsoft has plans, especially in the realm of games, but I'm not sure I'd want to bet on the future if this aspect is important to you. The iPod is a much better choice in that case.

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This page contains a single entry by Mara published on February 22, 2006 11:37 AM.

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