We all use computers every day, but at some moment in each of our lives, there was that first meeting. A first interface, if you will. You might not remember the real first time you used a computer, but there's got to be one shining gem of nostalgia that sticks out in your mind. What is it? When you look back on it now, is it laughable or just plain awesome? What was your first time like?
Turning my small card deck in to the student at the "input window" for the IBM 7094 in the C0-0rdinated Science Lab at the Univ. of Illinois in the fall of 1963. It was for my first computer programming course and was the Fortran equivalent of "Hello World." I wish I could remember what the text of that message actually was. The next day I picked up the rather thick listing and my card deck at the "output window" with my one page of output in it and it had worked! (I think it had taken a few iterations around those windows to get it right.) At that point I thought a compiler was a complicated machine in front of the computer that turned my deck into something the 7094 could execute. :-)
The term "computer science" was at least a decade in the future and if you wanted to work with computers you came in via math or electrical engineering. I chose the latter. I can clearly remember the prof of that first course telling us that there were some experiments in the works that would allow more than one program to run at a time but it was a very complicated proposition and progress had been slow.