The world of Computers

This post got me thinking about how I’ve been shaped by computers.

I remember back in the ’80s when my brother had a Commodore 64 in the upstairs part of my house, and typing my mom’s name into there thinking it would do something; of course, the screen (it was orange typing interestingly instead of the stereotypical green). I might be wrong on that however, as I remember using a monitor that had been used for a computer (probably the same C64) as a screen for the Nintendo system a few years later.

Anyway, then my schooling started and the use of computers increased with the expansion of the elementary school to have a larger library/media centre (fancy talk of course for a computer lab). I remember playing the Oregon Trail (by MECA, and being booted off of floppy disks – the 5-1/4 inch ones, not the more modern 3-1/2 inch ones). I can’t tell you how many times people in my party got sick of something or another – in fact I think it took a really skilled mind to make it all the way to the end of the trail.

1994 comes along and the programs in use at school are a little more advanced, but it was still all on Apple IIe computers, but the situation at home would change – a Windows PC would be bought in January of that year for the price of $1577.00 including the 5.5% sales tax. I can still remember the day as after buying the computer (which was in two just huge boxes that barely fit into the car), we went to the Wendy’s that was near to the Best Buy store to eat lunch and then went home to set the computer up. We had internet service from Prodigy and I can remember seeing the advertising for the then top-of-the-line 9600 bps modem, complete with the simulation of how fast everything would be with a speed four times the current. I also remember how I managed to break the computer trying to install AOL on there.

That computer was used for a good three years or so before we moved to a customized computer built by a shop in town, that particular computer (which sports a 233 MHz processor) still works quite well despite it being close to ten years old. A friend of my brother gave him a computer that is still in use today; I can remember working on that one in the days leading up to 1/1/2000 because as I was working on it, I was listening to a station out of Chicago that was airing special programming in the build-up to the new year. This computer, incidentially, was the same one that broke the first day that I was at college.

Because of that computer breaking down, I managed to secure some funds to buy myself a laptop (HP Pavilion N5475 – which has the most ass backward setup for its audio ports – headphones in the front, microphone in the back, but it was made 5 years ago, before it was thought of that people would have dual-connector headsets for internet telephony). Interestingly, that was the only thing I’d ever bought the extended warranty on, and it did me good as it saved me about $600 or so in repairs in 2003 because the hard drive was dying; they also gave me a new LCD screen as the original one had developed a crack near one of the seams. Interestingly, I was one of the first people to use XP as I had gotten this computer in the short space of time between it was released to OEMs and when it was released to the public at large.

In April of 2005, I got the computer that I currently use – a Gateway 507GR (3.0GHz P4 with Hyperthreading, 200GB HDD, 512MB of RAM, DVD+/-R writer AND separate DVD reader, along with a load of USB ports, a couple of Firewire ports and a media reader). The only hardware that I’ve added to this system is a printer and a TV card.

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