Legacy Means Get Some New Stuff, Retard!

September 30, 2005 at 5:10 PM | Posted in Computers and Internet | Leave a comment
Originally published 07/17/05 at webdisaster.net

I spent a wonderful Sunday afternoon steeped in nostalgia. For you young kids, that means old, musty shit.
For
computer stuff to be nostalgic, it doesn’t have to be that old. For
instance, our 3-handled, moss-covered, family credenza is hundreds,
maybe thousands of years old, so it is legitimately an "old thing."
Meanwhile, I sorted through a box of floppies, most of them from mid to
early 90’s. These are ancient.
As I sorted through these disks, I
felt that shimmer thing come over me, like on Wayne’s World, to
initiate the flashback sequence. I remember my first computer was an
IBM 8088, with 64k Ram and a 40 MB hardrive, with dual 5 1/4 in floppy
drives. And a 9-pin printer.
Surely this, I mused, must be the golden age of computers.

Then I bought one from my boss. He upgraded to a 486, so I bought his
386 desktop. Significant improvement. The previous box had –(box.
That’s funny. No one refered to them as boxes, or even pc’s, really.
Always very formal, and held in reverence. "Computer.") Anyway, the
previous box had DOS 3.1. This one had Windows 3.11, the penultimate in
operating systems. My problems were over, no more command line for me.

Not only that, I went from 64 k to almost 16 MB of RAM! In terms of
productivity, the sky was the limit. A 400 MB Hard Drive! Can you
imagine! It rocked! The 8088 had 40 MB. That is practically 10 times
more! This was about 92 or 93, I think. I started to feel the upgrade
bug, and now the machines were starting to be built with that in mind.
I removed the 5 1/4" floppy drive and replaced it with a "Multi-media"
kit, a cd-rom drive and a sound card, and software guaranteed to make
everything almost compatible. But complete compatibility was unavailbe
on that release, because then I would have been content. "Contentment"
is not a system requirement. Then I upgraded the hard-drive to the
biggest one available at the time–850 MB! I remember that it costs
almost 100 bucks. There was talk of eventually breaking the 1 GB
barrier, most scoffed at this ridiculous notion.
Besides, who would ever need a GB of hard drive?

I do remember I had a friend of a friend who was a computer geek–which
must have been especially hard in the early 90’s, who brought his
entourage over to my house and they worked long into the night
transfering the data from my old hard drive to my new one. All of that
data, by the way, I have on one cd now. And so we enjoyed a few years
of relative computer bliss, although it was disconcerting to play
tetris on the new machine, compared to the old IBM–this was so FAST!
But eventually, like all things, it came to an abrupt end when
something happened and it stopped working well. No explanation. Im sure
I could diagnose it now, but I don’t remember.
So
again we were thrust into the dark ages. Everyone had a computer but
us. I longed to be a apart of it all, but couldn’t get the wife on
board. But then the kid was getting older, they were using them in
school more, and it seemed like a necessary thing.
My own school,
meanwhile, had gotten computers the year AFTER I graduated. But that
was 1983. Apples. I don’t think I missed much. (not because of the
apple but because of the 1983 part. I dont need any angry postcards
from apple zealots. By definition, if you HAVE an Apple, you ARE a
zealot.)
But it was 1999, and we wanted to join the computer
industrial complex and become a mindless member of the machine, but we
feared the Y2K thing. So we compromised. We bought a computer in
December, and I would hook it up on Jan 1st. No, not the 1st. The 2nd.
I was going to go looting on the 1st.
Got a Celeron 466 Mhz, with a
nine gig hard drive, 64MB ram. Windows 98se. Served us well, in fact I
still have it, although the motherboard and cpu are all that are left
of the original. Upgraded the ram, added a video card, replaced the cd
drive when it went out, then added a burner, replaced the hardrive.

diddly-dee diddly-dee diddly-dee
Okay,
the flashback is over. This year I built 2 boxes, one for me and one
for my son, 1.9 Gig P4’s, 512MB ram, 160 GB harddrives.
In
contrast, the 386 was 66 Mhz, and the IBM measured speed in feet per
fortnight. Still feel like I am behind the curve slightly, and in fact
I saw a pie chart that showed we are exactly in the middle in terms of
what people have. But I have a broad band connection with 3 computers
on a wirless LAN. Not bad for an old guy. We still use the celeron, or
my wife does. She’s not happy. She’s jealous, but she’s not sure of
what. Most people except gamers don’t need more than 7 or 800 Mhz, and
that is only because of the software requirements. But everyone WANTS
the best.
I realized that I was an old fogey about some of this
stuff, and I shouldnt be. I am in this tech world, so I should embrace
it. Despite my ambivelance towards USB (it is not the end all and be
all of peripheral connectivity), I do enjoy reading about and being
apart of the tech thingy. I want to built a media pc, hook it up to my
home theater and the LAN. I enjoy building them and taking them apart.
I want to do some case mods. I want to embrace the modern age and be on
the cutting edge!

So–If anybody has a need for any of these floppies I have, like
Windows NT, harvard graphics, lotus 1-2-3, Win 95 recovery, all manner
of old drivers–

GET A NEW COMPUTER. Stupid. I may start a museum. A computer museum of the nineties. That’s like the 1700’s in real history.

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