Part of the Dysmey Post

My Computing Hobby

first computer

I bought my first personal computer in 1989. it was an AT&T 6300 WGS. It was a rebranded computer from Olivetti, an Italian manufacturer of office equipment, for which my employer at the time went into business as an outlet. The 6300 was an oddity because it was based on the Intel 8086 (10 MHz) with a 10-megabyte hard drive and a proprietary graphics card. I pumped up the box with a math processor and a two-megabyte expanded (paged) memory board. I learned PC programming (GW-BASIC and Turbo C) off of it. For an MS-DOS machine, the 6300 was as good as it got; but I had to trade it in for a generic PC based on an Intel 80386 processor because I wanted Windows, which the 6300 could not run.

from one computer to another

Since then I went through one computer after another, each lasting about two or three years, longer if I could put a new motherboard into it. I think I have had five or six computers, most running some form of Windows, but at least one running Red Hat Linux as a server.

During my stint at the Bank, I took avantage of the Bank's generous technology loan program to buy first a generic PC from a company called Technoland (now called iBase), where the Bank was getting its workstations. I held on to that one the longest, and even swapped its board for one running my first Pentium processor.

Later I bought a computer from Gateway, to which the bank switched after Technoland got out of the generic PC business in the late 1990's. This was also bought from a technology loan that I had to pay off fast, because I was dismissed during the loan period. But I did pay it off.

home box no. 1

I held on to that Gateway computer for four years before it became clear that it was obsolete. I sold the box to my sister the middle-school science teacher as a workstation at her school.

In its place I built a new home box: It ran off an AMD Athlon 64 FX processor on an Asus Micro-ATX motherboard inside a SilverStone Sugo 1 case. With its two-gigabyte memory and SATA drives, my home box was the fastest and most powerful machine I had. And it ran off Windows XP, even though I have successfully tested Vista on it, because I didn't feel like wearing an RIAA collar when viewed legally purchased music CDs and DVD movies; and because I would have bought a Mac Mini if I wanted a Mac visual interface that badly.

home box no. 2

I began to have problems with that box, or rather its motherboard. Most of the problems dealt with the network card circuitry in the motherboard. Folks, there is something about a network card on a motherboard that just does not work well after awhile.

I decided that it was time to put a new Micro-ATX motherboard inside the SilverStone case, creating in effect a new computer. The Asus motherboard I chose had an Intel Core 2 Duo processor and two gigabytes of memory. I also reinstalled Windows on the hard drive after I split it into two partitions: One for Windows, the other for personal stuff and games. The result is a lot faster than I hoped, and I am very satisfied with the new box, although the on-board network card began to act in such a flaky manner that I had to buy a separate network card (Intel Pro/1000) as a substitute.

home box no. 1 recycled

The older Asus board with its processor and memory were still useful, and I did not want to just throw them away. So I bought another SilverStone box (Sugo 3), put the board in that, and build for myself a backup computer for use downstairs in the living room.

Using a personal computer in the living room is not farfetched, because my sister the editor works out of hers. Also, the television set has a VGA port, to which the computer can be hooked up. And I can hook up a keyboard and trackball (a mouse would not work well on a carpetted surface) to the computer, with extension cables. That way I can work on the computer from my living room chair.

Copyright © 2008 by Andy West.