Thursday, September 9, 2010

My Computers

Written 9 September, 2010

My Computers

For four years now this list of computers I've owned has been taking up space on the left side of my blog. It's time I retired it-- but it prevent it from going completely away, I'm making it a post.

So here, in order, are the various computers I've owned in my lifetime.

Commodore VIC-20-- I wanted an Apple ][ but didn't have enough money. The VIC-20, with full color, a SID sound chip, expansion port, and an astonishing 4096 bytes of memory seemed a steal at only $299. In the three months it took me to save money enough for the cassette recorder, I learned the BASIC programming language-- and every time I turned off the computer, I lost all of my work.

Commodore 64-- I was given this computer by an opthalmologist for whom I developed a program to track saccadic fixation. He used the program daily in his practice.

Commodore SX-64-- I became quite the Commodore guru-- make that software pirate. Eventually I bought a used SX-64, the portable version of the C-64. 

Tandy Model 100-- This notebook -sized computer was expandable to 32k of RAM and would run for hours on four AA batteries. A BASIC program I wrote to track was used extensively at Peabody College, where I was in grad school, to track behavior of children in play settings. The special ed department soon had a stable full of Model 100s. 

Tandy Model 102-- Some years later I lucked upon the Model 102's successor at a flea market. I bought it for $10. What a deal!

Mac Plus-- When I found myself without a layout artist for a magazine I was publishing, my long-distance boyfriend was kind enough to give me his Mac Plus. I quickly learned the Mac OS, learned the rudiments of page layout, and learned to use Quark Xpress and got the magazine out, and on deadline.

Mac IIci-- I was given this computer by a friend. It replaced my aging Mac Plus.

IBM PS/2-- I never actually owned this computer, but I pretty much wore it out. For years I had been in a conundrum-- should I buy a PC, a new Mac, or the astonishing Amiga I had seen at Commodore headquarters in West Chester, PA. In the interim, I used my C-64, which was an astonishingly powerful and handy machine.

One day I at work I ran across two new-in-the-box PS/2s. I asked the director of the sheltered workshop if I could use one and she said yes. I retired my Commodore and ran DOS on the PS/2. Once I actually installed Windows 3.1, but it used up most of the space on the 5 mb (yes, you read that right!) hard drive, so I promptly uninstalled it.

PC 80386-- I ran this system alongside the Mac IIci. The PC, which ran Windows 95, was for word crunching, the Mac for graphics and page layout.

PC 80486--  I retired the 386 for this computer. I remember spending nearly $600 for 8 mb of RAM. I ran Windows 98 and eventually Windows 2000 on it. For years, it was excruciatingly slow. I finally discovered a Symantec process was killing it

Home-Build Athlon 64 PC-- I bought the components at Fry's and put this baby together. It's the alien computer I talk about in my early posts. I called it the alien computer because of it's other-worldly case. I blew the thing up shortly after I started Second Life, while installing new memory. All detailed in this blog. 

Sony VAIO Dual-Core Pentium D-- With a horrible Second Life addiction and a dead computer, I rushed out to Fry's and bought a dual-core PC. I'm still using it, even though it's getting a bit long in the tooth. One of these days I'll stuff new works in the alien computer's old case...

Compaq Laptop-- With money acquired in a class-action suit against State Farm (I got a letter asking me if I wanted to opt in, and I said yes), I bought this super cheapie laptop. It eventually was stolen when my house was burglarized.

Great Value Fry's Laptop-- I bought this super-cheapie four years ago. The salesman at Fry's kept trying to steer me toward a more expensive model, and I grew more and more belligerent. "No, damn it, I don't want the extended warranty! Now go and get my computer. Now!" I still have it, and it works perfectly, although one of the USB ports has died. The only problem I had with it was my fault (I spilled Diet Coke on the keyboard and had to replace it). Good computer, but completely inadequate for Second Life.

Mac G3-- I bought this obsolete computer for $50, complete with monitor, just so I would have something to use to pull Mac data from my publishing days.

Mac G4-- I was given this computer and eventually gave it away, as it was less flexible than the G3. 

Sony VAIO Laptop with ATI Radeon Video-- Last fall I bought this puppy from Frys or Cyberguys or NewEgg (don't quite remember which). With its dual-core processor, 4 gb of RAM, and built-in Radeon graphics card, it runs Second Life at 20 frames per second, with graphics cranked up. That's faster than my desktop! Woo hoo!


Peter Stindberg said...

I repaired a Mac G3 and a Mac G4 the other day - it was rather nostalgic.

Cheyenne Palisades said...

I have the G3 on a table in my bedroom; as soon as I can promote a free monitor for it, I'll be pulling the data from it. I have the info backed up on an external drive. I might be able to get to it from my PC.

Cheyenne Palisades said...

So, Peter, long time now see. I hope you're doing well.