|I've been fiddling with computers since 88 or 89, starting out occaisionally, now that and answering questions can take up much of my time, nearly every day. My Dad got a Sanyo 286 12mhz then and the first time he had a major problem he took it to where he bought it and they charged him what he thought was too much to fix it. The next time something went wrong, since he prefers to not spend money when he can, he asked me if I could figure it out, and that was my start with computers. Dos 3.2, 1mb of ram, 5 1/4" floppy drive, 32 mb MFM hard drive. We had to pay extra to get a 1.44mb floppy drive installed (over $100 for that), which was a fairly new thing. Roland Raven 24 pin dot matrix printer (like a Panasonic but with different programming; over $200 for that; I still have it). It was maybe a year before we got our first sound card - Soundblaster 2.0, the second generation of SB cards. We upgraded to Dos 3.3 shortly after we got it, then later on 5, then 6, then Win 3.1, then 6.2. I have 6.22 and Win 3.11 (Windows for Workgroups) too but haven't tried them.|
Dad wanted to write a novel, so he bought a computer so he could use word processing software - those typewriters/word processors were not on the market at that time yet. He bought Q&A Write, rather than Word or WordPerfect, which were much more expensive. Q&A Write was a pretty good simpler to use word proceesing program and data base, made by a little company called Symantec. It was good enough that some up to mid sized corporations used it (e.g. Continental Can in the US). It had unique "intelligent assistant" (or similar) features no other program had at the time. Peter Norton was so impressed with that "intelligent assistant" software, he bought the Symantec company in order to get the rights for the software, and shortly after that he changed his own company name to Symantec. Peter's Symantec supported Q&A Write for a few more years, but by 2001 or so it was gone. It was a Dos program, but it worked well with Win 3.1 too.
We didn't get on the web until about 97 - internal Motorola 28.8K dial-up; later on in 99? a Zoom 56K dual mode external modem. High speed ADSL (1500kbps) since early 2000. Went from MsDos 6.2 and Win 3.1 to Win 98SE at the beggining of 2000 - I'm still using it. Didn't have XP (Home) until about 2006.
We had a couple hand-me-down computers after the Sanyo - a generic 386DX-33 (never did find out who made the mboard; Chips and Technology chips; a garage sale buy), P-Bell 486SX-33, formerly my brother's - upgraded it later to DX2-66, 4mb of ram. Built my first computer from all new pieces Dec. 1999 - I did a lot of research before I bought anything - Epox MVP3-G5 SS7, K6-III 450, 64mb of PC125 SDram (not a typo - PC125 was briefly a standard), UDMA66 (many mboards were UDMA33 at the time), 2mb L2 cache (many mboards had less at the time - caches up to 512mb of ram), 5 PCI, 2 IDE, one PCI/ISA shared (I've never had 6 slots occupied - not enough IRQs, in Win 98SE anyway), ISA SB16 PNP soundcard (has a configurable IDE port IRQ - I can install 5 IDE drives, 4 on the mboard plus that), ATI Rage Fury video (the best of the original 128 bit cards; made in Canada; the first video chipset line to have hardware DVD playback acceleration support) 32mb AGP 2X; Canon BJC-4400 printer, IS22 scanner cartridge for it. I'm still using the computer, printer, and it's scanner cartridge, except now it has Sapphire Radeon 7000 64mb video (running at 2X) and either 128mb or 256mb of PC133 SDram, and I only use black ink for the printer (I have refilled the cartridges many times).
I have one newer computer (since the 7ZMMH died), which I use often and has XP Home on it (Asus A7V600, 2.x ghz), one about the same age, and several other older ones.
I have fixed up and given away several others or their mboards, all newer than the Epox system (and Canon BJ-xxx and BJC-xxxx printers). Three of those, and a newer empty case, I retrieved from an apartment garbage bin. I occaisionally assemble new systems for others for little or no labour cost for those who have little money and need a hand, including a few disabled people I first met when I visited my friend, who can't do that themselves. I occaisionally re-load computers for a resident's computer room 5 computer network and take care of other computer related problems as they occur at a local extended care center, where my friend once lived, and take care of other computer problems residents have as they occur there and at another one where some of the residents (the ones who require a ventilator machine to breathe at night or all the time) have moved to since.
I have 13 years of school - the last year 1/2 days - (Electronics and more than enough to qualify for taking Science at a university). Two years of university, but was taking pre-med and wasn't doing well enough (marks had to be really high to get into Medicine - mine were not)- never went back. Eventually I became a Journeyman Carpenter, and a jack of some other trades (residential plumbing, electrical, asphalt shingling). My back can't take it anymore and I've kind of retired from doing that, the last few years, but I do odd jobs of all sorts on request (ONLY). I'm poor as a church mouse, but I make do.
I've been answering questions and digging up info on the web since about Oct of 2004?, first at a site called Constructor's Corner that was attached to site for a little computer shop in SE Australia, Lanyon Computers, then later here, since about 2007?.
I started doing that when I had been searching for info about an old mboard and found there was too many places on the web where answers were incorrect or where they did not go into enough detail, especially if one didn't know enough background info about computers - Constructor's Corner was the first place I found that had people who answered my questions about that mboard in detail, and the first place that pointed me to where I could find something similar to the manual (the original Total Hardware 99 site, which was still up at that time). Gigabyte did not have the manual anymore - they had only a bios update for it. I decided to post all the other info I had dug up about that mboard there, and about my experience replacing the RTC module on it, and I started helping out answering questions and digging up info for others. Unlike Computing.net, Constructor's Corner specialized in answering questions about older mboards, and would respond to any question about any post already on the site no matter how old it was. Eventually those who answered dwindled down to myself (I was Mike there), a guy Alan (Greaves) who lives near Lanyon Computers in Australia, and somtimes Mal, the the guy who took care of Lanyon's server. Then the two or three guys who ran Lanyon Computers decided to close their shop and move on to something else, and their Lanyon Computers web site and attached Constructor's Corner ceased to exist not long after that when the lease for the web site expired. They saved the database, but I don't know if anyone has since bothered to make a mirror of it. Alan now helps out on another web site - he's about 5 years older than myself - he was an early computer support person, and at one time worked for Compaq in Australia, but retired early for health reasons.
Some days I spend way too much time on the computer answering questions, etc., especially in the winter, but I enjoy it when I get positive results.
I'll be 58 in August.