Saturday, February 10, 2007

My Computer Graveyard

For those who have been reading my blogs over time would be aware of my interest in graveyards. To me, a graveyard is a place where one can learn something about the past. Now most of the graveyards I have been to are graveyards where we bury our loved ones once they have passed on.

There are many types of graveyards. Author Stephen King once wrote about a pet cemetery where people bury their deceased pets. In my house, I have a different type of graveyard… a computer graveyard.

Over the past years, I have run a small “on the side” computer repair business. One habit of mine was that I never threw any old computer parts out just in case I needed them. As a result, I have acquired all types of obsolete computer parts as well as a number of obsolete computers. Every once in awhile I reminisce as I look at the old dinosaurs and when I do, old memories flood back to my mind. Below, are a few examples of some of the computers and the memories they invoke…

Apple II

I had never seen a personal computer until my very last day at University in 1983. As I was clearing out residence, a summer school student was setting up his new Apple II computer as he prepared for the summer semester. University was a good memory for me.

Commodore PET

Shortly after University, I took a computer programming course. This was my first experience with working on personal computers. I don't remember much about computer language other than it was called BASIC. The only two commands I remember are PEEK and POKE. One was for colour and the other for sound. Which one was sound and which one was colour is now a mystery for me!

Commodore VIC 20

Now there was a good computer! It was the first computer that got to play computer games on. Games such as Astro and a couple of other games whose names I forget. It was then that I ended up with tendonitus in my fingers... my first experience with a computer related injury.

Commodore 64

The first computer that I ever had in one of my classrooms. It was my first experience in word processing. It also had a great war game installed. I can't remember the name but I got to sink ships. Nope... wasn't battleship! This was my first experience in computer game addiction.

Apple IIe

While working for the Boys & Girls Club, I ran the computer lab. This was my first experience working with Apple computers. The only software I remember was Appleworks. I didn't spend too much time on these computers as the club members were always on them.

Atari 800

One day I came across an Atari 800 in its original box on top of my neighbour's garbage can. I snapped it up and brought it home. I have never tried to run it and yet I refuse to junk it. One day, I shall give it a go and get it going. I have taken it apart and looked inside it but that's about it. This was my first experience taking a computer apart.


I was responsible for purchasing 10 of these computers for the Boys & Girls Club. This is where I received my experience in setting up computers. Since then, I have owned an unknown number of PCs. I have also used my experience on PCs to finance a number of family projects as well as pay many bills. I have installed Windows 3.0, 3.1, .311 for Networks, Windows 95, 98, 98SE and ME, Windows 2000, Windows XP Home and Professional and Linux Mandrake and Red Hat. I have no idea how many times I have installed these operating systems. Each and every time I have worked on a computer, I have learned something new.

iMac G4

I just recently acquired one of these. It does not work and so I have to fix it. I set a goal of getting it fixed by the end of February... It doesn't look like I am going to meet that goal. I have absolutely no idea what I am doing!

So... Do any of these computers bring back any of your memories? It is amazing how objects such as these can invoke our memories!


abbagirl74 said...

I have never seen most of the computers that you have shown. I am terrible when it comes to learning about new technology.

Wendz said...

My first exposure to a computer was, I think, in about 1978, I was 12. My Dad got an Apple and I was hooked!

He and I spent hours together on that thing.

The fascination has never left me. I LOVE what PC's bring to my life.

Janice said...

Although I recognize the names I have not had much to do with any of these. I saw the first computer in 1981 and thought uh-uh not something I'm ever going to be interested in. A few years later how things changed!

I remember when "Myst" came out I too learned what computer game addiction was all about! It is amazing how small the world now seems with the invention of this wonderful item. Now Dad on the other hand cannot understand why someone would email their pics to friends that live only 10 miles away--to him could they not just have driven over to show them? He does not like computers at all but then he is 93 years old so I understand his thinking.
I remember the first monitor I had was 640x480 and a heavy clumsy one-but oh the thrilling things one could do with this! Now I am considering changing my 1280x1064 flat screen to a larger size for the artwork I do-yep things have sure changed but it still is as thrilling to use this computer as it was the day I first ever owned one. Great post Dave that brought back a few forgotten memories :)

Em said...

My first one was an Apple IIe, so your Apple II is a fond memory. And we are actually using one of those G4 Towers right now in our house. The only computer in my basement is an Apple SE. But I've got more broken inkjet printers than I know what to do with! Want some?!?! LOL

Becky Wolfe said...

A walk thru time. Computers have been around for MOST of my life but we did not get one in our household till 1994. Before that I typed my important reports on an electronic typewriter (it had erasing skills - woo) There is probably still an old commodore in my parents basement. I wouldn't call it our first real computer cuz we couldnt do anything with it other than play some math games.

I took computer science in highschool for DOS but DOS was on its way out the next year when Windows broke thru the need for it. I remember "if" "then" "else" and I remember I got an A. Other than that, I don't remember any of it.

My whole family was addicted to 'Myst' Janice. I didn't understand the attraction - guess I was the only one still left with homework to do at that time.

Now computers are my life! And I love each and every advance that is made in technololgy!

Le Nightowl said...

I think Pet Samatary was the 1st King novel I read.. really disturbing :)
I don't have a computer graveyard myself. My current PC is only my second one, it's 4 years old and doesn't have a brand name. It's been acting funny lately, and I'm beginning to think about a replacement :)
It's hard to make a choice, though, when there is so much choice available.
What I enjoy most about your blog, Dave, is the variety of subjects you choose. I never know what to expect when I visit :)

Cheryl said...

I'm not familiar with any of the old computers you pictured. My first one was a Gateway in 1992. I got my second one, an HP about 3 years ago and my Dell laptop a year ago. My laptop is the best toy I ever bought!

Josie said...

Dave, I remember when I was working for a law firm and we had a computer system called NBI. Did you ever hear of it? It was actually quite good and really fast. That was in 1988.


HeiressChild said...

my first computer was a mac; paid $150 for it. the monitors were small then. *lol*

i've learned about lot about computers, the software and hardware from experimenting on my own, plus my that's my nephew's job and business so he helps me a lot.

i remember once i deleted accidently deleted my modem. *lol* you just can't be scared of them. *lol*

Fuzzylogic said...

Wow,you have a great collection.We never had a computer anytime while I was growing up as a kid,the first one we got was when my brother went to university and took up computer course.I was so excited to have our very first computer,to me they meant nothing more than sophisticated game stations:)Our first one was rather bulky with a smaller monitor and smaller memory all I could play was Aladdin and "Pacman".You should keep these computers,each one I bet tells a story and is unique in its own way.I just can't do without mine now.It has indeed opened such a whole new world to me!
Thanks for dropping by my blog.

Dave said...

Hi abbagirl!... You would be shocked as to how many different types of computers and operating systems there really are.

Hi Wendz!... I wish I was also hooked on Apples back then... That way, I would be able to fix my computer! LOL

Janice... MYST!! Now there was a great game... Including Riven and the one in between those two... can't remember the name. Those were GREAT GAMES! And "yes" I was hooked!

Hi em... I have no idea how many monitors and printers I have... Gotta get rid of 'em!

Hi Becky!... Believe it or not, I still use DOS from time to time...even within the Windows framework... A very flexible operating system.

Hi Marie! Pet Semetery... Loved that book... Loved ALL of Stephen Kings books. My favorite was IT.

Hi Cheryl!... I have had a Gateway, an HP and a Dell laptop as well. Bought my daughter the laptop for college... busted the screen in 3 weeks... fortunately, being a Dell...We got it fixed in a 36 hour turnaround!

Hi Josie! Nope..never heard of them until just now so I checked it out on the Net. You have caused me to learn something new Josie... Thanks!

Hi HeiressChild!... Once you deleted that sort of stuff on the old Windows... good luck! especially if you needed to download the modem drivers off the Net... Quite the conundrum!

HI Fuzzylogic! Pac Man!!! Yah! I still play it online every once in awhile! LOL

May said...

I have used pre-internet real time communication, at university in 1991. I cannot remember the name of the protocol, something like VS- ---

This post was really interesting. I love everything related to computers.

HeiressChild said...

yep, had to end up buying an external modem until i bought my next computer.