My history with computers.

My first computer, well, one of these anyway :) Tandy TX1000

In early 1988, I purchased my first computer. A Tandy TX1000. This very basic of computers had NO hard drive, an 80286 processor with 640K of RAM, which I later upgraded to 768K. The single 3.5inch 720K floppy drive was all I had to run DOS 3.2 and everything else I wanted to run. A second 720K floppy drive was added with the RAM upgrade. With no hard drive, EVERYTHING I wanted to run, had to be run from the floppy disk. Needless to say that everything ran very slowly! The booklet I got with my DOS 3.2 disks, basically said "you type this, the computer will do this". So I typed that, and the computer did that. Looking back, I found this was a good way to learn the DOS system, at the DOS level. To this day, I STILL do alot of operations in DOS. To give you an idea of how much I knew about computers at the time I bought this PC, the guy from Tandy who installed it, had to show me how to TURN THE COMPUTER ON!!

Telemate was one of the DOS programs I ran on a frequent basis. Using Telemate, I could connect to the Bulletin Board System's (BBS's) to send and receive FIDONet mail. This mail system was unique to the BBS's and you could write a message to someone in another part of the world, but it would take up to 2 days to get there. Most times, using the Blue Wave Offline Mail Reader, I would download the mail in a ZIP file, read it, reply to any that I wanted to reply to and connect again to upload the replies. As a member of the Star Trek message area, I was able to converse with others around the world. We even had at one time, a virtual Space Station where I owned a massage parlour. Others around the world would open a store of some sort, a bar, or just have an office space on this station. Obviously, there was no way we could see this world, but we could imagine it. On the BBS's, you could also download, at the incredibly fast speed of 14,400 baud, files, games and there were some games you could also play, though these were NOT in real time. Here in Brisbane, a couple of BBS's still exist. These seem to defy the technology of today. It is a great walk down memory lane, to log onto these BBS's and see a message I wrote back in the early 90's.

Some of the programs and games I used back then were:

Xtgold 1.0, Arctic Adventure, Pharaoh's Tomb, Deskmate (a Tandy product), Telemate, GIFLink and the GSZ download protocol.

When DOS 4.0 came out in July of 1988, I learned to program in BASIC (Beginners All-Purpose Symbolic Instruction Code). Not too much, just enough to make some nice small games. A couple of years after buying the TX1000, after it served me will, I sold it to a friend and bought a new computer. A whopping great 80386DX33. This new whiz bang computer had 1MB of memory, a 120MB hard drive and a VGA monitor. I was always a little concerned of running out of hard drive space, so I ALWAYS made sure I had 60MB free at all times. It was with this new computer that I started learning about a directory structure, something I didn't have to worry about on the old computer. Using Xtree Gold, I was able to learn the way a computer created files and how they were allocated in a directory. This new computer also made Telemate run alot faster as it was on the hard drive and so much easier to run. I could also download my mail and other files without having to worry about running out of hard drive space. This newfound freedom was a breath of fresh air.

Once Windows 3.0 was released in May of 1990, I got a copy and was on my way to learn how this new program would make my computing experience easier. While Windows was only basically a graphical user interface (GUI) for DOS, it made the operation of the computer just a tad easier, but I still used my DOS commands alot. All the pretty graphics, WOW! When the computer booted, it loaded DOS, Quikmenu3 and from there, I would run Windows, games or Telemate (I was still on the BBS's). The games I ran back on that computer included Wolfenstein 3D, Blake Stone and Jill Of The Jungle.

It was about 1991, while going out with Sandra, that my abilities with computers compelled Sandra to comment that maybe I should look for work in that area? I was good with computers, yes, but to work in that field? With my limited schooling, I kind of  laughed at the suggestion. So I continued to drive the forklift I was driving, but the comment was never far from my mind. More on this later.

About 1994, I did an upgrade to a 80486DX33 with 8MB of memory. Same hard drive, just a new mainboard and processor. I upgraded to DOS 6.22 and Windows for Workgroups 3.11. The beginning of networking for me. This computer played all sorts of games. Doom, Duke Nukem and the like. Then in 1995, February 22 to be precise, while driving to work one night at 9PM, I thought again about what Sandra had told me a year or so before. It dawned on me that "I can't do this all my life". So, I took a sickie, went home and went to the Computer Power Training Institute, now called Spherion,  the very next day to see about a computer course. 2 weeks later, I had resigned from my job, enrolled in a full time 6 month Certificate IV In Microcomputer Technology course. The course actually took 7 months as I sprained my ankle while playing tennis one day, making walking impossible. 12 months to the day that I finished my last job, I started working for Ipex ITG, who got bought out by Volante Systems, who then got bought out by Commander. where I am still working 12 years later. And to this day, I STILL love my job. Thanks Sandra. Anyway, back to my history with computers..

About 1997, I upgraded to a Pentium 233MMX with 32MB of memory and 4 540MB hard drives, giving me 2Gig. Soon, the memory was upgraded to 64MB and the hard drives were consolidated into one 2.5gig hard drive. Windows 95 was my operating system. By this time, DOS itself ha died out. Windows 95 is still really DOS 7.0 but you no longer need to load DOS THEN Windows. When the PC boots now, Windows loads straight away. I was still on a few BBS's, but I had also discovered the Internet in late 1996. BBS's were starting to fade away into oblivion. Next upgrade was to a Pentium III 450, then, a dual PIII 1000 system, with 1Gig of memory, 160Gigs of hard drive, 2 video cards (one for each monitor) and a cable modem with continual access to the Internet. My computer now consists of a Pentium D 3.4Ghz, 600Gig of HDD, 4Gig of DDR2-800 RAM. My second PC is also my web server. The pages you read here are actually located on my server at home. ADSL2+ allows me to do this.


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