my first was an atari 600 xl. we even had the optional cassette tape data storage drive. yeah it took game cartridges. but it had a keyboard and if you turned it on with out the cartridge in, it booted into a BASIC operatic system. i remember my dad tried to write an amortization scheduler on it. he spent a week working on it before he ran out of memory. he used the whole 16kb. the only game we had was frogger. i can't tell you how many time i got that poor frog killed.
second machine: lazer xt 8088. we had a whole 640 kb. that machine was upgradable to a whopping 1mb. tho we didn't have the money for that. no hard drive, they were in the thousands at that time just for 10 mb. we started out with one 512kb 5 1/4 inch floppy. the monitor was monochrome orange. but that was the kewlest color i had ever seen. total cost: $800! the biggest day of my young life was when dad brought home the second floppy drive and installed it. it wasn't the same color as the other one, but i didn't care. that meant i didn't have to swap disks anywhere near as much. the machine was so big that we didn't have a table it would fit on, except the dinner table. mom wouldn't let us keep it there. so dad cut some 2x4's for legs. when people said desktop computer, thats what i thought they meant for years. cause ours was the top of our desk. my wife finally threw that old desk out a few years ago. made me so mad.
then we got a champion 286 as a hand me down. that was one blazing fast machine. a friend made me copies of his 3.5" floppy disk copy of windows 3.0. man now that was kewl. we could run windows! or a program, but not both. we had vga, 256 real colors! not 16 shades of orange! the champion was so small it fit right on top of our lazer xt desk. wow how technology had progressed. that was my first experience at scripting. tho under dos 5, it was called batch files. i wrote a small shell menu that listed the 5 programs that my mother used. we had all kinds of space on our huge 20mb hard drive. even had a modem. started out with 300baud. gradually moved up to 1200. then a big jump, the 14.4 kbaud modems got cheap. i finally got my first 386sx-33 about when when 3.11 fwg came out. dad lost his job and it got repossessed. but man, i had hit every bbs in the area by then. i started working about that time, throwing papers and doing yards around the neighborhood. i saved up enough for a used 486 dx 4-100 mb. i put 4 mb of ram on it. had a huge 120mb hard drive. couldn't afford windows and my old boot leg disks had gotten corrupted, so i hunted down a copy of minix on the schools computer. that was my first experience with a unix environment. i fell in love. i could change anything i wanted. had xwindows and could run programs at the same time. saved up teh $300 for a us robotics 56k hardware modem. around 1993 i found linus's kernel and stallmans gnu tools. it was 95 before i got linux running. that was an early red hat i think. i've been through so many linux distro's since then that it's hard to keep em straight. i stuck with red hat for a long time tho, then i found mandrake. does anyone here remember back before they changed the name to mandriva?
my first real ,linux distro was red hat, my mother bought me a 2 inch thick book all about linux system admin in like 95, had red hat on a disk in the back. had to go buy a used cd rom drive to use it. i think i still have that book here somewhere. seems like around 1997 i discovered cheapbytes.com. that was awesome, i didn't have to spend a week downloading my next upgrade. i could just buy it. my first purchase was mandrake, my second was debian. once i got that installed and patched i was totally hooked on the whole apt-get scheme. my life had been dependency hell for some 5 or 6 years at that point. all of a sudden linux was user friendly. i resisted ubuntu for several years. finally made that leap about 4 years ago. i discovered vector linux around 5.8 i think. it seemed to work on anything i put it on, so it became my old standby. if i couldn't get ubuntu or debian installed, i'd throw vl at it till i could get the kinks worked out. finally one day after 6.0 came out, i realized that my "old standby" really should be my main distro. if it works on anything, i should be running it full time. haven't looked back since.
all these years of being a die hard linux devotee and i never got deeper than a few bash scripts. just a few short cuts so i don't have to type so much. or manually configure something everytime i want to use it. whish i had discovered minix earlier tho. would have been really kewl to have that on my old champion 286. but the AOL wouldn't have worked. thats what got my mother to use a computer.
that trip down memory lane was fun. i think it was computers that got me and my dad close. i remember looking at my half of the 400 page computer shopper magazine one night ( dad always tore it in half so i could look at part and he could look at part). i saw an ad for a 2gb hard drive for a mere $4000. i said "hey dad, check out this 4 gigabyte hard drive!" we were still using twin floppies. he said, "boy... you wouldn't use that much hard drive in your entire life!!!"
remembering the good ole days makes me feel a lil better about using this old antique laptop. by comparison, this thing is a super computer. man, i really should have turned everything off before that storm last month. lost a couple thousand dollars worth of hardware.