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What was your first computer ?


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#26 OFFLINE   tntoak

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Posted 06 April 2003 - 08:22 AM

My first computer was a Commodore Vic-20 with a tape drive, which I got for Christmas 1982 (I was 6 at the time).  The next summer, I decided I wanted to see how it worked, so I disassembled it to take a look.  My mom thought I had killed it, but it still works, even today.  Ironically, the little 13" Panasonic TV I also got to hook it up to also works.Since then, I have had a wide range of PC's, ranging from a Xerox 8088 to an Apple II GS, a Mac Powerbook 145, a Performa 630CD, a 286 (that I couldn't remember the name of if you paid me), a Compag Presario laptop, and a HP PIII-1.2 gHz.  My current machines are both Athlon-based; the first is an EMachines I bought at Sam's for $580 and upgraded the videocard, soundcard, memory, and added a DVD-ROM.  It was originally an Athlon 1600, but I went to the motherboard manufacturer's website and got their BIOS update, which allowed me to overclock the proc to the equivalent of an Athlon 2100+ with no additional cooling (Motherboard Monitor 5 shows the CPU temp as 36 degrees C, and 90 degrees is the max).  The other machine is a custom built Athlon 2700+ with 1 GB DDR Ram, 120GB HD, ATI Radeon 9700, a CD/RW I salvaged out of an old machine, and a DVD-ROM.

#27 OFFLINE   L_P

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Posted 06 April 2003 - 09:54 AM

ComputerBob, on Apr 6 2003, 02:34 AM, said:

Yeah, I know I could install Win98SE on my newer computer and dual-boot it with the different Linux distros that I try, but I'd really like my newer computer to be 100% MS-free, if possible. ;)
ComputerBob, I don't know what distros you've tried, but I was running pure RedHat 8 on one of my towers for quite awhile.  No Windows at all.I only changed it because I wanted to run UD on the tower and it won't run on Linux.
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Posted 06 April 2003 - 11:21 AM

L_P, on Apr 6 2003, 07:54 AM, said:

ComputerBob, I don't know what distros you've tried, but I was running pure RedHat 8 on one of my towers for quite awhile.  No Windows at all.I only changed it because I wanted to run UD on the tower and it won't run on Linux.
L_P, I wish I had that kind of experience with Linux. So far, I've tried Mandrake 9.0, SuSE 8.1, and currently Mandrake 9.1, with RH 9 on the way. I wrote about my horrible Mandrake 9.0 experience on my Web site. SuSE 8.1 had fewer problems with my hardware, but its KDE ran like molasses, compared to MDK 9.0's KDE. I just did a clean install of MDK 9.1 a couple days ago. I was encouraged to see that 9.1 has fewer problems with my hardware, but it won't give me any sound (SoundBlaster sound card), which is really weird, because MDK 9.0 worked just fine with that sound card. Plus, even though I installed and got X-CDRoast to work, it refuses to burn CDs at more than 6x on my 48x CDRW drive.Then, there are the things that I need to be able to do in Linux before I can wean myself from Windows. Notably, Web site management and PowerPoint presentations. There are some good individual Web page editors for Linux, but as far as I know, there are no free Linux tools that could replace Dreamweaver with the templates, libraries, and other Web site management features that I need to manage my 2xx-page Web site. And, in my work, I use PowerPoint a lot. In Linux, the closest thing to PowerPoint is OpenOffice.org's Impress, but Impress is missing some important PP features, like individual object timing and effects, so it can't replace PP for me yet. And OpenOffice Writer and Calc, while impressive for basic documents and spreadsheets, can't convert some MS Office formatting or autosum-type formulas correctly, which means that, unless your creations are relatively simple, you pretty much have to double-check every format and formula yourself after converting a document or spreadsheet from Word to Writer or from Excel to Calc.On my Web site, I've written articles about Windows vs. Linux and my experiences with OpenOffice.org and Mandrake Linux 9.0, among other things.With all that said, my ultimate goal is still to eventually replace Windows with Linux as my everyday OS. Like I always say, I'll be ready for Linux when Linux is ready for me. ;) tntoak, I'm glad that you mentioned the Commodor VIC-20. I had forgotten about that one. A friend of mine bought one of those a few months after I bought my TI. Even though (on paper) my computer was technically more advanced than his, his computer had a much more powerful graphics language that made it a lot easier to program than my computer.

#29 OFFLINE   L_P

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Posted 06 April 2003 - 12:48 PM

ComputerBob, I'm still very much a Linux noob, but I do like playing around with it. I never could get my printer to work on it. Of course, brave soul that I am, I still have 3 towers running XP, and when I get exasperated by Linux, I just switch towers.   :rolleyes:
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Posted 06 April 2003 - 12:55 PM

L_P, I was able to get printing to work in SuSE and both Mandrake distros, but only by using the CUPS printing system and by trying each of the 5 or 6 possible printer drivers for my printer until I found the one (not the recommended one) that printed the way it was supposed to, instead of printing Rorschack tests. :rolleyes:

#31 OFFLINE   zox

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Posted 06 April 2003 - 01:44 PM

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I was encouraged to see that 9.1 has fewer problems with my hardware, but it won't give me any sound (SoundBlaster sound card), which is really weird, because MDK 9.0 worked just fine with that sound card
Computerbob, I think you have common problem which I and almost all SB live users experienced with Mandrake 9.1What happens is that Audigy driver gets loaded instead of SB live one (they are different) and there is no sound.You just have to go in Control center and in Hardware section change driver to SB live one and it will work.Another similar problem was where driver loaded fine but volume control was lowered to minimum by default.Merely pumpimg up the volume resolved it :)I hope this help you to get your sound back.As I said in my previous posts Mandrake 9.1 looks promising but IMHO this is the buggiest release by Mandrake and yes Suse 8.1's KDE was slow (the reason I am not using it either).I am hoping that 8.2 which is due in couple of days will bring some speed improvement to KDE as well as all the bells and whistles of new KDE 3.1.1 and XFree 4.3.0.By the way, CUPS is defacto standard for printing and if you want to achieve really good results with PS and printing, you don't need anything else.

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Posted 06 April 2003 - 03:07 PM

Maxlor, on Apr 5 2003, 08:15 PM, said:

The first computer I *saw* was a WANG. **** yeah that thing was cool... Green screen that was leeter than the scrolling matrix code, and huge failure-prone floppy disks... :)Unfortunately my father very much depended on it at the time and wouldn't allow me to play around with it  :) The first computer I considered "mine" was a 286 with a monochrome display.I was born in 1981, so unfortunately I missed a great era in computing. Oh well. At least I got to watch the internet rise :)
You Dern Kids!!!Ya Know... When I was a #%@&^*! kid!!  (Alway wanted to use that line) :) I won't even go into what we had in High School, with a typewriter and an interface connection to the computer a U of Pa. across the river.  Unfortunately, that turned me off to computers for many years. :)   :rolleyes: You should have seen what my older brother was doing in '68 at Dartmouth.  Helping twelve other undergrads and profs write a Chess program.  Dartmouth was SO proud of their Computing Center.... They built it below ground level... With a glass roof!!!, so visitors could see everything.  (A Computer!!!... OOOOOOOOOOOOwwwwwwwww :)  :) )Bet Deep Blue could beat that sucker in 12 femtoseconds, now. :)  :)

#33 Guest_ComputerBob_*

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Posted 06 April 2003 - 03:09 PM

Hi zox! Thanks a million for that information! :) Your second guess turned out to be exactly what was causing my problem! Even though I had made sure that all of my KMixer settings were turned all the way up, I still had no sound UNTIL I found another mixer called Aumix in the KDE menus and turned its settings all the way up. Suddenly, I have sound!!! :) So, why do both Aumix and Kmixer have to be turned up in order for there to be sound? :rolleyes: BTW, I was glad to see that CUPS is the default printing system in MDK 9.1. In MDK 9.0, the default printing system was still LPN (??), and I never got that to work, so I had manually switched to using CUPS in 9.0.And does anyone know how to enable 3D graphics acceleration in MDK 9.1? It was on by default for my system in MDK 9.0, but it's off in MDK 9.1. TuxRacer stutters along slowly and horribly in MDK 9.1, and I can't find any settings in the Mandrake Control Center to enable 3D acceleration.

#34 OFFLINE   Peachy

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Posted 06 April 2003 - 03:15 PM

ComputerBob, on Apr 6 2003, 02:09 PM, said:

And does anyone know how to enable 3D graphics acceleration in MDK 9.1? It was on by default for my system in MDK 9.0, but it's off in MDK 9.1. TuxRacer stutters along slowly and horribly in MDK 9.1, and I can't find any settings in the Mandrake Control Center to enable 3D acceleration.
What's your 3D accelerator? Acceleration is not enabled by default in XF86. You need to download your video card manufacturer's Linux drivers. Nvidia has great Linux drivers as well as Matrox and ATI. Should not be a problem. I had Red Hat 8.0 installed on two different machines, one with an nVidia GeForce 2 MX-400 and the other with a Matrox G400MAX. I downloaded the RPM files for each card, installed, verified the xf86config file and then restarted X. Tux Racer was a smooth as butter. I could also play Quake III with the same refresh rates as in Windows XP setup on the same machines.

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#35 OFFLINE   Bruno

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Posted 06 April 2003 - 03:18 PM

Computer Bob:Glad you sorted out your sound problems !  ( had the same in 9.0 )"LPN" has to be "lpr"Cant help you for the 3D, am still waiting for my 9.1 powerpack to arrive.In the case you have a nvidia card: on the nvidia site there are NEW drivers available, they say that installing them is a lot easier then it used to be. ( check:  http://www.mandrakeu...=nvidia drivers )Bruno

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Posted 06 April 2003 - 03:30 PM

Hmmm, TuxRacer had run fast and smooth for me in MDK 9.0, using my cheap little nvidia TNT2 video card. I know that I never downloaded any other drivers or did anything to enable 3D acceleration in MDK 9.0. In fact, I'm not even sure if my video card has 3D acceleration or not, but TuxRacer ran great with it in MDK 9.0.Now in MDK 9.1, with the exact same video card, TuxRacer is so stuttery and slow that it's completely un-playable. If I push one of the keyboard's arrow keys it takes a few seconds to respond.I checked in the Mandrake Control Center, and it lists my video card correctly as a TNT2.???onurb, thanks for the correction. I'm sure you're right about the default MDK 9.0 printing system being LPR instead of LPN. If it turns out that I need a new nvidia driver, I'll check out the link you provided. :rolleyes:

#37 OFFLINE   Hochie

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Posted 06 April 2003 - 04:01 PM

My first computer was a Leading Edge 8088 running at a whopping 4.77mHz....not even a turbo....later I added a 32meg Hard Card for "more storage:... :rolleyes:

#38 OFFLINE   Peachy

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Posted 06 April 2003 - 04:24 PM

ComputerBob, on Apr 6 2003, 02:30 PM, said:

Hmmm, TuxRacer had run fast and smooth for me in MDK 9.0, using my cheap little nvidia TNT2 video card. I know that I never downloaded any other drivers or did anything to enable 3D acceleration in MDK 9.0. In fact, I'm not even sure if my video card has 3D acceleration or not, but TuxRacer ran great with it in MDK 9.0.
Why not give the new Nvidia drivers a try anyway? I'm making my Linux-Mandrake 9.1 cds as we speak, so I will try them myself, too.

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#39 OFFLINE   dicknite

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Posted 06 April 2003 - 05:38 PM

Heh-heh...  This is going to date us all!First "personal" computer I played with was a Timex Sinclaire...  Didn't do much.  The calculators you can buy hanging at the checkout at the supermarket are more capable!My brother loaned me a Radio Shack Color Computer (trash-80?) that he had modified - something like making it have 8k of memory instead of 4k.  I think he might have "winged" the mod, because while learning "Poke and Peek" locations with basic, smoke started billowing out of the keyboard!  Never worked after that.My first computer was a C-64, with the tape drive and cartridges for spreadsheet and database...  How cool!  Turn it off, plug in a cartridge, turn it back on and it is a spreadsheet computer - or a database management system - or a word processer!  300 baud modem was totally awesome!  Remember watching lines of text fill the screen one character at a time?  You could keep up with it just reading as the text came over!The first real computer I had was a Kaypro PC - 8mhz, 768k, 20MB Seagate drive (I still think RLL ruled over MFM!), green screen, and Gemini 10X dot-matrix printer.  Man! was I flying!  It only took one and a half cigarettes to load my inventory spreadsheet in VP-Planner (1-2-3 Clone)!!!  Went to a 1200 baud modem - Holy Cow!  Who would ever need anything faster than that?  :rolleyes:   I remember downloading some REALLY HUGE files from BBS's that were 128k and having to go in every now and then to see if it was done!Things then started snowballing... My current computer's memory is 51.2 times the Hard Drive in my first PC!  Memory is over 1300 times first PC memory!d|:^)Dick

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Posted 06 April 2003 - 05:57 PM

I went to the nvidia site, downloaded the newest driver, and read their instructions for installing it, as well as the nvidia installation tutorial site that someone posted in a different thread here. Even the "easy to use" tutorial was way over my head. I don't know how to do any of the things that any of the instructions assume that everyone knows how to do. Stop the X server. ??? You must be running XFree version blah-blah-blah. How about a clue as to how to determine that? You must be running in User Level 3. Are you kidding? I have enough trouble trying to figure out how to do things in the GUI. You must use a non-gui console. That's just not going to happen. More geek-speak, ad nauseum. Never mind, it's not worth it to me. :(This is the kind of stuff that drives me nuts about any tech support issues, no matter what OS you're using. Newbies have to depend on experts to write instructions, but experts rarely remember what it's like to not know what they're doing, so their instructions are full of geek-speak that assumes that everyone already has a lot of previous knowledge and experience.It reminds me of when a company asked me to write documentation for setting up their general PCs and separate documentation for setting up their mission critical PCs. The previous tech support guy's entire documentation consisted of the following:1. Install operating system2. Install networking3. Install applications4. Tweak settings5. Deliver computer and connect to networkI ended up writing an entire notebook of step-by-step instructions for each of the company's two types of PCs.My TNT2 graphics card worked just fine for TuxRacer in MDK 9.0. I just don't see any logic in the fact that it is slow and stuttery in MDK 9.1, and I see even less logic in me having to find and learn how to install new drivers into this brand new version of Mandrake, just to try to get back the graphics functionality that I already had in the previous version of MDK. :angry:I tried visiting the MandrakeClub forums last night, but all I got was server messages, telling me that their servers are tired and overworked, and so the forums aren't available. Mandrake 9.1 does seem to be somewhat less buggy than 9.0 was, but it feels like, when I upgraded, I simply traded some of 9.0's bugs for new 9.1 bugs. I must say that my frustrations with both versions make me wonder if I should even bother trying future versions of Mandrake -- that is, if the company is even around long enough to put out any more versions. :)

#41 OFFLINE   Stryder

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Posted 06 April 2003 - 06:06 PM

I had access to some.........old thing, for lack of a better description, and an original Macintosh at my best friends house when I was growing up. And then a girlfriend had a PC with 3.1, but I did not own a computer of my own until 1996. So I never got into computers real deep until Windows 95. Here is a pretty cool site on old computers. http://www.old-compu...eum/default.asp

#42 OFFLINE   Bruno

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Posted 06 April 2003 - 06:08 PM

Bob:I'm sorry that it looks like so much trouble . . . . If you would like me to help you through it give me a post in the Linux section ( The link for the "easy tutorial" is posted by me ). . . . .If not perhaps go back to 9.0 if that was the one you were satisfied with.I'm willing giving you any help you need, but post it in the right forum (Linux) so that other people might take advantage too ;)Bruno

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Posted 06 April 2003 - 06:26 PM

Bruno,You're absolutely right about the need to post issues like mine in the Linux forum. BTW, MDK 9.0 was even worse for me than 9.1.Everybody, I apologize for repeatedly taking this thread off-topic.

#44 OFFLINE   teacher

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Posted 06 April 2003 - 06:41 PM

:) Wow.  I am amazed by the variations from the old to the new for the first computer. I just walked down memory lane and remembered all the frustration of doing basic on a teletype machine in college and worrying about guys trying to get my room number/phone number off the first card in my punch card programs.  Never mind the time I dropped a stack and had to refigure out the order they went in  or the time the currency fluctuations got my program stuck inside a loop inside a loop that the professor could not figure out what was wrong! :) My first attempt to buy a computer was in 1980.  It took four months and don't ask how many inches of paper to convince the Air Force that we could work smarter with computers in our squadron.  Would you believe the computers arrived the day I shipped out to Italy?  I always have such luck.Back in the US in 1983 or so I purchased my first personal computer.  It was a Zenith 171 luggable (portable computer).  The front flipped open to reveal the keyboard and its cord pulled out of a cavity.  It had a 7 inch amber screen on thre front.  The top flipped up to reveal two floppy drives (5 1/4 of course or is that 5 1/2 -- I can't remember details, that's what my students are suppose to do).   I remember dragging all 17 pounds up to the third floor at Indiana University where I was teaching ROTC.  I don't think anyone would call 17 pounds portable today).  My big upgrade was to add that 10 MB hard drive before I shipped out overseas again.  Then I got brave.  I decided I needed to up it to 1 MB of memory.  I pulled 64 chips and installed the new ones I had shipped overseas.  Wouldn't you know it.  My great luck struck again.  I had one bad chip and no way to tell which one was bad because they no longer matched the diagrams to tell which one it was.  Thus, I had to revert back to the 256 (I think and no that is not MB but 1/4 MB).  Since then I have been through every step up over the years.  I just bought my daughter a new computer with an Intell D845PEBT2 motherboard, P4 HT processor, 1.5 GB ram, and all the whistles in bells.  Since she is an animation major and needs the power for Maya she leaves me in the dust with my P4.  Curiosity:  I seem to spend about $1,500 to $2,000 for every computer I have owned (I think I am up to 7 or 8 - I lost track after multiple P4s).  Is there a magic point for everyone else when deciding to purchase a computer?Also, I started with Word Star, Dos, Lotus 123 and dbase.  What was your first software?P. S.  I am starting to feel old reading about people being born about the time of my first computer.
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#45 OFFLINE   Bruno

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Posted 06 April 2003 - 06:57 PM

Very, very nice story Teacher !Bruno

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Posted 06 April 2003 - 06:58 PM

dicknite, I remember the Timex-Sinclair! I remember seeing photos of it in magazine ads, and wondering how they could sell it so cheaply. When I went to a store and saw that it was actually about the size of a paperback book, I realized that the photos of it had all been intentionally shot from a low angle, and without any other objects in the shot, to make it look like a full-sized computer. :)

#47 OFFLINE   jaflady

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Posted 06 April 2003 - 07:17 PM

First computer was a Timex Sinclair which my husband and I bought and never could get to do anything at all so shoved under the bed and forgot.  Then an Apple for my son which he immediately passworded so we couldn't use.   And I must admit it didn't seem too interesting with its "put the floppy in - take the floppy out" routine.Then one day while re-organizing a 3x5 card file of members for an organization -  I dropped it.  At that point I had an epiphany for the true usefullness of computers.  I think this was 1985.   We went out and bought an AST 286 with 15" monocolor monitor, a Citizen tractor printer and a Peter Norton's DOS Guide book.  We loaded it with WordStar and Dbase II, Harvard graphics and Professional Write and were off and running.   Later I upgraded to Dos5  and added Quicken and MS Works  That system still sits proudly in my Mom's house and is still running without a hitch.  Since then a lot of PC's have made this their home and the trouble is that few of them ever die so they are taking over the house.   Currently have a Dell P4 Dimension 8200 - 2 yrs old and an IBM ThinkPad T30 at home.  And a raft of local built white boxes at work.Have learned that I love messing around with computers but am totally "seat-of-the-pants" trained.  That's why I love these forums.   Lurk and learn. :)

#48 OFFLINE   Bruno

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Posted 06 April 2003 - 08:48 PM

This is fun !  Starting this thread really seems to have hit a cord. ( 46 replies, 329 views in 24 hrs )  Don't we all just love to talk about our "toys" and the good old day's ? It's a joy to read all those reactions and a perfect way getting to know the people on this forum.  It's clear to me that Scot managed to bundle an exceptional resource of knowledgable people. Scot: Kudos and thanks to make us all feel at home here on your site.  And thanks to all of you who participated and made this thread such fun to read !  Keep posting your adventures with old/new computers.  Bruno Amsterdam       :)

#49 OFFLINE   hkspike

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Posted 07 April 2003 - 12:08 AM

What a nostalgia trip that was?After battling with a PDP11/45 at college, I took a break until I got an Amstrad of some sort with a disgusting green screen about 6 inches across.  At least Alan Sugar had an ounce of marketing sense about him, unlike Clive Sinclair, who had some great idea but never let commercial realities intrude on his design.  Used to have a few beers with him in the early 80s in Cambridge (that's the English one); he never seemed to leave sober.What I have now usually depends on when I last got to go down the computer mall and sneak stuff back home without the wife noticing.Now shall be back up through this thread and figure the time and money we've all spent on our - er - hobby?Maybe not!Andy
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#50 OFFLINE   dicknite

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Posted 07 April 2003 - 01:04 AM

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and figure the time and money we've all spent on our - er - hobby?
Another good point - the prices!  My Kaypro PC in 84/85 cost me $3500!  Then when I added the 20MB drive, it was $350!  The Dot-Matrix printer (narrow, with a ribbon) was $250.  Memory was $100 a MEGABYTE!  Now it's $0.23 a megabyte!  (I recently got 256MB for $60!), a Color Monitor was $299 - That was CGA 640x480!  VGA was more...Things cost WAY less now!  Maybe we can get the chip makers to start running the petroleum industry...d|:^)Dick




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