I'll admit, I have far more
computers than is normal for a hobby. I don't pretend
to know all the inner working nor do I do a lot
of programming. I have a lot of equipment
and enjoy making it run together - accomplishing
the tasks I want to tackle.
My first "computer"
was the Heathkit ET-3400 Microprocessor Trainer.
I wanted to have an understanding of how computers
work before I bought on that I could just plug in
and load programs. Next was a Commodore VIC
20 with 5k of RAM.
I sold the VIC 20 to a ham
radio neighbor of my parents and bought an Atari
800 with 48K of RAM - now I really had a
powerhouse! This became a complete system with 2
disk drives, a tape drive, serial/parallel interface
I resisted the PC/MAC movements
by next purchasing an Atari 1040ST. This was
a powerful computer, ahead of its time with a windows-type
operating system. Except for the VIC 20, I still
have these computer antiques.
My first laptop was the Radio
Shack TRS-80 Model 100. Bought (and still
have) the complete set up with computer, data recorder,
acoustic cups, modem cable, and case.
Finally I broke down and bought
a "PC" - a Packard-Bell 386 running Windows
3.1. Next I added a Gateway P5-60 tower (big
mistake) running WFW 3.11 and networked the machines
(after upgrading the PB to WFW 3.11). Since then
there has been at least 2 machines networked here
in the home office.
The Gateway machine was a pain
from the day I brought it home. So when I
needed to upgrade, I started building my own computers.
Since then, I've been building new boxes,
upgrading old boxes, cascading parts to older machines,
and maintaining my own network. Today that
network consists of W2K workstation, W2K server,
Red Hat Linux 8 workstation, SUSE Linux 9 server,
and Windows XP laptop.
February 2004 update:
With all the snow and cold, I've had time
to work on the computers. Have a WFW311 machine
running (WOW - long time since I worked with that
operating system) and a Windows 95 machine. Either
or both could be used as print server for dot matrix
printer. I shelved the Red Hat 8 workstation
- just too many problems with Red Hat and wanted
something a little faster to work with. Bought
an eMachines with Windows XP. Reworked the
machine so that its now a dual boot machine with
XP and SuSe Linux. Moving some of the overload
off the W2K workstation over to the new dual boot
March '04: Decided
to take the old Red Hat Linux machine and use it
in the basement for ham radio logging. Installed
W2K on the machine. Bought wireless equipment
to extend the home network into the machine in the
basement. Learned an important lesson -- I
bought a wireless "router" which cause
the lan to need to be on a different subnet than
previously. Nearly nothing worked. Went
out and bought a wireless "access point",
disabled its DHCP capabilities, reset all my network
parameters and I was in business.
AMD 1.2MHz was build, used, died and now rebuilt
into a Linux SUSE 10.1 box. The e-Machines
box died. Working on rebuilding with new processor
and motherboard (I had heard the mobo on e-Machines
die after 2+ years). I built my first AMD 64 box.
I was having problems since I built it. At
the end, I had to disconnect on of the CD drives.
Picked up 2 old HP Netserver servers. Have them
working, added second processor and playing with.
Working with a couple more surplus mid-towers. My
HP laptop was out of date (no DVD recorder, small
HD, not built for SD cards. New Gateway laptop
added to the network. Finally, I built my
"gamer" with AMD 64 processor, 512 M PCIE
video, 1 GB RAM, card reader, and DVD (2 layer)