Well I finally did it. “Did what?” you say… Listed my first awesome and lovely Apple computer on ebay. This was my first MacBook Pro – a computer I talked about buying for probably 3 years before I actually pulled the trigger and spent the money. You see I really never cared much for the Macintosh until OS-X. I loved UNIX and in particular the SGI and SUN Workstations I used to do my job. It wasn’t until after Steve Jobs returned to Apple and after the Classic Mac OS (OS-9) was replaced that I became interested in what these machines could do. My general rule of thumb has always been if I can’t get to the shell, it isn’t a real OS.
As I listed this machine on ebay I began to think about how many computers I have bought, built, given away, traded and sold. Pleasant memories of some my favorites started coming to mind and I started listing them out. If you don’t like computers this post probably isn’t for you!
It all started around 1980 with my first computer, the Commodore Vic 20. I can remember pretty clearly that my brother and I had asked (no begged) for an Atari 2600 for Christmas. Our friends had them and the games were amazing. My dad thought that if we had a game machine we would just play games and never learn anything and he was probably right so that Christmas instead of the 2600 we found a rather ugly off-white plastic keyboard under the tree called a Commodore Vic-20. I don’t think we had any games with it though it did have a cartridge slot in the back. Later we did end up getting Cosmic Crunchers and the Temple of Asphai (on 6 cassette tapes).
If my dad had caved on the Atari, I may never have experienced the life that I have. I may have never had an interest in computers and software and mobile devices, HTPC, automation, engineering, computer animation, art, music, and on and on… That computer, that plain looking little box hooked to the tv with a cheap RF modulator was the beginning of an obsession that continues to this day. Thanks mom and dad!
So here it is, my list of computers that I have owned. This list excludes work computers (laptops, workstations, desktops, etc) and excludes mobile devices (iPads, iPhones, Windows phones, internet appliances, touch screens, and big fancy calculators – maybe they will appear in a future article)
The Commodore Years – 1980 – 1993
- Commodore Vic 20 – my first computer with only 5k of RAM and a tape deck for storage – yes we stored programs on audio tapes!
- Commodore 64 – very briefly as I really wanted the 128.
- Commodore 128 with 1200 baud modem
- *Commodore Amiga 2000 with 40MB Harddrive, 2MB RAM and 2400 baud modem – 1989 – this machine cost almost $3000 and still has a very special place in my heart – which is why I still have it.
- Commodore Amiga 1200HD
The Clone War Years – 1993 – 2007
After the industry decided to abandon the Amiga and I would argue the FUN part of computers, I started building a steady stream of Windows and Linux based PCs. This started around 1993. I wanted to start my own BBS and feature both Amiga and PC software as well as gaming and to build a community around computing. The BBS software options seemed better on the DOS/Windows platform at the time. I didn’t like the idea of paying Compaq, Packard Bell, Dell, Gateway, or any of the other clone makers lots of money for substandard overpriced hardware when I could tailor the whole experience from case to graphics card to my own demands and budget. I also hated Intel at the time and built machines with AMD processors.
- 1992-3 – Built first computer using AMD’s 286 equivalent and added a Practical Peripherals 14.4k modem to start a BBS
- 1996 – Home built AMD-X5-133
- 1998 – Home built WinXP AMD K6-2 300MHz, 6.4GB HD, Gigabyte GA-5AX
- 2002 – AMD D1000 on an ECS K755A
- Home built AMD-K6-2/400
- AMD Athlon XP 2500+ Barton on Soyo KT600 Ultra Platinum, 180GB HD, 768MB RAM
- Home Automation Server- AMD Sempron 2.6GHz on Biostar K8NHAG-07 with 512MB RAM
- Home built WinXP HTPC AMD Athlon XP 2500+ Barton on Soyo KT600 Plus, 160GB HD, 512MB RAM
The Apple Years – 2008 –
As mentioned at the start, when the aluminum body Mac’s running OS-X came out, it became my new pursuit to try one. These machines were not only beautiful on the outside but had a stable OS that wasn’t built like a house of cards (yes I’m talking about Windows Mr. Gates). When we finally saved enough to buy our first Mac it brought back the pure joy and fun that I had missed since the Amiga years. I still have a couple of rogue Windows 7 boxes in the mix currently but only because I had previous investments in license keys for HomeSeer and SageTV.
- 2007 Mac Mini
- 2008 2.4GHz Apple MacBook Pro
- Home built HTPC (Windows 7) AMD Phenom II X2 560
- Home built computer for son (Windows 7) AMD Phenom II X2 555
- 2011 Mac Mini
- 2011 27″ iMac