The Computers in My Life


It was a Commodore Vic 20. We were up North at our Grandma’s house for Christmas in 1981. Our cousins had a Vic20 and we played some cool . When we got home at the end of the week, we opened our presents and low and behold, we had a Vic 20. I swear I got up early every day of Winter break to play on this new machine. I did have to fight for use with the rest of my family, but I think I got some good time on it.

The Vic20 was released in January 1980. It sold for $299. It had a 1 mHz, MOS 6502 chip and 5 K of . You connected this machine up to a standard TV using a RF modulator. Gorf, Snackman, Raid on Fort Knox and any game that came from COMPUTE! Magazine that we spent the time to type into the machine and save on the Tape drive. Those were the days….

My next was a Commodore 128 in 1986. It was backwards compatible with the Commodore 64 and had 128KB RAM with a 4 mHz processor. I got into Sprite editing. I made a Balloon fly across the screen. It was pretty cool.

While in school, I worked on the gamut: Apple II, IBM PC jr (the chicklet key one), Atari 800XL where I created my first musical composition: The Beatles ‘Hey Jude’.  We were also avid players of Ultima II, III and IV.

Then Apple showed up in full force. Apple Macintosh was the greatest new machines and Apple refitted our computer lab. 24 machines were connected via Appletalk. We connected a camera up to it and took digital snapshots of the students, worked on and even built small robots and a pinball machine.

In the background, there was one 286 machine. It ran Windows 2.0 and had some programs like a music composition program and a graphic design program.

I ditched the 128 for an IBM 286 PS/2 machine in College. I used that at home while using Macintosh in the lab for Music Composition using FINALE! In 1994, I started working in IT as a Tester for Biomedical equipment. I was given an old 386 board to work on in my spare time, but quickly ditched it for a 486DX2. I bought 8 SIMM chips for $40 a chip.

That machine lasted me 1 1/2 years. I updated the processor, then finally broke down and bought my first Pentium. It was a P90, but something was wrong with it, so I took it back and got a P166 at 66 mHz. I also bought a RealTek 14.4 modem / soundcard. It had software that could turn a computer into a multi-level voicemail system.

From there, it was a P200, PII 266, PIII 500, PIV 1.6 gHz and then a Dual Core 1.5gHz system, which I use to this day. I also have a Dell 2.8 gHz for the rig, a Athlon 3000 2.1 gHz for ustream and 2 laptops, 550 mHz Gateway Solo and 1.8 gHz .

I did get another a while back. It is a 800 mHz Power PC machine. Someday I will upgrade it, but it does what I need it to for now.

So why am I telling you this? Part to let you know my Computer background – Part for nostalgic reasons. It’s interesting how we went from Vic20’s to Multi Core PC’s. And all in a 30 year span.

It would be cool to actually get a Vic20 or a Classic Macintosh to play on. See if I can remember how to work it. Maybe build a simple game again. Connect a bread board and program an LED or something.

But then again, I like what I got now.

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