My first PC ruminations and The first PC I purchased and owned as an Adult

I read Ben McDonald’s Blog post on LinkedIn about his first computer.  My first computer that I used was at Tandy 1000.  The computer had 2 floppy drives, 384K of memory and had a 5 color monitor, It had no HD so having two floppies was nice so that I could load the OS off one drive and play a game or use software off the other drive.

I remember the way we acquired my first computer.  My parent’s TV died, they took my brother and I to Radio Shack.  I don’t really remember why, but my brother and I were offered the option of replacing the TV, or getting a computer.

Tandy 1000 similar to what I had as a first computer

We chose a computer over replacing the TV.  I didn’t really understand at the time the ramifications of that decision.  That decision helped to guide my life going forward and even helped me finalize on a major in college.

  1. my brother and I could not use the computer at the same time, this promoted forced cooperation.  my mother enforced it with an egg timer, and my brother and I grudgingly took turns using the computer.
  2. We learned great troubleshooting skills.  Sometimes we learned things the proper way, others times, like my use of the format command, we learned the hard way.
  3. We learned how to upgrade hardware, MS-Dos upgrades and software upgrades.
  4. We got to do a bit of programming, which looking back was mostly MS Basic, but did help with writing software later in college.

Fast forward almost a decade, it was the fall of 1994, I had just gotten married and still had a couple years left in college before I would graduate, I had just changed my major in college to be Computer Science after really being undecided, in the military and working for the prior 4 years.

Gateway P5-75 that I owned in 1995

This is the first computer that I bought and paid for as an adult.  It was a Gateway P5-75.  It has a Pentium 75, 3.5 inch floppy, 5.25 inch CD-Rom drive, a small HD and a 14.4 Hayes compatible modem.

I found that fighting everyone to get computer access in the lab at school was not helpful in completing homework.  Purchasing and having this computer I could easily dial in and access the main frame to perform my computer classes, writing programs and playing online MUD’s (Multi User Dungeons).  Yes these types of multi user games have existed for longer than most people realize.   These games predate Warcraft online or any other game and were usually hosted by Administrators on university campuses all over the country.

Anyway, that is my first computer(s) story, what is yours?

Lance Caven