Friday, January 05, 2007

My First PC

Very nerdy post this one...

Every now and then I recollect something I have not thought about for years for no good reason seemingly at random. It might be an incident, or a building, or a face, or a thing, or some words, or a smell, or a song. Usually it is some old memory not thought about for a decade or more. I suspect that shortly after this brief flash of memory, if I don't think deeply about the subject of this recollection, and solidify it a bit in my mind, it will disappear forever from my memory.

I said "suspect", because of course I don't know for sure, having forgotten those items I didn't make an effort to remember, how would I know?

Does this make sense? Think of it this way, a computer automatically deletes old files not accessed in 10 or more years, it would pop up a message say "You haven't accessed C:\LETTERS\ILAC12.DOC for 10 years, will I delete it? YES | NO".

Nobody owns a computer for 10 years but a brain is for life. So I think these random memories are like my brain is popping up the message: "Delete this old memory? Yes | No "

Co-indicentally the latest random memory is a very old computer, my first PC. So before the memory is gone forever I wanted to write a short note about it. (This is an experiment to see if in reading my blog next week I have no recollection of the following facts).

It was an EPSON PC. I don't know the model, but it was light grey (as were all PCs in 1993 - I think it was 1993). It had a hard disk, I think 40 MB, (current laptop 2000 times bigger) it supported both types of diskette, 5.2"(?) and 3.5". I'm not sure of memory, but it was well above 640KB, as I recall many happy hours playing with DOS extenders so I could load DOOM and Sim City, maybe 2MBs? (current laptop 1000 times bigger). The CRT screen was definetly no more than 14". It had Windows 3.1. The CPU I'm not sure about, but I reckon an early 486 or a late 386, the speed 33Mhz comes to mind.

That wasn't my first computer though, which was a Mitsubishi MSX. It was a beauty, bought in 1987 when the MSX, a single brand and standard with multiple (mostly Japanese) manufacturers was about to go head to head with the Commodore 64 and take over the world! It did no such thing, and the games and software dried up after about 2 years. It was purchased (for me) from Marsh's in Ballina. It came with a free Robot! (I need to find that Robot actually...) It had 2xGame/Expansion slots, 2 joysticks, Microsoft Basic OS, a MIDI interface, and a tape deck, which permanently scrambled my first ever programs, including the classic:

10 PRINT "Hello Mark"
20 GOTO 10

I won't forget that MSX in a hurry. I remember quite frequently, and very fondly.... ah the hours wasted playing Chuckie Egg.

I used (but didn't own) many computers after the MSX.

There was one of the Apple IIe computers in St. Muredach's, where I learned Logo and Pascal from a book. Then it was a System 360 and an Amdahl knockoff a System 370. (Who would be mad enough to let an anti-social 18 year old play with a multi-million dollar mainframe in 1989? - Read my CV and find out...)

By the time I had my first Psion or games console I'm sure I was already a long time PC user. So by simple logic, the next computer I actually owned after the MSX must have been My First PC.

But, for the life of me, I just can't remember it.