In the early days of my internet years when I was still learning how to code HTML (circa 1999), one of the many infos I put up on my personal website was my PC history. I believe that being introduced to the personal computer at a young age was instrumental to what I am doing today.
The summer before high school back in 1991, my cousin urged me to take computer classes at STI (Lotus 1-2-3 and Sidekick). Despite my hesitations (I’d rather go to Nintendo computer shops and play Battle City or Super Mario) I obliged knowing I couldn’t get them to back out of the idea even if I wanted to.
After the summer classes, my uncle brought home an IBM 5151 with him (I think he was working with Texas Instrument in Washington then). It had 2 floppy 5 1/4″ diskettes, green screen monitor which runs on an Intel 8088 4.77 MHz with 64KB of RAM. (That’s the first commercial PC from IBM right?)
It was followed (in 1993) by another IBM PC/AT x286 with 20MB of HDD from Priam, CGA monitor from Packard Bell, a 5 1/4″ floppy drive (640KB) and 3 1/2″ diskette drive (1.44MB). I crashed the hard drive while playing with Stacker which (I didn’t knew) was a compression-drive utility for MS DOS. I used that to do my high school thesis paper while most of my classmates were still using a typewriter. (Wordstar is the best!)
In college (1996), my parents managed to get me an Acer laptop running on a Cyrix 486 DX4 100MHz with 8MB RAM, B&W 640×480 LCD screen and 320HDD. I was able to run MS Windows 95 there although it would hang if I upgraded to Windows Plus!. (RAM Double solved the problem.) I spilt rubbing alcohol on the keyboard so I had to plug an external one to be able use it.
Right after my 1st graduation, my aunt got me a desktop PC as a gift. I still have another year for my other degree so it still proved quite usefull. The Pentium was so popular then that you only buy an AMD if you don’t have enough money. The rig was a Pentium II 350MHz with 6GB HDD, 64MB RAM, 16X CDROM and an S3 Savage 3D 8MB.
From then on, it was just a matter of upgrading each part one at a time — Pentium III 450MHz (2000), AMD Athlon XP 2400+ (2003), AMD Sempron 3100 (2006).
All these time, 15 years after I first encountered a personal computer, I can still remember the excitement I felt when I’m was using Wordstar 6.0 and memorizing all the control shortcuts.