Sunday, January 04, 2009

My first computer

I recycled my first computer yesterday. I bought it in late 1995. Of course, I'd used computers before -- as far back as 1978 -- but it was the first one I owned. It was a Mac, a Performa 6214 PowerPC. I remember how great I thought it was when I got it. It had 32 (or maybe 64) MB of RAM, and a 1-GB hard drive. I remember bragging to my friends about having a whole gigabyte of memory.

I'm on my fourth computer since then. I've been satisfied with each one of them -- except that my HP laptop kept breaking; don't ever buy an HP laptop -- but somehow none of them have ever been as exciting as the first. Of course, I can do far more far faster with my current 4 GB of RAM, 500 GB hard drive, and 615 kbps DSL than I ever could with 32 MB, 1 GB, and a 14.4 kbps dial-up modem (I remember how excited I was to upgrade to 56.6 kbps a couple years later).

But back in 1995, the Web itself was new. Websites still numbered in the thousands. Sites like Yahoo were more like indexes -- like lists, really -- than what we think of as search engines today. I made my own website, coding most of it by hand, and I felt like a pioneer. I was part of the next big thing before it was a big thing.

That's all over now, of course. I work and play on teh interwebs, and it's given me freedom, and friendship, and knowledge, but it's not really the same. My computer's just a tool and a hobby now. I take it for granted. I wouldn't have it any other way, but digging that Mac out of the closet and hauling it off to the recyclers sure brought back some pleasant memories.

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