General discussion

  • Creator
  • #2146409

    What was a landmark moment for you with hardware?


    by jdclyde ·

    I remember when I doubled the RAM on my 386/66 from 8 to 16 Megs, because RAM had just done a huge drop in price and it was only $110 for the 8 megs! WOO WOO!

    Man, you should have seen that system hum along.

    Do you have a land mark moment that stands out in your mind?

All Comments

  • Author
    • #2461455

      My landmark moment

      by jck ·

      In reply to What was a landmark moment for you with hardware?

      Really was when I got my first PC…a Commodore 64. That’s when my programming life began. Programming BASIC from the Commodore 64 Programmer’s Guide, then joining the local Commodore 64 Users Group, getting C and assembly and FORTRAN and Pascal.

      Of course, another moment was when I upped my first pre-built PC I bought from 16MB to 64MB…then, I later found my old Seagate ST-251 MFM drive and controller card in a box…and realized…my PC now had more RAM in it that the first hard drive I ever owned had.

      Now, I have USB flask disks with 64 times that capacity.

      Ain’t life grand. 😀

      • #2461165

        When I think back to that stuff

        by jdclyde ·

        In reply to My landmark moment

        it is the amount of ram on VIDEO cards that amaze me compared to just a few years ago.

        5 years ago, 256M ram was good for your system, and now the video cards come CHEAPLY with more than that? :0

        Funny how the response of my old 386 didn’t have me sitting around any more than my current system does. thanks for the eye candy and bloatware Microsoft! B-)

        If it takes so much more to run at the same time for the end user, have we REALLY advanced?

        • #2459682

          bloatware and its impact

          by jck ·

          In reply to When I think back to that stuff

          Have we advanced? From the hardware aspect and the speed at which it operates…of course.

          Has Microsoft advanced? I think (some might argue otherwise) that Microsoft really hasn’t advanced. Maybe they made the interface look prettier or cooler or whatever, but what strides in operations have they made? Have they implemented parallelism yet into their OS? Do they really have true multi-tasking yet?

          I think that Microsoft really would be best served by re-working their core, rather than making 3d effects and window translucency that impress people with “cool effects”.

          Oh Lord…10:40am and I’m already on a rant about MS on a Monday. Not gonna be a good week. lol 😀

    • #2461393


      by jackofalltech ·

      In reply to What was a landmark moment for you with hardware?

      The first time I opened up an IBM AT to add a 5″ x 18″ board to take the memory up to a whopping 1MB and replace the original 5MB hard drive with a cool, new 10MB drive.

      Yeah, I know. I’m old.

      • #2461172

        My first tech work

        by jdclyde ·

        In reply to Memories…

        was working on a college campus, and the labs were all double floppy systems.

    • #2461177

      My first memory upgrade

      by nicknielsen ·

      In reply to What was a landmark moment for you with hardware?

      Removing four banks of 1 x 128 chips (9/bank) and replacing them with 1 x 256 chips. Gave my Zenith 8086 a whopping 1M of expansion RAM.

      I also learned the importance of using a chip inserter while doing that job. 😀

      • #2461170

        Installing Windows 3.1 via floppies

        by netforce ·

        In reply to My first memory upgrade

        Remember that, and you’d get near the end of installing Windows and you would receive errors or defective floppy.

        So I’d have to say the ability to install Windows via CD’s.

        • #2461168

          Installing Windows 95 via floppies

          by jdclyde ·

          In reply to Installing Windows 3.1 via floppies

          I remember computers didn’t even COME with CD roms for a long time. :0

        • #2462847

          I remember the first CD roms

          by jamesrl ·

          In reply to Installing Windows 95 via floppies

          On Macs they were usually external SCSI devices.

          PCs were IDE.

          I installed Windows 95 once from floppies onto a Mac – running SoftPC. It worked but was very slow.

          I recall installing win 3.1 on 5 1/4 inch floppies….fun fun fun.


        • #2462081

          20-something 3.5-inch floppies

          by nicknielsen ·

          In reply to Installing Windows 95 via floppies

          Of which you only needed about 15, if I remember. The rest were all driver disks.

        • #2462520

          Oh my gosh!

          by jackofalltech ·

          In reply to Installing Windows 3.1 via floppies

          Did anyone else install Office on floppies? Before we were able to get enough network disk space for images, once a week we had to clean install Ofice on the 20 PCs in the training rooom. We’d start the 1st floppy in the 1st PC, move it to the 2nd PC and start the 2nd floppy in the 1st PC, etc. all around the room. It took about an hour.

        • #2462300

          Still have DOS 6 floppies….

          by jdclyde ·

          In reply to Oh my gosh!

          and the win95, 0ffice but have to look to see which version, the smart suit.

          I remember backing up systems once a week, with two sets of 20 floppies. The newest set stayed on site, the second oldest went with me. Took about two hours of swapping floppies…..

        • #2459680

          i have

          by jck ·

          In reply to Still have DOS 6 floppies….

          DOS 3.3 on 5.25″ floppy still 😀

          Oh wow…and I have IBM XENIX too!! 😀

          I have so much computer junk…i should start a museum lol

      • #2461169

        memory chips

        by jdclyde ·

        In reply to My first memory upgrade

        I remember the good old days where if you had a crash it was because you had a hardware issue, not because you were running windows. AND the error would tell you EXACTLY what was wrong.

        I remember having to read the code that told me go to row X and column Y and replace THAT memory chip.

        That was when it was $100 a meg, and you were SCREAMING with 2 megs in your SERVER.

        • #2462339

          And it wasn’t bad hardware, either

          by nicknielsen ·

          In reply to memory chips

          All you had to do was press the “bad” chip back down into the socket and you were back in business.

          Ya know, sometimes I miss chip creep…

          edit: slepl

    • #2461159

      The first time a tested a RAID drive.

      by rfink ·

      In reply to What was a landmark moment for you with hardware?

      I just completed building a server and my boss’s boss wanted a demo proving its fault tolerance. Without speaking a word, I took a random hard drive out of the disk array. I thought my boss was going to have a heart attack. It was great. 🙂

    • #2462898

      Couple of them….

      by jamesrl ·

      In reply to What was a landmark moment for you with hardware?

      When I used IBM PCs and Apple II clones, I didn’t touch the inside.

      Then I bought a Mac SE with no HD and two floppy slots.

      But I soon found I wanted to stop swapping floppies (OS fit on one, app on another) and have a HD. I’d seen the inside of a PC but never swapped a drive.

      At the time you were strongly encouraged to have an apple dealer do the upgrades. But I was reading a MacWorld and learned hwo to do it. First you needed a foot long Torx screwdriver, because there were two screws recessed under the “handle” of the Mac (indentation behind the monitor). But you also needed a case cracking tool – once you took the screws out friction held the back of the case on and you needed to pry it off. It was kind of a reverse clamp. Well they wanted $50 to buy a kit, but I found a clamp in the hardware store and I had SnapOn tools make me a screwdriver custom for about $25.

      Getting into the SE was hard, adding the HD was pretty easy. It was a non Apple SCSI drive, so I had to use a third party tool to format it.

      It worked out so well, I did it for a friend who paid me with a nice bottle of wine.

      My next big thing was when I had a Mac II, more like a PC in layout. It was getting kind old and slow and I couldn’t afford a new one. It was not designed to have the CPU be upgraded – it was set into the motherboard by a large number of pins.

      I found a third party upgrade that would upgrade the speed from 16 to 25 Mhz. It sat on a small daughterboard that would fit over the processor slot. I had to use a flat screwdriver to pry the old processor out (68020). In prying it out I bent some pins, so I knew there was no going back.

      It did go in and it did seem to improve the speed.

      And Jeff I remember when RAM was $400 a MB, and I went from 256 K (yes thats right) to 1MB on a Mac. I also remember putting $30,000 worth of RAM into a Sun server cause all the tech in the office were HP trained and wouldn’t touch the Sun server. I knew the Sun server used the same type of RAM as the Mac, and I was confident in that, so I went ahead and did it. I did breath a sigh of relief afterwards though.


      • #2462297

        A lot of pressure

        by jdclyde ·

        In reply to Couple of them….

        but a huge feeling of accomplishment when it is done! B-)

        • #2462292

          Working on the macs

          by jamesrl ·

          In reply to A lot of pressure

          Was tough.

          When you take off the back cover, the tube is exposed and if you accidentally brush the yoke at the end of the CRT – gas escapes and you have to replace it. Happened when I was in sales at a Mac dealer, guy comes back from a week’s training and we all stand around watching him work on his first – he broke the CRT.

          The shell was not very well finished, and I often cut myself reaching in to unplug the PSU from the MB. It was a tight fit and a rough finish. My blood was on a few MBs in the day.


    • #2462878

      Memory and Zip drive

      by magic8ball ·

      In reply to What was a landmark moment for you with hardware?

      One of the first was after I had bought my first PC, a screaming Pentium 166, upgrading the memory from 32 to 64MB of EDO ram. I knew that was all I’d ever need until I installed a 100MB zip drive and was astonished that I could carry almost 70 floppies in one disk.

      • #2462299

        I had a very short love affair with the zip drives

        by jdclyde ·

        In reply to Memory and Zip drive

        until I started running into the dreaded “click of death” with the only way to recover was to do a complete power down. X-(

        Sure you could send the disk in and they would send you a new one, but after the second one did it to me, I was done with them.

    • #2462863

      Three biggies

      by notsochiguy ·

      In reply to What was a landmark moment for you with hardware?

      The first was hooking the cassette deck to my speech pathologist’s TRS-80 while she was out of the office. This is when I was about 7.

      Opened up a whole new world of opportunity both in therapy as well as games (the tape version of Taxi was fantastic).

      After that, I’d say upgrading just about everything in an old IBM XT (or was it AT…regardless, you get the point) shell in order to get it to run Windows for Workgroups properly for a small office for which I worked. This happened in high school.

      The third, and final one, was when I was just starting out in real IT work. A guy (Kevin Sudor was his name…hope he’s doing well wherever he is) took me under his wing, and showed me how to build a server and get it configured per our clients’ specs/needs. RAID controller there, Sentinel lock there…was interesting stuff.

      • #2462298

        Ah, the cassettes

        by jdclyde ·

        In reply to Three biggies

        loved to play chess on the TRS80-II we had. Was cool when we went do the model III and had the hugeass floppy instead! 😀

        17 years ago, I was doing AUTOCAD on a 286. What a dog. On the complex pictures, it would be 5 minutes to refresh the screen, and 15 minutes to plot a drawing. We designed electronic dart games for a major vendor, so had a game in our office and would do a stack of drawings, and then cue them all to print at the same time and play a few games of darts while we waited.

    • #2462318

      That would be designing, building and

      by tony hopkinson ·

      In reply to What was a landmark moment for you with hardware?

      interfacing a simple eprom burner to my sinclair spectrum and seeing it work.

    • #2451712

      My first support experience and computer build

      by bill buckley ·

      In reply to What was a landmark moment for you with hardware?

      I should have known I’d end up in IT…

      Back in first grade we were being introduced to a program on a Mac LC 575 (or similar) computer. It was supposed to print but kept giving the teacher and us a hard time, and I randomly had the instinct to wiggle the cable and it worked. This may have set my future in place.

      I think my “landmark moment” was not this however. In ninth grade (at the age of 14) I finally built my first PC. Granted, a local shop’s tech put the processor into the motherboard and handled the thermal grease and front panel headers, but from there I did the rest. It worked beautifully!

      It built my confidence, and as a result of my experiences I probably won’t buy another name-brand desktop system for a long time (unless of course I’m purchasing for a client or future employer).

Viewing 8 reply threads