Your computers and Operating systems

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MurphCID
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Your computers and Operating systems

Post by MurphCID » Sun Sep 04, 2016 10:39 pm

I am old. I'll admit it, and it sucks. I started getting into computers in 1979 when I took a Basic programming class at my university and we had to punch programs into punch cards. Dropped the class as not what I wanted.

In 1985 I purchased an IBM PCjr with 128k (Yes 128 KILOBYTES) of ram, and a single 360k Floppy. You stuck in the DOS 2.1 disk, and then after booting, removed it, and inserted another 5.25" floppy with either Wordstar or a game (GATO by Spectrum Holobyte, or Wizardry). I was stationed in Germany at the time, and a buddy recommended this system to me. I knew nothing about computers, but I thought I was hot stuff. Had a 9 pin Star Micronics printer. For neat stuff I would sneak into the Brigade HQ, and use my paper on their daisy wheel printer for letters home (grandma hated the 9 pin output).

In 1987, I purchased a Zenith Z-150 refurb with two 5.25" floppies, 640k of ram, and a monochrome monitor. I later upgraded it to a 20 MB (yes that is Megabytes) hard drive, and two 3.5" floppies, and an early EGA card. Dos 6.22, the cat's meow as far as I was concerned at the time. Man, I had fun on that computer, I seriously gamed a lot. Played things like Kings Quest, Zork, Ancient Art of War, Empire, etc. Got my first 1200 baud (yep!) modem, and used Kermit,and XMODEM/YMODEM to call a buddy till I got the $400 phone bill between San Antonio and Dallas. He later gave me his 2400 baud modem. Purchased at 24 pin Star Micronics printer which was awesome to replace the 9 pin!

In 1990, I had gotten married, and purchased a Packard Bell 486 SX-25, 100 mb hard drive, and Windows 3.1!!! Yeah Me. Color VGA monitor, and a 9600!!! baud modem, which I later was able to upgrade to a 28.8 modem (smoking) Discovered Genie, and local BBS systems. Still unclear on this email stuff. Still using the old Star Micronics printer. Never did like the Packard Bell as much as the Zenith or the Cyrix which followed it.

In 1992 I upgraded to a custom built computer (my buddy handed his old stuff down to me) and this followed for the next eight years. Cyrix 6x86, and AMD processors (K5, K6, Athlon). Bigger Hard drives, better video, color monitors. I tried Linux for the first time around 1998/99 or so (Mandrake Linux) which I paid for. The first Athlon was a Slot A card processor at 700 mhz! Blazing. Windows 95 to 98. Got my first 56K modem, and did Compuserve, then AT&T Worldnet (local call, but had to disable call waiting), my first EMAIL!. Still Using the Star Micronics Printer...... Master of Orion, Ultima II/III/IV, Civilization I/II

From 2000 to today, various AMD processors which I used to build my desktops. Went to Windows 98/98SE/Windows XP/Windows 7/Windows 10. Avoided Windows ME (Also known as BlowME to my buddies), and Vista. Tried SuSE linux, did not work. Tried Red Hat, no joy for me, I just did not come from a computer/unix background. Somewhere around 2003 I got my first Laptop (HAHAHAHA!) Huge, heavy, and ridiculous battery life compared to today's machines. IIRC it was a Compaq, and I was impressed, the wife and I saved up for a year to get it. Since then a succession of HP and Compaq laptops, with one Samsung (never again!). We are once again a 100% HP household. Bought my first inkjet printer, discovered how expensive ink was, cussed a lot, put the kids on a strict budget on printing things.

Update: Just got a Ryzen 1700 system, and it has been a nightmare of BSODs and inability to load linux. I miss the good old days a bit. I have been using my little linux laptop to play games on Steam, which is great.

Tried Ubuntu on my current AMD system, and it was ok, hated the GUI, removed it, went back to Windows. Tried Mint and love it.
Last edited by MurphCID on Fri Jul 14, 2017 4:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Portreve
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Re: Your computers and Operating systems

Post by Portreve » Mon Sep 05, 2016 8:33 pm

My start happened around 1984 in middle school with an Apple IIc. In 1985, I saw my first Macintosh, and in 1986, I got one as a high school present.

From the 70s through the 80s and into the very, very early 1990s, to be into computers was essentially to be a technology enthusiast of some description. I've stopped (long ago) describing myself to other people as being "into computers" because that lost its meaning by the mid 1990s.

I've used MS-DOS from about 3.1 through 6.22 on and off. I've either touched or really used every version of non-NT Windows from 3.1 to 7. I've also used Windows NT 4 and Windows 2000. Windows 2000 was the first time I felt Windows as an overall platform was actually credibly mature and a true competitor for Mac OS in the sense of being a full graphical OS.

I've built nearly a dozen PCs for myself in addition to being a Mac user. The first one I thought was truly powerful enough to be used in the graphic design world was a 700MHz Athlon. Its performance with PageMaker 6 blew the doors off anything I'd experienced up to that point.

A friend told me about this "Linux" thing back in 1997, and I started fooling around with RedHat 4.2, which he burned install CDs for me. Since then, I've played with SuSE (before it was bought up and turned into the corporate thing it is now), Mandrake, Fedora, and a few others.

Of the various distros I've played with over the years, Debian and Fedora have always been my favorites. However, as time has gone on, I've discovered Debian and its derivatives to be far more stable and useful to me than anything else.

Now I've got a MacBook Pro running LM 18, and the only thing that will make me happier is when I'm finally in a financial position to replace this laptop with something ungraced by either Apple's or Microsoft's touch, though likely slipping Apple's grasp will happen first, since truly never-touched-by-Windows systems are a bit pricey for me right now.
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Re: Your computers and Operating systems

Post by BG405 » Thu Sep 08, 2016 12:59 pm

Sorry this is a bit long! :mrgreen:

I started out with the Vic20 shortly before they started advertising the Commodore 64 on TV and learnt the basics of .. ahem .. Basic. Must have been 1981 or 1982. Since Vic20 software availability fell off a cliff once the C64 came out I then had a second-hand C64 which had a faulty CPU (couldn't use the Datasette for saving anything) which was subsequently fixed and this machine saw many years of sterling service. I need to replace the PAL encoder chip as I nuked it when messing around with the modulator. I'd fitted a modified Aztec UM1286 set to output in Band III instead of UHF to replace the built-in one, which was harmonic hell, and it did work until I shorted something out. I also need to start using the C64C again, and make new copies of all the software, especially mine!

One of my long-term projects was a WIMP-based "OS" blatantly (visually) copied from the RM Nimbus machines in 6th form (around 1986) complete with username & password login with protected admin for access to the database and program code, later rewrote the mouse driver in machine code and added support for analogue (proportional) and digital mice / joystick. I pinched and modified a section of code from the OCP Art Studio (which included the analogue mouse) for reading the port. Also relocated the screen memory and added fancy interrupts to give a "widescreen" display (extra borders) and the database files included my music, video and software collections which you could view and print using the Commodore 9-pin printer or later the Star which I was later given by a work colleague, along with a nice C64C.

The Freeze Machine cartridge reduced the agonizing 10 minute load, save and verify (total=30 minutes!) to 2 minutes for each. In the early 1990s I bought a 1541 mkII disk drive and this allowed me to get a LOT more done. Also an Action Replay cartridge around that time. in fact the machine-code stuff I mentioned above only became practical with the disk drive and the Action Replay. The 1541 cost a fortune! £130 I think. I also took the drive in to Cavendish Commodore Centre which came back with "no fault found" and a £40 bill. Turned out to be the power supply which was putting out 12V on the logic line, so I hacked the potting compound to bodge in a new 5V regulator & heatsink and it still has this taped on to it, still works.

Admin or "super-user" login needed for editing the database files, depending on if they were mine or a rellies'. Admin required for adding & removing users or accessing the program code. Admin password hidden in listings; not encrypted but as near as dammit as you couldn't easily get at it and other logins stored in a file on the disk. The program also detected which printer and disk drive(s) were connected and had auto crash-recovery using the keyboard buffer. Repeatedly hitting STOP+RESTORE would simply bring up the crash dialogue and restart the program. Mouse drivers etc. lived under the BASIC ROM. I miss those days and it's nice to see programming is once again possible via Linux.


I bought my first PC from a second-hand shop in 1996 or early 1997, a 486 DX2 with an already half-cooked monitor with the thought that "if I blow this up it doesn't matter, it only cost £150!" A week's wages at that time! .. and taught myself how to install hardware & software. It was running Win3.1, later Win95. I used the "free" dial-up internet providers (Freeserve etc.) and racked up large telephone bills so changed to the "free" NTL service and the free second phone line. My Mum gave me her expensive Packard Bell P133 (with Win95) which later got upgraded from 16MB RAM to 128MB, nice graphics card, 233MHz Pentium MMX and eventually even a 4-port USB card. That was used with Win98SE and later WinME which actualy worked well for me. The WinME CD-ROM looks pretty too. Also remember the agonizing wait for "broadband" to become available .. 600Kb/s. I built an AMD K6-2 500MHz machine around then.

Since then I've built a number of desktops, one of which (an Athlon 1.2GHz from the early 2000s) will shortly see service again with Mint, maybe an earlier version depending on how well it performs. I'll probably have it dual-boot with the existing WinXP Professional - however XP won't be used online for obvious reasons. XP was my OS for a number of years including my first "portable" machine, a Toshiba NB205. The later NB305 came with Win7 Starter (crap) which I upgraded via Anytime Online Upgrade to Ultimate (expensive!). It now runs Mint 17.3 Xfce (previously Cinnamon).

My main travelling companion is the Acer D255E which actually has the N570 1.666GHz dual-core CPU not the 1.5GHz D-C N550 as stated on the sticker. I also fitted a 2GB RAM module and intend to get a 4GB stick so the NB305 can have the 2GB RAM it deserves. The Acer now runs LM17.3 KDE .. fast, smooth, responsive even with the "eye-candy" desktop effects like Wobbly Windows. Even Kdenlive runs very well on this machine. I initially ran it with Win7 Ultimate, retail copy bought from John Lewis. £150! That now resides on the 750GB hard drive currently used in the dock for backups; I haven't (intentionally) booted from this drive since February this year.

The "server" machine is of course the Dell Inspiron 1525 with 3GB RAM, (currently) 250GB HDD - it may get the 750GB HDD later - & an Asus 17" monitor plus the 32" CRT TV and connected to the amp via a 2-channel mixer and decent cables. It's what I'm typing this on and it really flies. This currently runs Mint 17.3 Cinnamon but will likely be running KDE when the stable version is available, probably as dual-boot with Cinnamon. There's currently 2 other kernels installed, I must get round to testing those to assess compatibility.

I also have a Psion 3c which hasn't actually been used in years and the rubber coating has rotted, so it needs cleaning off properly, but this might be a candidate for some flavour of Linux (can't remember what CPU it has). And a calculator-size mini computer with BASIC programming language. There's also the Amstrad PC1640 with monochrome display and a 20MB band-stepper hard drive, which I got working by low-level formatting and has DOS 6.22 on it! I took that home strapped to the back of my bike when the workplace repaced them with more modern machines. This would have been in the late 1990s or early 2000s.

Latest acquisition is the Dell OptiPlex 350MHz machine which I've dual-booted with the original Win98SE and Puppy Linux. 6.4GB hard drive. I'll be able to use my old NEC Silentwriter SuperScript 610Plus laser printer for which drivers are not available beyond WinME. I have a substantial amount of toner for it. Not fantastic graphics quality but fine for letters and drafts. And quick .. and also very quiet. My only potential issue is that I haven't been able to get my Dell Colour Laser to work with 64-bit Mint. So I need to keep 32-bit OSs running at least until I find a solution. It uses the Xerox drivers by the way. I made a .deb package for easy installation.
Dell Inspiron 1525 - LM17.3 CE 64-------------------Acer D255E 2GB - Manjaro KDE, LM17.3 KDE 32
Toshiba NB305 - Manjaro KDE------------------------K7S5A AMD 1.2GHz - LM17.3 Xfce 32 & WinXP-Pro
Acer Aspire E11 ES1-111M - LM18.2 KDE 64 ----Dell PII 350 64MB - Puppy 4.3 & Win98-SE

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MurphCID
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Re: Your computers and Operating systems

Post by MurphCID » Thu Sep 08, 2016 9:57 pm

Cool. Anyone else? Us old guys got you beat?

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Re: Your computers and Operating systems

Post by jimallyn » Fri Sep 09, 2016 12:15 am

BG405, just out of curiosity, I googled for your Superscript 610Plus printer. One site says it is compatible to an HP LaserJet IIP, and that it understands GDI, HP PCL4.5, and Postscript 1, so I suspect you could get it working in Linux.
Image

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Re: Your computers and Operating systems

Post by BG405 » Fri Sep 09, 2016 12:06 pm

Thanks for that, Jim! It's much appreciated; I actually hadn't thought of doing a search on it yet. :oops:

I'll likely be using it on the old Dell OptiPlex or the AMD Athlon home-build as these have Centronics (?) parallel ports (or I can fit a card) and both will have network access for easy file transfer for printing. This will save using the toner in the colour one for drafts & basic stuff where colour is not required; although I can use black only on that if I wish, those cartridges were about £17 each last time I bought any.

Still, I have saved the used ones so could probably get those filled for less money.
Dell Inspiron 1525 - LM17.3 CE 64-------------------Acer D255E 2GB - Manjaro KDE, LM17.3 KDE 32
Toshiba NB305 - Manjaro KDE------------------------K7S5A AMD 1.2GHz - LM17.3 Xfce 32 & WinXP-Pro
Acer Aspire E11 ES1-111M - LM18.2 KDE 64 ----Dell PII 350 64MB - Puppy 4.3 & Win98-SE

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Re: Your computers and Operating systems

Post by absque fenestris » Thu Dec 08, 2016 10:51 am

MurphCID wrote:Cool. Anyone else? Us old guys got you beat?
Hi old guys!

My first contact with something like "interface", "word processing" and "memory" was my black Olivetti typewriter in 1983. There was an Interface to a (horrible expensive) Olivetti CP/M operating system.

1985 I read about the Wild-Leitz "Aviotab" (...a digital flat bed plotting table that has been developed in accordance with the latest technology, using the most modern mechanical and electronic components etc. pp...) on asks for more information I got a very nice prospectus with price-list. 600'000 Swiss Francs (without computer!) was definitively a bit too much.

In 1988 I saw a Mac running Illustrator (Vers. 1.1 ?) in practical use. It was a joke.

Between 1989-92 I waged private wars with graphics agencies because miserable scans of my nice drawings (most famous: a comic-strip about Italian spaghetti - 0.1 mm double line...) Usually they stored scans on (horrible expensive) 44 MB removable SyQuest cartridges - and they need a lot of them...

In 1992 I had the first contact with MS-DOS (ugly boring beige IBM) in connection with an employment. Later in 1993 I start with AutoCAD & 3D Studio on DOS and PageMaker on Windows 3.1 on "IBM-compatible" with 2 CRT monitors that could clearly display maybe 800 x 600 pixels. Poor eyes.
After three months I could proudly present my first 3d reconstructions of medieval churches. O.K. not really 3d rather very creatively applied 2d + (as described in the very last chapters of the AutoCAD manual). Drawings was plotted on paper, copied and the copies was hand-coloured.
3D Studio was "Alpha" or maybe "Beta" - simply not for use. AutoCAD-drawings saved as TIFF or TARGA could never be imported in PageMaker. The responsible administrator really liked me very much.

The same TIFF's or TARGA's saved on diskettes could be imported in QuarkXPress on Mac - as a friendly graphic artist showed me.

Impressed by the graphical possibilities I bought my first computer and software early 1995: Yes! a PowerMac 8100/80, 24 MB RAM, 700 MB HDD, System 7.5 - Great!!! Exactly the same with the NuBus... ... horrible expensive - and a year later antiquated. Software was bought in the U.S.A. for half the European price: form.Z for 3d, Illustrator and Photoshop for graphics and a small Wacom-tablet to draw. Pagemaker was given me as a farewell from my employer...

Many things have changed since then, but sometime I still use form.Z 2.9, Illustrator 9 and PhotoShop 7 along with an old SCSI scanner from Umax and a Xerox-Phaser-6200 color laser printer. The whole stuff is persistently and courageously executed and driven by a 16 year old Mac G4/933 (System 9.2) with two LCD's. Friends laugh about me, but it works and that in good quality.

In connection with some support with friends and customers and regular visits to various disposal points I received defective & non defective devices over and over again.

A frozen Mac LC III (1993) from the waste and parts from a broken colleague was tuned up to an LC III with co-processor, 32 MB RAM, 2 GB HDD and more Video-RAM. I gave my father in 2002 and he is still used it for his tax declaration. Claris-Works and The Flying Toasters (playing the Valkyrie) run with splendid 25 MHz on System 7.6. - for Skype he is using newer laptop with Windows 10...

A Mac G4/466 (case & board original) with double PPC 1.0 GHz (sold originally as 2 x 1.5 GHz but a cup of coffee ended this) 1.5 GB RAM, 3 IDE & 1 SATA HDD, some PCI SATA, IDE and USB-2 cards all from various kaput Macs and PCs is my special friend. This "G4/466" is triple booted by OSX 10.3 / 10.5 and Debian PPC "sqeeze". I use this machine for testing purposes and to examine software (what is superfluous in Photoshop or OSX, at example).

3 faulty G4/700 and G4/933 are accumulated to the Mac described above, G/933, 1.5 GB RAM, HDD-Raid 0 (as scratch for PhotoShop) etc. My big warehouse for collected old software and PostScript fonts.

Two G4/MDD 2 x 1.25 GHZ are my silent reserve (preserves before disposal) another one is used for graphics (OSX 10.5).

An IBM xSeries 225 Server (bought for a tip in 2008) was my first Windows computer. Windows-Server-2003 was installed, extended by me finally as dual boot machine with Linux Ubuntu. In a very good mood - and as a typical Mac user - I started a big upgrade in the running system, without backup of course: 20 minutes later 2 of 5 SCSI-HDD's was waste and Windows-Server-2003 was history.
Because I've made a rotten joke in the German Ubuntu forum about upgrades, I'm lifelong banned there. Since at the same time I had bought for very little money an originally extremely expensive CAD-certified nVidia card I made a new attempt - this time Ubuntu-Studio rc was the candidate. With 3 fresh old hardisks & a good bottle of wine I went happily to work. With time and good offers this machine has recently been installed 2 x 2.7 GHz Xeon, 4 GB RAM, 6 loud SCSI-HDD's, FireWire and SATA on PCI-cards and a bunch of very loud fans.

Floated Google Earth 3d-panorama stretched over two EIZO 1600 x 1200 LCD's still looks great - GIMP is fine and from time to time I make experiments with Blender. The noise is annoying...
An SSD and some removed fans would be nice - but because SCSI is managed by sophisticated IBM software I do not dare to change anything. Perhaps a member of this very appreciated forum has tried something like this...

Many other PC's and Mac's had been rebuilt since then - sometimes linuxized - and sold out or given away. Newest machine now is a Mac mini from 2011, followed by an Acer Netbook from 2009.

A word about the very sad chapter of inkjet printers: A pity about money & material and an ecological disaster. In particular HP, has emerged in this respect, as expensive professional A3 and A2 inkjet printers are obviously intended to throw away soon. "Expired" cartridges and printheads have driven me crazy. In the end all HP inkjet printers are disposed and as a consequence, I have boycotted all their products since then. My experience - other people may have had better ...

... and Yes! My very first Mac was sold, came back, was given away, came back and resides in my closet for old stuff. And still works...

Regards :mrgreen:
Linux Mint 18.3 Sylvia (Mate) 32-bit - Acer D250 Netbook (Intel Atom N270, 2 GB RAM, 120 GB SSD)

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Re: Your computers and Operating systems

Post by dXTC » Sat Dec 10, 2016 5:19 pm

Oh boy oh boy oh boy, a thread where it's OK to go full gear-geek! :D My computer history probably won't match up to others' here, but here goes anyway.
WARNING: This is a long one, people-- I will be "waxing eloquent". You can skip to the TL;DR section for my current inventory.

I first learned to program on Apple IIe computers in high school. However, the only computer I remember my family having during my school years was a second-hand TRS80, which didn't hold my interests very long.
In college, I had a computer science minor, and I did my programming projects on IBM System/370s and DEC VAX mainframes, as well as use a 8088-era PC clone and a Apple Macintosh SE/30 for my on-campus jobs.

The first computer I purchased myself (several years later, circa 1994) was a Quantex 486DX33, with the Intel CPU the model number implies. I upgraded it to a Pentium-83 Overdrive chip, maxed out the RAM, and put in a Turtle Beach Monterey sound card. The Monterey sounded great, and was the core of my electronic music setup for quite some time. (I eventually replaced it with a Turtle Beach Maui for later setups). I also surfed the then-new Web in glorious 9600 baud. :lol:

My first laptop was a Toshiba Satellite 1905-S301, with a Pentium 4 processor, purchased at the now-defunct Circuit City. That thing was very heavy, but could put out some decent sound. Around the same time, I purchased a used Compaq Deskpro EN (Pentium II 400 MHz) from a family member, and that replaced my Quantex as my main home workstation for a time.

However, In 2003, I built my first PC from scratch, based on an Athlon 64 3500+ Clawhammer CPU, a Sapphire Radeon 300 graphics card and a Turtle Beach Santa Cruz card. With this upgrade, I had lost the ability to run my beloved Monterey and Maui, both ISA-bus cards. The tradeoff? The new machine was fast enough to run software synthesizers in Cakewalk. I sold the Compaq back to the family member I bought it from.

Fast forward a few years to 2007, and I made my first Mac purchase: the first aluminum model Intel iMac. It came with OS X Leopard, which was the first to allow Boot Camp, so I could continue to use Windows XP and Cakewalk on it.

That iMac and the Toshiba laptop were stolen in a burglary a couple of years later. :( Don't feel too bad for me-- I had backups for most of my stuff, my regular CD/vinyl collection was left untouched so I could recreate my music library, and I had full-replacement-cost home insurance. So I replaced the iMac with a newer iMac (Intel 3.06GHz Core i3, OS X Snow Leopard), and the Toshiba with a MacBook Pro 17". The Athlon homebrew PC was relegated to DVD authoring and light gameplay, and remains operational to this day. However, by that time, the Quantex 486's soldered-on CMOS battery had burst and corroded several circuit traces on the motherboard, rendering it unusable. I salvaged what parts I could and recycled the rest.

Fast forward to 2014, and the laboratory where my wife worked shut down operations, leaving quite a stash of gently used computer hardware. So I got a good handful of systems for free. Four of them now have Linux Mint and are in my signature; the machines all had Windows Enterprise licenses that needed replacement. A fifth was a vintage iMac G4 "Luxo Lamp", running OS X 10.2 originally but now running Leopard-- it still had all the stock hardware including the Apple Pro "bubble" speakers. (This was a major score-- I thought I would never be able to own this hallmark of industrial design, and definitely not free.) The sixth was a Dell Inspiron Core i3 laptop that was my wife's boss's personal laptop for a time, but no longer had a use for (she had just purchased a MS Surface Pro).

That same year, an elderly family member asked me to help setup a new laptop and transfer some files from his old desktop, and offered me the desktop in lieu of payment. I took it, of course; it was a Dell Dimension 2400, with a Pentium 4 chip. I used it for a nice Linux distro-shopping experience, familiarizing myself with the likes of Lubuntu, Puppy, Peppermint and my first ever run of Mint Xfce. After that was done, though, I found that I had no use case for it-- no compelling reason to keep it around. So I scavenged it and recycled the bare shell. The hard drive came in handy, though. It was an IDE hard drive that had a 32GB jumper for older systems. I used it to revive my wife's old PC, another Quantex (Pentium II with Windows ME) whose hard drive had crapped out a few months before, but I kept because it had some ISA slots for my Turtle Beach Maui card.

Whew. I need to get a drink of water.

TL; DR: Here's my current operational inventory:
Apple iMac (Late 2009), Intel Core i3, running OS X Snow Leopard and Windows XP (main music workstation)
Apple MacBook Pro 17" (mid 2010), Intel Core i5, running OS X Mavericks (secondary movie server for Apple TV)
Dell Optiplex 760, Intel Core 2 Duo, running Linux Mint 17.3 Cinnamon (primary Web browser and image editor; I've written this very post on it)
Dell XPS 210, Intel Core 2 Duo, running Linux Mint 17.3 Cinnamon (backup entertainment PC in the basement; I sometimes run some relaxation/"slow TV" videos on this and chill out)
Dell Latitude e4200, Intel Centrino Duo, running Linux Mint 17.3 Cinnamon and Windows XP (backup/portable music workstation)
Lenovo Ideapad S10, Intel Atom, running Linux Mint 17.3 Xfce (light word processing and retro games, travel)
Self-built Athlon 64 PC, running Windows XP (DVD authoring/backup, occasional game)
Apple iMac G4, running OS X Leopard (mostly a "museum" piece, but is still fully operational)
Dell Inspiron 4110N, running Windows 7 Pro (currently used for Folding@Home, but may be refreshed with Mint sometime in the near future)
Quantex Pentium II 350, running Windows ME (hosts a Turtle Beach Maui card, turning it into a dedicated hardware sampler, attached via MIDI to the rest of my synth rig)

So yeah, I've had a few.
dXTC
-----
IT oldie, Linux newbie, and all-around goofy fellow.
Mint Cinnamon on Dell XPS 210, Optiplex 760, Inspiron N4110 and Latitude E4200;
Mint Xfce on Lenovo Ideapad S10.
Some OS X and WinXP too; I'm multi-platform like that.

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Re: Your computers and Operating systems

Post by altair4 » Sat Dec 10, 2016 5:32 pm

I've given up on most of the "standard" operating systems opting instead to use Plan 9 on all my machines.
Please add a [SOLVED] at the end of your original subject header if your question has been answered and solved.

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Re: Your computers and Operating systems

Post by MintBean » Sat Dec 10, 2016 6:20 pm

Got my first computer aged 8. An Amstrad CPC 464 which was an 8-bit, Z80 based machine quite popular here in the UK. Got interested in the command prompt beyond just loading games from the cassette deck and began writing games in BASIC. Learned assembly language in an attempt to write better games but couldn't figure out how to use it to draw sprites. If only I had known I needed a manual on the CPC's hardware architecture! These still remain the glory days of computing, at least to my (possibly somewhat rose tinted) vision. Home computing was still and exciting new frontier, and computer users were all enthusiasts.

Next in my early teens I first saw an Amiga at a friend's house. My Amstrad may have kicked his old Speccy's backside, but this new machine was a revolution! These were arcade quality games at home! Nothing before or since in the history of computing has ever impressed me so much. Needless to say, I ended up with one of these for the next few years.

Finally it became apparent that the Amiga wasn't advancing any further. I wanted an Acorn Archimedes which were great machines at the time, but couldn't afford it. Eventually I upgraded from an Amiga 500 to an Amiga 1200 because it was cheaper than the Archimedes. Big mistake as it wasn't much better than the 500 and very few games supported it, plus it became increasingly obvious that the Amiga was dying out.

Once I saw DooM running on the old man's pentium 90 I flogged the Amiga and just played on my Dad's machine for a while. At some point I bought a desktop PC although I can't remember the spec now. Had a couple of those, mostly used Windows on them but dabbled with Linux. It still wasn't 'quite there' for my purposes.

Next I got myself a Macbook Pro. Beautiful machine, so much more refined than a PC in a number of ways. Best trackpad on any machine, period. OSX was nicer than Windows and I loved the taller aspect ratio screen. That was all sweetness and light right up until Snow Leopard went end-of-life. After that, both the Mac OS operating system and new mac hardware started going down hill from my perspective. The Macbook eventually broke. I repaired it once (400 for a replacement motherboard which was outrageous considering how outdated it was) and then it went wrong again a little over a year later. Vowed not to buy another outrageously priced Macbook, so got a custom PC laptop for less than half the price with better specs.The last couple of years I use this i7 PC laptop with integrated graphics exclusively running Mint. I've become a real Linux enthusiast now and it's put the joy back into computing that was waning due to Windows/Mac. The best bit is that I can see this hardware serving me well for many years!

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pdhunter1987
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Re: Your computers and Operating systems

Post by pdhunter1987 » Sat Dec 10, 2016 6:53 pm

BEFORE: Used windows
AFTER: Tried Linux, loved it.

TL:DR...Use Linux.

:lol:
-----------------
pdhunter1987
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sudo apt install LinuxMint

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absque fenestris
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Re: Your computers and Operating systems

Post by absque fenestris » Sat Dec 10, 2016 7:19 pm

in 1981 I ate a lot of chocolate (Cailler with nuts). There was a competition one had to send them the package - the price was an Apple II... I have not won :oops:
Modem with 9600, 14000, 28000 baud, followed by double channel ISDN - yes that is also a story! When I think of my phone bills...
Acorn: 1994 they had a machine with risc-cpu and bundled software. The local representative could not tell me anything: no price, no availability. Somebody remember?
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dXTC
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Re: Your computers and Operating systems

Post by dXTC » Sat Dec 10, 2016 7:41 pm

MintBean wrote:...

Next I got myself a Macbook Pro. Beautiful machine, so much more refined than a PC in a number of ways. Best trackpad on any machine, period. OSX was nicer than Windows and I loved the taller aspect ratio screen. That was all sweetness and light right up until Snow Leopard went end-of-life. After that, both the Mac OS operating system and new mac hardware started going down hill from my perspective.

...
You're not alone in your opinion. Although I still like my MacBook Pro, I won't be upgrading it past Mavericks, and I'll keep Snow Leopard on my main iMac for as long as I can. Apple's hardware line is getting increasingly locked down and harder to repair with each generation, making it harder for us Mac fans to stomach the Apple Tax. And that new MacBook Pro with the Touch Bar is getting heaps of criticism thrown at it from users who usually "sing Apple's praises".

If I purchase-- or build-- any new computers for myself in the near future, it will most likely be with Linux in mind.
dXTC
-----
IT oldie, Linux newbie, and all-around goofy fellow.
Mint Cinnamon on Dell XPS 210, Optiplex 760, Inspiron N4110 and Latitude E4200;
Mint Xfce on Lenovo Ideapad S10.
Some OS X and WinXP too; I'm multi-platform like that.

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absque fenestris
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Re: Your computers and Operating systems

Post by absque fenestris » Sat Dec 10, 2016 7:57 pm

dXTC wrote:
MintBean wrote:...

Next I got myself a Macbook Pro. Beautiful machine, so much more refined than a PC in a number of ways. Best trackpad on any machine, period. OSX was nicer than Windows and I loved the taller aspect ratio screen. That was all sweetness and light right up until Snow Leopard went end-of-life. After that, both the Mac OS operating system and new mac hardware started going down hill from my perspective.

...
You're not alone in your opinion. Although I still like my MacBook Pro, I won't be upgrading it past Mavericks, and I'll keep Snow Leopard on my main iMac for as long as I can. Apple's hardware line is getting increasingly locked down and harder to repair with each generation, making it harder for us Mac fans to stomach the Apple Tax. And that new MacBook Pro with the Touch Bar is getting heaps of criticism thrown at it from users who usually "sing Apple's praises".

If I purchase-- or build-- any new computers for myself in the near future, it will most likely be with Linux in mind.
I can only agree with you. My last Mac was a gift - and I've been annoyed at OSX 10.7. Their things - hardware & software are getting more and more childish in every version. Rosé & Gold now and the oled bar will turn red when dirty words are used and Siri says: mimimimimi
Last edited by absque fenestris on Sat Dec 10, 2016 10:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Your computers and Operating systems

Post by slipstick » Sat Dec 10, 2016 8:08 pm

I may not be the oldest guy on the forum, but I think I may have one of the earliest computer backgrounds. The first time I ever saw a computer was as a freshman at university in 1964 – an IBM 1620.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IBM_1620
https://www-03.ibm.com/ibm/history/exhi ... P1620.html

I thought it looked really cool, so in the Fall of 1965 I signed up for a course in Fortran programming (Fortran II) on the 1620. The 1620 used magnetic core memory (slow) and we only had 40,000 digits to work with. Data input/output was on punch cards via a large card reader/punch unit. Then we had to take our output card deck to an offline line printer to get a printout. And of course we had to punch our own cards for input to the computer on one of these:
http://www.columbia.edu/cu/computinghistory/026.html

Later I learned how to program the 1620 in assembly language (SPS, which as I recall stood for “Symbolic Programming System”). This was all great fun, as we had hands-on access to the machine, though occasionally during peak demand periods the only available time on the computer was in the wee hours of the morning. I later wrote some programs for the university's special built machine which used paper tape as input (I hated paper tape for ever after).
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rice_Institute_Computer
http://timeline.centennial.rice.edu/sit ... 00_q85.jpg
Has anyone else here written programs for a vacuum tube (valve) based computer such as the above? :)

During my career as an electrical engineer I worked with a variety of minicomputers and microprocessors embedded in various pieces of equipment. I designed electronics built around the mini or microcomputer, as well as wrote programs for them, mostly test programs to test the system hardware. These programs were mostly in assembly language and later some in C. I did a lot of Z80 assembly programming in the late 70's and 80's. For a while, I used a Radio Shack TRS-80 (company owned) for software development. The company I worked for in the 80's started using IBM PC's in their equipment almost as soon as the PC came on the market, so I got pretty good at writing small assembly language test programs for 8086/286/386 using the DOS debug facility and also used the Microsoft assembler program for longer programs.

I got my first personal computer in 1988, an IBM AT compatible with 1 MB RAM and a 43MB hard drive. It took a whole stack of 5.25 inch floppies to back up that hard drive. I installed MS "Quick-C" and learned how to program in the C language. I think my first 'on-line' experience was with CompuServe – I remember X-modem, Y-modem, Kermit. I think my first modem was 1200 baud, but I can also remember downloading at 300 baud (talk about sloooooooow). Started out with DOS, then later Windows 3.1 (or 3.11?), then 98. I bought another computer (Pentium 4) in about 2005 with Windows XP – I still have it, but it now runs LM17.3 MATE, and is my backup computer.

I only really got interested in Linux in 2012 – joined this forum that year and started learning a little about it, but didn't actually take the plunge and install Linux Mint on my computer until I was forced to do so when MS discontinued support for XP in April of 2014. I bought my present computer (Intel Core i5-4690, 8 GB, nVidia GeForce GTX750Ti, 1 TB hard drive) in March of 2015 – it came with Win 7 installed – now it is a dual boot with LM17.3 Cinnamon. The only reason I keep Win 7 is to install my income tax preparation software every year. I only boot into Windows once or twice a year. As soon as I get some time, I plan to delete the Win 7 install and run Win 7 in VirtualBox.
Last edited by slipstick on Sun Dec 11, 2016 8:07 pm, edited 2 times in total.
In theory, theory and practice are the same. In practice, they ain't.

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TooMuchTime
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Re: Your computers and Operating systems

Post by TooMuchTime » Sat Dec 10, 2016 8:56 pm

In 1982, my sister bought an IBM PC/XT. A whopping 4.77Mhz 8088 processor. Her employer had XTs with 20mb hard drives. I got two of their old systems: an HP 125 running CP/M 1.4 and an HP 150 II Touchscreen running DOS 2.1. The 125 had a 5 mb hard drive that was 4 x 1.25mb platters enclosed in the drive as part of the massive drive cabinet that could double as a boat anchor. The disks showed up as separate drives unless a program ran at boot time that joined them into one drive. It also had a 5.25 floppy. The 150 had a 20mb HD and a 3.5 single sided floppy in the drive cabinet.

The first system I bought was a 286-16 with 1mb of RAM and a monochrome monitor. I was running MS-DOS 3.3 and bought a huge book about DOS that I still have. I have no idea why. The best software was the original Sim City. I eventually added a color monitor. That unit was with me through Windows 3.1. I upgraded to a 486 when I got Windows 95. I remember buying a 4mb SIMM for $125; it was a serious bargain because their price dropped from around $250 in about a month. But the biggest speed improvement I ever remember was buying an 800mb hard drive that had a seek speed of about 15ms. My old drive had a speed of about 60ms. The change was startling and the speed made it damn near telepathic.

In the mid-80s I was working for Chevron and we used GridCase laptops that had a 3.5 double-sided floppy and Lotus 1-2-3 on embedded ROM chips. All we used them for was doing the daily books on an automated spreadsheet written specifically for our service station.

After the mid-90s, I built all my own systems and just upgraded whenever I had a little extra money. My first purchase from a brand was a Dell Inspiron Zino. I still use it as my daily computer. I "acquired" the Dell Latitude laptop I am using right now. I've built computers for my family as well. It's a great hobby.

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Re: Your computers and Operating systems

Post by MintBean » Sun Dec 11, 2016 9:12 am

dXTC wrote:
MintBean wrote:You're not alone in your opinion. Although I still like my MacBook Pro, I won't be upgrading it past Mavericks, and I'll keep Snow Leopard on my main iMac for as long as I can. Apple's hardware line is getting increasingly locked down and harder to repair with each generation, making it harder for us Mac fans to stomach the Apple Tax. And that new MacBook Pro with the Touch Bar is getting heaps of criticism thrown at it from users who usually "sing Apple's praises".
I have to say I'm actually amazed by the level of backlash Apple is getting for their latest hardware. Not that they don't deserve it, just that I thought there was such a large proportion of 'fanboys' in the community that they would swallow anything. (Hopefully my history as a former Mac enthusiast gives me license to say this - just an opinion.) Hopefully that backlash will give Apple a long overdue slap in the face and bring them back to their senses. I wouldn't rule out Apple hardware in my future if they would change a few things.

-Give us a real 'pro' model that doesn't sacrifice everything in the name of shaving 0.1mm off the chassis.
-Let us customise our machine. I want to be able to replace the RAM and hard disc like I used to, especially given the outrageous Apple tax they charge for upgraded components.
-Get realistic with those prices.

Of course, this is only if I can run Linux on it! :)

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Re: Your computers and Operating systems

Post by ralplpcr » Sun Dec 11, 2016 3:36 pm

Hoo boy - this could be lengthy!
Let's see - - I'd say my first experience with computers was around 1974(!) when my friend's father brought home a borrowed contraption that let you insert your telephone handset into a set of suction cups, along with a large suitcase that contained a very clacky keyboard, a bunch of buttons & dials, and what looked like a receipt printer. This 150 baud beast let him connect to "the mainframe" at GE where he worked, and the results of what you typed would slowly be spit out on a 3" wide shiny thermal paper. We had hours of fun typing random stuff in and waiting to see if it would give us anything useful, or if we'd get the dreaded "? Syntax Error" message returned. (We got that most of the time). What we didn't know at the time was that being connected in this way cost money. Once the phone bill arrived, we weren't allowed to play with that setup any longer. A year later, that same friend's father and mine worked for hours trying to get an early "Pong" game hooked up to our 19" Zenith B&W TV.

2 years later, we got one of the first Atari VCS systems. (later to be known as Atari 2600) While the games were fun, my ultimate goal was to save up enough for the "Basic Programming" cartridge. I finally got it, and "programmed" the heck out of it...but somehow it didn't have the same fascination as that old thermal paper output. It wasn't long after that when I started hearing about this new "Apple Computer" thing that two guys had built in their garage, and they were going to start selling them! There was even an "Apple Crunchers" group where people would get together & talk about their experiences. I started riding my bike up to the local Apple store and spending hours playing with their display units, much to the chagrin of the store's owner. :wink:

It took a few years, but I was finally able to get my *own* Apple ][ system... one of the "Plus" models with a 5.25" floppy and an old 13" TV. I had even managed to save up enough that we could get the "Golden Apple" package, where you got a 16KB card to upgrade the base 48K of RAM to a whole 64K! Surely more than anyone would ever need! Unfortunately, it seemed that they wanted to charge $250 to install that card, and that was beyond what we could swing at the time. But we got the card anyhow, thinking that we'd make due with the 48K for now, and do the upgrade once we could afford it. (After all, the whole package was somewhere around $4000... which was a heck of lot of money for the time!) Being a plucky young teenager at the time, I rummaged through all the different magazines & books I could about the Apple ][, and figured it out myself. Darned near gave my dad a heart attack seeing his $4000 investment torn to pieces, but it all went safely back together and functioned. ;) I also managed to get a 9-pin C.Itoh 8510 hooked up & working with it - - it was even faster than the official Apple printer that the local store was trying to sell me.

I had many years with that old beast - not only learning basic, but also "machine language" by POKE-ing and PEEK-ing hex values directly into/from memory. I did my best to make it "keep up" with newer systems, adding things like a joystick, a card to switch between "Integer" basic and "AppleSoft" basic, and even a homebrew contraption made of several wired-together resistors & capacitors plugged into the gameport to give it 4-channel MIDI and a hack to give it 16 colors instead of just 4 in HGR mode. Of course by then, things like the Apple Lisa, Apple III, and then the first MAC had come along... as well as the early clunky IBM XT systems and the Amigas. I played with all of them, and even purchased a Timex Sinclair system, but that original Apple ][+ remained my special toy.

Going off to college, I got my first experiences playing with REAL power - - the DEC VAX system and the IBM System/360. I learned REXX, and was amazed that I could type in real-time with people from all over the world... or at least those who were within the university system.

Life caused me to take a hiatus for several years, but then I got back into it full swing just when Windows 3.0 was starting to take off. By now, the Apple ecosystem was floundering, so I jumped full-on to the PC side - - getting a pile of components and putting together my own home-built system from a warehouse in Pittsburgh. It was a screamer for it's day - a 486DX2/66 with 2MB of RAM and a 512K VGA card and a whopping 512MB hard drive! It was about that time that I got my first introduction to UNIX, but it didn't really catch my interest... who wanted boring old text when you could have a colorful desktop and a mouse?

Over the years, I've built many systems - - very few have I actually purchased pre-built. I've had a Cyrix 6X86 166MHZ, several AMD systems (pre & post Athon), and of course many Intel systems, ranging from the original Pentium series all the way up to multi-processor Xeon systems. I have at least 20 functioning systems of my own, the majority of those being "rebuilt" from spare parts I've collected. On the job, I've built & run several multi-processor Xeon workstations as well as a half-dozen rack mount server systems. I played with Linux on & off for several years - starting with Mandrake, Knoppix, Red Hat (before it branched off to Fedora), and Puppy Linux. Never really got into Ubuntu, but Mint... that was a whole different ball game. It was probably around the time when I saw the previews for Windows 8 that I decided I was tired of the Microsoft way of doing things, and threw myself full-on into learning how to work Linux for more than just a curiosity to play with. It took some time, but I only have 2 systems left that run any Microsoft OS now - and they're very rarely even turned on. Work requires Microsoft for now, unfortunately.... but I aim one day to be able to overcome even that restriction.

Believe it or not, I still have that old Apple ][+, C.Itoh printer, and 486 DX/2 system. They're not in use, but this post has brought out the nostalgia... I may just have to try plugging them all in to see if they still work one of these days?

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Re: Your computers and Operating systems

Post by z31fanatic » Sun Dec 11, 2016 9:00 pm

Bought my first computer in 2000. Some HP desktop with Windows 98 or 2000, can't remember.
I've gone through too many computers since then. My guess is between 30 and 40 or even 50. Most have been Dell, Latitude or Precision models. Lately I have been using a 2014 Macbook Pro which is my main machine. I've had it for a year and a half now and it's the best computer I've had even though I've had much more powerful setups in the past. I have never kept a computer this long. :mrgreen:

Currently have the Macbook Pro running macOS Sierra, a Dell PowerEdge T20 desktop server running Windows 10 Enterprise, an older Dell Inspiron small form desktop which the kids use to play around with and a Dell Latitude E7270 ultrabook as my on-the-go machine running Windows 10 and Mint 18.

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Re: Your computers and Operating systems

Post by deleted » Mon Dec 12, 2016 1:39 pm

I started with a Timex Sinclair, built by my uncle who was in college. (He was 10 yrs older than me).
I then got a commodore 64 which lost it's program if you turned it off, unless you had stored it on a cassette tape.
By the time I went to college, I had a Sharpe EL 5500II that's still sitting on my office desk with my Mac pro and 2 Linux PCs running Windows 7 VMs.
-H

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