Computers are my life. It started innocently enough in highschool around 1988 with an Apple IIe, because that would supposedly help with my education. In college around 1992, I bought an Apple IIgs, which was much nicer than the IIe, but basically obsolete by then. Therefore, for a graduation gift in 1995, I asked my parents to co-sign a loan for me to get a new computer.
My PC started life as a Gateway 2000 120 MHz Pentium system with 16 MB EDO RAM, 256 K pipeline burst cache, 1.6 GB hard drive, 4X CD-ROM drive, 3.5" and 5.25" duo floppy drives, SoundBlaster A.W.E. 32, 28000 bps external modem, 17" trinitron monitor, Matrix MGA Millennium graphics card with 2 MB WRAM, Altec Lansing speakers, MS Mouse, and MS Natural Keyboard. I also got a Epson ActionLaser 1400, which is a 600 dpi laser printer.
I would rather have went with a Macintosh because the Mac OS and hardware is much more stable. However, I'm very practical and realize that a PC compatible system is what most of the world uses. With the release of Windows 95, the PC was working and performing almost as good as a Mac. I didn't consider a DOS-based machine worth the trouble (or even early Windows), even though my Apple IIe had a command line interface as well. Plus, the PC isle in the store had all the games. ::grin::
I quickly added to my sysgtem with an UPStart uninterruptible power supply and 4 more MB of RAM inside my printer (total 6). Then I added an additional 64 MB of system RAM (total 72), an EIDE 4 GB hard drive, an Epson Color Stylus II 600 dpi color printer, an Iomega Zip drive, a Snappy video digitizer, and a MS Sidewinder 3D Joystick. That lasted me for a couple of years.
Then in Christmas 1998, I treated myself by replacing the CPU with a 200 MHz MMX Pentium and the graphics card with a 16 MB Diamond Stealth Viper V550 with the RivaTnT chips. I also added a Hewlett Packard 4x2x24 CD WriterPlus 8110i, a US Robotics/3Com V.Everything 56k modem, an Astra 1220P 32 bit/600 optical dpi flatbed scanner, an Internet office 420LP UPS, and a subwoofer.
For my birthday in 1999, I added a Brother 9100c Multi-Fuction Center. This jack of all trades is huge, but it does it all. It can scan and copy up to 1200dpi, print in color at 1400x700 dpi, 14.4K fax, and do digital video captures. It has both a document feeder and flatbed options. Sometime in 2000, my Dad acquired a refurbished Kodak DC260, which is 1.3 megapizel digital camera. While it's technically his, I probably use it more than he does.
I celebrated my birthday in 2000 by buying a used Dell Lattitude xpi off Ebay. This vintage 1996 laptop came with a 133 MHz Pentium MMX chip, 128 MB of RAM, a 10 GB hard drive, and a Xircom 10/100/56K ethernet/modem PC card. The reason I bought it instead of a newer laptop or desktop is because that model of Dell is the last laptop model include a trackball. I may be silly, but I just don't like either the keyboard joystick or the glidepath touchscreen for cursor control. A freind owed me some money, so he repayed me by adding a USB PC card to the laptop.
For Christmas in 2000, I added a 40 GB Ultra ATA 100 hard drive and and Evergreen Technologies 400 MHz AMD K6-2 CPU. As a result, I doubt I'll be able to push this old 1995 motherboard any further, though it's served me well. Also, because of a need to network my two computers to my parent's two computers, I bought the LinkSys Home Phoneline Networking Kit at an Office Depot sale. I also purchased a couple of USB Phoneline Network adapters for those that had USB capabilities. Since these devices are HPNA 2.0 certified, I get a 10 MB network over phonelines. I would have preferred a 100 Mbps network, but I didn't trust running ethernet cables outside between two separate buildings. The phoneline is buried underground, and can be more easily protected from lightning surges.
What will probably be my final upgrade came in June 2001. I added another 64 MB of EDO RAM to my system, which maxed it out at 128 MB total. I also bought a 128 MB Compact Flash card and a USB Zio Compact Flash card reader for the camera. As a result, I doubt I'll be able to push this system any further. The only thing that I could do would be to get a better PCI based graphics and sound cards, a faster CD-RW drive, and a ULTA ATA 100 controller card; but those hardly seem worth it compared to an entirely new sytem. When it comes to computers, size does matter.
My life online started in the late 80's. I'd call up local Bulletin Board Systems (BBS) and discover a whole new world. It was then that I joined AppleLink: Personal Edition and GEnie. Then AppleLink merged with Quantum Link to form America Online. Therefore, I was with AOL before it became AOhell. However, when I got shell access through a local internet provider right after graduation, I dropped both of them. 1995 marked the year I joined the internet revolution. However, if not for BBSes, my life would probably have came out totally different.
Now I'm online about 5 hours every day. I check my mail briefly around 1 p.m. CST for about an hour. Then around 10 p.m., I hop online for several hours at a time to chat with friends around the world. E-mail is still the best way to get hold of me though. I subscribe to over three dozen e-mail lists, so be patient with a reply.
Most of my reading these days is stuff on the internet, though I'm an avid Steven King fan. I have most of his books though my favorite is the Dark Tower series, which is an grand epic that I hope he finishes before he dies. Otherwise, I like just about any science-fiction, and to lesser extents, fantasy and horror. Unfortunately, I don't have the time or finances to read as much as I use to. I use to subscribe to Asimov's Science-Fiction Magazine. Janet Kagen's Mirabil short stories were my favorite, as was Nancy Kress' "Beggars in Spain". I also love Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles.
And I do lots of writing. I finally have a collection of my stories on the web even though most of it is juvenile kid trash. It too leans toward the SF/fantasy/horror genres, though I do have a few plain fiction stories I wrote for a college class. Most of the stuff I write for now are articles for various newsletters, like the Subspace Static, the newsletter of the U.S.S. Wernher von Braun. If anyone knows of a newsletter/newspaper/magazine that needs to employ someone with combined programming/writing experience, let me, or them, know. I'm certainly not an awesome writer, but I am perfect for the "write" job. ::wink, wink:: ::nudge, nudge:: ::grin:: (Or is that ::groan::?)
I use to subscribe to almost every Marvel comic that existed, but as with most things these days, lack of money prevents doing this. I truly enjoy the intricate stories of the comics. How they manage to interweave countless elements from the past, present, and future is amazing. I like Iron Man for the technology, the Avengers for their cosmically powered story lines, and Spider-man for its personal touch. However, I suppose the X-men come the closest to me due to their ongoing struggle against hatred and discrimination for being different. I can relate.
In college, I belonged to everything under the sun, holding various officer positions. I was so involved that I earned the nickname Mr. Busy. What started it all was a desire to get over a dear friend leaving college. I thought getting involved would help me get over him. It did. Unfortunately, it snowballed into numerous entanglements. One organization would require its own participation in committees or other organizations, which would in turn require its own, until I had so much to do, I didn't have any free time left. I burnt out halfway through my senior year, which wasn't the best time to do that. I have since learned not to let that happen again.
The USS Wernher von Braun is a local chapter of STARFLEET, the International Star Trek Fan Association. I originally planned on being general member A since I wanted to take a breather from all my organizational responsibilities. But then I volunteered to be the Communications Officer in charge of publishing the Subspace Static.
If that wasn't bad enough, I then begame Commanding Officer in January 1996. Mr. Busy returned for three more years as I gave that organization my blood, sweat, and tears. However, I stepped down as CO at the beginning of 1999 in order to relax and move on with my life. I still produce their newsletter and remain quite active with the ship though as time permits.
STARFLEET itself is an international Star Trek Fan Association. It is the largest fan run organization in existence with over 4000 members worldwide. Most of the 250+ chapters are located in the United States, but chapters are also located throughout the world including Canada, Germany, Australia, and Japan. The Wernher von Braun is located in Region Two, which includes Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, and Florida.
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