PC Hobby stuff

Home CnC ] Connection Procedures ] Internet Training ] Library training ] VISE ] PC Market prices ]

I brought my first "Personal Computer", a Tandy TRS-80 in the USA in 1978. It was a model-1 with "Level-1" Basic in ROM and a whole 4Kb of RAM! Within 3 months I had installed 16Kb of RAM, Level- II basic (even did non-integer arithmetic), and built a 220V power supply. But by the time I finally gave it to my eldest daughter it had become the worlds largest laptop. I built an LNW expansion interface with 32K more RAM, an interface for 2 floppy disks, serial & parallel ports, etc. Eventually it had clock/calendar and voice synthesizer, CP/M in ROM and many other goodies. The whole thing outgrew it's case and ended up in a wooden one with two floppy drives and the keyboard all clipping together - sort of portable. Originally I was going to take over the world with my programming expertise, but after realising there were at least another 100,000 users out there with the same idea (most much better than I), I got into what I enjoyed most - which is the hardware. I still have the TRS-80, it taught me a lot.

Since then it's been a succession of PCs.......

First an XT which got extensively "improved", then a 386DX-40 which grew to include 420Mb hard drive, CD-ROM (first X1 then X4) and a succession of sound cards. Then via AMD K6-200 (overclocked to 233Mhz), Tyan Tomcat 3 motherboard, with 48Mb RAM, 6.4Gb fixed and1.6Gb removable hard drives, a wonderful Ensoniq Soundscape Elite soundcard, a X32 CDROM (this one has been repackaged as Betty's machine and networked to my current system. I built this machine to be "trailing edge" but it has acquired a few "bleeding edge" peripherals over the last couple of years. It uses a Gigabyte GA-6VX7-4X mainboard running an INTEL PIII 667 Mhz CPU and 640 MB of RAM running 133 Mhz FSB. Two Fujitsu 20 Gb HDDs, SB Live! soundcard with 5 speakers, DVD & CD-R/RW drives + various PCI cards for Firewire, TV, etc. HP DeskJet 830C printer & Plustek OpticPro U12 scanner. A good all-round machine which is capable of handling digital video editing and other heavyweight jobs.

I guess I've become much more of a "user" these days, but still enjoy delving into "the guts" - and the Internet is a whole new set of experiences. I enjoy Iphone and other voice on the net software, and getting to grips with Email, News, FTP, WWW surfing, etc. Not to mention setting up home pages! The local PC users group is a wonderful source of friends and facilities - see Our PCUG home page, it produces a great (award winning) magazine, and runs it's own ISP for nearly 2,000 of our 3,500 members. If you are interested, here are some of the articles that I have written for the magazine.

  1. Dare to Upgrade. Replacing my motherboard and hard disk.
  2. Wierd happenings Strange things when you install updated W95 drivers.
  3. Buying Frenzy! Visiting the monster computer swap meet at Pomona (a suburb of LA).
  4. H/W & S/W capers. Flashing a new Bios, installing a new CPU and more!
  5. The Bleeding edge! Fixing up Windows-95 and Installing Windows-98.
  6. Three Tough Cases. Some problems fixing other people's systems.
  7. Magical Mystery Tour. A 'Weekus Horribilis' - find the mysterious fault.

Here's a few favourite computer oriented URLs: 

Tom's Hardware pages THE definitive Motherboard and CPU page

Pricewatch street price search engine All the American hardware prices

TUCOWS One of the better software archives (Mainly Internet software - Australian mirror)

Curt on the net An example of a really good "private" home page

Easily amused site for a final touch of class

Home CnC Connection Procedures Internet Training Library training VISE PC Market prices