Tuesday, 17 February 2004

Archaic computer hour

Dammit! BlogJet's Post button looks too much like the Link button

Rory had an 81...

I'm celebrating (I believe) my 20th year of programming this year: we got our first Spectrum in 1984, I think. Yes, he of the rubber keys and the blocky colour graphics.

Over the years we had two Spectrums (Spectra?), a couple of Interface 1 and some Microdrives. Actually, when we bought the second Spectrum second-hand, it was a freebie with the Interface 1 we actually wanted - my dad had written a planning applications database where all the data was stored on the Microdrive. The ROM on the Interface 1 had a bad habit of melting - I think we had about five over the years.

I must confess to killing the last surviving Spectrum by taking it apart, then breaking the membrane cable connecting the keyboard to the motherboard (motherboard? Only board!)

I pestered my dad for an Archimedes for a while (we had these at school) but, sensibly it turned out in the end, he bought an ICL DRS M30 PC (discounted, since he worked for ICL). This had - compared to the Spectrum - a shockingly fast 16MHz 286 processor, a massive 2MB of RAM and an enormous 100MB hard disk (partitioned into three 32MB partitions and a 4MB partition, because it came with MSDOS 3.3). This was in 1991, and I had all the fun of dealing with Windows 3.0 (yes, it was as bad as they say). This was the system I cut my teeth on (and the rest of the family too, considering the number of times I broke it) in the PC world.

This system got upgraded to 4MB, DOS 6.22 and Windows 3.11 over time, and got packed off to university with my sister, and we upgraded to a 486SX-33 with 8MB RAM and 420MB HDD. This served us all for two years before I bought my own PC (P120, 32MB RAM, 1.2GB HDD, Win95) for university.

After another couple of years I upgraded again to a PII-300, 128MB RAM, 8GB HDD passing the P120 down to my parents. Last year, three years after the PII, I built my own P4 2.8GHz, 512MB RAM, 120GB HDD. That's a system with processor clock 467x, memory size 10,922x, and storage capacity 1.2 million times my old Spectrum.

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