Computers

Computers has always been the essence of my life. It all started with getting some Atari-clone game console as a kid (it’s always easier to ask for a new toy when you’re home sick), then I wanted to do more.

Currently I’m using 2 units:

The big one

Pocket PC

Company laptop – currently it’s Lenovo X201

I will list my previous stuff in chronological order.

Amiga 600

It was my first full-blown computer. It had an operating system (comes on 6 880 KB floppies), full-sized keyboard and a lot of possibilities to brake something.
Picutre of a brand-new Amiga 600 revelaing the floppy drive and 2 joystick ports.

Later on I discoverd it was not a good choice for the future, as it lacked many expansion capabilities. However, this is where I learned that you can do a lot of stuff only if you wish to (which is a good thing to know, even in real world), wrote my first game in Microsoft Basic (oh yes, they did release something for Amiga, but it sometimes crashed) and system-wide scripts in ARexx. It all gave me a lot of fun and feeling of power, so I liked it.

During time I expanded it with 1 more meg of chip RAM and 420 MB IDE hard drive, which gave some real computing experience – I didn’t have to boot from a floppy every day and switch them in between. Heck, with the 2 MBs of RAM I could even launch games from the operating system, without rebooting, and still hear all the sound in Settlers.

Of course there were glitches – Amiga 600 had a space inside designed for a hard drive, but a 2,5 inch. To fit regular 3,5 inch one, I had to take out the drive chassis and use a piece of plastic bottle instead, just to isolate drive’s electronics from the motherboard.

Amiga 1200

Unfortunately, there wasn’t much more I could do with the 600, so I switched to the best Amiga made – A1200.
Amiga 1200

For a start I got a faster CPU, a decent graphics controller – AGA allowing to display whopping 256 colors, more space inside, newer OS and some small features. The biggest advantage was the expansion possibilities – I started with 8 megs of Fast RAM and a real-time clock (it didn’t have any on the motherboard, which was frustrating), to end up on upgraded 68040 CPU, CD recorder, 2 hard drives (all of which were piling up next to the computer) and a lot of external equipment, including a fancy VHS backup system. I liked those times very much – if you wanted to do something, you could always add some small piece of hardware to do it, even create it yourself. Sometimes you had to tinker with the drivers, sometimes you had to ask your electronics friend to solder one of the chips, and sometimes you just got angry because of lack of power supplied by the original PSU. But in the end, it was very pleasant.

I was a big fan of Amiga computers, I even started a Silesian Amiga User Group, which grew bigger and bigger, up to 100 people in its peak times.

Unfortunately, my Amiga fried one day and I had no money to rebuild it.

PC 286

That was my first “clone”, as they were called that days. It had one big advantage – I got it for free. All it costed me was a week of asking everyone I knew if they had some unused parts, and I built it. I even got a free case (a bit bent, spray-painted all over, but it was doing a great job as a computer chair).

The switch from shiny AmigaOS to old DOS 6.2 and Norton Commander was a shock. I could do 10 times less, but it was 10 times more frustrating. The motherboard had all memory slots broken, so I couldn’t even run Windows 3.11.

 A couple of months later I could finally afford a decent PC, so I bought a big tower and packed it up with newest stuff. I still have the same case, so I will describe it better in the relevant section.

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