I have always been the one in the family to call when something needed fixing. I was blessed or (cursed) with the ability to take stuff apart and put it back together and not have a lot of parts left over, the thing usually worked afterwards too. If you’re born a tinker, it just comes natural to get stuff back in running condition, obsessed may be the correct term.
When the first computers came out I was very fascinated with how they worked and knew absolutely nothing about them. I took a home study computer repair course and joined The Computer Book Club. The following picture shows my little workshop, I had it set up in our front porch. The one wall was full of computer repair manuals from the first computers on. I had even purchased several books about writing computer code, that maxed out my mind’s memory storage capacity very quickly. My little workshop looked a bit cluttered, because it was. I knew where everything was at though. The best thing I got out of my computer repairing years was the exercise required to lift them up on the desk to work on them and then hauling them out to warehouse number one, our old chicken coup.
I picked up my first computer at a surplus sale at one of our colleges. It was one of the first IBM’s with the 8 bit processor no hard drive, two 5.25 inch floppy drives, the RAM was measured in kilobytes instead of megabytes. I continued to collect many older computers and got them in running condition, then stored them out at our little acreage. Why? I thought they would ever have any kind of value is a mystery to me??? Kind of like investing in dead mules! The computers didn’t stink up the place, must by why I choose them. There really will never be any demand for old PC’s except for precious scrap metal. I spent several years at this and found it to be quite rewarding and challenging. I finally started to slow down as the new technology was traveling at a much faster pace than my mind could process. The last computers I work on were the early Pentiums.
We had to sell all of our stuff and move into an apartment two years ago. That sale was probably the saddest day of my life, most of these old working computers weren’t ever bid on. They went into a huge recycling dumpster. There is a link below to the Old Computer Museum. It lists part of my old collection. I sure was proud of it even if it had no value. I guess everything that we do isn’t always done for money. What kind of a nerd gets fulfilment out of tinkering with old computers raises many questions? I expect someone in a white coat will be asking me to put square pegs in round holes soon.
The compter is the only invention of man that has continued to come down in price as it increased in the capabilities of what it can do. Today a wrist watch can process more information and handle more applications than a desktop computer did five years ago. Some of my old tower computers cost over $60,000 in the 1980’s when they were purchased new by our county government. They had 486 CPU’s and 8 MB of Ram, 220 Megabyte hard drive.There is no comparison, awesome in every sense of the word, that really goes beyond what we call awesome today. This link below will take you to a place where you can read about artificial intelligence.