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Pierre >> My computers
my computers !
(NB : I moved my film and digital cameras to
I wrote this page on demand
from some of you, but also by nostalgia.
So, here is my little computer history...
the beginning there was the BYTE, and we didn't know it would eventually change
the world and obsess some of us, poor monkeys. Then, GOD (see
new pictures set) came and enlightened us : He arranged the BYTES, combined
them, multiplied them so that we would never be hungry again. He
flooded us with His good KILOBYTES, MEGABYTES, and GIGABYTES.
some ignominious protesting ignorant, at the very moment GOD was about to show
us the salutary way of the TERABYTE, sued Him in courts ! GOD, faced with
so much ungratefulness, and anyway sure of being numero UNO, then retired in His
Kingdom (see new pictures set)
for me, poor soul...
1. In High School
II, used in High School, +/- 1982 'till 1984|
TECHS : 1Mhz speed, 4kb memory,
16 colors, 5.25" disk drive.
PERIPHERALS : none.
I REMEMBER :
the recess hours spent in the little computer room at Don Bosco college, writing
a little program in BASIC, which would train students in French...
Buddy 1 :
ZX 81, used at a friend's house, +/- 1983 'till 1984|
TECHS : 3Mhz speed,
PERIPHERALS : none.
I REMEMBER : long evenings admiring
my friend who was inventing little programs on this revolutionary machine, and
who sometimes let me use it.
Buddy 2 :
SPECTRUM, used at a friend's house, +/- 1984 'till 1985|
TECHS : 3Mhz speed,
PERIPHERALS : none.
I REMEMBER : see above ! I
was so jealous !
My first own computer : MAX 1
C128, bought new at a factory sale 20 000 FB, +/- 1985 and sold +/- 1986|
: 1Mhz speed, 64kb or 128 kb memory (depending on the used mode), 16 colors, disk
drive 5.25, B/W television.
PERIPHERALS : a B/W, 9-pins Seikosha printer,
bought 13 000 FB with a credit !
I REMEMBER : (1) Buying it : I actually
had already given a deposit on my dreams' motorbike, a Yamaha XJ 650 Turbo, when
I changed my mind, bought a small car and this computer. I have some regrets
about the motorbike, but not about having started computing !
NB : if you came
here through a search engine for the motorbike, I'll soon put up a page about
the ones I own(ed), about 20 of them !
(2) Its QWERTY (English) keyboard : to type an accentuated
letter in French, I had to do incredible key combinations which I would never
remember... Actually, it caused my Mom to wait a long time to buy her first
computer : she had strong memories of me shouting all the time while typing !
(3) It was so slow... in my typing program (a pretty powerful one, at the time
!), when I would hit "Page Down", it took the Commodore 11 minutes to
show the bottom of my page ! (4) My first "true" written productions,
mostly documents for the animation of my cub scouts troop.
That's it, I'm in computers now : MAX 2
1024 ST, bought used 20 000 FB +/- 1986 and sold +/- 1988|
TECHS : 8Mhz speed,
1024kb memory, 16 colors and B/W high resolution, disk drive 5.25, B/W monitor
and color TV.
PERIPHERALS : a B/W 24 pins NEC printer, bought new 25 000
I REMEMBER : (1) My turn to have the nicest machine on the block !
(2) Numerous documents produced in PAO, many being for
money : it'll pay the next one. But I had to go to the Computer Square (on
the other side of the city) to print them in good quality : the laser printer
cost 80 000 FB at this time !
invest : MAX 3
MEGA ST 2, bought new 50 000 FB +/- 1988 and sold in July 1993 (departure
for the USA).|
TECHS : 8Mhz speed, 2048kb memory, 16 colors and B/W high resolution,
disk drive 5.25 and 3.50, B/W monitor and color TV.
PERIPHERALS : the same
NEC printer, the in 1993 a HP Laserjet 4M bought 30 000 FB at the factory.
REMEMBER : (1) My friends would kill me. (2) Numerous documents produced
in PAO, many being for money : it'll reimburse for the black hole in my account
(3) Two very important productions
: a new progression book for my cub scouts troop, and my (how do you call that
in English ?) college graduation work (this one was so good -appearance and content-
that the school didn't believe I did it myself, so I didn't get the mention -it's
not a lie : confirmed by the principal !). (4) The thousands of hours it
worked flawlessly, an incredible machine a the time. (5) The Atari club
and the little war with the Commodore AMIGA adepts. (6) I didn't have a
hard disk drive (the 20Mb one cost 20 000 FB !), so I had all my programs on floppies
and could use only one at a time... Booting with the PAO program took 7
minutes ! An we complaint about Windows...
Zaire, I left it in Brussels.
II GS, was given to me by the school where I was working in Zaire, September
1990 'till July 1991.|
TECHS : 3Mhz speed, 256kb memory, 4 colors.
I REMEMBER : arriving at the school, I ask if there is a computer.
There's one, "brand new", but it doesn't work. I take it home
and open it : it was just a misplaced jumper, so it starts. But what shall
I do with it ? There is no software ! I'll learn later that very few
programs had been developed for this machine. I'm sure that, if it escaped looting,
it still lays in the school's cartons today... As for me, I borrowed a good
ol' electric typewriter !
I switch for compatibility : MAX 4
Picture found at the Micro-musée
PS1 486 SX 25, bought used 800 US$ in September 1993 and sold in 1994.|
: 25Mhz speed, 4096kb memory, 256 colors, hard drive 170 Mb, disk drive, monitor
PERIPHERALS : a color 24 pins STAR printer, bought with the PC.
REMEMBER : (1) Buying it : close to the seller's house, I almost gave up : I didn't
have a lot of money and couldn't find the house. But I traveled 80 miles
to come, and I missed a computer. I find the house, who asks me to speak
softly, he sells his father's computer, who doesn't want it anymore... The
old junk I expect to see is a 3-month old IBM ! I take it...
My first hard disk formatting : memorable... (3) The joy of producing for
my classes ! (4) It's with this one that I learned the most about computers.
(5) First Internet experience, with Prodigy : I quickly gave up, I found it uninteresting
and way too expensive ! Look at me now...
I switch for a notebook : MAX 5
T4400C, 486 SX 25, bought used 1350 US$ in 1994 and sold in November 1996.|
: 25Mhz speed, 12 288kb (12Mb) memory, 16 700 000 colors, 170 Mb hard drive, disk
drive, monitor 10.4".
PERIPHERALS : Deskstation IV with 2X CD-ROM drive,
14" monitor+keyboard+mouse, a Canon BJC 4000 inkjet color printer, a MUSTEK
color handheld scanner, IOMEGA ZIP disk drive (I definitely do NOT recommend it
: mine ate half of the data it was supposed to keep !).
I REMEMBER : (1)
Buying it : close to the place I bought the previous one (must be the place ?),
I get to the seller's nice villa in the New Orleans' suburbs. The seller
asks if I would also be interested in his two cars and his house ! Too much
time at the casino ? At such a price, I take the baby (hey ! The Toshiba
one !), which is pretty recent, the whole thing worth more than 6 000 US$.
(2) First plane trip with the baby : it's heavy, and on the return trip
the first "scanner" finds suspicious traces on it (bomb powder ?)
! I was already picturing myself in jail, when the second inspection showed
it was clean : it was their first scanner which was not clean ! (3) So much
documents produced... (4) Odd things : you had to plus the keyboard and
mouse in front of the Deskstation at a very inconvenient place, and if you unplugged
it while the computer or station or anything was on, the motherboard would burn
out ! Also, it would only accept real IBM PS-2 keyboards, which cost (at
the time) almost 200 dollars !
My best computer ever : MAX 6
couldn't find a picture for me, so I post this one, but mine was a desktop model...
G6-200, Pentium Pro 200Mhz, bought new 2800 US$ in November 1996 and sold
in November 1999.|
TECHS : 200Mhz speed, 32 768kb (32 Mb) then 98 304 (96 Mb)
memory, 16 700 000 colors, 2 500 Mb hard drive (then a second 8 500 Mb one), disk
drive, 8X CD-ROM drive, monitor 15"...
PERIPHERALS : a color inkjet
Epson Stylus 600 printer, flatbed color MUSTEK Paragon 600 scanner, video acquisition
device Iomega BUZ (never succeeded in getting anything good out of it), a Syquest
SPARQ 1 Gb disk drive (excellent, but can't find anymore disks !), Epson
PC600 digital camera.
I REMEMBER : (1) Buying it : what a nice babe
! Even right out of the UPS truck, in the middle of the school's parking
lot ! (2) The GATEWAY service : friendly and efficient (3) Three years
of computing at the top level, loads of productions.
the best ? Because, despite some trips (Gateway - Buras - New Orleans -
Brussels - Walloon - Brussels - Saigon - Can Though - Hanoi ; by plane and by
the roads, the worst one being Can Tho - Hanoi ; more than 14 000 miles in total),
several moving, the working conditions (from -5°C to +45°C -about 25°F to 110°F-
and up to 100% humidity), numerous transformations (upgrades, trials, hundreds
of programs in and out, formatting,...) and even if now its packaging materials
look like chewed paper, MAX 6 amazed me from day 1 to the last...
Back to the notebook :
ThinkPad 390E, Pentium II 333Mhz, bought by the APEFE (my employer) in October
TECHS : 333Mhz speed, 196 608kb (192Mb) memory, 16 700 000 colors, 6 250
Mb hard drive, disk drive, DVD-Rom drive, XGA 14,1" screen, video out.
: a HP LaserJet 6L printer, still my good ol' MUSTEK flatbed scanner (excellent
!), Plextor CD-RW (with an Adaptec Cardbus -> Ultra SCSI II card), and still
my Epson digital camera.
I REMEMBER :
My good old Gateway, which I should never have sold... This one is less
performing, crashes all the time (despite several reconfigurations an
in the same environment as the previous one)... I think its biggest weakness
is its video adapter (a ridiculous 2.5 Mb Neomagic). I spent again the last
2 days reformatting then reinstalling everything, in order to be able to finish
this update of my website : it wouldn't hear anything about anything ! So
Recent additions : (1) I sold my trustful
Mustek scanner and my employer bought me a new EPSON Perfection 1200 USB scanner,
to which I added a transparency adapter. It works very well and
its speed is astonishing ! The software is good, control is complete, but
I'm a bit disappointed about the descreening functions (less effective than
on others I think).
To be mentioned : the transparency
adapter I bought (July 2000) was dead in its box, and the Belgian EPSON Tech Service
was unable to repair it for me or replace it before I went back ton Vietnam (despite
several weeks of delay) ; so I had to buy another complete kit (scanner + adapter)
in order to have my tools here. Until now, EPSON did not answer my numerous
demands (which they receive, since I get confirmation !) for a commercial
gesture (for example keep the old adapter in their labs and reimburse me,
since anyway I can't get it back and I had to buy another one !). Very
disappointing from them, but I believe this story is not over yet... Update
(August 2001) : their "no-answer" politics worked : I gave up, after
dozens of Emails with copies to all their adresses. Attention : if
you install Windows ME, the Perfection 1200 will stop working with the
original software. You must go to the American (not the European !) EPSON
site and download a new driver, following the instructions carefully. Tip
to clean the down side of the glass (it's very humid here in Vietnam and nice
little mushrooms settled in) : remove the two screws on the back, then slightly
(about 1/2 inch) pull up the top. The carriage blocks the opening : you
must gently push it forward with your finger to be able to open the hood.
Clean up, gently close the hood : the carriage will return when you switch the
scanner back on (you did switch it off before, right ;) ?)
my very dear employer offered me a Logitech cordless mouse : no more without
one (even though it devours batteries faster than a digital camera) !
As well as an HP Deskjet 970 CXI printer : it's so beautiful...
news from my IBM ThinkPad 390E : it crashes less often, that is, an average of
5 times a week... Next time, I'll insist to get a Dell or a Gateway...
Of course, WinDaube 98 does not seem to improve the matter...
25, 2000 : I got myself a nice 17" SAMTRON 75E monitor : I couldn't
stand the LCD screen of the laptop to work like I do. Aaaaaargh !
Is THIS my website ? Colors are horrible ! I chose them on the laptop
screen, that explains everything. Quick, let's update the site !
upgrade (12/2001) : my employer sent me Dreamweaver 4 (it takes time to get
used to but this software is really wonderful !), a Compaq Ipaq 3660 PDA, a new
20 Gb hard disk and Windows ME. This last one implies many updates to the other
software (scanner, digital camera, Bios, cederom driver...) and the abandon of
those who cannot be updated (essentially games, not a big loss, unfortunately
also the Realmedia software) but I had the good surprise to find a lot of help
on Microsoft and IBM websites. For the Easy CD Creator software, since the editor
refused to give an update discount, I downloaded Nero burning rom and I'm quite
happy : it's a lot easier to use and half the price !
then ? Compared to Win 98a, Windows ME is a bit faster, more stable and gives
me "only" one or two crashes per week. Internet connexion is faster,
but sometimes crashes the PC. All in all, it's a good update.
Let's roll again : MAX 7
Netvista, Pentium IV 1600Mhz, bought new 1160 USD in July 2002. |
speed of 1600Mhz, 524 288kb (512 Mb) RAM, 4 000 000 000
colors, hard drive Maxtor 38 000 Mb (40 Gb) at 7200 rpm, floppy drive,
CD and DVD-ROM drive Asus 16/48X, Plextor 40/12/40X (re)writer...
PERIPHERALS : see above, with the addition of a
Logitech Itouch keyboard + mouse kit (great), Voica
speakers and subwoofer, and a Santak 1000VA UPS
Well, I got really tired of the Thinkpad,
used and obsolete, so for my personal usage I got myself what's almost the best
here in Vietnam, with a few improvements compared to the original model : more
memory, faster HDD, better graphics card (a TNT Nvidia GeForce 2 - 64 Mo), etc.
good surprise : the burner (Plexwriter 40-12-40A) : HUH ?! Three minutes !? Already
done ? It's faster to burn 500Mb on a CD than to copy them on the hard drive !
good surprise : Windows XP (pro version). At last, it seems that we've here a
Windows we'll not laugh and shout about, good, nice and strong. Crashes ? Happens,
sometimes it restarts the computer suddenly with no warning, in the middle of
an Internet session. Couldn't find the cause yet. But I have much less connexion
problems, and when a program crashes, Windows says so, closes it and doesn't crash
itself. It seems that Microsoft is on the way to make good reliable OSs.
much intsallation problems, a couple of old programs who cannot run on that one,
and again the EPSON scanner being quite delicate to install (same advice again
: go get the driver on the American website, others are not up to date). But do
not install DirectX 8.1 which could cause problems and cannot be uninstalled without
reformating the hard drive.
Third good surprise : the computer as
a whole. A little comparison ? Salt and pepper filter
on a 20Mb picture in PSP : on the Thinkpad, 41 minutes
; on my new baby, 52 seconds... Yep, it was the same picture
A little later : I had to change the motherboard
: little by little, it became impossible to use the keyboard
other than to make music ("bip-bip-bip").
Then, the fan of the AGP graphics card
began to make more and more noise, especially a loud whistle
blow when powering on. I got a replacement fan at the
local computer shop for 3 dollars and was all set.
Besides that, a year later, this computer still gives
me entire satisfaction :-)
13. A new dream machine : MAX 8
NB : this notebook
will be for sale in september or october 2004
|DELL Inspiron 5150, Pentium IV
3Ghz, bought new 1950 euros in July 2003.
TECHS : 3,06Ghz (3060Mhz), 524 288kb (512 Mb)
memory, 15" UXGA screen, Hitachi 60 Go HDD
at 4200 rpm, no diskdrive, CDR/RW and DVD+R/RW
Philips reader/writer, USB 2.0 and Firewire, network
card and modem...
PERIPHERALS : see above, with the addition of a
mini-mouse for travel use, a USB memory key, a nice
bag and a port replicator, since this laptop doesn't
come with some ports I still need (parallel, ps2...)
Nope, my Netvista is not yet obsolete
and works great, but knowing that I'll leave Vietnam in
a few months and having some great savings opportunities
with summer promotions in Belgium, I treated myself with
this last generation beautiful baby :-)
Three gigahertz and a DVD burner in a
notebook computer ! Geez !
The DVD burner is of course slower than
on the desktop, but anyways : being able to burn a DVD
(4.7Gb) in less than 30 minutes, wow ! On the graphics
side too, this notebook is great : an ATI Radeon 9000
card with 64Mb memory and a great screen, set for 1600x1200
but that works great in lower resolutions. A really wonderful
screen, as well as the sound system, just have to watch
a DVD in full screen to be convinced.
One disapointment for the performances
: the hard drive is a 4200rpm, it slows down the whole
system and is probably the weak link of this little jewel,
I'll have to think about getting a speedier one later
on. Some other weaknesses : the cardbus bay doesn't have
a door, Dell gives a little piece of plastic that protects
the bay but not quite well ; and the phone line jack on
the right side, in the way of the mouse area. But the
biggest disapointment came with the power supply : an
elephant of almost one kilogram with its cables, probably
the biggest ones available, in all 20% of the total weight
to carry :-((
The keyboard is exceptionally good, but
I got the French version, not the Belgian one (just have
to get used to it). The battery holds at least three hours.
And unlike I feared, the (subsequent !) heat is well evacuated
and the computer stays cool :-)
Of course, I kept Windows XP Pro, in French
this time, since it suits well my usage. I also took the
opportunity to purchase Paint Shop Pro 8 (wonderful),
as well as Getright and ACD See who render great services.
But after this one, I did not want
to buy a Dell computer again !
It later turned out to cost me much more than expected,
the details here (on my forum, in French). You'll
also read why I later changed my mind :-)
Peripherals : having left in Vietnam the
printers and the scanner my employer gave me, I
offered myself this nice toy when I arrived in Belgium
: a Canon MP-730 multifunction printer, for 346
euros. This big baby prints, scans, copies and faxes
in colors, with an automatic feeder and even a memory
card reader... Quality is surprisingly good for
an inkjet printer, and cheap thanks to its separate
inktanks for the four colors.
I also got a new mouse, an optical, cordless, rechargeable
and compact one : thanks, Targus !
A little comparison of this last one
with my first computer ("Max 1"), 15 years
Its processor is 3000 times faster.
It has 8000 times more memory.
has 600 000 times more colors.
It has a hard drive,
various multimedia drives, a burner, a scanner, a color printer...
love progress :o)
you want to learn more, here are links to 2 obsolete computers online museums :
Museum of Dead and obsolete computers
As for my cameras, film and
I placed them on another page
Page créée le 12 février 2000 - Mise
à jour le 11 avril 2004
Pierre Gieling - tous droits réservés