Steve’s Computing History

For reference, my first computers were… (inherited from my father)

  • 1982-1988: Tandy Color Computer II (64KB)
  • 1989-1995: Tandy 1000SX (640KB) – I ran a BBS on this 8MHz system until about 1995; my peak was about 30 incoming calls a day. Best memory was Fireman Ken who hosted a D&D campaign in the message forum. I tried running the BBS in QEMM, WFW3.11, and finally OS/2 (multi-tasking systems) in 1994, since I couldn’t afford a 2nd computer and wanted to use my computer for software development while people were connected to the BBS.
  • 1993 I had a terrible hard drive crash that destroyed years of files I had collected and source code I had written. This was a personal setback, a sort of “digital fire” on some projects I had been working on, and a lesson on not taking hardware for granted and taking backups more seriously.
  • By 1994, I saw the “writing was on the wall” that the Internet was about to make BBS’s obsolete. One day in 1994, I “borrowed” $100 from my older sister to “surf the internet” – using AltaVista and Mosaic to explore various websites (the connection was an expensive per minute cost). I had recently been exploring ways to make the BBS more “graphical”, but it required users to have a proprietary client (sort of like AOL). HTML, however, solved all this in a more approachable cross-platform manner. That few hours in my first Web experience opened my eyes to the future to come. I nearly began working at a local ISP (Digital Florida Turnpike), but an older friend connected me with a local shop needing a programmer for a lab management application in Turbo Pascal.

After these, I had more IBM PC clones than I can remember:

  • 286 (that I believe ran at 20MHz) [acquired later as a gift]
  • (I never actually had a 386)
  • Custom IBM PC Clone: 486DX/50 (and several 486’s, DX2, DX4)
  • ~1991: Acquired first Sound Blaster (gift from my father), played Wing Commander; when asked how much it cost, I told my mother “we fixed the sound” (of that computer)! She knew I was teasing.
  • ~1993: Custom IBM PC Clone: Pentium P90 Tower (first Gateway machine, an artist sold it since he wanted to “Go Mac”)
  • 2005: First multi-core CPU: Pentium D (also first CPU that I “lapped” and clocked to 4GHz)
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