Nostalgia abounds

A long drought of updates, I know. There are many things going on in life!

Today I was inspired to change my desktop to Windows Classic in Vista. I tried to make it as Win98 as possible:

This image is evoking memories of the moments I first used a PC, a Gateway machine. The monitor’s model number (EV700) is ingrained into my mind to this day.

I remember the moment I opened the computer’s packaging vividly: the bus had dropped me off at my neighborhood and I was walking home. I turned the corner onto Erie Circle and discovered that my uncle’s Mitsubishi was parked in front of my house. At this point in my life (I was 14 I think) I had little experience with computers and nearly all information I gathered about them came from my uncle Marc. I immediately made the connection that his presence MUST concern technology and sprinted. I jumped my mom’s Taurus, leaped the stairs, grasped the side door knob, took a deep breath and slowly opened the way into the kitchen. Piled in the living room across from me were three giant boxes: one for a monitor, another for the Gateway tower, and a final container for a shiny new Epson printer. My uncle had been waiting – he was about to open everything for me.

I demanded he stop and pleaded with my parents to allow me to open the computer. They both were and remain to be computer-phobes, and delighted in the fact that someone else would be setting up their new toy.

The first thing I noticed after opening the tower was a giant poster with tons of color codes, which I would later learn represented standard peripheral connections: purple for the P/S mouse and green for the P/S keyboard. The serial port connected the printer, and we later needed to buy a serial port switch for a webcam. A serial switch! Oh man.

Once everything was set up, the first thing I did was set the theme to Windows 98 Outer Space. The metallic clinks and snaps sounded as I pressed “Start”, hovering over “Programs” and panged when I clicked Microsoft Works. The first day of the rest of my life began.

We had a 1st generation DVD player in that machine. I’m sure the reason why my mom and dad added it was on my uncle’s suggestion, because after my brother and I had our first moments with the machine he popped in the DVD of Lost in Space. I remember the Boston Acoustics sound system boomed when we started playback and that the picture was crisp and clear. The DVD menu lit up and animated and I distinctly remember being wowed by the hyperspace jump animation when selecting a menu item. My parents began wondering if they made the right decision to buy a computer at this point.

Whether it was the right one or not, my brother and I used the shit out of that Gateway. Our first experiences with Newgrounds were on that machine. The first time I played FreeSpace 2 was on that machine. The first time I ever used an Arnold Schwarzenegger sound board was on that machine. The first Anime downloaded from Kazaa, the first music burned into iTunes, the first edited video – everything was on that computer. It was even the subject of my first hardware upgrade: going from an integrated ATI Rage 128 to a 3DFx VooDoo 3 3000 PCI card. 16MB of VRAM made such a huge difference in Star Trek: Klingon Academy and Diablo II. Oh, don’t even get me started on Blizzard – that company owned my life and those of my friends for nearly five years on

Those first few years owning a computer were awesome. I can’t wait for the day I can geek out with my own kids and share in their first experiences. And those will probably involve chips in our brains.


One thought on “Nostalgia abounds

  1. Wow, this brings back memories. Good one Dan. You remember that I told you that you were doing all the work, I was just there as an advisor. I figured if you wanted to learn you were going to learn hands on.

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