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 Battle.net.

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.

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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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