Computers

Ever since I was a small child I have been fascinated by computers. Sure as a kid I liked games (still do for that matter.) I would pick about games in my head and try to figure out what the computer is doing.

When I was about 12 or so my dad got the family a commodore 64. It really was amazing to me and I did small stuff in basic. I wish there was a way to make certain things permanent like POKE 53280,0 and POKE 53281,0. The default text color had very bad contrast with the blue screen. One of the many things that I learned from the loadstar disks that were included with the computer when we got it. They actually had a ton of informative stuff in them and the computer it self had a nice manual.

a 1mghz processor seemed so fast back then and a whole 64 kilobytes of ram.

I learned and played around with poke and peeks and played with BASIC. I wanted a real programming language in the worst way but I didn’t think we could afford one. I wanted Pascal or C. I saved my lawn mowing money to a point but had no clue where to find one at that time. I also wanted to buy books on programming but didn’t know where to get them and didn’t have the means to go to the library then. Loadstar different times mentioned machine language and assembly too and that was really intriguing to me. It still is to this day because you could directly control the processor. Modern CPUs are much more abstracted and just harder to understand in general. I still from time to time try to make sense of assembly language.

I’d read about modems and connecting to other computers over the phone lines. That sounded completely awesome to me but we didn’t even have a working phone line in the house. I really really wanted to get on a BBS thinking it would not only be fun to message people from all over but I had read that there were all sorts of learning things you could download and some fun games.

I did use it for doing homework and stuff and it served that purpose well enough. Eventually it stopped working. One day the power supply got hot and then it just didn’t work anymore. By that time my mom was able to drive me to the library. I think I borrowed every book I could find in the computer section at least a couple of times.

After I graduated high school I started at the local community college and bought a PC from the guy that owned the pawnshop. 486 that went up to 66 MHz if I’m remembering correctly. I think it had 8 megabytes of ram and an 800 megabyte hard drive (yes you read that correctly it’s megabytes.) It had windows 3.1. Who remembers constant general protection faults?

I used the family’s phone line Yea we finally had one! I used different dial up providers to hop on the internet always looking for shareware that was programming languages or text files about computers, programming or weather. I lurked on a few newsgroups related to those topics. It was amazing to be able to access information like that! Eventually I wound up with my own phone line when internet became unlimited instead of hourly. I remember guessing the speed by the modem’s sounds.

With having such a small hard drive I was running low on space so I may have possibly misused deltree. Having bought the computer used I did not not have all of the windows disks. Fortunately it was around the time windows 95 came out so I just upgraded to that. It took some getting used to but that was better. Windows XP was the best. It’s been downhill since then for windows, luckily I don’t have to use it that often.

During the late 90s I had learned of Linux and I remember ordering disks to try to use it but I was always afraid to try it. I didn’t have a backup hard drive or anything like that but the whole idea of Linux was intriguing to me. Downloading even diskettes worth of stuff wasn’t feasible on dial up. I didn’t have enough hard drive space to partition it and certainly couldn’t afford a larger one nor did I have the visual to feel comfortable installing it.

A Few year later we were able to get cable internet here. We had it before it was even officially available so they didn’t and couldn’t charge us or guarantee it will work for the first month or two. We’d build a new computer then. That was fun to do! AMD Athlon 2600! Over a gigahertz bitches! I played with some computer gaming but never got too into it until the computer started crashing randomly.

I also had a second hard drive installed and played with Ubuntu Linux for a bit but there was something about it that didn’t click with me. I’d always wanted to to give Linux a try and switch to it so there was no harm in trying it. Not long after that I tried Freebsd.. Well DesktopBSD at the time and there was no looking back. The way they separated the ports from the operating itself just clicked with me and made sense. Just the consistency worked for me and they’re man pages just made more sense. Other people may and will have different preferences but that’s the beauty of having multiple options! I quickly just ignored the DesktopBSD aspect and used straight Freebsd and installed the desktop options of my choice. That was Freebsd 6.

Currently I use CURRENT on my home computer and a stable version on my servers. I’ve never had anything break to the point that I HAD to reinstall accept the time I did rm -rf one a running system that was on a failing hard drive just for fun. I’d already moved my stuff to a new drive that was ready to go.

Ideally I can someday learn enough that I can contribute to the project. Freebsd may not support the latest and greatest hardware but what it does support at least in my experience has been rock stable and I choose what I know it will support. Here are some useful Freebsd command line tips.

I love old computers and would love to pick up some and play with them but the space doesn’t really exist to do that. Should we ever win the lottery I’m getting a space just for that! I would love to play with old 80s computers when the computer was a new thing to have in the house. I want to check out the other ones that were out when the commodore 64 was out since we had a c64 I never got to try out the other ones.

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