Well, we all have them I suppose. Those sentimental moments that creeps up on you
from time to time and pounce on you when you least suspect it, and I had one today.
I was, as usual, sitting at my computer doing nothing important when I started thinking
if my very first “real” PC. The first I bought for my own money was a shabby ole 386
with a whopping 200 Mb harddrive, 1 Mb graphics card from cirrus logic (E-ISA of course!)
and it even had a soundcard AND a CD ROM. It was operating at a whopping 33 Mhz and
frankly, I enjoyed that machine to the fullest. I could play Doom on it if i just lowered
the windows size just a tiny bit. I didn’t have windows on it because anything that I wanted
to do, I could do from MS-DOS with about as little hassle as from windows, and I didnt
need windows 3.1 to clutter up my harddrive.
You may think that 33 mhz is little, but keep in mind that the processor clock frequency has
increased very fast with the coming of the first pentium CPUs. For a while, there was a heaven
of hardware spewing out on the market and whenever you turned around, there was a new
processor out that had a slightly higher frequency and also, new types of RAM came.
The days when new hardware came, you where always enthusiastic, and to be frank, I still
get like a kid at christmas when I know I have new hardware to pick up. I can hardly wait
til I get to shred the wrapping and plug it in and see what the baby can do.
I fondly remember my first major upgrade. I bought a Pentium 166 (no, no MMX on that one) and it had
a mindboggling 64 megs of ram, and pieced with that, was a catchy OS with the catchphrase
“Where do you want to go today” Well. I soon learned that the catchphrase SHOULD have been
“You are not going anywhere today” seeing as bluescreens became a part of everyones day, but
despite that, suddenly I had a computer that could handle the new and Ultra Cool “Duke Nukem 3d” from 3D Realms.
The fun we had with that game at lan parties, hooking up our BNC network and terminating it and just
spewing ballistic projectiles at eachother to our hearts content and that was fine, until one day, I think
it was Marcus Agehall, or pherhaps Anders Lindahl who brought us a demo of what would soon be my
new and major addiction. Quake by ID software, the same company that had made sure I lost as much
sleep as possible while playing Doom. Oh my dog! That game was off the map!
Quake became a part of my everyday life, and I also measured my computer to better performance
using that game. I even bought my first Voodoo card and suddenly, even getting killed was wonderful!
And on top of that, the graphics was stunning and mindboggling.
Alas, nowadays people have become spoilt rotten for graphics. I am not sure if that is a good or bad thing,
but I still return to play quake 1 and 2 on occasion and I stil enjoy it.
My current addiction is one of those games with the great graphics, If you havent played the game
“Bioshock” yet, I urge you to do that. Here is a little teaser screenshot:
Nowadays, there are a lot more different desktop wallpapers then was
around in when I started using computers. Mainly I am guessing because
when I started, there was no desktop, unless you count the dosbased Norton
Commander. Norton Commander was groundbreaking in its day because
you could see two folders at once, instead of using the old copy command.
For those of you who wasnt around in those days, heres how you did it.
first, pretty much the only thing you saw was this: Not very inspiring was it?
Well, lets say you wanted to copy something
from your folder named “images”, what you had
to do is either know the direct path to the file
you wanted to copy and the path to where you
want it to go and then type this:
copy c:imagesimagename.end c:destinationsubfolder
If you didnt know the file name, you could do this:
cd images to change to images directory, then type
dir (i preferred dir -w to get some structure) to locate
your file, then type copy imagename.end c:destinationsubfolder. Kind of tedious if you ask me.
Then along came Norton Commander. It may not look like much compared to the new
windowed based operating systems, but back then, it was heaven on earth, it even had
support for null modems. (If you dont know what a null modem is, check here)
It may be text and ascii based, but hey, it was at least something resembling a desktop.
This was actually my filesystem of choice on my old 386 with a whopping
16 Mb ram and running at a totally staggering 33Mhz … hard to think
that you where actually satisfied with that seeing as the calculator I have
next to me right now actually has more processing power… oh well.
With the entrance of Windows 3.1x The desktop started to resemble something
graphical at least. You could even start using images as desktop images,
albeit you had to use the heavy bmp or tif format, but you could at least
see your kids on the desktop.
I kinda didnt use windows much back then though. Id rather edit my autoexec.bat and
config.sys to allow my soundboard to be used in the few games I could play, Wolfenstein3D
My old 386 eventually died, but I have some fond memories of it at least,
and I got my pentium 166. As the name implies, it ran at 166Mhz and the
real news was the operating system. I can still remember seeing the
commercial on the TV, with the nice “start” messages
and of course, the catchphrase: Where do you want to go today.
I am of course talking about windows 95.
This is where it really started to kick off. Desktop especially when the + pack
came with 3d generated screensavers and ability to use themes. Whooo haw!
On top of that, Microsoft launched Internet Explorer 4, wich was supposed
to be the best since sliced bread, but what really made me install it was the
“Active Desktop” But lets face it, the thing you saw the most was this one:
Remember the good ole BSOD that persisted to
taunt you whenever you where in the middle
of a good game, or, had written 50 pages in
Word without saving? Oh, how you hated that
screen. This thing persisted for a loooong time
time, and well. It’s the windows way of “guru meditation”
Nowadays, most people use XP, Windows Vista, or even Windows 7 Beta, but
for me, the thrill of desktop wallpapers still persists. When will I create the one
that is perfect for me?