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NathanAllan
February 23rd, 2006, 12:40 AM
Since I started this hobby it has branched out dramatically from just the computers themselves. I've fashioned my own shelves from wood and/or metal, programmed, reloaded, compiled a little, put up radio towers, organised events (*failed* CarrCon from lack of participation, *succeeded* in a gaming group of us playing X-Wing vs. Tie Fighter in Carthage), used ham radio, had a repair business for a time, and now I'm gonna be getting into plastic mold injection to make cable ends that are rare as hens' teeth. Who knew?

So what has this hobby led y'all into that you'd never thought you'd go?

cyph3r
March 3rd, 2006, 10:18 PM
i've gotten into electronics more, the hardware aspects. making distortion pedals for my electric guitar, playing with bx24's & picaxes (microcontrollers), blowing up bimba cylinders in attempts to make some halloween props. oh yeah and drinking way to much caffeine of course :D

Unknown_K
March 4th, 2006, 11:36 PM
Mostly the hobby has filled the house with computer, add-ons, books, magazines, software, etc.. and and I hang around other computer collectors on IRC.

Computer Collector
March 6th, 2006, 11:24 AM
Im in the final process of moving and being a collector has gotten me into having boxes and boxes of stuff to move. I started packing months ago, and I finally move into my new house in 2 days. I will have to move more boxes and then the fun part, unpacking and hooking up everything in a bedroom I set aside just for my old computers and records.

NathanAllan
March 6th, 2006, 01:11 PM
I looked really hard at the plastic mold injection and it isn't my thing. Way too expensive right now and I don't have time to make molds out of plaster of paris. So that's one less thing I'll be getting into.

EvanK
March 6th, 2006, 01:45 PM
Oh man... I guess my answer is in the extreme strata... this crazy hobby got me into publishing a weekly collectors' newsletter, two trips to California so far for the VCF events, co-founding and becoming president of a user group (which itself is forming a musuem and organizing VCF East), at least one paying job connection which I can't mention here, a book authoring contract, and the utter demolition of extra space in my apartment and extra time for my social life.

Mad-Mike
March 7th, 2006, 03:57 PM
Shoot what got me into IT, I'm the reverse from most of you guys apparently....

I never really was much of a "geek" per say until I got into a metal band at the age of 16, and the rhythm guitarist dad worked in the military. I wanted a computer that I could surf the internet on, he had an old 386 SX, and I had the 486 DX-33 motherboard that became my FIRST decent computer (before that I had a Tandy 1000 SX that I could get even LESS help fixing up, everybody told me to junk it because it was "obsolete", just to get my 486 on-line and find out I could have done the same with the TAndy 1000 SX if I had someone CAPABLE around).

Over 6 months, I found I enjoyed building that computer up to spec, I went from knowing NOTHING about computer hardware to being prepared in several professional opinions to pass the A+ Certification exam. It earned me plenty of nicknames from my tricked up 486 including the name of my website (creeping net), The Psychogenius, and "Master Of Archaic PC arts".

By my 3rd year I was already proficient at networking, and learned EVERYTHING from reading stuff on the internet and in books. I never went to a single college class with the intent of learning the subject material, because I already knew how to do it, which has made it hard to tell what I've all branched out into.

By 2004 I had my own network at the house called "The Creeping Network" which included everything from an 8088 XT clone to my PIII based computer that Iv'e shown on these boards WAY too many times, and even had my mom set up to share my Dial-Up Connection (and vice versa) to cut down on minute usage for our "Unlimited" access of 300 minutes a month. I had gone from being dumbfounded by tech support to stumping them, mFire never knew I could access the internet via their service and a 286 with a 56K modem running NetTamer in DOS.

I had my own PC repair service for awhile with over 15-20 different friends and friend of friends and acquaintences from word of mouth whom I fixed their computers for them. I did it my own way, often repairing some pretty badly messed up hardware to working specifications. I kind of miss it, it was the most fun I EVER had working on computers all those times in Alabama rebuilding and building computers for people on a budget, and I have some real masterpieces and stuff nobody else I know would DARE even TRY to pull off.

Now I'm learning Linux/UNIX, wider scale networking, did some time at a well known wireless company to learn about things like Air Cards, Treo's, Blackberries, and wireless standards. I've soaked up knowledge like a sponge, and I may now be staring down the barrel of a job at another company because of it, and may even start my business back up if I feel as though it's worth the time and effort to make the changes required in my life to do it. I'm also looking into setting up a programming rig for BASIC/C+/Visual BASIC/x86 Assembly on my 286 and 486 once I get moved into my new place.

jjzcp
March 7th, 2006, 08:37 PM
Scince i was about 5, or 6, i was interested in computers. I remember playing a game called brickles on our Macintosh LC, with later got trashed because of a freid HD. My first computers were all macintosh that i got for free from a school. They gave me a Color Classic, a LC 475, and Lc 575, which i tried and failed to run munix on. I then got a Tandy 1000 , and a bunch of software from a garage for five bucks. This computer started me out on programming. I quickly learned BASIC, and developed some pretty cool games on it. A couple years later, i got a AST 486, which introduced me to DOS (qiute lame compared to my Macs) and windows 1, and 3. I then Downloaded Borland C, for free of the internet. I never thought i would actually get around to learning the language, but what do ya know?I developed cool games with C, but couldn't get the random function to work, because the C compiler i was using was from 1988.
A couple other things i never thought i would get in to is overclocking my my macs ( although they were really easy to overclock) and building remote control cars. It's not a big suprise, i am in to electronics, because my dad is an electrition.
I am now thinking of starting my own software comany, and or game company in a couple of years, when i get some real experience programming. It will be dedicated to writing games, simulators, and math programms for vintage computers.

Terry Yager
March 8th, 2006, 10:43 AM
MadMike,

I too, was dragged, kicking and screaming into the twentieth century. I remember the first time I ever actually used a "computer". I was helping my son with a report he had to write for his third-grade class. I took the kids to the local library, with the intent of teaching them how to do research. When we got to the library, I looked all over the joint, and finally gave in and asked the librarian where I could find thier card-file. He led me off into the nether-regions of the library, and pointed me to a computer terminal. My reaction, of course, was "What's that???" I prevailed upon him to teach me how to use that system, and the report was finished (I still had the pleasure of teaching my kids the Dewey-Decimal System).
Shortly after that, I was volunteering in my daughter's first-grade class. The teacher had a son who was manager of a RadioShack store, and he had donated a TRS-80 network, consisting of a Model 4, a Network 4 Controller, and about 8x Model I "workstations", which were connected to the network via thier cassette ports. The teacher asked me to go and help the children on the computer. Lucky for me, a six-year-old taught me how to bring-up the net, and d/l programs from the 'server' to the individual stations.
After that, I was no longer computer-phobic, and when I saw a Model I system for sale in a local thrift store, I thought, 'kewl!, this is the same computer that Jessica uses at school'. I bought the thing for $35.00, and from that time on, over the next year-or-so, I totally immersed myself in computer information, in order to catch-up with my children enough to help them with thier school work. I checked-out every book on computers in several local library branches, and read most of them (I even understood a lot of what I read). (Of course, I'm still learning new stuff from my son every day). Eventually, I'm hoping to move into the twenty-first century, but for now, I'm still desparately trying to keep up with the trailling edge of technology.

--T

Mad-Mike
March 9th, 2006, 11:27 AM
MadMike,

I too, was dragged, kicking and screaming into the twentieth century. I remember the first time I ever actually used a "computer". I was helping my son with a report he had to write for his third-grade class. I took the kids to the local library, with the intent of teaching them how to do research. When we got to the library, I looked all over the joint, and finally gave in and asked the librarian where I could find thier card-file. He led me off into the nether-regions of the library, and pointed me to a computer terminal. My reaction, of course, was "What's that???" I prevailed upon him to teach me how to use that system, and the report was finished (I still had the pleasure of teaching my kids the Dewey-Decimal System).
Shortly after that, I was volunteering in my daughter's first-grade class. The teacher had a son who was manager of a RadioShack store, and he had donated a TRS-80 network, consisting of a Model 4, a Network 4 Controller, and about 8x Model I "workstations", which were connected to the network via thier cassette ports. The teacher asked me to go and help the children on the computer. Lucky for me, a six-year-old taught me how to bring-up the net, and d/l programs from the 'server' to the individual stations.
After that, I was no longer computer-phobic, and when I saw a Model I system for sale in a local thrift store, I thought, 'kewl!, this is the same computer that Jessica uses at school'. I bought the thing for $35.00, and from that time on, over the next year-or-so, I totally immersed myself in computer information, in order to catch-up with my children enough to help them with thier school work. I checked-out every book on computers in several local library branches, and read most of them (I even understood a lot of what I read). (Of course, I'm still learning new stuff from my son every day). Eventually, I'm hoping to move into the twenty-first century, but for now, I'm still desparately trying to keep up with the trailling edge of technology.

--T

Now people have been trying to drag me into the 21st century kicking and screaming. Why, b/c my computer's specs are too old, and for a small few, the case is not black and does not have 2 million LED lights. So what, it does the job, it's got an x86 CPU and PC archetecture, it's a PC! That's like asking Edward Van-Halen if he can play an acoustic guitar.

I don't like XP, I'm vehement about it to a point that I'm sure it's limiting my job opportunities up here with Microsoft being a major company and all, I'm still madly in love with my ol' case modded 386 with a PIII under the hood and just less than a half-a-gig of RAM, and I'm fine with 98 SE despite all it's flaws, as well as FC2. I come from the school of "if it ain't broke don't fix it". I can go into any store or go to any library and learn about new computer technology, and most of the time, it's getting simpler, next thing you know nobody will even need to know the RAM on their video cards, it'll just be pull it out and put a new one in like new fuses. I figure I have enough hard disk space to have a whole 10 gig partition full of old abandonware, another one that frequently stores WAV files of full songs I've composed, often enough to fill 3 CD's, as well as a backup of Win98 and a bunch of other junk. I hardly ever run out of space, so I'm fine with a 40GB drive.

As for the first computer I ever saw, it was Scooter's on Muppet Babies, I always thought Scooter was cool, especially with that PC of his and the myriad of weird things it had on it from that evil Dentist Drill that tried to attack gonzo to the Window Washer game that started to erase the whole screen, to creating everyone's perfect friends. It was then that I wanted one in my little 3 year old mind.

DoctorPepper
March 13th, 2006, 06:30 PM
I was a die-hard electronics technician. I went to a vo-tech high school, and in addition to my normal classes, I took electronics two hours a day for three years. This prepped me for the U.S. Navy, which I joined right out of high school. I spend my first year (after boot camp) in the Navy going to electronics schools. Eight hours a day, five days a week. I learned a little about computers during these schools, but it was 1977 - 1978, and the military is notoriously behind everyone else.

It wasn't until 1982, when I went on shore duty, that I got a proper introduction to computers. This was in the guise of a DEC PDP-11/7xx (can't remember the total designation, but it ran RSTS). I devoured everything I could about it, then got my first "personal" computer, a Commodore VIC-20 (thanks to Bill Shatner!). This lasted about six months, then I "upgraded" to a C-64, then started branching out into TRS-80 machines. I got my first near PC clone around 1985 (Tandy 1000), and the rest is history. I spent the last seven years of my Naval career still working on F-14 aircraft, but my "collateral" duty, in all my commands after that, was assisting the officer in the command that was in charge of the micro computers.

When I got out of the Navy in 1992, I decided to skip on my electronics training, and went directly into computer support. This eventually led to my current career, programming. If it weren't for the happy chance of me being properly introduced to computers back in 1982, I probably wouldn't be where I am today (at home, in Florida, working for an IBM subsidiary in South Carolina), nor would I be doing what I'm doing (writing software) for a living.

CP/M User
March 14th, 2006, 02:36 AM
NathanAllan wrote:

> So what has this hobby led y'all into that you'd
> never thought you'd go?

Great Thread (didn't know it was here til now! ;-)

Getting involved with Computers has it's good points & bad
points (I must say) for myself.

I get involved in solving computer problems which is good
until it becomes over excessive (which is bad), encourage
others to use computers get them to learn about computers -
good in a way, until you start going techical & explain to
people what they need to do in using the internet/e-mails
avoiding getting viruses & updating the tools for viruses -
it's so complicated (even with a nice big friendly GUI!).

Almost have the gift of the gab when using Software (usually
most software is self-taught for myself - until it's some
program you've never played around using an equivalent of
before). I'm pretty much a teacher in regards to using
software - cause I help many people in using it.

CP/M User.

DoctorPepper
March 14th, 2006, 03:40 AM
Hey CP/M User:

I've always loved your nickname. When I was in the Navy, at one of my commands back in the '80s, our command Master Chief used a Kaypro II that he would lug into work and back home every day. He did everything on that machine. I had a TRS-80 Model 4P at the time, and he, ahem, "loaned" me some of his program disks. That's where I got my introduction to WordStar and dBaseII. I liked dBase, so I bought a book on it, and eventually wrote my first program that was used by outside people with it. Up to that time, I had only worked in BASIC, and only for myself. The program was a trend analysis program for our squadron's Quality Assurance branch. It was slow as heck (it ran on a Zenith Z-120 computer), but it would help the QA reps spot defect trends a lot sooner than they had been by using their old methods.

Anyway, sorry for the ramble. That was my introduction to CP/M, which I ran on my 4P more than TRSDOS or LDOS.

CP/M User
March 14th, 2006, 01:38 PM
DoctorPepper wrote:

> Hey CP/M User:

> I've always loved your nickname. When I was in the
> Navy, at one of my commands back in the '80s, our
> command Master Chief used a Kaypro II that he would
> lug into work and back home every day. He did
> everything on that machine. I had a TRS-80 Model 4P
> at the time, and he, ahem, "loaned" me some of his
> program disks. That's where I got my introduction to
> WordStar and dBaseII. I liked dBase, so I bought a
> book on it, and eventually wrote my first program
> that was used by outside people with it. Up to that
> time, I had only worked in BASIC, and only for
> myself. The program was a trend analysis program for
> our squadron's Quality Assurance branch. It was slow
> as heck (it ran on a Zenith Z-120 computer), but it
> would help the QA reps spot defect trends a lot
> sooner than they had been by using their old methods.

> Anyway, sorry for the ramble. That was my
> introduction to CP/M, which I ran on my 4P more than
> TRSDOS or LDOS.

Heh! Yeah it's something I picked up on at the CP/M Usenet group & well
since then I've been taking it to numerous Forums on the Net. It's a good
one for picking up people who know what CP/M is & indeed got the
od person who still had an Vintage Computer up in the Atic.

At some forums it simply means nothing - or nobody has simply asked,
maybe cause they know what it is & don't care for it perhaps, or they
don't know what it is (which is understandible I guess - since it was
perhaps 25 years ago when the computer world revolved around CP/M -
even though CP/M success must span into the later 80s!).

The Forum I like the name most in is this VideoHelp Forum
(www.videohelp.com/forum (http://www.videohelp.com/forum)) - unless you go into my details on the
surface it looks as if I use CP/M for all my Video Editing production! ;-)

I also goto an Environmental Forum - nobody really knows that stuff
there, cause it's usually not something people are interested in - but I
guess if people used to use what'd be a vintage computer - who knows
what they'd ask (if anything).

Sorry I don't really care much for the Doctor Pepper - nothing against
you, I just don't like the drink! It's really a question of taste & what you
like & what you don't like though! Nothing personal!

Cheers.

Rick Ethridge
March 15th, 2006, 08:25 AM
I started being interested in computers in 1969. I enjoyed reading articles on the early computer kits in electronics magazines at the main library. I purchased my first computer, a TRS-80 Model I in 1978. I learned a little about BASIC programming. I progressed through the Commodore VIC-20 until 1986 when I purchased an Amiga A-1000. It had everything in a computer I wanted and more! I became very good at AmigaDOS and still remember most of it. I later purchased parts to create a green-screen disk-based TRS-80 Model 4. Working on the 4 and later a Model 16B I learned computer repair that could be transferred to PC's. I even got a 4P and learned LSDOS 6.X. Next week I test for my CompTIA A+ exams. All this because of "vintage" computers.

alexkerhead
March 16th, 2006, 08:49 PM
What has getting into computers gotten you into?

Debt
All worth it.

Terry Yager
March 17th, 2006, 06:25 AM
Spending several hours a day on eBay, buying & selling vintage computer stuff. I haven't actually put myself into debt, I've always made my hobby pay for itself. I used to spend a few hours every day running around to thrift stores, but that has become a lot less fruitfull in the last few years.

--T

bfutrel
March 17th, 2006, 08:57 PM
I started back in '85 or so with IBM PCs in high school, and a C64 at home. From there I wrote shareware in the early 90's in QuickBasic 4.5. I went to school to learn more, as well as learning on my own.

I was hired as a programmer in '95, and still work there writing software that interfaces with Peachtree and QuickBooks accouting packages.

Of course, I still have several PCs/Macs that I use to tinker and learn more on.