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Part of growing up? Becoming humble in personal computer use as the years go by

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  • #16
    For me the biggest change in personal computing came when motherboards began integrating controllers, audio, memory extenders, and peripherals like mice, wifi, and in some cases the video. That made it more affordable to those who hanging around on the edge not really knowing what to buy. Suddenly, everyone had a chance to be an expert in a new thing.
    Surely not everyone was Kung-fu fighting

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    • #17
      For me, the 80's and 90's were the most interesting era. Part of it is nostalgia, the other part of it is that I did not have the money or age to obtain such money at the time. Everything was at the mercy of my parents who just saw computers as a "glorified game console".

      The nostalgia part of it being that computers were looked at in the 1980's and 1990's by the mainstream as these "wonderous" devices that would pave the way to the future. There were mysteries there that we don't have today, and while most of those mysteries have been unlocked, that brings retro-computing in a modern context in, wiping away the nostalgia. Looking back now a lot of the propeganda around computing back then sounds more like a late night infomercial or an MLM, and every bit as cheesy, but there's some entertaining charm to be found in that.

      In a modern context, people are doing things with these old machines that many never knew were possible. Ripping CD's and surfing TLS enabled sites on a 486 in FreeDOS, making new music and content by mixing old MIDI Technology with modern effects and DAWs. Creating new games around the old hardware that would have been smash hits in the machine's native time period because they look and work better than anything that might have existed in that time period.

      If it were not for social media, creating videos, and streaming videos, I could probably carry on on my old computers forever without any fuss.

      THat said there's another interesting thought this thread brings up and that's the maturity brought about by those of us who have been in this long enough. An LGR video comes to mind where Clint was talking about ransacking Home of the Underdogs to death back in the day before he started collecting big box software, and I did the exact same thing, and now here I am carrying a huge external drive with me through life to keep over 350 games, the most of which, I'll never play, and lots of old software, the most of which has either been replaced with much better open source FreeDOS alternatives, or that I no longer use because I'm either not doing that sort of thing anymore, or prefer the modern LInux equivalent. I've been thinking of purging that collection by doing a series of YouTube videos where I open up those old games, and then delete them if I don't like them enough, or keep them if I really like what I see and maybe get the big box equivalent if affordable enough.

      And the same can be said of hardware. I used to be all about maxxing out memory and caches and HDD's. Now I'm kind of realizing having a 3GB drive in a Tandy is overkill. Having 80GB on a standalone system that has no CD-ROM titles on it I can run from virtualized ISO is overkill. I used to max out the RAM, but now I realize almost everything I run could get away with 32MB or less RAM on the vintage-side. I'm also thinking it's probably time to downsize again, I only really need at most 4 machines to run all the software I want to run, and even then there's some overlap.

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      • #18
        Most interesting era spanned from the 8 bit wars (Tandy Coco, Atari 800, Coleco Adam, Commodore 64/128, MSX, Sinclair, etc) to the end of anything non Intel.

        I liked all the competing 8 and 16 bit computer systems and the also the period that ended with the 486 where you had Amiga, Sun, Atari ST, Silicon Graphics, 68K/PPC mac fighting it out. Even the PC's of the era had a ton of competing standards like EISA, ISA, PCI, VLB plus multiple x86 chip makers like IBM, Cyrix, Intel, AMD, etc. Plus you had a few UNIX OS's around along with Win3/9x/NT and OS/2 to play around with plus assorted Linux. People forget Apples first Unix was A/UX followed breifly by AIX and then OSX.

        Granted once Intel won prices started to drop to be comparable to what 8 bit systems used to cost.
        What I collect: 68K/Early PPC Mac, DOS/Win 3.1 era machines, Amiga/ST, C64/128
        Nubus/ISA/VLB/MCA/EISA cards of all types
        Boxed apps and games for the above systems
        Analog video capture cards/software and complete systems

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        • #19
          I'm only chiming in to add a few cents (ok, this is turning into a full dollar ) that it seems unfair to have a predefined or set mentality of what is fine or needed and what isn't as a permanent end all.

          Needs change, desires change, something you may find irrelevant or useless today suddenly becomes crucial years later because you've discovered new interests or hobbies. So I don't think setting a pre-defined or "set in my ways" sort of mental guideline is ever necessary all the while the justification of either not wanting to or being able to obtain or afford the latest and greatest is also not needed. Not everyone has a bottomless bank account, most don't have one at all and that's the charm in finding great deals on hardware that can do the job well or bring joy in our lives. That in itself though is the beauty of "personal" computing, it's whatever works for you and your needs, whenever and however that may be.

          I guess mostly I'm saying this 40 years in. I've missed out on a lot because I've listened to others say similar things in the past which forced me to think differently (in a non-good, non-Apple way) and I've been a collector in the past which was also a learning experience in that you don't have to (and most certainly never should) own everything to be happy and it doesn't make sense to either but now I'm a "only keep what I use" type of person (and have been for the past 10 years almost) with a few off the wall goofy things that truly make me happy to own, regardless of need, use or justification. Some things just don't need to be justified if they make you happy. I think it's important to accept that. Just as you don't need to justify why you refuse to upgrade a new build every 3 months, though it's not the late 90s anymore and computers are so insanely fast now as long as you were to build a mostly recent or modernized system, you'd be set for 5+ years easy.

          But.. if it's not money related prohibiting you from adopting the future or accepting the crazy technology in front of us (at least to accept that it's changing and evolving), then there's no necessary reason to absolutely avoid it either as you're just as likely to miss out on something great now or in the near future as you may have in the past, and I speak from experience. If anything, I feel we're at one of the more interesting turning points in computer history, where monstrous GPUs, data storage and AI have basically become or exceeded anything I could have hoped for from say, the 90's looking forward. Lusting over a million dollar Cray computer and now anyone can now own a $699 video card that can do computations that even Cray would be blown away with then, or specifically in my case, rendering photo realistic images in a matter of minutes instead of something that used to take literally 3 days or more on our older machines all while still not achieving even a margin of the same results that you can now thanks to the years of software revisions, experience from thousands of people all compounded. Definitely not to be taken for granted then or now.

          If by humble you mean "appreciative" then I can certainly agree to that. Having gone through countless computers during the thrift and flea market days (which I'm forever grateful for living through since it allowed us to experience all these fantastic, various hardware and software combinations, from failures to success) and growing up with little or next to nothing really (truly) makes you appreciate what you have now, have had and what's on the horizon... may that be next year or in the next 10. Nothing was better than earning some money by cutting a few lawns and then it being enough to buy a complete used system back then, sometimes with amazing accessories and more, may they have included documents, photos, software or other fascinating memories from a previous owner to explore.

          TL;DR I just feel like closing your mind off completely or placing unnecessary limitations or restrictions seems to be the opposite of what would be considered a healthy relationship with technology all-around and in the end, no justification is needed either way.
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