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These are the computers of our lives...


As humans, we have a tendency to imbue objects with our own emotions and feel strongly about "things." Heck, when I was a child, I use to feel guilty if I didn't finish all the food on my plate. I use to apologize to my veggies as they went down the disposal. In fact, one time (around second grade) I felt so bad about not eating the steak my mother left me for dinner, that I "set it free" in the back yard. While I no longer apologize to my groceries, I do feel a slight tinge of emotion when I think of the computers that have passed in and out of my life.

I'd be willing to venture a guess that you, like me, have a pretty good history with computers. I'm sure you've owned a few machines in your time, but have probably had access to, or used many machines in your life. Each machine seems to impart a bit of history to us, and while many may become forgotten memories, I'm sure we all have a bunch of machines that changed our lives.

I've had a lot of computers. From growing up in a household with a stepfather who was an engineer, to my college days (both of them), to my 15+ year career in tech...I've seen a lot of machines come and go.

When reading this, think about your own experiences and what computers you've had that have had the most influence on who you are today. I'd love for you to share your stories in the comments section. My favorite will get a Med Hed T-shirt.



[Note: I owe a debt of gratitute to wikipedia and Apple-History.com for helping me look all of this stuff up. The images are also courtesy of those sites, but hosted here to save them the bandwidth.]

Apple II


My first exposure to computers was the classic Apple II. I got my hands on these bad boys in 3rd grade. Remember the Oregon Trail? Our school was pretty lucky as our library had 6 or 7 of them and you could go and use them any time you liked.


TRS-80 Model II


In 1980, my stepfather brought home a TRS-80 Model II computer. I was 9 years old. No one that I knew had a home computer, and as a giant Doctor Who/Star Wars/Star Trek fan, just the idea that we had a computer...in our house...was amazing to me.

The first thing I learned to program was the ever entertaining:

10 My name is Alan
20 Goto 10

That never gets old!

The second thing I programmed was a Wargames simulator so I could nuke the state I was living in. Is 9 too young to be a nihilist?


Kaypro II


Oh yeah. we're moving up in the world now. Our first "portable" computer. This bad boy was about 30 or 40 pounds of pure arm wrenching portability. One time when my stepfather was out of town, I packed this sucker up and took it to junior high. Everyone was impressed with the exception of my stepfather who grounded me. In retrospect this seems like a very minor infraction compared to taking out the Audi in 9th grade when he was also gone on business (and I almost got away with it if it weren't for those meddling parents).


Macintosh SE/30


This was the first computer I bought myself. It was 1989 and I was heading off to college as a music major, with an interest in composition/theory. I had been writing music since I was a small kid, and I was excited to go off to school and make music with my new studio.

This puppy had a 20MB external hard drive. I had Mark of the Unicorn's Performer, and an Emu Emax digital sampling keyboard (which had an internal 20MB hard drive).

School turned out to be a big disappointment as my teachers considered my interest in electronic music to be folly...as no serious composer would use a computer to make music.

I didn't last long there.


Macintosh IIvx

After dropping out of college and spending two years flying airplanes and helicopters (while managing a pizza place), I got a bee in my bonnet to buy a computer. I walked into a store that sold Macintosh computers and walked out $5,000 poorer with an Apple Mac IIvx. It was a pretty big deal because it was the first Mac built to house an internal CD-ROM drive, and the first time I had even seen one.

Through a chance encounter I ended up starting a computer repair and consulting company. In the early days I would often secretly peek into my repair bag at David Pogue's Mac for Dummies book to diagnose my clients problems.

"Ah yes...I think this is a problem with an extention...one moment while I look into my bag here....uh huh...yes definitely an extention."

[Note: many years later I had the great privilege to do R&D for the first two versions of David's Missing Manual: OS X book. How funny is that story arc?]

Within a year I was a Mac authorized VAR and Apple Authorized repair technician. And not long after that I was one of the leading digital video experts in the country.



Power Macintiosh 6100/8500


These machines marked the introduction of Apple's new PowerPC chip and the speed jump from the old Motorola 68040 processors was amazing. For my general daily business I used the 6100. As for the 8500, I was building high-end animation and video systems based on these puppies. These units had the new PCI Bus architecture, which meant you could now load this unit with high-end video editing cards and SCSI cards for drive arrays. My entry level machines would cost you about $100k.


Powerbook 520c


Hey, it's my first laptop. This was a nice step up because as someone who often was on the road servicing animation and movie studios, I use to have to carry tons and tons of floppy disks and whatnot. Finally I could travel with everything I needed in one place. It was also the first dual scan color screen in a Mac laptop.

This machine was also important because it marked the first time I got on the Internet, and that chance encounter is what got me started working in that field. Within months I was heading over to Australia, on my own dime, to beg Sausage Software (makers of the first commercial html editor - Hot Dog) for a job.

Oh yeah...it was also the first machine I had seen Internet porn on...in glorious 256 colors!!!


Dell Desktop/WebPC


So after I left Australia, I went to work for a number of companies that used PCs. During this time, I had a number of machines that I couldn't name if my life depended on it. However, one did stick in my mind, and that is a machine I had a love/hate relationship with for 2 years.

The last PC I owned was the Dell WebPC

"The computer was an early entry into a class of systems known as legacy-free. According to Dell[4], "Legacy free refers to the absence of serial, parallel and PS/2 ports, as well as any DOS capability."

I was excited because this was my first machine with a DVD drive, and it wasn't too shabby in the looks department either. Within the first week I owned the machine, the hard drive failed. Dell's support was unbelievably crappy. I mean really really bad. I went around and around with them about getting the machine fixed, and finally I just went out and bought a new drive and fixed it myself.

Then the fan went out.

And then came a succession of fatal exceptions...

And my final straw came when I spent three hours trying to get a plug-and-play printer working on it. Finally I thought..."when I had a Mac, I never had these problems."

So, after a 4 year hiatus from Macintosh, I had an iMac land in my lap, like manna from heaven.


iMac (5 Flavors)


The dot com bust was starting to show it's ugly head, and one of my clients was forced to pay me in computers...7 computers to be exact. I was the immediate owner of 7, almost new, candy iMacs. I kept two and sold the rest on ebay.


iBook (Clamshell)


Once again needing a laptop, I picked up this puppy. Some people mocked this computer for it's seemingly silly look, but I gotta tell ya...this was my favorite computer of all. This thing was bulletproof. You could scratch it, drop it, run it over with a Sherman tank...and it just kept on running. And...I gotta say...I loved the built in handle. It was also my first computer with built in 802.11...and that was an amazing change from having a 20' phone cord across the floor from the wall to the sofa.

Eventually the screen cracked, but I was able to Frankenstein a newer green top to the bondi blue bottom. Hence, the two-toned green and blue iBook was born.




The big deal about this machine was it was my first DVD burner...so finally I could play with iMovie. Remember this was when burnable DVD's were like $5 a pop...so when you burned a coaster...you were pissed!

And while having this burner was a really big deal at the time, it is funny now how infrequently I actually use a DVD burner now. Everything I do now is a digital file that I post, or throw onto my media center drive.


Powerbook 17" 1.67Ghz


I like to give this machine props for having the nicest screen of any laptop I've owned. As I'm writing this on a 13" screen, I still long for that screen...but I wanted to move to Intel and I didn't want to spend another $3k.



Macbook (Black)


This is the machine I use now. Even though the screen is a skimpy 13.3 inches, the glossy finish is nice. Loaded with 2GB of RAM, it is also much faster than my old PowerPC processor. I think my favorite feature with this machine is having the Intel processors and being able to run Windows...and just about any other variant OS.

I actually use Windows pretty often to load maps on my GPS or add tracks to my Sansa MP3 player.


Mac Mini Intel


With all the chatter about the Apple TV device, I've had a Mac Mini serving as my entertainment hub for about a year now. Connected to the LCD TV, iTunes automatically downloads my favorite shows, and I also use it as a DVD player. It is also customized six ways from Sunday...playing almost any video format on the planet. It also works as a great video server to the other 5 Macs in the house.


Honorable Mention
I do have a machine not mentioned above that is another favorite of mine. I have a 1GHz Powerbook G4 that is currently running as a wiki server. That machine has been running 365/24/7, for 4 years. In fact I hardly even think about it since it just works. In a way, I take it for granted, but I'd certainly feel a pinch of regret if it ever died.

So what are the machines of your life? What stories do you have? Don't forget to leave your email address if you want to win a t-shirt.

Also...sign up to be a Med Hed as I'll be giving away lots more great stuff in months to come. It's free!


After 6 months of abject begging I managed to convince my mother to buy my first computer, a Tandy TRS-80 Model 3. A behemoth of a PC, it opened up a fascinating new world for me through the Basic language and games like Zork and Taipan.

My first "computer" was an Atari 800. My experience was exactly the same as yours. I inserted the Basic cartridge and typed:
10 Print My name is Tovi
20 Goto 10

Instant Bliss !!!

The rest of my time was spent playing Pac Man and Missile Command.

Yeah the Model II was a giant! We had the expansion floppy drive which was the size of a dorm fridge and allowed you to load 3 or four extra dinner plate sized floppies. We also had a dot matrix printer that would shake the table back and forth with every carriage return.

Good times!

Ahhhh, the IIvx. In many ways one of the worst computers that Apple ever made, but it was the first color Mac I ever owned, and I lucked into it by (a) having a friend at a university store who knew that there was an open-box return unit in the storeroom that everyone else had forgotten about, and (b) winning $1000 off a radio station call-in contest to let me afford it. I flogged that poor thing half to death over the next 5 years until I finally got a "real" job and replaced it with an 8500. Good times.

I started with a Philips P2000 which had almost no memory, loaded off dictation tapes (took ages), and had a terrible keyboard. Not like i really cared, i was 9 and that thing had games that i wouldn't have thought possible :D

Then i went to visit the Atari side of things.
The 600, 800XL, 1040 (STF,STE,MegaST).
Keep in mind though, by the time i was into these things, the PC revolution had allready long kicked in, so these machines were a dime a dozen.

During this time, a friend of mine gave me a (even for that time) paltry 286 12mhz with a CGA screen. Even though the quality of the games couldn't keep up with even the 1040, the expansions it had were very interesting to me.
I'd spend days just pulling out cards, and looking at the results.

That kind of stuck, i've never bought a complete PC since. Just upgrades of seperate components.

I now have about 6 machines running for just about everything (fileserver, remote access,gaming etc). Some run linux, some Windows (it's those damn games i tell you! :).

I look forward to whatever the future holds in store for us.

  • TRS-80 Model 1, 1978: 16k memory and a Radio Shack cassette player. I bought it instead of the Apple II because the Z80 instruction set was so much better than the 6502.
  • Original IBM PC, 1983: 8088 processor running at a blistering 4.77 MHz, 64k memory (I think) and two 360k floppy drives. The really hot software for this machine was Turbo Pascal. It cost maybe 20 bucks and completely blew away Microsoft's Pascal compiler which cost something like $300.
  • Amiga 2000, 1987: 68000 processor, 2 meg memory, and my first hard drive -- 40 meg. 32 bit FLAT ADDRESS SPACE! unlike Windows 3.0 or whatever version it was at the time. The first affordable machine on which it was possible to develop real 32-bit C and C++ software. The Amiga ran a multi-tasking OS but did not have a protected address space. So crashes were frequent. But the Amiga had this really great feature in which RAM would survive a reboot.
    Good times, good times.

I loved, loved, loved! my Commodore 64 back in the early 80s. I learned (and then quickly forgot) DOS on that thing. But better than that, I used to play a baseball game called hardball that kicked major ass. And even better then that, at a prime young age of like 9, I used to play a strip poker game on the 64 and see lovely pixelated breasts, which then spawned my love for watching cable sans cable box and trying to see a nipple (if I was lucky)between all of the squiggly lines.

First computer? Altair 8800 kit in 1977(?). Lots of switches and lights, and that was it since I couldn't afford "peripherals" like cassette tape drive or a big ass teletypewriter.

First comp was a Tandy CoCo, with 32kb RAM, a cassette for storage, a Basic interpreter and a few games and RCA out for vid. Sold that for a nice horse for my wife. Shoulda bought the Model 100 instead. But the games were prettee in colour.

Then a Zenith 8088 with a 20mb hard drive. Then a Toshiba 286 portable with 10mb hard drive that fit AutoCAD, Lotus123, WordPerfect and PCTools and still had room for games and technical utilities. For a few years, OS/2 2.x on a 486DX2/50. Then things became style over substance, for the most part.

No Macs for work, since I'm a CAD/Civil tech. Mind you, with VMs getting better every day I may yet own one.

Thanx for the trip!

Like you I think the Mac Mini makes a better Apple TV. It has Front Row, and replaces your DVD and CD player and can turn act as a full fledged computer. Best of all. you can still manage your iTunes on your other (work) computer, by mounting the Mini over your network and selecting it's iTunes library via iTunes. It's the reverse of AppleTV and works great (if you have a fast network).

I'm a little younger, but when I was in middle school my parents bought the first PC, some shithouse packardbell, sometime around the craze that surrounded windows95. as a kid we had apple IIe 's where we played the Oregon Trail. The packard bell gave way to a crappy gateway and an ultra shit tacular Dell...in high school I became aclamated with OS 8 via the art classes that had some sort of Power PC Macs...in college I played with OS9 and just last year I bought my first very own computer. Everyone told me to wait for the MacBook but I went ahead and bought what would be the last generation 1.33 GHz 12 inch iBooks. I quickly dubbed it "Little Mighty Whitey" (1.33 GHz was the fastest computer I had ever used at the time). I've only had "Little Mighty Whitey" for 13 months now and I look forward to using it for a long time in the future, even if I use it in conjunction with an upgrade (tax return + savings = mac book pro ? we'll have to see.

Well, my first computer I actually don't remember much about- it was some nameless PC of my mother's choosing for her university work. The forst computer I ever chose for myself, now...
I spent an entire summer working with my dad in an Apple Reseller and print shop. I spent the entire time there either inputting customer data into a huge database that had NEVER been made before, heping the guy who made large art-quality prints finish them, or helping my dad take apart Macs that had come into the store broken.
I had originally started working there with the hopes of getting enough money to get a 15" PowerBook, but our boss was a jerk and refused to pay me for the actual hours worked because I was technically still school-aged. (I homeschooled for all of middle and high school, and had jobs intermittently throughout, instead of sitting behind a desk all day.) After finishing the database in the late fall, he quickly fired me and sent me packing with a check that just barely covered the cost of a brand-new 14" iBook.
For a while, I sat at home and moped about not having the machine I had envisioned, and started looking for a new job to supplement the $1000 or so I had in the bank.
Sooner than I had anticipated, it was my birthday. And I decided that if I hadn't gotten any more money than I had by my birthday, I'd go ahead and buy myself an iBook. My parents, having seen this saga from the start, decided to surprise me mightily. They sat me down at the table on my birthday, and told me to close my eyes. I did so, and then opened them when told to- They had bought me an iBook, and my mother had worked late nights to make me an animated birthday screensaver. (Making things digitally is very much not her strong point, but she really tried for her only child.) I squealed and my parents laughed so hard they nearly lost their cake.
I'd have to say that is my favorite computer, especially as I'm typing on it now, and I still have the screensaver loaded onto it, reminding me every time I use it of how my parents realized that I was serious about this "geek" thing.

Great post Alan, I've been hassling my fiance to do a similar post for ages now.

Not only does he remember every computer he's ever bought (even those that weren't for him) but he remembers the date, store, price and even has receipts for some of the really old ones. And yet, he's hard pressed to remember my birthday! He got his first at 8 yrs old, on March 28 1987 - a Commodore 64 with tape drive, for $500 AUD.

My first computer was a Casio PB-100, back in 1982. I was ten, and it was the cheapest programmable computer on the market, even cheaper than a ZX81, and could double as a pocket calculator. This baby came with the best manual I have ever laid eyes on (do computers still come with any manual at all ?) and the programming examples kept fascinating me, especially the resolution of linear equations,and the computation of Pi with the Monte-Carlo method. So I like to think that it gave me a 10 years advance in programming and numerical methods...Nowadays, I have a PhD in theoretical physics and teach computational physics..in FORTRAN, thanks to the BASIC of the little PB-100. I smile when I see students of 20 not understanding the Monte-Carlo method, when I remember past times.

Then I got a C64 but did not have enough money for a floppy disk or good assembly manuals, and never got past the first chapters about binary computations and instructions sets. So I kept playing games and programming in simple BASIC until I got an Atari ST which really got me going on C and advanced graphics : at 16, I realized that trigonometry and matrix algebra could be important somewhere...for the rest, I just followed the trend (beige Pentiums, laptops and now a Powerbook)

Well My Engineer father has had many machines, the first one he really let me use was his old CoCo trs-80. I loved it when he handed me printouts or magazines with games Code that I would spend hours typeing in. The best game was one that he got on a casset http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Time_Bandit
I was hooked!
The next One that stands out is a "luggable" similar to the Kaypro II it had a bright green screen (my dad had another one with a orange screen, it was my brothers)used one floppy to run automaxx another to play DnD and rouge clones.
Then there was a Nec ulralight versa 486 20MHz and all of 40mb HD space. The Screen could be removed and turned around great for watching cool screen savers and once I got a early version of slackware (I think)I used it to hook up a dumb terminal to play hunt with my brothers.
Then there was the itronix ix250 Tough as hell Had a handy strap could work under water unless you messed up a seal was drop proof like 3 feet on concrete and it doesn't care, crush proof, the but not bed proof I used it on my bed one to many times plugged in and the power connector on the motherboard broke off. I'll fix it one day, maybe, if i get around to it

Ah, way to test my faulty memory!

My older brother had an interest in electronics, so when the Sinclair ZX81 (sold in the US as a Times something or other I think) was released in both kit and premade form, with a $10 price difference and a promise that if you royally foobar'd the kit setup, they'd fix your mess for $15, no questions asked, he had to have it.

He labored for days on it, soldering, reading the book, soldering. 1KB of memory, a Zilog Z80 CPU running at about 1/1000th of the speed on an MP3 player's CPU: this thing was a speed demon in the making!

Connect it to the black and white TV

Four weeks later, back it came: or to be exact, back came a different unit. I guess whatever Tom had done, it was not undoable. I peeked inside: a-ha! That little line of resistors either side of whatever that chip was were indeed supposed to straddle it, not run prettily down the sides. (There may have been other issues, but that one stood out.)

Bingo, it worked. The horrible little membrane keyboard that required six key presses to say "Run" was just fine. Now all we needed was a tape recorded and the world was ours. I learn to program BASIC, even at one point exceeding the last memory capacity of the unit (I was writing a Tarot reading program, and I wasn't going to be happy with just the major arcana, damnit!)

With a 16K memory pack that would break free if you breathed upon it, the computer became mine as it's value as an electronics hobby diminished.

I really should start to summarize now, or this will go on forever.

BBC Model B: again, purchased by my brother, but quickly taken over by me. BBC Basic was designed to encourage structured programming! It had a real keyboard! It had lovely, lovely analog joysticks! The label on the bottom showed that this was not, in fact, a BBC B, but a BBC A that the thieving bleeps at the computer store had upgraded themselves! Those bleeps! Anyway, it ran fine.

The Beeb was really an mazingly well thought out design: the tape interface was really a starting step: you should really get the floppy drive (done), for programs you used a lot, why not get them on ROM? Things like View (a Word Processor / kinda Spreadsheet / kinda PIM thing) (done). For business apps, why not get a Z80 external CPU module (err, not so done), if you want more CPU power, get the external Motorola (whatever CPU it was) unit (also, not done). If you ever wondered that computers were the future of entertainment, get "Elite" (and forget the next three years of your life).

My brother took it with him to electronics engineering university, I think to impress girls, not knowing that you don't (or didn't, in Scotland at that time) get many girls taking electronics engineering. I had to make do with the (comparatively) awful school computers: a Commode PET, a couple of overbooked Apple II's and a Sinclair Spectrum.

College was a haven for the most utterly crappy computers ever: PR1ME minis, a Microcomputer Lab with Apricot Zen's (the awful one with the chicklet keyboard, in five years we spent two hours in the microcomputing lab. Co-inkidincily, I'd bought myself a high-end Apricot PC at a clearout sale at the local "we're an electronics store we don't know what computers are" place. They were selling off Apricot (damn, I wish I remember the name) computers, with 256K of RAM, and a single side 3.5" floppy, and a 10 inch high res monitor(actually, it was a very nice for it's time display: when my eyes were young) and the SuperSuite (SuperWriter, SuperCalc, SuperProgramNoOneEverUsed from Computer Associates, I think). The display model, however had two, double sided floppies, and 512K of RAM. I pretended to be all computer-phobic and said "I'll buy it, but I WANT the display model." -- being used to people not wanting the display model, the sales guy was all over me like a rash. Taking it home, the v-hold on the monitor got futzed up, but as I didn't want to take it back, I decided to fix it myself, cracked open the monitor casing and fiddled with it's guts until I got thrown against the wall by some high voltage nonsense -- at which point I brought in my house mate to handle the screwdriver while I just watched the picture.

OK, sorry, this is -really- going way too long. I'm an old fart. Lets leave it at that.

Gosh darn, something got lost (edited?) between:

"Connect it to the black and white TV"


"Four weeks later"

sorry if it was dull, but basically it didn't work. So it was sent back for repair.

To continue" unemployed and jonesin' for some computer fun, I bought a Spectrum 128 (a friend had lots of games I could borrow). It was an awful, awful experience. A keyboard you can't type on? 128K of memory in as much as it has two banks of 64K each and you can use either one at a time? And that friend with the "Space Willie" kept his damn games to himself. I gave it to my mother so she could do knitting patterns on it.

At work, I now had a Compaq 286 thing that required extra stiffening in the bench. The monitor was black and white VGA, but unless you let it boot into the "Hello! Thank you for buying Compaq!" screen the system thought it was EGA. It also had the issue that if you used the Compaq "setup" utility to set up your environment variables and path, every line would be cut off at 254 characters. I kept all my apps in their own space so my path = almost as long as the chinese wall. I was in medicine at the time (on the health side), we had these 286's with the s!@#y monitors, the Finance guys had 386's with nice color monitors, plus for our two members of staff (me and Gordon, who had about 70% of his time off for nervous breakdowns) Finance had seven. And this was in the UK, socialist health care setup, where no-one pays for anything. Oh, and we ran most of our apps on PICK, which I'm sure you all forget. It was the first OS I really hacked: you could tell PICK to run an app from a memory location, so I traced where PICK went when I did the equivalent of SUDO on my PC

Where is Dick Pick now? Is he maybe, no no I won't go there. I'm above it.

This is a great memoir.

My first in-home computer was a TRS-80 Color Computer with a Sony Watchman FD-40E for a monitor. Woohoo 4K of RAM! Ooh, and one of those cassette recorders for storage.

1. 1985 Leading Edge (yeah, right) 8088 with dual 5-1/4 floppies, a yellow monitor and 640K RAM for $1500. DOS, Basic and Flight simulator. I eventually added a 20MB hard drive, DR-DOS, and a 1200 baud modem. Had my first BBS experiences with that baby.

2. Quantex 386 @ 16 MHz with 128 MB RAM, VGA monitor,and a 28.8 K modem. Entered the wonderful world of Windows 3.11. Upgraded RAM, hard drive, video card, sound card, by the time I let it go it wasn't the same machine.

3. Dell 4100 (will never do that again) P-4 1.4 GHz, 512 MB, 20 GB drive, Win2K, Nvidia video with 32MB onboard. 56K modem, eventually switched to DSL.

4. Finally started building my own systems. Abit mobo, AMD 3200+, 2 GB RAM, 160 GB drive plus another 160 GB external for backup. Linksys wireless router, 2 printers, print server, for the 4 laptops in my house. I also have a hand-me-down IBM T60 on which I installed Ubuntu. My desktop is 2 years old and I have the itch to upgrade again, all I need now is the money.

Reading about it on the web is one thing, actually experiencing your old friends first hand is quite another.

Come to the Vintage Computer Festival!

Now in it's TENTH year!!!


First computer use a teletype terminal a CDC computer during high school.

First computer game - typed in 'Star Trek' in Basic on a green phospher
screen to an HP mini in college from the 'Best of Creative Computing'.

While working in assembler on a Philco/Ford Aerospace 102 during the day
I saved up enough for my first computer.

An Atari 400 with membrane keyboard and 16 mb. (Was supposed to come wih
8MB - a great upgrade. ) Because the credit card company my boss bought
this on ( first job I didn't have a credit card. ) showed a cassette drive
and joysticks in the ad, I fought with them for two months and got them to
throw in these for the base price of $500. While waiting I typed Basic on
cartridge which disappearred when powered off. Then 'Star Raiders' on my
'giant' 25" TV. I felt like Captain Kirk!

A year later after memory and keyboard upgrades I moved on the luxury of
the Atari 800 - eventually with tiny 5.25" floppy drive with it's incredible
roomy random access store - later upgraded with 'Happy' electronics mods.

Then the Atari ST ( with hand soldered memory upgrades ) and the Magic Sac letting me run Mac programs like Mac In Tax on the Atari when I wasn't running Dungeon Master by FTL.

Finally I caved to an IBM for my brother - a 386 + Speedstar with no hard
drive but enought memory to run 'falcon' in a ram disk loaded off floppies.

Then back to the Mac with a Duo 230 and then the Duo 270c - my first laptop - eventually recycled into hand made digital picture frames running to this day. Also a PIII running Linux and Win95.

A Dell Inspiron 7500 and 8200 running Linux and Windows.

Today the best (though not the most fun for hardware hacking) a Macbook Pro running Mac OS X Fedora Core 6, and a Win XP Pro in a triple boot. Runs anything!

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