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How old is your computer? - Arvind Narayanan's journal [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]

How old is your computer? [Dec. 20th, 2005|05:28 pm]
Arvind Narayanan
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Wikipedia says in 1983 you could buy a home computer for $200. I had no idea. I guess then the sole reason why computers were absurdly costly in India even in the late 80s/early 90s was the import duties. (I fucking hate pinko socialists). In 1993 or so my dad bought me my first computer for the equivalent of around $2500, at the time a ridiculous amount of money in Indian terms. My parents still use that computer, in the Ship of Theseus sense. I have so many fond memories of it, like downloading an entire GNU distribution for DOS through a dial-up connection.

How old is your oldest computer that is still in active day-to-day use?
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: skthewimp
2005-12-20 05:23 am (UTC)
bought this 80486 MS-DOS 4MB RAM 256 MB Hard Disk Space B/W Monitor thingy in 1994 for a princely sum of Rs. 40,000.

Have done some really brilliant turboC programming on that one. haven't used it for a couple of years though...
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[User Picture]From: arvindn
2005-12-20 05:49 am (UTC)
Ah yes, turbo C. I remember writing 1000 line C programs, horrible, horrible spaghetti code with single letter variable names and gotos all over the place. I had no idea there was a better way to write code. That was back in the days when I didn't know what a file was, and thought my programs existed "inside" the Borland IDE I was using :)
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[User Picture]From: sunson
2005-12-20 06:46 am (UTC)
That was back in the days when I didn't know what a file was, and thought my programs existed "inside" the Borland IDE I was using :)

haha... when we were in school, my friend and I used to 'beg' our teacher to let us use the lab off school hours. We wrote this 'chat' program that would work over a netware volume by writing to myname.clg (chat log) and reading from the "other" .clg file in that directory. If you want a different room, create a new directory and tell your friend to get there and start chatting. :)

Of course, confidentiality and making sure that nobody found out how our program worked was at the top of our priorities. We would do an ATTRIB +H on the file, rename it and stuff like that. haha.
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[User Picture]From: skthewimp
2005-12-20 08:03 pm (UTC)
yeah horrible code with single letter variable names (i once wrote a program which used all 26 letters of the alphabet as variable names!!).

but i never remember using goto.
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From: (Anonymous)
2005-12-20 05:28 am (UTC)
The first time I saw a computer was in 1992. Those machines had no hard disks. We used to have a couple of almarahs full of floppy disks (5.25 inch ones). It wasn't until 1996 that I came to know that computers can have hard disks. Was not much of a computer guy then, mostly used to play digger. I believe those machines are still in use in my school (which btw, is a govt school).

--Sid
(too lazy to login)
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[User Picture]From: koyaanisqatsi
2005-12-20 05:37 am (UTC)
Bought my computer in 2000, still going strong. I had an earlier, cheaper one which was a real POS and which I retired. I suppose I could resurrect it as a webserver....
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From: spacejunkk
2005-12-21 03:11 am (UTC)
I still have one box with 5.25 inches floppies :D which are lying in my cupboard since 7-8 years! I don't know if they are working discs... but the contents written on it are related to DBase 3+, Lotus...
I miss the DOS and QBasic days!
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[User Picture]From: sunson
2005-12-20 06:39 am (UTC)
Mine was a computer that was bought long time ago (1994'ish, I believe), but *I* got to use it only in 1998 or so. It was a Pentium 60MHz with a 'turbo' button that would send it to 66MHz. Had a CPU cooling 'fin' not a 'fan'. At that point, I didn't have an internet connection on that computer so I was pretty much stuck with transferring 'qbasic.exe' and several *.bas files onto it.

I had this "build system" written in BASIC to generate a ton of HTM pages of Aishwarya rai (because I was a mad mad fan of her and I used to host this 'aishwarya rai gallery' thing on some thor.prohosting.com page. heh). The primary reason was to save floppy disk space. I would just carry this program to the "browsing center", run this thing and it would make all the HTMs for the images that I had, then make several gallery pages each containing N thumb links. It would paginate and all that. That was hilarious. That was cute too.

The other 'long term' thing I was doing was to develop a console windowing toolkit on QBASIC. I don't remember what happened to that. I guess linux took over at some point in the year 2000.
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[User Picture]From: sunson
2005-12-20 07:00 am (UTC)
shit, sorry for spamming your comments space. I just totally love this topic :)

The other interesting thing was during the days of being 'new' to the World Wide Web... the days of Internet Pr0n.

This friend of mine had a computer at home. A colour monitor at that. and a dialup connection. His sister was doing her CS in Anna Univ and, to us, she was God. We had pr0n pics. Somehow we had to find a way of renaming them. While we could have renamed them as 'imgNNN.xyz' what we really wanted to do was to rename the file name to a very close word that doesn't sound offensive and yet is very easy to remember. For example, nicetits.jpg should become nicetips.xyz.

We worked hard, brain stormed about it while travelling in the bus, while eating lunch... basically go mad about it... and finally cracked it after about a week's time. But before we could write the program, the guy was caught somehow by his sister. He forgot to keep them safe! That was very very very funny.

Before the birth of this program, he had once manually renamed some of his 'favourite' files. One such file, a 'pregnant.jpg', was renamed to 'elegant.jpg'. We used to call him 'elegant <his name>' ;)
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[User Picture]From: arvindn
2005-12-20 01:41 pm (UTC)
Porn on a dialup. Main reason for my learning to use wget.

Kids in my high school turned Pamela Anderson into 'Parimala Anbarasan' :)

Your friend has some weird tastes!
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[User Picture]From: kadambarid
2005-12-20 09:16 pm (UTC)
Kids in my high school turned Pamela Anderson into 'Parimala Anbarasan' :)
rotfl
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From: spacejunkk
2005-12-21 02:58 am (UTC)
I know of my cousin... who keeps all this stuff in a folder named 'Einstein' so that his parents don't come to know if it...

I got to know this once when I'd gone to his place with my HDD... while transferring some mp3s and ebooks... I came across it thinking it was some ebooks related folder... when he told me not to access it...

ANother close friend keeps movies too... infact he is a big source for all xxx movies cds in my closest friends group!

I used to even keep a track of my bro's browsing thru cookies... and used to blackmail him that I will inform my mother about him visiting porn websites... :))
Once he could not delete some search history entry 'ebony+black' something... when he himself informed me about that... so that I do not inform my mother about it :))
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[User Picture]From: sunson
2005-12-21 03:25 am (UTC)
Once he could not delete some search history entry 'ebony+black' something...

It is interesting to see people's tastes.
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From: spacejunkk
2005-12-21 03:31 am (UTC)
haha... that was some 5 years back!
but this topic is really good... rejuvenation time... memories rule!
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[User Picture]From: ephermata
2005-12-20 11:06 am (UTC)
I'm actually using the oldest-still-working computer right now. My current laptop is from 1999.
There are many older computers at home, but none of them still in use by me. I think most of them still turn on. Not sure if they'd still boot, though...
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[User Picture]From: kadambarid
2005-12-20 09:30 pm (UTC)
My first comp was way back in 1991 (it was actually much older than that and used to be in dad's office, before he became proprietor from partner and got it home) and at 4 yrs of age, what one basically did was play random DOS games and print out pics and end up 'manually' coloring them! The last time I saw it was in 1995-96, when I left Gaborone!
The next "big" un' was in 1997, when we moved to Mds and that's the archaic ole machine still sittin' at home and dad got it for approx. Rs.45,000 at that time-actually it ought to be in a museum now , and I'm still trying to convince dad into getting a new one (this tortoise is past such mundane things as replacement!)
In between this, for about a year we actually had an awesome laptop (Acer) and I'm still getting that love affair (dad quit the company and had to turn it over)!*sigh* and thereby hangs a tale!:D
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[User Picture]From: kadambarid
2005-12-20 09:31 pm (UTC)
I'm still getting that love affair (dad quit the company and had to turn it over)!
I meant- "getting 'over' that love affair"
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From: spacejunkk
2005-12-21 02:51 am (UTC)
My first experience with computer was in 1994 while vacationing in Bangalore, it used to have DOS in it... Then back to school in Deolali, took it as a subject from 5th to 7th!
The first computer at home was the same mentioned above in 1996, transported from Bangalore to Pune from my aunt's place... can't remember the configuration ... It used to have problems every week... but still managed with it till 1998!

In April 2000, got a Pentium-3 for 45000/-, specifications being 550MHz, 8GB HDD, 1.44 FDD, 64MB SDRAM, 14" Samtel Color Monitor, Intel 810e Chipset & Motherboard, with Windows 98 installed in it, a Creative 52x CD-ROM which was even replaced once in the warranty time.

Still using the same, but now with upgraded 40GB Samsung PUMA 7200RPM and 2 x 128, i.e. 256MB SDRAM and a LG DVD-Combo Drive (also sometime between replaced the Creative 52x with LG 52x) since May 2004. OS being XP or RedHat 9 or both at times... one of them crashing most of time.

Nowadays, in 45K + about 10k spent in upgrades... I could get a good laptop deal! My bro doesn't use the home computer often since he is in office most of time... My parents have passed the bill to buy a new computer, ready to spend about 20k for it, I am still thinking since Diwali time this year... whether an upgrade of a new Motherboard + Chipset (with cabinet too) + 17" Monitor + 80GB SATA HDD + is required or not, or should I continue with same config
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[User Picture]From: ciphergoth
2006-01-18 03:57 pm (UTC)
You just friended one, I'm afraid!
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[User Picture]From: arvindn
2006-01-19 09:58 am (UTC)
I assume you refer to my comment that I hate socialists. Let me assure you that I don't hate any individual person for their political (or religious or any type of) views. I am a fan of Michael Moore, although of course I disagree with almost everything he says. The majority of my close friends are probably left leaning. One of my best friends is a certified communist. In fact I enjoy being friends with people who hold very opposing points of view because this makes discussion more interesting and broadens the mind.

What I meant is that I hate having to live in a state governed by socialists, having my economic freedom curtailed by their ideals. I hate only the people in power, because they force their views on me.
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