VFTP Command Central is getting long in the tooth. If I did any real gaming anymore, I'd upgrade to a new system, but I haven't played a first-person shooter over a network in... five years? So, given that it's just a netbox and is only used to play the occasional old game, I figured I'd keep the machine in play a bit longer with a memory bump.
Impetus to finally get off my duff and do it was provided when the Logitech mouse started crapping out. First the scroll wheel failed to report for duty one morning. Then buttons started mysteriously double-clicking for no apparent reason. A trip to Fry's, the electronics megamart, was in order.
When I got there, I headed for the section dedicated to componentry. For those of you who've never been in a Fry's, it's computer geek nirvana; they have an aisle of nothing but cases and power supplies that's bigger than the whole computer department in most consumer electronics stores.
I suddenly realized, as I approached the neckbeards manning the help desk in front of the Giant Wall Of RAM And Motherboards, that I couldn't remember the memory configuration in my PC. I was pretty sure it was DDR... I think. Was it one half-gig SIMM or two 256 meg sticks...?
"Can I help you?" asked the young neckbeard, politely.
"Ummm... I need to upgrade the memory in my computer..." said the suddenly hesitant and confused sounding older lady while the young technogeek looked on with a mixture of pity and contempt... Jesus, this can't be happening to me. I built my first XT from a bare chassis when this kid was in diapers, for Vishnu's sake! How did I get so out of touch?
I aborted the RAM mission until I could get home and verify the best configuration my MoBo would support and headed to the peripherals section for a new mouse, where I had my second experience with feeling unhip.
Now, bear in mind that when VFTP Command Central was put together in '03, cost was very much not a factor. It was built with the express purpose of being a fairly beefy gaming rig and, for the era, it was. That was how I'd always bought computer hardware: If it was black, had an "X" or "Z" somewhere in the name, and was guaranteed to boost my frame rate or help me frag my friends more efficiently, I was there. Now, I found myself thinking "Huh. 'Razer Lachesis'... That's a pretty cool name for a mouse. 4000dpi? Wow! Nine buttons, too... But, $80 for a mouse to play games? Nahhh..." and bought the $24.99 Logitech because it was cheaper and two buttons are plenty. Besides, I bought that Nostromo game pad back in '03 and I've never even hooked it up.
In the end, I wound up coming back and picking up two 1-gig sticks for my PC. Amazing what quadrupling the RAM has done for its performance. Now I can... uh... process words so much faster, or something. And the new mouse works great, and probably will for another five years.