Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Signs I'm getting old, #2743

I'm moving my PC case around on the desk here at VFTP Command Central while the Guns 'N' Roses tune "Breakdown" drones from the speakers, with iTunes causing the hard drive to chortle away during the process. This is reminding me of my first hard drive, a 10MB Seagate unit that took up a whole full-height drive bay in my PC case and stretched clean to the back of the chassis, weighing a couple pounds and matching the physical dimensions of a small shoebox. The .mp3 file I'm listening to would have taken up 65.4% of that drive's capacity (which held SimCity, Test Drive, Wizardry III, RoboComm, SillyLittleMailReader, and much more, with room to spare) and I'd have never dared to move the PC's case while the drive was running!

Who out there remembers having to "park the heads" on the drive before so much as jostling the case, even when the PC was off, in order to prevent a head crash?

(PS: Ooh! Now "Estranged" is playing! I haven't heard this in forever! Lurve it! More exclamation points!!!!!!!!!1!!!!11!!!!!one!!1!!)


Anonymous said...

I must be younger than you, or more likely slower on the technological uptake. My first hard drive was a 40MB monster for my Amiga 2000. Of course before that, I stored data on a cassette drive salvaged from my Commodore VIC 20.

Those were the days...

Less said...

And there goes the Challenger,
being chased by the blue, blue
meanies on wheels.

The vicious traffic squad cars are
after our lone driver, the last
American hero, the electric
centaur, the, the demi-god, the
super driver of the golden west!

Two nasty Nazi cars are close
behind the beautiful lone driver.

The police numbers are gettin'
closer, closer, closer to our soul
hero, in his soul mobile, yeah

They about to strike.
They gonna get him.
Smash him.

Rape... the last beautiful free
soul on this planet.

Tam said...


That's become my mantra while driving for the pure joy of it.

I should probably buy my own copy of Vanishing Point.

Anonymous said...

Ah, good old SLMR. I used that for quite a while before I made the switch to Blue Wave.

I didn't have a 10MB hard drive though. Too expensive for me at the time. I toughed it out with floppy disks WAAAAY to long. Started with a 40MB drive.

Egad, I turn 39 this year.

Anonymous said...

Dodge is bringing back a retro Challenger to compete with Ford's Mustang. It's been years since I've seen Vanishing Point, what a cool movie that was. I'd love to see a re-make of that , but I know they'd screw it up by casting politically correct charactors and changing the vehicle to an electric-eco friendly joke! Bah!

Todd said...

5MB Apple ProFile back in the day. It was as big as the computer itself. We were hot sh*t!

Anonymous said...

My first hard drive was a 30 meg RLL drive. Remember the fun of installing a sound blaster card? What interupt what device was one and the I/O channel, definately not for the faint of heart.

Dr. StrangeGun said...

I have one of those MFM drives sitting around somewhere. Seagate ST512, if I remember correctly :)

Unknown said...

Feh. My first three computers didn't even have a fancy hard drive. I went from an Amstrad CPC464 with the tape drive to a Commodore 64 with a floppy, and then (behold!) a Commodore Amiga with the 512k memory upgrade, for a grand total of ONE (count it!) megabyte of RAM. Played many a mission of Gunship 2000 on that one, shooting down wire-frame Hinds over vector graphics battlefields.

My first actual hard drive-equipped PC was a 486/DX2-50, with 8MB RAM and a 210MB SCSI hard drive. I could load the contents of that old hard drive into my current PC's RAM four times over with room to spare.

Good times...

Tam said...

"Feh. My first three computers didn't even have a fancy hard drive."

Neither did my first four, ya young whippersnapper! ;)

Anonymous said...

How about the fact that "Appetite for Destruction" came out 20 years ago? That makes me feel old, since it seems as fresh to me today, but for kids in high-school it's what the Stones were to me at their age!

Anonymous said...

Young pups! I started messing with 'puters seriously in 1981. Luckily I missed out on the joy that was punch cards. DEC Rainbows, Apple IIcs and Tandy umm, TSR-80s? Is that right? Anyway, those were the first PCs I worked with.

What a long, strange trip it's been!


Anonymous said...

As a testament to technological hubris, I keep on my bookshelf a 450 meg SCSI harddrive from an audio editing system from the same era.

The price tag for 45 minutes of audio storage (couldn't even master a whole album on one drive):

Whenever I get all smug about my new octal core system with 2 terrabytes of raid, I go and contemplate that drive until I re-establish perspective.


Anonymous said...

They did remake Vanishing Point a while back with Viggo Mortensen in the lead role.

It had more of an actual plot than the original - very anti federal government / FBI.

Anonymous said...

Ah, so now we're playing the geek version of "In My Day."

My first computer was a Japanese clone of an Apple ][+ with a whopping 48KB of memory. Some friends gave me the 16KB memory expansion card, sans memory chips. We took the train to Akihabara and scrounged around until we found someone selling the right chips. A great birthday, that.

The monitor was black and white, pulled from an old trashed arcade video game. The case for the monitor was made from plywood. ;)

From a more modern era, don't ask why I have a box in the garage stuffed with a few dozen 200MB SCSI drives ...

Anonymous said...

Feh. Topwaters.

I learned Bell Labs UNIX on a Digital PDP7 with a whoppin' 64K of memory and a 10MB Winchester drive that was the size of a trachcan lid.

Punchcards? Yeah. Pencil the sequential number on the top left corner, rubber-and them together, and carry them around in a beer flat.

I've got a Kaypro and an Osborne in the warehouse somewhere. Probably in a box beside the Altair.

Oh, and AIX Rules.


Zendo Deb said...

People who are complaining/reminiscing about the size of their early hard drives probably never had to sort through a box of punch cards because you just dropped them down the stairs (and you didn't follow everyone's advice to put a sort code on them).

Anonymous said...

I also remember the punch cards. My 3rd grade teacher used such a monstrously equipt machine to make some tests or other. I "helped" & began to learn why I don't like programming.

My own 1st machine is a Performa 600CD with a whopping 160MB SCSI HDD! Still works!


T.Stahl said...

My first Computer was an Amiga 500 with just 512kB of RAM, no HD at all. Later upgraded it to 1MB RAM.

After 20 years, I'm still using my first programmable pocket calculator, a Casio fx-3600P. :-)

Anonymous said...

Geezer #1: "Hard drive? Hah, we used to do our computing the old-fashioned way, with ones and zeros!"

Geezer #2: "Oh, we'd have KILLED to have some ones. We used to have to make do with just the zeros."

Even older joke: "There are 10 kinds of people in the world: those who understand binary, and those who don't."

trainer said...


CP/M, one floppy, 16KB ram...on an Altair I think.

Eventually it morphed into Dr-Dos.

Nostalgia aside, I prefer my monster box now. I've got more RAM in my watch than they had in the Appolo birds.

Anonymous said...

I remember learning Fortran 77 in 1988 and being told that it was still going to be a useful language. Bleh. My first computer was an Atari 400 with the membrane keyboard. Good times!

Sigivald said...

I do, in fact, remember typing "park".

Heck, I remember my dad's Z-80 powered Exidy with a giant Winchester drive.

(I also remember making punch-tape on a TTY, but that was purely for fun, as I was under 10 at the time, and the machine was just a useless piece of surplus, even then.)

Anonymous said...

Hell, I remember DOS 3.3 Line commands, anyone?

Anonymous said...

I had a Rat Shack 4k unit with an external HD that replaced the portable tape recorder & tapes.
(Lissen to the squawking for 20 mins than "I/O ERROR").
The HD sounded like a meat grinder or something.
Those were NOT the days.
500 gb now plugged in...

Anonymous said...

I am with Rabbit. PDP7, 9 track reel to reel tapes and a 10 meg hard drive. To load a program it was off to the punch card machine. I hate to say it but I still have a box of IBM cards sitting on the shelf "just in case".

Just recently I was looking at my collection of 8" floppies and 5.25" floppies and thinking about tossing them. I decided to hold them one more move along with my collection of different versions of IBM-Dos from 1.0 and all of the Compaq Dos versions from 2.0 on.

When I toss them, I will dump the Dc2000 tapes, the Jaz disks, the older SCSI disks.

Had I only bought guns with all of the money I blew on technology my collection would be much better off!

BobG said...

I remember learning Fortran IV on a Univac 1108 when I first started college in 1969; hated punching all the cards just to run a small program.