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Apple IIe

Computers have been one of my hobbies all the way back to my original purchase of my Apple IIe, back in 1982. It had 16K of RAM, two floppy drives and no hard drive. Amazing huh? I remember using VisiCalc, a spreadsheet program, and not even sure now what other programs I had.

When the original Macintosh came out in 1984, I wasn't an immediate adopter. I did accompany my sister Stephanie, however, when she purchased one of the original Macs, as she was going to use it to produce a weekly newspaper, The Mountaintop Eagle, that she'd acquired. It did look cool, but I had my Apple IIe and I wasn't about to abandon it.

Upgrade to Macintosh

It was not until 1987 that the bug really bit. In that year, I purchased my Macintosh IIcx. It cost ~$5K, had a 25Mhz CPU, 40MB internal hard drive, and 8MB of RAM. (or was it 4?) At this time, the company where I worked was acquiring Macs to write their software documentation and as then I was in the "Technical Writing" phase of my career there, it really helped to have a Mac at home.

My next purchase was a Mac IIfx in 1992. By this time, Windows was gaining their stranglehold on the Corporate market, and I bought it used for $500 from a company that was getting rid of all of their Macs. This machine stood me in good stead until 1995, when Apple introduced their PowerMac line.

At that point, I finally broke down and forked over the cash for a new machine. My purchase was the PowerMac 7500/100, with 32MB of RAM and a 500MB internal drive. I still use this 7500, but have since upgraded it with a 233Mhz G3 card, 198MB of total RAM, and an additional 4GB internal drive. Not to mention a 20 inch monitor, Zip drive, JAZ drive, Saphir scanner. Nice setup.

The PC Invasion

But as PC/Windows continued it's inexorable march, they finally became a factor that I could no longer ignore. My first PC purchase was a laptop, in February, 1996. For my tax practice, I used SCS's tax software that was only available in DOS. And by then, my old Compaq "laptop" with 1MB of RAM and a 100MB hard drive was no longer adequate. (I'd gotten this machine free, from SCS, long story, haha)

I still have that laptop, don't use it that much, anymore, but I do take it with me on vacations. But then in early 1997, figured I really needed a PC desktop, so I purchased one from OnSale for $700. A no-name, from China (honestly, that's what the box said!) 166Mhz machine, with a 15 inch monitor. (sold separately).

So, here I had my two machines, in separate rooms, not talking to each other. Now, is that anyway for things to be? Of course not, not to a quasi-techhead, such as myself. So, I hired a friend of mine to come over and set up a home network.

Network Heaven

It's cool, got this little 5-outlet hub, both computers plug into it, and we could ping back and forth. Of course, the one drawback, there's wires all over the ceiling, but a pretty good hacker network. At that point, I purchased PCMaclan, PC/Mac networking software and now, I can share files and printers and pretty much everything else. The Mac shows up in the PC's Network Neighborhood and the PC's hard drives mount on the Mac's finder just like a local file. Cool.

DSL Service Arrives

In late 1998, I acquired DSL service and boy is that great. Although, it took me two days to get the two network cards that I needed to work together in that PC from China. I was cursing Windows, let me tell you. I needed two network cards, one for my internal LAN and one for the DSL connection.

But finally I got it to work, and with the addition of this proxy software, Wingate, that runs on the PC, I can access the Internet both from the PC and the Mac.

HP Pavilion Finds New Home

In early 1999, however, that PC from China began malfunctioning. Since that machine was my primary access to the Internet via the DSL line, I became paranoid, since my job depends on a viable connection. So I went out and purchased an HP Pavilion. The 6470Z model, with a built-in Zip drive.

I purchased it for $1500 but then *the very next day* the price went down to $1400. Don't you just hate that? And those jerks at PC Mall wouldn't refund the difference. But anyway, it's a nice machine, other than its freeze up problem, but I get around that by just turning off the monitor.

I set up the Pavilion on the DSL line and it's working great. I had learned, by then, how to configure the network cards. But what to do with the PC from China?

PC From China Gets New Life

It hadn't quite died, yet, so I set it up in the kids' room. And of course I couldn't just let it be an orphan, sitting there, all by itself. So, I went out and got some more networking cable, another network card, strung some more wire on the ceiling, and Voila! Now all three machines are talking to each other!

Plus, we can all access the Internet via Wingate and the Pavilion's connection to the DSL line. And I do use them all, in my Web Design work. The PC from China has the 15 inch monitor, and IE 5.0. The Pavilion has a 17 inch monitor and IE 4.0. The PC laptop has IE 3.0. My Mac has the 20 inch monitor, and lots of browsers.

The iMac arrives; the Pavilion relocated

The summer of 2000 heralded the arrival of Kara's iMac, Snowflake. It's a great little machine, G3, large hard drive, lots of additional RAM that I purchased for it. At the same time, Greg got the Pavilion installed in his room. I still need a PC, for my tax practice. So there it is, although, lately, it's been making this "humming" sound. I think the hard drive might be going out; or something, I just pray, every day that it starts up.

Finally, an upgrade for me

In August, 2001, I'd had enough of my 6 year old 7500. It was time to move up and move on, so I purchased a G4 867 Mhz. And upgraded the RAM to it's max of 1.5GB.

Have I come a long way from that original Apple IIe or what!?

This is the machine that I still have and use and what I'm using right now, to update this web site. It's a great machine. And am also using Mac OS 10.2 Jaguar, and it's worked out so far. I've mostly gotten all of my apps updated to OS X and it's a great experience.

Although, I did buy Windows XP for the Pavilion and I really like that interface, as well. In fact, I do like XP's interface better than OS X's. In X, the Windows just appear, everywhere, it can make navigation difficult. Like just trying to find the desktop. With XP it seems all controlled.

But not that I'm going to abandon my Mac. Never. In fact, the next machine I'm lusting over is the 17-inch widescreen LCD flat screen iMac. That operates at 800 Mhz. You've seen it, on the commercials, the one that mimics the guy, in the display window.

I'm wondering, now, why I bought that G4 867. For $2500, in August 2001. This new iMac looks totally cool, plus it's 800 Mhz, has the flat LCD panel, and most importantly to me NO FAN.

But that's just the problem, with technology. There's always something better and cheaper, right around the corner.

Although, I have made a deal with Greg. We'll retire the 7500 (currently residing, in the dining room) move the Pavilion out of his room, he'll get my G4 and I'll get the new 17-inch widescreen LCD flat screen iMac!

Well, we'll see.

In any event, I'm not doing anything before January, 2003's MacWorld. When, they will introduce some probably even cooler iMacs. By then, the $1999 one, now, will probably be $1499, or even cheaper.

I can wait. This G4 is fine, except for the fan. I think I'm finally learning, buy behind the curve, not at it.

Printers, what a hassle

In the Printer department, I currently have only one that I really use; an HP LaserJet 6MP, currently hooked up to the Pavilion. With my home network, I can print to that printer from any of the computers in the house. I do have an Epson Stylus 800, hooked up to the 7500, in the dining room, but that printer is now basically worthless. It won't hook up to anything else, network wise, and it won't hook up to the G4 because of its' serial connection.

Although, I did get a Lexmark Z23, "free" with my G4 purchase, in August, 2001. But I almost wish I had passed.

What a crappy printer! It's the epitome of crap. Prints slow and badly. I'm now in the market for a new, real printer.

And then there's the Brother Multi-funtion Printer/Fax/Scan/TakeOutTheGarbage machine that most recently, I had just been using as a fax line. It just deteriorated. Crap output. But, since I had a lot of ink cartridges for it, I decided to buy a used one, on Ebay. Got one, for $69.99.

When I hooked it up? It was as crappy as the old one!

I did complain to the seller and got my $69.99 back. Although, still out the $30 shipping. So then, took the two machines, to a local repair shop.

Their bottom line? The print heads on BOTH of the machines were dead, forget it. So, that was the end of that. I told them to throw them, away.

My advice, to you? NEVER buy ANYTHING from Brother. I certainly won't, ever again. Crap products.

Scanner Woes

Then, there's my scanner. My Saphir Scanner that I bought in 1998 for $1,000. What a total TOTAL waste of money. A fiasco.

This machine starts malfunctioning, in the past year (it was never really that great.) but then, it just wouldn't scan. But the company I'd bought it from went out of business (no wonder) but I went to the successor company and got a phone number. And they gave me a contact with an outfit in NY that services these machines.

So, I spend $30 sending the scanner to NY. For them to come back, saying, it will cost $450 to fix, but that I could buy a refurbished one for $350.

Ha, I don't think so. I never talked to them, again. I'm sure, by now, they have "refurbished" my scanner and sold it to some other hapless soul, for $350. Hey, more power to them.

So, I go out on the web, searching for a new scanner. And discover that I really like this Epson Perfection 2400 Photo scanner. It's got great reviews, it's USB, great!

Now just to get the time to get all of my new photos put up on this site.


I do love my toys, but they can be so frustrating. Coming soon, I'll regale you with my saga with my DSL line. Switching from Northwest Link, to Verizon.

They could make a movie about it! Probably be a lot more entertaining than a lot of movies that I see.

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Last Updated Tuesday, July 20, 2004