So, over the past several weeks I have spent WAY TOO MUCH MONEY getting my Dell OptiPlex SX 270 sorted out. Happy to report that it is finally working properly and I’ll be showcasing that here in a few weeks on the channel. Of course, this begs the question: why did I invest so much into getting this working again? Well, to answer that question, we have to crack open my book of nostalgia and why I’m so attached to this seemingly otherwise boring machine. This week, we’ll start with chapter 1, and eventually we’ll get to the chapter that contains the OptiPlex SX 270. Here we go!
Chapter 1: Early Childhood
I think the first chapter in the book starts when I got my first home computer, which was a TRS-80 Model 1 Level II. This was a PC that was otherwise being discarded and definitely had its issues. It had a cassette tape drive on it. To me, there wasn’t much that I found to do with it, blame it on early youth or a lack of imagination. Ergo, no attachment, and this machine quickly ended up in the storage barn. Sorry 🙁
From there, in elementary school, we had Apple IIGS computers in each classroom that were networked to a Macintosh LC server. I enjoyed the MECC games! If only they would have given us more time on them, seems like they sat around a lot without much usage!
The next milestone was an important one when my Dad brought home a second hand 286 clone with a monochrome monitor, a very lovely and loud Miniscribe 3650 drive, and an Okidata Microline 93 printer. I could now write school reports and print! I yearned for a color monitor, but definitely got some utility out of this machine. I spent a lot of time on this computer… never loaded Windows on it, but did have WordPerfect 5.1 and Harvard Graphics 2.12 on it!
After that, we left the monochrome era when a friend gifted me a Tandy 1000 SX. Processor-wise, this was a step back from the 286, but it had a CGA color monitor! I loved the Tandy 1000 sound and graphics. Had a hard drive in it too! It was a sad day when this machine developed an issue with the parallel port and had issues booting afterwards.
Following this, it was time for the 386 era with a HP Vectra QS/16S. I recently did a video on the 386SX-16 processor and how unhappy I was with it! Namely this was due to the fact that I was trying to run Windows 3.1 on this machine, and it was not well equipped for it. We can bundle into this chapter the Toshiba T2000SX laptop that was my Dad’s work laptop. This was during an era where I think companies were trying to get utility out of portable machines, but it was still gimmicky to do so. I would have loved to be in the conversations where they justified buying a fleet of these!
All of these years later, it can be hard to remember the exact chronology of things, but I think this more or less captures the spirit. During my early childhood, I also enjoyed visiting friend’s houses and seeing their computers, some of them even had 486 systems, VGA monitors, and laser printers! You could only imagine my envy. In this chapter, and for a few that follow, computers were expensive, were not quite ubiquitous, and my family was still realizing the value of them.
In the next chapter, we’ll cover the early teenage years, which was an exciting time for computing!